Reading progress…

Novels:

  • Dexter, Colin: The Dead of Jericho
  • Dexter, Colin: The Riddle of the Third Mile

Morning reading:

  • Aurelius, Marcus: Meditations – Book 1
  • The Bible: Romans – Chapters 1-4
  • King, Stephen: On Writing – Forwards 1, 2 and 3
  • Russell, Bertrand: History of Wester Philosophy – Preface and Introduction
  • Seneca: Dialogues and Essays – Introduction and Note on the Text

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.[]

Less, More & None (2021)

Less

  • allowing my task list to build up1
  • looking at my mobile phone when people are talking to me
  • reading doomscrolling the news2

More

  • exercise
  • reading3
  • saving money
  • seeking opportunities for personal growth
  • writing

None

  • making excuses when it comes to exercise4
  • skipping my ‘morning reading'5
  1. Do, defer, delegate or delete.[]
  2. Once per day is more than enough[]
  3. After reading 41 books in 2020, I want to challenge myself to read 50 in 2021.[]
  4. I will get outside and run even if it is icy cold or teeming down with rain. And if I really can’t get outside to run then I will work out at home. There are no excuses. There is always enough time, enough ways to keep to fit, and enough tools (apps/videos/guides) to be able to exercise every day.[]
  5. One of my daily rituals is to read from a selection of philosophical and theological texts. It helps focus my mind at the start of the day.[]