Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Great Book Scheme

I have a plan, like all of my plans it is a cunning plan. And hopefully unlike most of my plans it will be fully carried out.  I am calling this plan The Great Book Scheme.  After a few years of not writing, and not reading anything beyond a book on nutrition, pregnancy or birth, and early childhood development my brain has gone soft; so I am endeavoring to read again.  I mean truly read, and challenge myself. There are rules and guidelines. And I would love for any of you to join in with me.

The rules:

  • I will read 18 books a year, that is a rate of 1.5 books a month.  Not counted in that number is The Bible which I will also start reading (I have done this before and plan for it to take three to four years to get from cover to cover). 
  • Any book reasonably over 500 pages counts a two books; for example Little Women is only one book, but War and Peace is two. 
  • I can re-read books that I read in college, because well it's been a while and I don't remember half of them (which is another reason for this exercise).  
  • And I have to follow the Guidelines laid out for choosing books. Thirteen of these books have specific requirements and should be chosen at the start of the year.
The Guidelines:

  • Two books must be poetry.  They can be an anthology or a single poet, and can be read slowly over the course of the year.
  • Two books must be classic novels.  I know this is a little vague.  By classic I mean something you would read in a college literature class, the ones you think of that define a genera or a style, the ones everyone should read.  And 'modern' classics do not apply.
  • One play by Shakespeare. I have a love-hate relationship with the Great Bard, but all in all he has been very influential on the English language and I just need to suck it up and cope.
  • One medieval primary source or scholarly text on the period.  I am a member of the SCA and would be remiss not to read something about my field each year.
  • One spiritual work.  I'm Christian, of the Anglo-Catholic persuasion, so this will be works by the saints or other religious people from the Catholic or early Anglican churches.
  • One on food.  Mostly whole food or traditional food cook books or food history.  Who doesn't want to learn the long history of salt.
  • Three 'self betterment' books.  These will be non-fiction, how-to type books on child development, gardening, finance, anything that I wish to learn about for real life application purposes.  Honestly it's really just more of what I've been reading the past few years.
  • Two Great Books. These are any of the Great Books of a classical education that do not fall into any of the above categories.
  • Five free choice books. These can be more from the categories from above or they can be that book a trusted friend insists I read.  These books won't be chosen at the beginning of the year like the rest, but can be picked through out the year as I feel the need to continue reading on a topic or need a flight of fancy into cheesy modern fiction.
I may sound like a lot, and it could very well be.  But the point is to challenge myself.