▨ Jamie McHale


From January 2021 to the end of 2022 I am reading a selection of the "Great Books" of the Western Canon.

The list below is compiled from several sources:

I have also added some more books, inspired by Tommy Collison's Great Books list, conversations with friends, and personal interest.

Here is the list:

  • (Anon): Beowulf
  • Aquinas: Treatise on Law
  • Arendt: The Human Condition
  • Arendt: The Origins of Totalitarianism
  • Aristotle: Politics
  • Augustine: The City of God
  • Austen: Pride and Prejudice
  • Boswell: The Life of Johnson
  • Brecht: Mother Courage and Her Children
  • Burke: Reflections on the Revolution in France
  • Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales
  • Constant: The Liberty of the Ancients
  • Dante: The Divine Comedy
  • Descartes: Meditations on First Philosophy
  • Du Bois: The Souls of Black Folks
  • Fanon: The Wretched of the Earth
  • Fukuyama: The End of History and the Last Man
  • Gandhi: Hind Swaraj
  • Hayek: The Road to Serfdom
  • Herodotus: The History
  • Hobbes: Leviathan
  • Homer: Iliad
  • Homer: The Odyssey
  • Hume: A Treatise of Human Nature
  • Huxley: Brave New World
  • Kant: Perpetual Peace and other Essays
  • Livy: The Rise of Rome
  • Locke: Second Treatise of Government
  • MacKinnon: Towards a Feminist Theory of the State
  • Machiavelli: The Prince
  • Marx: Communist Manifesto
  • Marx: Selected Writings
  • Nietzsche: On the Genealogy of Morals
  • Orwell: 1984
  • Plato: Republic
  • Plato: The Last Days of Socrates
  • Rousseau: Political Writings
  • Shakespeare: Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear, Richard III, Henry V, Tempest and Twelfth Night
  • Shelly: Frankenstein
  • Smith: The Wealth of Nations
  • Sophocles: Antigone
  • Tacitus: Annals
  • Thucydides: History of the Peloponnesian War
  • Toqueville: Democracy in America
  • Vergil: The Aeneid
  • Weber: The Profession and Vocation of Politics
  • Wollstonecraft: A Vindication of the Rights of Women
  • Woolf: Mrs Dalloway
  • By the nature of following the traditional "Western Canon" works the list is not particularly diverse. I will do two things to alleviate this bias: 1) Seek out classic works outside the canon to expand the list, 2) Read adaptions, re-interpretations or translations made by women and non-white writers.

    There are some obvious Classics that are missing from this list, and I will be adding these as I decide which works to read. As I read around each of the books I'll be posting on my Goodreads profile.

    Other Reading Lists

    I am in the process of putting together a reading list for photography. If you have thoughts on any of these lists then please do drop me a line!