A photo that contains both my two beautiful babies and my two beautiful bookcases.
I have contemplated adding more structure to what I read as a way to strategize reaching that magical number of 52 books in one year or one book per week. I think it has more to do with structuring my time than with building a syllabus. I considered making each month's reading follow a particular theme, but that would be limiting and would exclude the two books a month that I read for my book clubs (yes, that's book clubs plural).
Still, managing my reading AND tailoring it to meet my professional and personal needs while staying at home to raise my children are necessary. To answer that goal, I've devised five different categories that should work in a rotation of sorts along with book club assignments and those books I decide that I just have to read at that moment.
1. Life Writing (auto/biography, memoir, letters): Because this was (is?) my scholarly interest, I should return to these works and read them critically.
2. Works from my field: Last year, while trying to read How to do Things with Books in Victorian Britain by Leah Price, I found that I could not get my brain to work. Like my aching knees, my brain needs to work out and not only walk its ass around the block a time or two but do some hardcore spin class or sadistic cross training. Just what is the ass of the brain, by the way?
3. Poetry and Drama: Sure, they shouldn't be lumped together, but I need to return to them, take them like vitamins, if I am to teach them again one day. "WHEN" I teach again, I should say.
4. A long abandoned project: I should research and read to be inspired to take it up again. Sorry to be so vague. Sometimes it's just better to hold some things close.
5. Novels!! My first love and research interest. I divided these into three categories, mostly driven by neglect.
- Contemporary novels, or works I sorely neglected when I spent an entire decade in the nineteenth century.
- Classic novels that I neglected to read, or any novel written before 1950 that begs me to be read.
- Novels from the stack of "To Read" books I have sitting under my nightstand (last year that book was Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart). I could also include novels on my Kindle that need to be read.
- Okay, four categories. I should really add the category of Children's Books since I am starting to read chapter books to Gus.)
And if I include one from each category in addition to my book club reads, that would equal seven books per month. Of course, that is not going to happen. I need to average five or six per month, making up for those months that are too busy for books or that get bogged down in lengthy works (Moment in the Sun, for example).
What books would you recommend to help me meet my goals for next year?