What I Read in 2022

Another good reading year albeit not quite as prolific as last year. 41 books read in total, and nearly all for the first time. And once again, supplemented by thousands of news articles, opinion pieces and blog posts.

  1. Eliot, T. S.: The Waste Land1 and Other Poems
  2. Gaiman, Neil: Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes
  3. Gaiman, Neil: Sandman Vol. 2: The Doll’s House
  4. Gaiman, Neil: Sandman Vol. 3: Dream Country
  5. Gaiman, Neil: Sandman Vol. 4: Season of Mists
  6. Grahame, Kenneth: The Wind in the Willows (r2)
  7. Orwell, George: Down and Out in Paris and London
  8. Pratchett, Terry: Pyramids
  9. Russell, Willy: Blood Brothers (r3)
  10. Seneca: Dialogues and Essays
  11. Shakespeare, William: Julius Caesar (r4)
  12. Shakespeare, William: The Tempest (r)
  13. Simenon, Georges: The Cellars of the Majestic
  14. Simenon, Georges: The Judge’s House
  15. Simenon, Georges: Signed, Picpus
  16. Simenon, Georges: Inspector Cadaver
  17. Simenon, Georges: Félicie
  18. Simenon, Georges: Maigret Gets Angry
  19. Simenon, Georges: Maigret in New York
  20. Simenon, Georges: Maigret’s Holiday
  1. Simenon, Georges: Maigret’s Dead Man
  2. Simenon, Georges: Maigret’s First Case
  3. Simenon, Georges: My Friend Maigret
  4. Simenon, Georges: Maigret at the Coroner’s
  5. Simenon, Georges: Maigret and the Old Lady
  6. Simenon, Georges: Madame Maigret’s Friend
  7. Simenon, Georges: Maigret’s Memoirs
  8. Simenon, Georges: Maigret at Picratt’s
  9. Simenon, Georges: Maigret Takes a Room
  10. Simenon, Georges: Maigret and the Tall Woman
  11. Simenon, Georges: Maigret, Lognon and the Gangsters
  12. Simenon, Georges: Maigret’s Revolver
  13. Simenon, Georges: Maigret and the Man on the Bench
  14. Simenon, Georges: Maigret is Afraid
  15. Simenon, Georges: Maigret’s Mistake
  16. Simenon, Georges: Maigret Goes to School
  17. Simenon, Georges: Maigret and the Dead Girl
  18. Simenon, Georges: Maigret and the Minister5
  19. Simenon, Georges: Maigret and the Headless Corpse
  20. Simenon, Georges: Maigret Sets a Trap
  21. Simenon, Georges: Maigret’s Failure

Rather than set out any specific goals for 2023 in terms of how much to read and what to read, I am simply going to aim to read every day and follow wherever the literary-nose takes me.

  1. Having only read excerpts previously, I felt I should read the poem in its entirety given that 2022 was the centenary of its publication. I ended up reading it several times to fully digest it and did so with the support of this detailed hypertext version, which complemented the copy I had bought for Kindle, perfectly.[]
  2. ‘r’ indicates re-reading[]
  3. Re-read for work.[]
  4. Also re-read for work.[]
  5. Maigret and the Minister and the following two novels, Maigret and the Headless Corpse and Maigret Sets a Trap, have been the most engrossing Maigret stories yet.[]

What I Read This Year

It was another excellent reading year in which I met my goal to read more than 50 books in 2021. As the pandemic continued to plague us1, I found myself drawn toward re-reading a number of books that I had read before. There is definitely comfort to be found in the familiar. On top of the books I read this year, I was no less inveterate with the amount of news articles and blog posts that I consumed. Although, in-keeping with another of my goals, I avoided as much doom-leaden news as I could.

  1. Aurelius, Marcus: Meditations (r2)
  2. Dahl, Roald: Fantastic Mr. Fox (r)
  3. Dahl, Roald: Danny the Champion of the World
  4. Dexter, Colin: The Dead of Jericho
  5. Dexter, Colin: The Riddle of The Third Mile
  6. Dexter, Colin: The Secret of Annexe 3
  7. Dexter, Colin: The Wench is Dead
  8. Dexter, Colin: The Jewel That Was Ours
  9. Dexter, Colin: The Way Through the Woods
  10. Dexter, Colin: The Daughters of Cain
  11. Dexter, Colin: Death is Now My Neighbour
  12. Dexter, Colin: The Remorseful Day
  1. Flea: Acid for the Children
  2. Glei, Jocelyn K.: Unsubscribe: How to Kill Email Anxiety, Avoid Distractions, and Get Real Work Done
  3. Kiedis, Anthony (with Larry Sloman): Scar Tissue (r)
  4. King, Stephen: On Writing
  5. Kureishi, Hanif: The Buddha of Suburbia (r)
  6. le Carré, John: The Looking Glass War
  7. Murakami, Haruki: Sputnik Sweetheart
  8. Murakami, Haruki: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle3
  9. Packer, Dr J. I., et al (Ed): Holy Bible (ESV) (r)
  10. Rowling, J. K.: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone4 (r)
  11. Rowling, J. K.: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (r)
  12. Rowling, J. K.: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (r)
  13. Rowling, J. K.: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (r)
  14. Rowling, J. K.: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (r)
  15. Rowling, J. K.: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (r)
  16. Rowling, J. K.: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (r)
  17. Rowling, J. K.: Tales of Beadle the Bard
  18. Shakespeare, William: Macbeth (r)
  1. Simenon, Georges: Pietr the Latvian5
  2. Simenon, Georges: The Late Monsieur Gallet
  3. Simenon, Georges: The Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien
  4. Simenon, Georges: The Carter of Le Providence
  5. Simenon, Georges: The Yellow Dog
  6. Simenon, Georges: Night at the Crossroads
  7. Simenon, Georges: A Crime in Holland
  8. Simenon, Georges: The Grand Banks Café
  9. Simenon, Georges: A Man’s Head
  10. Simenon, Georges: The Dancer at the Gai-Moulin
  11. Simenon, Georges: The Two-Penny Bar
  12. Simenon, Georges: The Shadow Puppet
  13. Simenon, Georges: The Saint-Fiacre Affair
  14. Simenon, Georges: The Flemish House
  15. Simenon, Georges: The Madman of Bergerac
  16. Simenon, Georges: The Misty Harbour
  17. Simenon, Georges: Liberty Bar
  18. Simenon, Georges: Lock No. 1
  19. Simenon, Georges: Maigret
  20. Simenon, Georges: Cécile is Dead
  21. White, T. H.: The Sword in the Stone
  22. Wolf, Virgina: A Room of One’s Own

