I maintain a spreadsheet of the books that I own, books that I read, books that I intend to buy, and books that I plan to read. I even have a review schedule! It looks like this:
This spreadsheet only has basic functions. I suck at it, so please don’t laugh. It has been months since I last updated it, so when I added the recent books that I bought and that I finished reading, I also checked out the reading plan that I laid out for this year. It looks like this:
Since it’s only a couple of months before the year ends, it’s worth checking if I had been a loyal follower of my plan or not. And your guess is as good as mine. There are books that I dropped or replaced or neglected, and these are more than half of the books on the original list. If you know of any seminar on reading management, please let me know.
If you are interested how I came up with this reading plan, I made sure that the books on the lists that I’m following are evenly distributed. I’m following five awards, four 100 lists, and the Nobels (the 1001 list is for reference only), so you can only imagine the amount of effort that I expended.
Anyway, I’d like to list the books that I should have read this year.
- The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow
- An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser – this was originally planned for July, but that month was a busy month for me. Besides, I had to focus on The Remains of the Day since I was the discussion leader of July.
- Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor
- Baltasar and Blimunda by Jose Saramago – I was hoping to read that this could be tackled this December, but I decided to drop it so that I could spend time on the books that I left unfinished.
- Being Dead by Jim Crace
- Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler
- Call It Sleep by Henry Roth
- Catch-22 by Joseph Heller – my copy was borrowed by Maria.
- Collected Stories by Katherine Anne Porter
- The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
- The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard
- The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington – this is a part of the Back to the Classics Challenge.
- Middle Passage by Charles Johnson
- Mysteries by Knut Hamsun – I want to read this before I pick up his magnum opus, The Growth of the Soil.
- Native Son by Richard Wright
- The News from Paraguay by Lily Tuck
- Nostromo by Joseph Conrad – this is a part of the Back to the Classics Challenge.
- One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
- The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
- Rabbit at Rest by John Updike
- Rabbit Is Rich by John Updike
- Rabbit Redux by John Updike
- Rabbit, Run by John Updike
- The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane – this is a part of the Back to the Classics Challenge.
- The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien
- Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates – this is also supposed to be last July.
- Saint Joan by George Bernard Shaw
- Ship Fever and Other Stories by Andrea Barrett
- The Spectator Bird by Wallace Stegner
- The Swimming Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst – it frustrates me that I never got to read this because I’m really looking forward to reading another novel by Hollinghurst.
- This Blinding Absence of Light by Tahar Ben Jelloun
- The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien
- Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray – this is supposed to be a buddy read with Tina. We both canceled.
- Vernon God Little by D. B. C. Pierre
- The Wapshot Chronicle by John Cheever
Whew! I am not sure if I’ll put these books on next year’s reading plan, but I italicized the ones that will be definitely on it. And I think I’ll be shifting gears on the planning aspect. I’m thinking of doing these plans on shorter terms, like quarterly. I also want to focus on more classics. And yes, I should consider our book club’s books of the months. I haven’t reserved their slots for 2012, so I’ll keep this in mind next year.
Would you recommend any of the books above for my next year’s reading plan? Do you also go through such planning or do you just pick up anything on a whim? Would you like to suggest anything about planning?
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The books that I bought a few days back triggered my updating of the spreadsheet, so let me list them down:
George Mills by Stanley Elkin (November 1, Book Sale – SM Fairview, Php 145.00) – an NBCC winner. Now I only have four more books left to complete my NBCC collection. Coincidentally, one of those four is also by Elkin, which is Mrs. Ted Bliss. The other three are Binocular Vision, Austerlitz, and Women in their Beds. Donations are very welcome!
The Wall of the Sky, the Wall of the Eye by Jonathan Lethem (November 3, Book Sale – Walter Mart Munoz, Php 75.00) – I really enjoyed Motherless Brooklyn, so I think it would not hurt to try this short story collection.