Books I read in 2022

April 6, 2024

This is a list of the books I read in 2022.I didn’t read every word in every one of these books, but I’m not including books I gave up on, or books I just picked a chapter out of. There are a few textbooks on here — only included if I read them through, tho with no requirements for completing the exercises. I feel like I’ve earned the right to include Mas-Collel, but will respect the integrity of the list. ★ means I loved it; 15 books earned a ★. I re-read about 20 books from previous years; these are marked with a ⟳. Some books were re-reads within the year, too — I read Jeff Smith’s Bone twice; most of The Oxford Book of Essays twice, and Hamlet four times. 30 of these books, about a quarter, were translated from another language.

The books are in reverse order of when I put them into Zotero; I read some books right away, while others waited around for four or ten months until the time was right. I read all but three of these books on my tablet.


The Gospels: A New Translation, Sarah Ruden

2034, Elliot Ackerman and James G. Stavridis

A Probability Path, Sidney Resnick

The Beginners, Anne Serre (trans. Mark Hutchinson)Autofiction which actually held my attention. Mostly sad French people having sex with each other.

Measure for Measure, William Shakespeare ⟳

Terra Ignota, Ada Palmer (four book series) ⟳Holds up.

Essays and Aphorisms, Arthur Schopenhauer (trans. R.J. Hollingdale)Read while in bed with the flu; really embracing the misanthropy.

Comm Check: The Final Flight of Shuttle Columbia, Michael Cabbage and William Harwood

The Senility of Vladimir P, Michael Honig

The Successor, Ismail Kadare (trans. Tedi Papavrami)

Like, Comment, and Subscribe, Mark BergenA new employee-focused history of YouTube. Read it now; it’ll be outdated soon.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Tom Stoppard ⟳

In Praise of Darkness, Jorge Luis Borges (trans. Norman Thomas Di Giovanni)

This Craft of Verse, Jorge Luis Borges (compiled Calin-Andrei Mihalescu)

The Hostage, W.E.B. Griffin ⟳

Babel: Or, The Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution, R.F. KuangExcellent! But overrated as a book about Oxford. Showed up on many of my Oxonian friend’s bedside tables this year.

Sudden Death, Alvaro Enrigue (trans. Natasha Wimmer)

In the Closet of The Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy, Frédéric Martel (trans. Shaun Whiteside)

Theory of Point Estimation, E.L. Lehmann and George Casella

Hamlet, William Shakespeare ⟳

Selected Non-Fictions, Jorge Luis Borges (trans. Eliot Weinberger)

A Closed and Common Orbit, Becky Chambers

The English Understand Wool, Helen DeWittA novella, really. Worth two hours. Mauvais ton.

Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro

Lavinia, Ursula K. Le Guin

My Twisted World, Elliot RodgerImpossible to review because of the coda. Better than The Catcher in the Rye.

The Right to Sex, Amia Srinivasan

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, Lewis Carroll

The Found and the Lost, Ursula K. Le Guin

Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare ⟳

Popular crime: reflections on the celebration of violence, Bill JamesA work of passion; not a single mention of baseball.

Reputations, Juan Gabriel Vásquez (trans. Anne McLean)

Gaming the Future: Technologies for Intelligent Voluntary Cooperation, Allison Duettmann and Mark MillerH/T Morgan

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, Becky Chambers

Bone, Jeff Smith

Stray Birds, Rabindranath Tagore ⟳

Islam’s Black Slaves: The Other Black Diaspora, Ronald Segal

Mother of Learning, nobody103

Heretic Pride, FiallerilStar Wars fan fiction, and good.

Porkopolis: American Animality, Standardized Life, and the Factory Farm, Alex BlanchetteH/T Emily T.

The Murderbot Diaries, Martha Wells (five book series)

The Last Leonardo, Ben LewisH/T Sofi

The Psychology of Political Violence, Emma GoldmanH/T Morgan

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy, Becky Chambers

The Quants, Scott PattersonH/T Trevor

Reaper Man, Terry Pratchett

Tales from Shakespeare, Charles and Mary LambShakespeare as childrens’ bedtime stories. Imagined nostalgia.

Moral Capital: Foundations of British Abolitionism, Charles Leslie Brown

She Who Became the Sun, Shelley Parker-Chan

A Psalm for the Wild-Built, Becky ChambersMy canonical solarpunk book.

Elder Race, Adrian Tchaikovsky

The Wild Party, Joseph Moncure March

I’m Glad My Mom Died, Jennette McCurdy

An Insider’s Guide to the UN, Linda M. Fasulo

Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World, Samantha Power

Fathers and Sons, Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev (trans. R.E. Matlaw)

The End of All Men, C.F. Ramuz (trans. unknown)

The Reign of the Evil One, C.F. Ramuz (trans. James Whitall)

If the Sun Never Returns, C.F. Ramuz (trans. unknown)I absolutely loved this book, and I followed it with the above two Ramuz books. Neither quite scratched the itch.

The Iroquois, Dean R. Snow

Dear friend, from my life I write to you in your life, Yiyun Li ⟳

John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor, Their Friendship and Subsequent Marriage, JSM & HSM, comments by Friedrich A. von Hayek

King Lear, William Shakespeare ⟳

Why Switzerland?, Jonathan SteinbergA bit outdated, but the best of the ~six books about Switzerland I read before my summer trip. Led to the most ¡wow! moment of my year.

The Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare ⟳

The Last Days of Hitler, H.R. Trevor-Roper

The Crisis of the Seventeenth Century, H.R. Trevor-Roper

Stoner, John Williams

Bear, Marian Engel

Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri ⟳

Hyperbole and a Half, Allie Brosh

Tell Me No Lies: Investigative Journalism and Its Triumphs, compiled by John Pilger

Guards, Guards!, Terry Pratchett ⟳

Frank Ramsey: A Sheer Excess of Powers, C.J. Misak

Collected Fictions, Jorge Luis Borges (collected Andrew Hurley, misc. trans.)

The Lives of Animals, J.M. CoetzeeSandwiched between Coetzee’s Booker and Nobel prizes is this weird book, including essays presented at the Tanner Lectures and two short stories. Intense: ‘‘You ask me why I refuse to eat flesh. I, for my part, am astonished that you can put in your mouth the corpse of a dead animal, astonished that you do not find it nasty to chew hacked flesh and swallow the juices of death-wounds.’ Plutarch is a real conversation-stopper: it is the word juices that does it. Producing Plutarch is like throwing down a gauntlet.’

The Heroides, Ovid (trans. Paul Murgatroyd)

Beating Back the Devil, Maryn McKenna

To Say Nothing of the Dog: Or, How We Found the Bishop’s Bird Stump At Last, Connie Willis ⟳

Zuleika Dobson, Or, An Oxford Love Story, Max BeerbohmThis and the Willis (above) are my two favorite books about Oxford. Zuleika takes the cake, tho. I’ve started writing a review of Zuleika maybe five times now, and can never manage to make myself coherent.

The Pilgrim Project, Hank Searls

The Grasshopper: Games, Live, and Utopia, Bernard Suits ⟳

The First Universities, Olaf Pedersen

Mr. Bligh’s Bad Language: Passion, Power, and Theatre on The Bounty, Greg Dening

How to Build Stonehenge, Mike Pitts

Stonehenge: A Novel, Bernard Cornwell

The Making of Stonehenge, Rodney Castleden

Stonehenge, Rosemary Hill

Stonehenge: The Story of Sacred Landscape, Francis Pryor

Without You, There Is No Us, Suki Kim

The Startup Wife, Tahmima Anam

The Map and the Territory, Michel Houellebecq (trans. Gavin Bowd)More autofiction. Why do I do this to myself? Also, sad French people having sex.

Hamlet: The Prince or the Poem?, C.S. Lewis

Something Fresh, P.G. Wodehouse

A Damsel in Distress, P.G. Wodehouse

What’s Wrong With the World, G.K. Chesterton ⟳

The Invincible: Stories, Stanisław Lem (misc. trans.)

Dialogues Concerning Vegatarianism, Michael Huemer

The Joy of Vegan Baking: The Compassionate Cooks’ Traditional Treats, Colleen Patrick-GoudreauThis book is singlehandedly responsible for most of my new friends in 2022.

Termination Shock, Neal Stephenson

The Lowland, Jhumpa Lahiri

Inter Ice Age 4, Kobo Abe (trans. Dale E. Saunders)

Emily Dickinson’s Poems: As She Preserved Them, Emily Dickinson (collected by Cristanne Miller)I tried ~five different collections. If you need to own one, I recommend this one.

The Anomaly, Hervé Le Tellier (trans. Adriana Hunter)Even more sad French people having sex with each other. Also, time travel assassins.

Expert Political Judgement, Phil Tetlock

The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt

Stone Age Economics, Marshall Sahlins

Right Ho, Jeeves, P.G. Wodehouse ⟳

Beowulf, unknown (trans. Maria Dahvana Headley)

The Foundation: How Private Wealth Is Changing the World, Joel L. Fleishman

What We Owe the Future, Will MacAskill

The Poems of Catullus, Gaius Valerius Catullus (trans. Peter Green)

The Oxford Book of Essays, collection by John Gross

Underground, Haruki Murakami (trans. Alfred Birnbaum and Philip Gabriel)Unable to finish a single Murakami novel, I tried his non-fiction. Stayed on my mind for weeks.

King Kong Theory, Virginie Despentes (trans. Stéphanie Benson)As good as Srinvasan; only misses a ★ for the lackluster translation (just guessing).

Job: A New Translation, Unknown (trans. Edward L. Greenstein) ⟳

The Secret History, Donna Tartt

War With the Newts, Karel Čapek (trans. Ewald Osers)H/T Lizka

The Gulf War Did Not Take Place, Jean Baudrillard (trans. )

What to Listen For in Music, Aaron Copland

Book of Imaginary Beings, Jorge Luis Borges and Margarita Guerrero

Every Cradle is a Grave, Sarah PerryH/T Luis, I think

Israel and the Bomb, Avner Cohen

A Swim in the Pond in the Rain, collection and commentary by George Saunders

At the Heart of the White Rose, Sophie Scholl and Hans Scholl (trans. and commentary by Inge Jens)

The Sexuality of Christ in Renaissance Art and in Modern Oblivion, Leo SteinbergSome books live up to their titles. Steinberg exceeded his.

Atomic Accidents: A History of Nuclear Meltdowns and Disasters, James A. Mahaffey

The Hedonic Imperative, David Pearce

In Praise of Shadows, Jun’ichirō Tanizaki (trans. Thomas J. Harper)

Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives, David Eagleman

Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service, Carol Leonnig

The Making of the Atomic Bomb, Richard Rhodes

The Apollo Murders, Chris HadfieldMy favorite book by an astronaut. Not good.

Books I read in 2022 - April 6, 2024 - Joseph Levine