Shen's Reading List

A classical painting of an opened book, held up against a row of books in the background.
Still Life with Books by Louis Block. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

This is my reading list. It is a record of books that I am currently reading, or that I have read. I decided to keep a public reading list so I can better share the books that are on my mind with my friends and correspondents, as well as to help myself keep track of my reading. Reading is very important, to both the practice of Philosophy, as well as the pursuit of a contemplative life. This list is organised chronologically by the calendar week (there being approximately 52 weeks in a year), with the latest (i.e. current) entry on top.


2022

Week 37 (2022-09-12):

I wanted to begin Tolstoy's greatest novel this week– but I was caught off-guard by Milan Kundera! I read his novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, in what seemed like the span of a single evening.

Week 36 (2022-09-05):

Week 35 (2022-08-29):

Week 34 (2022-08-22):

I decided to start my initial forays into Romanian literature this week, beginning with Mircea Eliade's Gaudemus.

Week 33 (2022-08-15):

Starting this week, I'm beginning to feel confident enough in my Ancient Greek to translate some of Sappho's shorter fragments. Also, I realised that Callard's Apsiration wasn't as light as I'd thought!

Week 32 (2022-08-08):

Moving on to a book on a lighter topic, I will begin Aspirations by Agnes Callard.

Week 31 (2022-08-01):

More Dostoevsky this week! I think I really started understanding the appeal of this author, after having read The Gambler. Dostoevsky has a way of portraying the inner drama of our sentiments, in a way that is both breathtaking, and humanistic.

I've also started reading Hannah Arendt this weekend.

This was my first introduction to Hannah Arendt's writing, she is – of course – much better known for her works on political philosophy (such as The Origins of Totalitarianism), but I was not previously acquainted.

Week 30 (2022-07-25):

I'm spending this week revisiting some Russian literature. And what better way there is, than to begin with Dostoevsky's The House of the Dead? If there is one takeaway I got from this novel, it is that Dostoevsky excels at portraying the human condition.

Week 29 (2022-07-18):

This is the third, and final week of my journey to read Plutarch's Lives.

  • Plutarch's Lives, by Plutarch.
    Roman Lives (Oxford World's Classics)

Week 28 (2022-07-11):

Week two of my journey to read Plutarch's Lives! I am following up the Classical charm of Plutarch's biographies with some further dialogues by Plato.

  • Plutarch's Lives, by Plutarch.
    Hellenistic Lives (Oxford World's Classics)

Socratic Dialogues:

Week 27 (2022-07-04):

I'm starting on a journey to read Plutarch's Lives, in the Robin Waterfield translation from Oxford World's Classics. They are divided into three volumes, Greek Lives, Roman Lives, and Hellenistic Lives. I am also revisiting Plato's Meno, since I am beginning a study group on the Socratic dialogues at the insistence of my friends.

Week 26 (2022-06-27):

I finished Moby Dick this week. What a wonderful novel. It's delightfully syncretic – the narrator Ishmael has a very distinct voice. This is definitely a work to revisit and savour.

Week 25 (2022-06-20):

I'm going to try to finish the Montaigne's Essays by the end of this week. His work is a great way to be acquainted with the immortal authors of the classics, as he quotes liberally from them.

Week 24 (2022-06-13):

In my quest to understand the ontology of Self-and-Other relationships, I was recommended Martin Buber's I and Thou. I admit, the reading was quite obscure for me– I'll need to take a deeper look at it in the future. A small, but remarkably dense text.

Week 23 (2022-06-06):

Week 22 (2022-05-30):

Alas, I also didn't finish any books this week. The mundane hassles and logistical concerns of travel have entirely occupied my energies. I did manage to finish the books that I was currently reading, but haven't started any new texts.

Week 21 (2022-05-23):

No books this week, unfortunately! I'm spending my time traveling through New York, and visiting museums and art galleries!

Week 20 (2022-05-16)

Week 19 (2022-05-09)

What is the meaning of solitude? That's what I'm trying to find out this week, with Rainer Maria Rilke's prose. It serves as a light accompinament with Julian Jayne's heavier thesis.

Week 18 (2022-05-02)

Week 17 (2022-04-25)

Week 16 (2022-04-18)

Week 15 (2022-04-11)

Week 14 (2022-04-04)

...

(Past entries in 2022 were not recorded)


I try to read at least one book a week, although depending on the length of the work, it may take longer. Consecutive entries of the same work (i.e. across weeks) means I am still reading it. I usually keep two books open with me at any given time, generally a work of non-fiction and a work of fiction. I like alternating between the two as time and circumstance dictates.

I generally do not take notes while I am reading, unless it is for a very dense work, such as Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, or Sartre's Being and Nothingness. My notes for Being and Nothingness are publicly available as a Github repository.

All links to the books are to their canonical English-language Wikipedia page (if available), or otherwise to their publisher's website. There are no affiliate links on this website.

A photo of my bookshelf. There are 6 levels, all filled with books of many genres.
My Bookshelf in 2021. Here's the Full Resolution Version, if you want to zoom in to read the titles! Image Source: Shen.

As of always, if you have any thoughts, comments, or suggestions for future reading, please feel free to contact me! I love conversations with interesting strangers, and I would be delighted to have more book recommendations.*A