05 November 2009

1550 Books to Read

I am in the process of compiling a list of all the books on my bookshelf (loosely defined as anywhere my books are: on an actual shelf, in boxes, in the car, etc.). In the process I have come to the conclusion that I have not read or completely read most of them. Many of them are textbooks or reference books, so I have perused them in times past. A few of them (which I still want to include in my comprehensive list) are game books: crosswords, word searches, cryptograms, etc.

In the course of all this, I have discovered I actually own a few of those books deemed "Classics" by the people who deem such books in that manner. Further, I've discovered that I have not actually read most of those so-called Classics. In fact, when I think back on my required reading in school, we were never really instructed to read any of the Classics save condensed versions of books like Tom Sawyer or an entire part of a semester devoted to The Great Gatsby; as a result, much of my reading involved Young Adult or RL Stine books, until I grew into reading Michael Crichton books and the like.

So, I have decided to make it a firm goal to read as many of the most popular and highly recommended books as I can. I have compiled a list made from such Internet postings as this which encompasses a great deal of reading. There are roughly 1550 titles listed--a daunting mountain of reading material indeed.

My short-term goal is to increase my amount of reading. Since college, when I was inundated with required reading of textbooks and scholarly journals to prepare research reports, as well as spending a great deal of time rehearsing plays and learning lines, my reading frequency has reduced to just about nil, aside from whatever I read on the Web.

A great deal of my inspiration for my desire to read more is my sister. Sissy is the paragon of an avid reader, a quality that is mutliply aided by the fact that she works as a media assistant in an elementary school in the library. My niece Kayla (Sissy's daughter) has inherited that same quality (the reading enthusiasm, not the media assistant job--she's not of working age yet). Through conversations of what books they are reading and how much they enjoy it, coupled with Kayla's frequent re-reading of many of her books, I felt rather behind the mark. The over-achiever in me was finally revived.

My long-term goal is to have read all of these "must-read" books. I don't have a timeline for this just yet. However, my first step is to finish compiling my list of books I own. This is a three-fold purpose: 1) to see if I already own any of the books in my list; 2) to finally reorganize my books with a fully complete catalog (unrelated to my reading endeavor); and 3) to determine which of the books I own I have or have not actually read.

I have two middle-ground goals as well. Firstly, because I realize I have not read most of the books on my shelf, I want to start whittling away at them first. Most of them are not on my 1550 list, but it seems silly of me to start getting and reading new books when there are countless untouched ones in my possession. At the very least, I will find out which ones I don't like and can give them away.

My last goal is to be able to review the books I've read. This will encourage me to not just enjoy the books, but to read them analytically and objectively. In turn, I will engage myself in writing for a purpose once again, increasing my blog posts and hopefully leading to a point where I can write more freely. (Reading the books will help with that, also.)

So, with that, I'll get started on my task!

(Hopefully the reading increase will ameliorate my horribly short conclusions.)

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