In 2022, I intend to continue my journey with the inimitable Inspector Maigret; immerse myself in George Smiley‘s battle with his nemesis Karla; and return to the fantastical realms of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld and Tolkein’s Middle-earth.

  1. Pun definitely intended.[]
  2. (r) Indicates ‘re–reading’.[]
  3. Easily the most enjoyable, strange and challenging book I read this year.[]
  4. Revisiting the world of Harry Potter during the summer holiday epitomises the pull towards comfort that I felt this year.[]
  5. Having completed the Martin Beck series last year and the Inspector Morse series early this year. I needed to select the next detective, whose world I could lose myself within. I settled on Georges Simenon’s Jules Maigret and have not been disappointed. I am already 20 books in to the series of 75 currently available from Penguin.[]

I ran all night and day…

Mr Skosh St Leonards

One of the things I love about running are the unexpected sights that you encounter along the way. I haven’t run on the lower part of the prom for a while and I discovered this great new piece of street art this week. The purple and neon-pink are evoking total 80s vibes. I feel like they should install speakers and play a constant rotation of synth-pop and new wave music. A Flock of Seagulls anyone? 😉

Art work by Mr Skosh.

Time Travel

“The precipitous time travel of literature never ceases to make my head spin. To discover these things all out of order and yet find them in conversation with each other — so close they could be touching. A thought moving at the speed of light, yet also crawling forward with impossible slowness.”

~ Bellwood, Lucy, Make Haste Slowly, 2021

I, too, marvel at those serendipitous moments when ideas appear to echo across time and place; connected as if they are “in conversation with each other”. It is one of the true joys of reading widely and regularly.

Morning Reading

A daily ritual that I have observed for several years now is to begin each day by reading from selected philosophical and theological texts. Last year, alongside revisiting the Stoics, I managed to give myself a grounding in Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism. I supplemented these with some early Christian monasticism and the maxims of the 17th Century philosopher Baltasar Gracián.1

  1. Aurelius, Marcus: Meditations (r2)
  2. Confucius: The Analects
  3. Epictetus: Discourses and Selected Writings (r)
  4. Gracián, Baltasar: The Pocket Oracle and Art of Prudence
  5. Mascaro, Juan: The Dhammapada
  6. Seneca: Letters from a Stoic (r)
  7. Tzu, Lao: Tao Te Ching
  8. Walker, Brian Browne: Hua Hu Ching: The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu
  9. Ward, Benedicta: The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks

I have begun 2021 with fewer texts, covering a wider range of subjects and ideas. Alongside Aurelius and Seneca, I am going to re-read specific sections of the bible; take a broader look at Western philosophy3; and also read Stephen King’s ‘On Writing‘ which has been sitting unread in my Kindle Library for over a year. Not a philosophical text per se, but one that I hope will go some way to helping me achieve one of my goals for 2021.

  1. Aurelius, Marcus: Meditations (r)
  2. The Bible (NSV)
    • New Testament:
      • The Epistles of Paul
      • James’ Epistle
    • Old Testament:
      • Psalms
      • Proverbs
  3. King, Stephen: On Writing
  4. Russell, Bertrand: History of Western Philosophy
  5. Seneca: Dialogues and Essays
  1. Hat tip to Doug Belshaw for that one.[]
  2. (r) Indicates ‘re-reading’.[]
  3. I feel that I have a firm understanding of Stoicism. And from sixteen years of teaching A-Level Literature and Media Studies, a sound understanding of more modern philosophies, particularly romanticism, modernism and post-modernism. My knowledge of various religions is good and I have a reasonable grounding in Eastern philosophies and theology but there are significant gaps in my understanding of Western philosophy. I hope that Bertrand Russell’s much lauded (and criticised) book can help begin to plug those gaps.[]