I love plans. Rather, I love plans but I am not crazy about executing them. But really, it depends on the plan that is being planned. There are different types of it, like a fire escape plan. It’s something that most employees must have had to drill with, but really, can people even go with such a plan when fire is licking the fire exit?
So I prefer planning things that are achievable. A reading plan sounds nice. To others, it is the act of the obsessed. Never mind that. I figure planning the books that I read actually makes me read the books that are just sleeping in my book shelf.
I started plotting and following reading plans maybe the first quarter of this year. I was staring at my pile of books and I was wondering when the hell can I ever get to read all my books. Seems impossible for every bibliophile, but I am dead set at reading all the books that I buy, especially the ones listed on my compiled list. This might have been borne out of, yes, obsession, but I don’t care what people think about reading anymore. What I care about is a future generation bereft of readers. Hence, more or less, this blog.
Going back, I feel that I need to give justice to the books that I hoard. I really don’t care about the money because it makes me happy when I go book shopping. Besides, a lot of my books are not brand new, and I don’t care about that as well. As long as the pages are complete and the spine is intact, I’d still buy a book if I like it.
Enough of buying. So how do I plan the books that I read? First, I check my library, a spreadsheet that classifies the books that I own into multiple lists. Such lists are those Top 100 Books from Time, Modern Library, et al, and winners of big book awards. I try my best to have an even distribution of books to be read among the lists, but I have to admit that National Book Award winners are a little behind because I just recently started on them.
Then after the first cut, I sort the books according to length. I distribute the selected books through a given number of period, say three months, to make sure that I don’t overread on a particular month. And voilà, a reading plan is done.
Before, I just pick out whatever book that I wish to read. I used favor books that are listed in Time’s Magazine 100 Novels and National Book Critics Circle Award winners. I still do, but I try my best to pick less books from these two. It is my way of sort of expanding my horizon, although it is really not that because doing that means I would have to explore a lot of genres, which I am not willing to do. Perhaps ever.
And while I can still hold my tongue and keep myself from ranting about my being a literary snob, I would just like to say that my reading plan for 2012 is already done, from January to December. Which means I will have to read books that I will be buying this coming year next year or even the year after next year. Which is fine because I am not the person who immediately buys a book once it is released. In fact, I’d rather wait for books on thrift stores. If I can help it. But there are times I can’t.
I think this is not going anywhere. I just intend to write how I do my reading plan, and I think I accomplished that in two paragraphs. So I have 60 books targeted for 2012. Five books a month. I will not list all of them here, but here is a sneak peek.
McCarthy! It’s been a while since I last read him. I have been warned to be drained of energy after reading Blood Meridian. I also have high expectations for The Bell Jar. This book seems like it is in the same sphere as that of The Catcher in the Rye, angsty, depressing, but I could be wrong. Housekeeping looks like the odd one out here, but I love Robinson’s prose.
There’s Mysteries, from the author of my 2011 Favorite Book, Hamsun. I actually read a couple of pages of this after I paid for it. It seems as crazy as Hunger. And should I say more about number9dream, and Baltasar and Blimunda? In case you don’t know, the two are from my favorite authors.
I intend to open the year with a giant read, with a book as huge and probably as lethal as 2666. This is supposed to be five books, but the publishers decided to spine them into one, disregarding the author’s wish to have them separately published.
Chabon and Grass I’m also quite excited about. There’s Ulysses winking beside the two, and I expect this to be one of the hardest reads of 2012. It may even be the hardest. And don’t be fooled by the two mass markets. An American Tragedy is the second longest book in the lineup, next to 2666. Andersonville is a few pages shy from the 800 mark. The pages are really thin, like onion skin. Really deceptive
The shortest books look like serious works. Three are from Nobel laureates: Beckett, Shaw, and Solzhenitsyn. I’m good with this because the former two are plays, and it’s a first for me. Frankenstein and The Red Badge of Courage I’m not too crazy about.
And to wrap this sneak peek is the notorious A Clockwork Orange. It was given to me after the original owner gave up on it because she couldn’t make anything out of it. That is intriguing because I do not doubt her literary comprehension. This should be a challenge.