Ex Libris, The Sunday Salon, Whatnot
Comments 24

What happened to my 2012 reading plan?

My Bookish Master List


The Sunday Salon

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:

My Bookish Master List

My Bookish Master List

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:

A hybrid of reading planner and progress tracker

A hybrid of reading planner and progress tracker

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?

* * * * *

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.

Don't you just love their covers?

Don’t you just love their covers?



  1. jeannevoelker says

    I LOVED Portrait of a Lady (James) and An American Tragedy (Dreiser). Very different, but the authors really get inside a character’s head.


  2. You are a meticulous reading planner! I often choose books to read on a whim but it helps that I’m doing the Required Reading Challenge hosted by Tina. It somehow helped me manage my to-read pile. Good luck on your reading plan! :)


    • Meticulous, yes, but I can’t seem to stick to the plan. This started last July. Perhaps I shouldn’t have moderated a book discussion? :D


  3. I don’t plan to this level of detail – I have enough ‘planning’ to do in work so am happy to skip it for an out of work activity. Keeping spreadsheets might help me feel organised but I’d probably end up spending more time than I really want to, just keeping it up to date. If this approach works for you then stick to it


    • I often find myself doing random stuff when I’m at work. Good thing that there isn’t too much planning involved in what I do.

      Currently, what works for me is picking up anything, but I’d still like to maintain my spreadsheet. :)


  4. I do not spend so much time planning what to read. I tried it but it make me feel like reading was a chore, like i was a kid again and books were just homework. That said, I do not just pick up books randomly. I have a list of books that I expect to tackle soon and I recently joined a book club. But if a new book comes out that I really want to read or if someone recommends something, it might enter the list immediately.


    • That’s the problem one encounters when the reading plan is made way ahead of time. There’s barely space for books that are recently out. Perhaps I should also consider that. Thanks for pointing it out. :)


    • I’m really curious of the Rabbit series, that’s why I want to read the parts one after the other. I’ll definitely read Revolutionary Road next year. :)


  5. LOL – I’m having a case of the green eyed monster…
    I’m probably going to waste the day away planning my own worksheets ha ha ha… I think I did that at one point in time and found that having to update it all the time was a pain but am tempted to try again…
    I know what’ll happen though, I’ll have it open all day long and do nothing else!
    You’ll have to be flexible with your reading list, of course, and try to fit books that fit in your year-long challenges into your shorter term challenges to actually get them completed in time – not that I’m very successful with this idea either ROFL
    Good Luck with 2013!


    • That’s what I’m trying to do. But what really disrupts the reading plan are the unplanned books, hahaha. So much for planning then. Still, I like doing it, so yeah, good luck to us next year! :D


  6. I am in no hurry to read Vanity Fair, btw. But…we can push it sometime next year. :D

    Oh and I love the spreadsheets. Haha. I’m OC like that. I wonder if I should start one for next year, but I feel like I’ll abandon it after the first quarter of the year. :D


  7. This spreadsheet is like THE spreadsheet that I have always wanted to make but never did. I bow to your powers of organization. If I was this OC, I bet I would have had an easier time in.. I don’t know, life? HAHA.


    • Maybe I should apply for a patent and then sell it? Haha! It’s a continuous effort. I actually want to add more functions, like put start and end dates, and then compute the pages that you need to read each day. XD


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