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About The Project

Four years ago, I started this site to organize my reading. The list started as about 20 classic novels that I had always wanted to read and never had time for. Since then, it has expanded into what we see today.

I'm hoping to write short articles about each text, and what I got out of reading it. If you click into a book and see a blank page, that means I haven’t written anything yet. If you’re wondering, why is a lot of this empty? This blog started a personal reference document for me so I could keep track of what I was reading. At first, I took a lot of notes about these books, but they were all mostly personal and about the weather I was experiencing the days I was reading that book. Over the last few years, I have been slowly filling in my thoughts about each book and maybe some day I’ll get there.

Why The Classics?

There were a lot of books I didn’t read during my undergrad, or didn’t read well, and I wanted to go back and give them another shot. To great success! It’s been a very interesting couple of years reading them, and I feel like I have learned a lot about life in the process. Maybe someday this question will get its own page on the blog, but for now there are a lot of better people who’ve written about the classics. I’ll link a few below.

Italo Calvino - Why Read The Classics

Harold Bloom – The Western Canon (PDF)

Bloom, The Western Canon - 1994

David Denby’s, Great Books - 1996

How to read The Classics?

Obviously, the main thing you learn when reading the classics is how to read the classics. I thought I would give some tips here that I picked up that will hopefully help you on your journey.

  • It is against God to read something in abridgment. The abridger wants to alter history in his image. Don’t let an abridgment influence what’s being said! It’s only an extra 1000 pages, or like two weeks of your life. But, what is time, when what you gain is truth.
  • Don’t bother reading introductions. Same principal. Why would you read someone’s interpretation of a book right before you read the book. It’s ok to read the introduction after you’ve read the book, because by then you’ll already know the contents of the book and if the author of the introduction is full of baloney or not.
  • I think it’s important to remember, you can read literally anything. You can read a receipt, you can read an email, you can read a textbook, you can read Hegel. You can read Hegel in German. Might as well get the information straight from the source.
  • In general, why read someone’s opinion about something, when you can have your own opinion about something.
  • Should you read The Classics?

    I don’t want to tell you what to do, but I would recommend it if you were interested. Mostly what I have gained from reading all these books is a bullshit detector when someone tries to tell me something. Especially on the internet I see lots of political types quoting people like Adam Smith to justify whatever heinous thing they are trying to enact on the world. These types love using these books and these names against you to do frankly evil stuff. It’s nice to read, and know and be sure.

    This might be controversial, but I believe whatever you read should be challenging. Not all reading needs to be for pleasure, and popular bestsellers may not always be beneficial for society. While any reading that encourages more reading is good, adults seeking education should engage with challenging material. The most political act is self-education.

    As to these books in particular, there are a lot of good books in here, but their power exists in that they have always been read, and will be read in the future. That alone in my opinion makes them worthy of reading.

    About The List

    These books are compiled from Columbia’s Lit Hum, and Contemporary Civilization Classes, St. John’s College Curriculum Reading List, and just some random books I’m curious about. From 2020 to the end of 2022, I was reading these in a chronological order starting from the Iliad. I would buy the next books on the list ahead of time and stack them on my bedside table, so I could start a new book immediately after finishing the last one.

    Finishing Kant, however, was such an intense and painful struggle, it broke all the will I had inside of me, and I couldn’t go on anymore like I had before. Over the last few years, the list has gotten a lot more relaxed. I read books as I find them around town, most of them I get for free out of those little boxes. In Edinburgh you’d find most of these books on the street because students were always tossing their new copies after they were done with them.

    Also I want to add, that this isn’t everything I read in the last four years. I don’t include stuff that I read that is in any way interesting. Books only make the list if they are excruciatingly boring and painful to read.

    Additional Information

    Wherever possible, I linked PDF copies of the texts. Project Gutenberg is an excellent resource for public domain books. If you're comfortable with a terminal, I created a bash script that downloads and organizes files from the Project Gutenberg.

    I hope this can be of some interest to you. If you are interested in learning more or have any comments or suggestions, please send me an email at: