Reading List

Here’s where I keep track of all the books I have been reading lately. This is mostly for my own personal benefit so that I don’t forget what I have read. You can also view this list arranged alphabetically and by rating.

2022

Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler

8/10
Another Philip Marlowe mystery featuring excellent hard-boiled prose. The story is filled with drug addicts, drinking, mobsters and crooked... more

Guston by Robert Storr

9/10
Philip Guston started as a WPA muralist, then became one of the leading figures of abstract expressionism. He is... more

The De-Definition of Art by Harold Rosenberg

4/10
This one is a collection of art criticism essays from the early 70s. They mostly grapple with the perceived... more

A Butcher King’s Love by Landon Knepp

8/10
The third book in this series is finally bringing things together for most of our main characters. I am... more

The Making of Nox Archaist by Mark Lemmert

8/10
Here we go, yet another post about Nox Archaist. This book probably won’t be of much interest to people... more

Bruegel: The Complete Graphic Works by Maarten Bassens

9/10
I still chuckle every time I read the name Hieronymus Cock. Maybe I’m just an immature fool, but Hieronymus... more

Barefoot Aivnesi by Landon Knepp

6/10
The was a companion book to the The Tower and the Tree series which at the moment (I’m about... more

Cosmic Connections by Time-Life Books

3/10
So far, this is my least favorite book in this series. Astrology is just not a very interesting topic... more

Otto Dix by Caroline Johnstone

8/10
I’m slowly working my way through various artist monographs I have collected over the years. Up until now I... more

Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie

7/10
Now much to say. It’s a swell Poirot mystery that is written in the first person from the perspective... more

2021

Bruegel by Walter S. Gibson

8/10
This is a nice companion piece to his book on Bosch. There quite a bit more to talk about... more

Hieronymus Bosch by Walter S. Gibson

7/10
This short and small volume does a good job in contextualizing the work of Bosch. Lots of images but... more

The Renaissance of Etching by Catherine Jenkins

8/10
A better title for this art book would be Etching from the Renaissance. The book covers the dawn of... more

Woke Racism: How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America by John McWhorter

9/10
I read a large chunk of this book in draft form as he serialized it on his Substack blog.... more

The Prestige by Christopher Priest

7/10
A tale of dueling magicians who go through ever more elaborate lengths to uncover each other’s secrets. It’s all... more

From Russia with Love by Ian Fleming

7/10
Bond travels to Istanbul to meet with a rogue Russian agent who claims to be in love with him.... more

Junkie! by Jonathan Craig

8/10
This was a PlanetMonk Kindle reprint of a 50s pulp novel. I was expecting tons of scary drug use... more

Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie

7/10
Poirot on a plane, a blow dart, and many suspects all with reasons to kill the old hag. I... more

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

9/10
I read this knowing the ending but I still think it is a top-tier Poirot mystery. The confined setting... more

Three Act Tragedy by Agatha Christie

6/10
A mostly Poirot-free Poirot novel. It was okay, I guess, but pretty forgettable. What was I talking about?

The Stranger by Albert Camus

7/10
A short, quick read that goes by even faster because of the blunt writing (or blunt translation as the... more

Lady of the Lake by Andrzej Sapkowski

7/10
The final Witcher book is a solid conclusion to the series but doesn’t quite stand up to the previous... more

Wood Engraving: The Art of Wood Engraving & Relief Engraving by Barry Moser

9/10
There are very few books detailing the technical aspects of wood engraving out there. This is about as close... more

Piranesi: The Complete Etchings by Luigi Ficacci

4/10
I bought this on a whim when I saw the price dropped to $20. Kudos for the completeness and,... more

Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy

7/10
In the 1960s Fritz Eichenburg illustrated many classics as part of the Heritage Press series of books. This one... more

Diamonds Are Forever by Ian Fleming

7/10
James Bond #4 pits Bond against the mob in America. I’m surprised at how little actual spy-craft takes place... more

The Tower of the Swallow by Andrzej Sapkowski

8/10
After a very Geralt-centric novel, this fourth book in The Witcher series returns to the Ciri being the primary... more

Baptism of Fire by Andrzej Sapkowski

9/10
The third book in The Witcher series brings the story back to the quality that was shown in the... more

Ravilious: Wood Engravings by James Russell

8/10
A nice collection of works by Eric Ravilious. This isn’t too text heavy, but each print gets a few... more

The Iliad by Homer

8/10
This is the sort of book that I feel like I have read already but that is mostly because... more

Freezer Burn by Joe R. Lansdale

7/10
Well, this is why I write these reviews. I got about a quarter the way into this book and... more

Words on the Move: Why English Won’t – and Can’t – Sit Still (Like, Literally) by John McWhorter

8/10
While it’s almost structured as a defense of the “misuse” of words such as literally and like, McWhorter’s book is a very... more

We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

4/10
A dystopian novel that predates Orwell’s 1984 by a decade or two and was banned in Russia until the... more

South and South and South by Landon Knepp

8/10
The second book in this series moves along nicely as the various characters continue to do the things they... more

2020

Hans Baldung Grien: Prints and Drawings by James H. Marrow

9/10
An excellent catalog of graphic artworks by this famous student of Dürer. A good chunk of this deals with... more

Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie

7/10
A perfectly serviceable Poirot mystery involving the most despicable kind of people on earth. That’s right, theater people.

