Ned Gallagher in Havana.

Ned Gallagher:
What I’m Up To


New Year 2022



Ringing In The New Year

In most ways, the last few months have continued the trend toward more normalcy in my own existence, though it’s equally clear that this pandemic is not quite in our rear-view mirror yet.

After a fall term with zero COVID transmissions on campus, a few cases emerged following Thanksgiving—likely the product of folks traveling during the break, combined with the emergence of the more infectious omicron variant.

Some modest travel plans I had lined up fell by the wayside in the last few months, what with the current surge of coronavirus infections and some minor foot surgery that kept me largely off my feet for five weeks. I scrapped trips to California and Chicago on either end of the Thanksgiving holiday, as well as a wedding in New Orleans and a trip to northwestern Florida in December. I was able to navigate (on crutches!) New York City one weekend in early December, for a stay at the Algonquin Hotel and a Broadway play that had been postponed when things shut down in early 2020. And more recently I took the train up to Boston for a short getaway. Hopefully, assuming the current wave of COVID crests and wanes in the next few weeks as expected, I will head down to the Florida Panhandle in early February for a long weekend break, and then to Philadelphia for a history conference toward the end of that month.

Outside of work commitments, I’ve continued to plow through a ton of books, especially since I started another program at UChicago this past fall—a two-year Middle Ages sequence—in addition to the four-year Great Books immersion I am finishing this coming spring. And I’ve been reading widely beyond that coursework, too. And watching lots. There’s a ton of quality programming on the (too many) streaming services I get. And I resumed more regular trips to the cinema (joining the Cinemark Movie Club was an incentive) at the end of 2021. I also joined Letterboxd, sort of a film-oriented social media site.

I am optimistic this new year could well represent the turning point in the pandemic. A year ago we didn’t have vaccines widely available and now there are promising treatments emerging in addition to the vaccines and boosters on hand (at least in wealthy countries, and we desperately need to expand access around the globe).



What I’m Reading

Working On Now:

  • Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
  • David Sedaris, A Carnval of Snackery: Diaries, 2003–2020
  • Jack Mitchell, The Odyssey of Star Wars: An Epic Poem

Recently Finished:

  • John Sutherland, A Little History of Literature
  • Ken Krimstein, The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt: A Tyranny of Truth
  • Roosevelt Montás, Rescuing Socrates: How the Great Books Changed My Life and Why They Matter for a New Generation
  • Coulter H. George, How Dead Languages Work
  • Linda Greenhouse, Justice on the Brink: The Death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Rise of Amy Coney Barrett, and Twelve Months That Transformed the Supreme Court
  • Philip Pullman, The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage
  • Evan Dahm, The Harrowing of Hell
  • David Philipps, Alpha: Eddie Gallagher and the War for the Soul of the Navy SEALs
  • Douglas Wolk, All of the Marvels: A Journey to the Ends of the Biggest Story Ever Told
  • Haruki Murakami, Murakami T: The T-Shirts I Love
  • Hillary Jordan, Mudbound
  • Chris Nashawaty, Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story
  • Cal Newport, Deep Work

On Deck:

  • Claire Heywood, Daughters of Sparta
  • Abdi Nazemian, The Chandler Legacies
  • Stephen Fry, Troy: The Greek Myths Reimagined

For Courses I’m Taking This Winter:

  • David A. Moss, Democracy: A Case Study
  • Aristotle, Politics
  • Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations
  • Karl Marx, Das Kapital
  • Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto
  • The Norton Anthology of Poetry
  • Aristotle, De Anima
  • Ibn Tufayl, Hayy bin Yaqzan
  • Averroes, The Incoherence of the Incoherence
  • Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles
  • The Song of Roland
  • Ibn Munqidh, The Book of Contemplation
  • Villehardouin, The Conquest of Constantinople

For Courses I’m Teaching This Winter:

  • Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
  • André Gide, The Immoralist
  • Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis
  • Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
  • Seth Radwell, American Schism: How the Two Enlightenments Hold the Secret to Healing our Nation
  • Leon P. Baradat and John A. Phillips, Political Ideologies: Their Origins and Impact



What I’m Watching


  • The Book of Boba Fett (Disney+)
  • Around the World in 80 Days (PBS Passport)
  • Dickinson, Season 3 (Apple TV+)
  • Station Eleven (HBO Max)
  • I, Claudius (Acorn TV)
  • Star Trek: Discovery, Season 4 (Paramount+)

Recently Finished—Television:

  • Succession, Season 3 (HBO Max)
  • The Name of the Rose (AMC+)
  • Lost In Space, Season 3 (Netflix)
  • Gossip Girl, Season 1 (HBO Max)
  • The Wheel of Time, Season 1 (Amazon Prime)
  • The Lost Symbol (Peacock)
  • The Great, Season 1 (Hulu)
  • Hawkeye (Disney+)
  • Wellington Paranormal, Seasons 1 & 2 (HBO Max)
  • It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Seasons 1–4 (Hulu)
  • Alex Rider, Season 2 (Amazon Prime)
  • Baptiste, Season 2 (PBS Passport)
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm, Season 11 (HBO Max)
  • Locke & Key, Season 2 (Netflix)

On Deck—Television:

  • Endeavour, Season 8 (PBS Passport)
  • Peacemaker (HBO Max)
  • Picard, Season 2 (Paramount+)

Recently Finished—Films:

  • in the first week of the New Year I watched one of the extended [4-hour] editions of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy:
    • The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
    • The Two Towers (2002)
    • The Return of the King (2003)
  • Nightmare Alley (d. Guillermo del Toro, 2021)
  • Never Surrender: A Galaxy Quest Documentary (Amazon Prime, d. Jack Bennett, 2019)
  • Licorice Pizza (d. Paul Thomas Anderson, 2021)
  • White Christmas (Netflix, d. Michael Curtiz, 1954)
  • The Matrix Resurrections (HBO Max, d. Lana Wachowski, 2021)
  • Being the Ricardos (Amazon Prime, d. Aaron Sorkin, 2021)
  • The King’s Man (d. Matthew Vaughn, 2021)
  • Tick, Tick . . . Boom! (Netflix, d. Lin-Manuel Miranda, 2021)
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home (d. Jon Watts, 2021)
  • West Side Story (d. Steven Spielberg, 2021)
  • House of Gucci (d. Ridley Scott, 2021)
  • Don't Look Up (d. Adam McKay, 2021)
  • Encanto (d. Byron Howard and Jared Bush, 2021)
  • Beatles: Get Back (Disney+, d. Peter Jackson, 2021)
  • King Richard (HBO Max, d. Reinaldo Marcus Green, 2021)
  • Moffie (Hulu, d. Oliver Hermanus, 2019)
  • Ex Machina (Showtime, d. Alex Garland, 2014)
  • Fantastic Four (Disney+, d. Tim Story, 2005)
  • Paths of Glory (d. Stanley Kubrick, 1957)
  • Ghostbusters: Afterlife (d. Jason Reitman, 2021)
  • Blade Runner 2049 (HBO Max, d. Denis Villeneuve, 2017)
  • Belfast (d. Kenneth Branagh, 2021)
  • Mayor Pete (Amazon Prime, d. Jesse Moss, 2021)
  • Her (Kanopy, d. Spike Jonze, 2013)
  • Blade Runner: The Final Cut (HBO Max, d. Ridley Scott, 1982/2007)
  • Eternals (d. Chloé Zhao, 2021)
  • The French Dispatch (d. Wes Anderson, 2021)
  • Dune (d. Denis Villeneuve, 2021)
  • Spectre (d. Sam Mendes, 2015)
  • Skyfall (d. Sam Mendes, 2012)
  • Quantum of Solace (d. Marc Forster, 2008)
  • No Time To Die (d. Cary Joji Fukanaga, 2021)



What I’m Listening To


  • Paul Lewis, Joseph Haydn: Piano Sonatas Nos. 20, 34, 51, & 52


  • Your Undivided Attention

Audiobooks/Radio Dramas:

  • The Sandman, Act II (Audible)



What I’ve Been Attending

  • David Sedaris reading, Hartford, October
  • The Lehman Trilogy, New York City, December



Where I’m Traveling

Recently Completed Trips:

  • early December weekend in New York City (first time in Manhattan in twenty months!)
  • three-day trip to Boston over New Years weekend

Upcoming Trips:

  • winter Long Weekend school break in the Florida Panhandle in early February
  • conference in Philadelphia in late February
  • spring break travel in March to Southern California and Florida



What I’m Learning

  • guitar



What I’m Looking Forward To

  • the days getting longer


Thanks to Derek Sivers for his concept of the /now page.
Revised: 4 January 2022