Each January, I gather together suggestions for books and make a list of the things I want to read. I typically read 18-24 books a year, plus scientific studies and podcasts as they come along, but the past two years have been a bit difficult for me and my focus was not quite there. This year, I’ve gathered 10 books. If I can get back on track, I’ll be finished with them halfway through 2022, but I want to be realistic in my goals, so this list is a good way to achieve it.

I read mostly non-fiction, although last year, I listened to the audiobook of the entire Bobiverse series, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I lean toward science, history, and biographies because I always want to learn more. When it comes to fiction, I prefer visual formats and will watch science fiction television and movies.

My list this year, is partly books I’ve always wanted to read and partly recommendations from r/history, where members of Reddit either recommend books or people ask for recommendations on certain topics, during their weekly “bookclub Wednesday” posts.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An indian History of the American West by Dee Brown
The book was written in 1970. For the past 20 years, I’ve been telling myself I’m going to read it, but never do. I am interested in the Plains Indians, particularly The Sioux. The book was also made into a movie, which I also haven’t seen. I decided this year, I’m going to finally sit down and read it.

Black Elk Speaks: The Complete Edition by John G. Neihardt
I first heard of Neihardt when I attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and was assigned to live in Neihardt Hall in 1988. Everyone talks about this book, but I never sat down to read it. I’ve heard so much about it, I feel like I know the book, but I also know the only way to truly know it is to sit your ass down and read it.

I chose the complete edition because it has a new introduction as well as annotations of Black Elk’s story by renowned Lakota scholar Raymond J. DeMaillie. There are also three essays by Neihardt, which provide background on the work and pieces by other scholars, maps, original illustrations by Standing Bear and a set of appendixes. The geek in me just had to have this edition.

Varieties of Jesus Mythicism: Did he even exist? by John Loftus and Robert M. Price
If you ask if Jesus existed, most people would answer in the affirmative. People like me who do not believe in the supernatural Jesus question the historicity of Jesus. As such, the question remains whether Jesus was real, possibly several people, or may have not existed at all.

Loftus and Price gathered several experts for an anthology to write about the theories of Jesus Mythicism. It’s a topic I am interested in and the field has progressed considerably since beginning of the 21st century. The book purports to be the first academic catalog of mythicist beliefs. Some early criticism of the book is that it is “all over the place,” which I would expect if you’re trying to catalog all the ideas about Jesus Mythicism.

How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States by Daniel Immerwahr
This was a random recommendation I found in r/history. We don’t typically think of the United States as an empire. Immerwahr details forgotten parts of American history and the things we’ve done, from colonialism to using innovations, such as electronics, transportation, and culture, to influence others.

White Trash: The 400-year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg
This has been on my list for a couple of years to read. We don’t think we live according to class, that’s something we’re taught about places like India. We have a class system and Isenberg details its history.

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann
In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, the Osage rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe. Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off.

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt
This is another recommendation from r/history. In 1417, book hunter Poggio Bracciolini discovered a copy of Lucretius’ poem “On the Nature of Things,” [pdf] which was almost entirely lost to history for 1,000 years. The poem covers the idea that the universe functions with the aid of any god, religious fear is damaging to human life, pleasure and virtue are intertwined, and matter is made of small particles in eternal motion. The Swerve details this discover.

The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution by Eric Foner
Last Fall, I listened to the Open Yale Course, The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877 with Professor David Blight. I highly recommend the course. In it, Blight discussed how we really had a different Constitution after the Civil War, particularly with the three Reconstruction amendments. The idea intrigued me. I found this book by Foner, who specializes in the Civil War and Reconstruction.

The Faithful Executioner: Life and Death, Honor and Shame in the Turbulent Sixteenth Century by Joel F. Harrington
Someone in r/AskHistorians recommended this book in a thread not related to the weekly bookclub thread. We think of executioners as a kind of monster, but when Harrington stumbled across the journal of Meister Frantz Schmidt, which gave account of the 394 people he had executed he found so much more.

The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons for a Kinder Society by Frans de Waal
This is a little bit of a cheat because I started the book in December, but hadn’t gotten past the first chapter. I’m now about halfway through it. I had read de Waal’s “The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates” a while back and this book looked equally interesting. So far, I am enjoying it.

I don’t mind writing up reviews of each book once I’m done, if anyone is interested. I might just do it anyway. Regardless, I am using my free time to continue to learn and explore, regardless of whether its in a book or on a hike. I’m looking forward to all the cool things I’m going to learn from these 10 books.