The Time of Contempt by Andrzej Sapkowski

8/10
The Witcher continues with more of Geralt not fighting monsters. There’s a conclave of sorcerers, a double-crossing, a big... more

Scene Through Wood: A Century of Wood Engraving by Anne Desmet

9/10
While wood engraving was the method of illustrating books for at least a century, there doesn’t seem to be... more

Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark by Tim Lucas

10/10
This book is massive. Over a thousand pages filled with colorful photos, poster art and columns upon columns of... more

Lives of the Artists: Volume I by Giorgio Vasari

5/10
I started reading this thinking it would cover the techniques and materials of the Renaissance masters. Apparently, that’s another... more

Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski

8/10
The first official book in The Witcher series is not as jam-packed with action as the short story volumes... more

Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski

9/10
The second collection of Witcher short stories is actually the first or something like that. You’ll need to Google... more

The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

8/10
I’ve played the games, watched the television show, and now I am going to work my way through the... more

The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization by Arthur Herman

7/10
This is yet another summation of Western philosophical thought. In this case it’s presented as a perpetual oscillation between the spiritual... more

The Chiaroscuro Woodcut in Renaissance Italy by Naoko Takahatake

9/10
One of the best looking books on printmaking I’ve seen. Printed on a think matte stock, with over 100... more

Mediocre Saviors by Landon Knepp

8/10
This was an enjoyable fantasy about a world that’s been turned to blight everywhere except a single kingdom which... more

1917: Lenin, Wilson, and the Birth of the New World Disorder by Arthur Herman

8/10
In the past (“the past” get it… oh, wait you haven’t read the next bit yet), I have tried... more

The Coddling of the American Mind by Jonathan Haidt & Greg Lukianoff

7/10
I did not like this nearly as much as The Righteous Mind, but there are a handful of decent insights... more

Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie

8/10
It’s been years since I read me some Poirot and it was refreshing to dive back in. I am a better... more

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

8/10
The historical fiction version of A Feast for Crows with the church versus the crown. It’s a thick but quick-paced read... more

Man and the State: The Political Philosophers by Various Authors

8/10
A good collection of political writings spanning from Hobbes to Marx. Hobbes and Locke lay down a nice foundation... more

Mysteries of the Unknown: Mystic Places by Time-Life Books

9/10
So far, my favorite of the MOTU series. I think I liked this one because there is some grounding... more

The City and the Stars/The Sands of Mars by Arthur C. Clarke

4/10
Why do I do this to myself? I am always disappointed with classic science fiction. This stuff is so... more

2019

The City of Gold and Lead by John Christopher

8/10
Ok. I may have goofed on the first book in The Tripods series earlier, but these are actually pretty fun reads. It’s not... more

Prey: The Drovers, Book 1 by John D. Brown

7/10
Looks like I am ending the year on a YA fiction kick. Prey is the story of a young boy (aren’t... more

The White Mountains by John Christopher

7/10
Young adult fiction about giant three legged machines that transform children into mindless teenagers when they turn thirteen. So... more

Dance of Death: A Graphic Commentary on the Danse Macabre Through the Centuries by Fritz Eichenberg

8/10
Filled with art featuring death (for the most part that means a skeleton… spooky, no?) taunting the living. The... more

Mysteries of the Unknown: Mysterious Creatures by Time-Life Books

7/10
The first chapter about sea creatures is probably the best part of this book. Lots of great illustrations of... more

Mysteries of the Unknown: Transformations by Time-Life Books

8/10
Transformations is divided into three main sections: native American shapeshifters, werewolves and vampires. The shapeshifters chapter is filled with interesting images... more

Public Opinion by Walter Lippmann

4/10
I agreed with many of his main points on stereotyping, democracy, propaganda, and the inability for a potential voter... more

Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs

6/10
I went into this book knowing nothing of the many Mrs. Peregrine books/movies/after-dinner mints. Unless Shirley Temple is the main character,... more

The New Right: A Journey to the Fringe of American Politics by Michael Malice

9/10
Malice takes a break from trolling to clarify what exactly “The New Right” is. The dear readers are guided through the intellectual... more

The Gay Detective by Lou Rand

7/10
A short, fun read with a simple plot and one-dimensional characters, but that should go without saying for just... more

21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

4/10
Apparently everything is going to kill us. There are a handful of insights among the doom and gloom, but mostly... more

Liberalism by Ludwig von Mises

6/10
Short overview of the basics of classical liberalism with nary a reference to praxeology.

