At the beginning of September I “finished” the 12 Books, 12 Months Challenge.
While I did not actually read all of the books on my list it seems that I was not alone. As I wrote in my followup post I think that this is perfectly fine. Continuing in that spirit, I have devised another challenge for myself, which I am calling the Two-Thirds Book Challenge.
Folks are certainly welcome to join me in this endeavor and I will list some “criteria” below if you should be of a mind to do so. Then again, I have no illusions that people will be jumping at it.
- Make a list of books that you would like to read in the next year. It can be as long or as short as you like. Post it somewhere, if moved to.
- Read 2/3rds of them between now and 30 September 2012.
- If you like, write about them on your blog, in goodreads, in your journal, or wherever you like. If you so desire, let me know where you post your writing and I will compile a sort-of-monthly post here that aggregates them. If you want to join me publicly then please feel free to comment on this post to let me know (or email, tweet, etc.). Of course, feel free to comment whether or not you intend to join me.
Why 2/3rds? Why not? It seems like a decent enough fraction. Make your list as long as you like and, in particular, 150% longer than you think you can actually accomplish and then read 2/3rds of the (hopefully) wonderful and intriguing books that you have chosen for yourself.
I would suggest that you leave yourself plenty of wriggle room by limiting the length of your list to account for titles you simply are not yet aware of, for changes of mind/heart, or any other sort of reason for meandering reading.
My list – 2011-2012 Possibles
My list can be found on my goodreads 2011-2012 Possibles shelf (and below). One of the interesting things about using goodreads (or a similar service, I imagine) is that one can easily link to the shelf and the shelf can be sorted in several ways—author, title, cover, average rating, rating, shelves, date read, date added, and number of pages. [Netflix, are you paying attention? Why can't I sort my queue by running time?]
I have broken my list down into some very gross categories with the applicable books listed under them. As usual, several titles easily fit in other categories; e.g., Jolley and Wilson in Philosophy.
My main interest in doing this rough categorization was to ensure that I have a diversity of books to choose from and, secondarily, to pull out the titles I need to reserve for evening reading (poetry and fiction/lit) when my mind often balks at more “serious” reading.
Also, taking fewer notes, as is usual for me with poetry and fiction/lit, means less use of the iPad in the evening which is necessary. [I have a 1st gen iPad and it bothers me for sustained reading/use, particularly at night. Sara's iPad 2 dims far more than mine does, although I am unsure whether the problem is the backlit screen, period, or whether it is simply too bright.]
There are, of course, many more books on my To Be Read shelves but these are the 30 titles from which I am challenging myself to read, at least, 20 of over the next year.
History / Anthropology / Religion
- The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community by William H. McNeill
- The Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
- The Myth of the Eternal Return: Cosmos and History by Mircea Eliade
- The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm
- Tragic Sense of Life by Miguel de Unamuno
Science / Language
- The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World by Iain McGilchrist
- The Unfolding of Language: An Evolutionary Tour of Mankind’s Greatest Invention by Guy Deutscher
- Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought by George Lakoff
- Moral Clarity: A Guide for Grown-up Idealists by Susan Neiman
- The Era of the Individual by Alain Renaut
- The Power of Ideas by Isaiah Berlin
- The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World by David Abram
Literature / Fiction / Poetry / Criticism
- Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges
- Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez
- The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
- Pale Fire (Everyman’s Library, #67) by Vladimir Nabokov
- The Way It Is by William Stafford
- Transformations by Anne Sexton
- Theories of the Symbol by Tzvetan Todorov
- Why Read the Classics? by Italo Calvino
- How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One by Stanley Fish
- Culture and Anarchy & Other Writings by Matthew Arnold
- You Must Change Your Life: Poetry, Philosophy, and the Birth of Sense by John Lysaker
- Figures of Thought: Speculations on the Meaning of Poetry and Other Essays by Howard Nemerov
Technology (and Education)
- The Flickering Mind: Saving Education from the False Promise of Technology by Todd Oppenheimer
- Scholarship in the Digital Age: Information, Infrastructure, and the Internet by Christine L. Borgman
- Language and Representation in Information Retrieval by D. C. Blair
- Dismantling the Public Sphere: Situating and Sustaining Librarianship in the Age of the New Public Philosophy by John E. Buschman
- Second-Hand Knowledge: An Inquiry into Cognitive Authority by Patrick Wilson
- Fabric of Knowledge by J.L. Jolley
How about you? Is completion overrated in your life? Set yourself a goal and trick yourself into accomplishing most of it. Or simply think of it as providing yourself plenty of wiggle room for meandering reading choices, which are the best kind.