A Living Reading List

"...to see if a curated and annotated reading list can help shield my attention from online stimuli-static."

A Living Reading List
'Old Thoughts and New Conversations'. Image generated at Imagine.art.

Guillermo Pablos Murphy's continuously updated reading list.

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A note on reading:

Accustomed to the stimulus feeds of the Internet, I have rarely stopped to think about why I read what I read.

Libraries, bookshops, and the shelves of close friends and family have provided me with an ample menu of great literature, of history manuals the like it seems we stopped publishing 60 years ago, and of mysterious tomes that I would have rightfully gathered were full of magic runes and maps to other worlds when I was a boy. I consider myself blessed to have been able to read good books and good writing, even as the digital space became chocked by a gluttonous un-selection of content.

Faced with the increasing difficulty to get anything done online and with the risks of ‘FOMO’, digital-addiction, and ‘Doomer'-ism; I read for tradition, learning, and as a way to disconnect from the constant digital noise. In addition to wanting to read more and read more consciously, cataloging what I take care to read and what I intend to read is also an exercise of self-discovery. It is reflective – what makes up my literary mind? What ideas am I choosing to ‘possess’ me?

I will update this article with material that I want to engage with. Each item will note my interest in doing so. This is an experiment to see if a curated and annotated reading list can help shield my attention from online stimuli-static.

Cum legere disces, semper liber eris.

[start of reading list]

Spain 1808-1939 (1966) - Carr, Raymond
→ Learn about my patria and the social forces that formed it.

Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis (1917) - Freud, Sigmund
→ Understand what forms our psyche.
→ Understand how mental processes lead to social behavior.

Lord of Light (1967) - Zelazny, Roger
→ Cited by StJohn Piano and Nicholas Piano as a book that changed their worldview. (Source)

Cuentos completos [Complete Stories] (1998) - Borges, Jorge Luis
→ Grow my Spanish vocabulary.
→ Enrich my symbolic toolset.
→ Thrill in modern mythology.

Millenium (2008) - Holland, Tom
→ If anything like 'Dominion' by the same author, a concise exposé of the past on its own terms.
→ Understand the society and culture of medieval Europe - know where we come from.

The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever (2007) - edited by Hitchens, Christopher
→ Encounter influential prose from throughout the ages.
→ Understand what writings influenced modern 'atheistic' thought.

The First Circle (1968) - Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr
→ Fiction as a vessel for knowledge.
→ Understand a society of lies.

The Growth of the American Republic, Vol 1 & 2 (1969) - Morison, Samuel Eliot
→ Understand the origins and development of an American republic.
→ Consult moments in the history of the USA for more detail - such as FDR's administrations.
→  Read what the USA's history/propaganda outlook of their history is.

Feet of Clay (1996), Discworld #19  - Pratchett, Terry
→ Enjoy the author's fun at people and their structures.
→ Remind myself to not take myself too seriously.

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (1841) - Mackay, Charles
→  Read the three first chapters which address three economic bubbles in history as microcosms of how financial bubbles can turn out.

[end of reading list]


  • I read history, essays, fiction, and literature.

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