The Wood and the Graver: The Work of Fritz Eichenberg by Fritz Eichenberg

9/10
My copy was bought used and man-o-man does it smell musty. The odor is, at best, like a stack... more

Shirley Temple and the Screaming Specter by Kathryn Heisenfelt

5/10
This is a strange old book. It’s a Nancy Drew style mystery but the main character is a teen-aged Shirley... more

A History Of Wood Engraving by Albert Garrett

6/10
The title of this one is a bit deceptive. The book is actually a history of British wood engraving. It starts... more

Presto! How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales by Penn Jillette

7/10
Penn details his weight-loss journey and his wacky diet. It’s an interesting take on how we view food and... more

The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri

6/10
I primarily have this book because I am interested in the spectacular Gustave Doré wood engravings. The text is... more

The Pool of Fire by John Christopher

8/10
The final book the The Tripods trilogy delivers a satisfying conclusion to the story. I picture the aliens looking like Sigmund... more

Anthem by Ayn Rand

5/10
Having read her other books, I felt obliged to read this novella. It’s a fairly literal take on individualism... more

2018

Swap Clubs by William and Jarrye Breedlove

8/10
Published in 1964, this book presents itself as a scientific analysis of swinger culture. The opening chapters are filled... more

Mysteries of the Unknown: Ancient Wisdom and Secret Sects by Time-Life Books

8/10
The chapters on Free Masonry and The Golden Dawn were pretty informative. I think my big takeaway about these... more

The Naked Sun by Isaac Asimov

5/10
A murder mystery on a sparsely populated planet where each person lives isolated from everyone else and all the... more

A Renegade History of the United States by Thaddeus Russell

6/10
The premise here is that the outsiders and the misfits, by rejecting puritanism and pushing the limits of what is... more

Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion by Paul Bloom

7/10
I think it’s telling that throughout this book the author in constantly having to backtrack and clarify what he... more

Mysteries of the Unknown: Witches and Witchcraft by Time Life Books

9/10
I enjoyed this one a lot more than Phantom Encounters. The historical accounts are more fact-based rather than anecdotal and... more

In the First Circle by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

8/10
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn brings us more thrilling tales from the gulag! This is his fictionalized account of life in the... more

Mysteries of the Unknown: Phantom Encounters by Time Life Books

4/10
This book is a collection of anecdotal tales of various people from the olden days being visited by spirits.... more

Evidence of Love: A True Story of Passion and Death in the Suburbs by John Bloom & Jim Atkinson

8/10
Outside of Helter Skelter, I have not read much true crime literature. I picked this one mainly because is was co-written... more

Caliban’s War by James S. A. Corey

7/10
This the second book in The Expanse series. It felt like a bit of a retread but with less interesting characters.... more

Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

8/10
Another rambling philosophical tome from Taleb. It expands on the idea that good policy emerges from the participants having... more

Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey

8/10
I’ve been watching The Expanse lately and wanted to get a taste of the novels that the show is based upon.... more

Discrimination and Disparities by Thomas Sowell

7/10
Sowell is always an interesting read. However, I find that he can be a bit repetitive in his points... more

The Raft by Robert Trumbull

8/10
The harrowing true life account of three airmen who are adrift in a rubber raft for thirty-four days following... more

The Gulag Archipelago (Vol. I & II) by Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn

7/10
This massive book has been sitting on my shelf taunting me for twenty-plus years. Ages ago it was recommended... more

No Holds Barred by Barry Devlin

6/10
The ridiculous plot of this pulp trash novel is as follows: disgraced big city reporter winds up in small... more

Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences Americans by Ben Shapiro

4/10
I generally like the various Ben Shapiro “Destroys” videos I come across on the webs. He is an excellent... more

Kill All Normies by Angela Nagle

7/10
This is a pretty good overview of the roots of (mostly) right-wing Internet subcultures and trolls with a little... more

The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047 by Lionel Shriver

8/10
Apocalyptic dystopia from a libertarian perspective. Biases confirmed! In this story it’s not war, plague or environmental catastrophe that... more

Based on a True Story by Norm MacDonald

8/10
He starts off with a typical comedian’s memoir and, after about three pages, Norm gives up and go total... more

Friday by Robert A. Heinlein

4/10
Even as an audio book, this was a chore to get through. It’s a tale of a future with... more

The Cosmic Computer by H. Beam Piper

7/10
Pulpy science fiction about a remote planet on which the inhabitants are convinced exists a super-computer that could solve... more

2017

To Build a Castle: My Life as a Dissenter by Vladimir Bukovsky

7/10
A memoir of what living in The Soviet Union was like in the 60s and 70s. Bukovsky spent most... more

The Secret History of Twin Peaks by Mark Frost

6/10
I listened to the audiobook version which features many of the original cast members reprising their roles. The book... more

Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan

7/10
An entertaining read that pretty much says everything funny that can be said about food. I’ve read a couple... more

You’re Better Than Me by Bonnie McFarlane

8/10
Another comic’s memoir, but this time it’s actually funny. The first half is really is much better, in which... more

Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana

5/10
This is a memoir of life aboard a merchant vessel in the early 1800’s. It is also noteworthy as... more

Happy Endings by Jim Norton

6/10
Norton is usually a very entertaining guest on whatever chat show on which he appears. However, I’ve watched his... more