So it is April which means that 2013 is a quarter of the way over- that was fast! For the past couple of days I’ve been thinking about what I’ve read so far this year. I’ve read some great books! I’ve had one or two misses but on the whole I am very happy with how lucky I’ve been these past three months! However, I have come to the conclusion that there is one thing that I have been neglecting so far this year in my reading: my lists.
Since the beginning of the year I’ve made several lists of books that I would like to eventually read through. All except one of my lists are personal projects, and so they have no goal date; my Classics Club list is the only challenge I have that is not a personal project. I have made some progress in the three months since joining that challenge: I’ve read two of the books on the list so far and am planning to get through the The Grapes of Wrath this month, although I confess that I am not excited for it as did not enjoy Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men when I read it years ago for school. Still I remain optimistic! Some of the authors I am most looking forward to exploring with this challenge are: Austen, Cather, Dickens, Dumas, Eliot, Gaskell, Holtby, Plath, and Shakespeare (of course).
But for my personal challenges I have not, as of yet, read one book. Which is bad. The whole point of creating the lists and challenging myself is to actually read books off the lists. Although I do maintain some structure in my reading, because otherwise I would read only history books, non-fiction, and historical-fiction, I like picking what I read on the spur of the moment and reading whatever I feel like when I feel like it. So, to that end, and also so that I stay on track and these lists don’t just list at the top of my blog to rot, I’ve decided to set myself a goal. At the end of the year, I would like to read at least one book from each of my lists. Ideally, I would like to read two, which really shouldn’t be that difficult, but knowing me, it’s just as likely not to happen as it is to actually occur. And since I want this to be fun, for a reward, at the end of the year I’m going to treat myself to a book that I haven’t read yet from one of my lists!
One of these lists is resultant of a book I read early this year: The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had by Susan Wise Bauer. The book lists what Bauer considers to be a good introductions to some of the most important classics in five categories: Fiction, Autobiography and Memoir, History, Drama and Poetry. However, I felt that Bauer’s choices were to overwhelmingly eurocentric to be a complete introduction to the classics of various genres. So I added to Bauer’s choices for the purpose of my list, focusing on non-western classics and authors. One of the things that I really like about this list is that it is not focused solely on fiction as the rest of my lists are. I’m thinking that I’m going try to read one of the original selections from Bauer and one of my own. Also, I am not going to choose from the Fiction category because as I said my other lists are so heavily swayed towards fiction. From this list A Vindication of the Rights of Women, Shakespeare’s Sonnets, the Psalms, and the poems of Phillis Wheatley and Emily Dickinson are really clamoring for my attention.
Last month I read a book called 500 Great Books by Women by Erica Beurmeister, Jesse Larsen, and Holly Smith. The book is basically a compilation of summaries of notable books written by women on various topics. Some of these books are classics and some of them are lesser known. The book was written in the 90s so its a little dated, but it’s really nice to have a resource of works written just by women. I’ve never really kept track of the genders of the authors I read (although this year so far I have read 11 books by women and 6 by men) but I do think that it is important to make sure that I am not confined to reading books solely written by white men. This book has a ton of books written by women of color and books dealing with LGBT issues which is great! There are so many books that I want to check out from this list! Castle Rackrent, The Irish R.M., The Road to Miyama, and Through the Arc of the Rainforest are all ones that I want to get to immediately! For whatever reason, I really really really want to read The Irish R.M., so I will most likely be reading it in the near future!
I’ve also been interested in learning more about children’s classics but for some reason I felt like couldn’t get started without some direction. But eventually I realized that this wasn’t true, so I made a list of children’s classics that I wanted to read. I’m feeling drawn to Winnie the Pooh, The Wind in the Willows, I Capture the Castle, and Howl’s Moving Castle at the moment, so we’ll see which one I end up picking.
Like I said, I would like to read two books from each list, but I would be happy with just reading one from each. I’ll most likely read from the works I mentioned above but I’m not holding myself to it. Also, I’m not really planning a schedule for when to read these: I just want to have read them by the end of the year. I’ve decided that when the year is halfway over I’ll take another look and if I still haven’t read anything I’ll probably make up stricter schedule for myself. So, we shall see!
I saw the most beautiful sunset today! It wasn’t dramatic- just soft pastel colors gradually turning to blue then black, but it was wonderful all the same!