First, let’s set some context.
A couple of weeks ago Grant sent me a kind of alarming article, The Tail End, breaking down our lives into moments and the activities we get in them.
And so on, into how many winter’s we’ll have in our life, how many times we’ll go to the beach, how many times we’ll eat potstickers, and how many times we’ll see our parents in our lifetimes. When you look at all that stuff laid out it’s pretty crazy to think life as a limited amount of experiences. The way we experience is always looking into the future where there’s an incomprehensible number of tomorrows, but the author has us look back on our lives from the hypothetical end and you realize how limited your experience can actually be.
One of the things that really stuck out to me though, was his part on books. Yeah, not the family ones, but the one about books.
“…I read about five books a year, so even though it feels like I’ll read an endless number of books in the future, I actually have to choose only 300 of all the books out there to read and accept that I’ll sign off for eternity without knowing what goes on in all the rest.” (the author)
That was super alarming to me, because I feel the same way.
Naïve Jacklynn: “I have a life time to read all the books I want to!”
You are a fool, Jacklynn, a fool! I’m a super slow reader and if it weren’t for audio books I’d probably only get through like three a year. I have a huge lists on GoodReads of books I want to read, but the way I actually go about finding my next book to read is wandering around the library until I find a book that maybe I’ve heard about, regardless of whether or not it’s actually on My List. But I need to be much, much more strategic about this.
In 2015 I read 24 books. And it was a struggle to meet that reading goal I set for myself. Not that I’m out of school, settled, and traveling less, I hope that I’ll be easier. But I decided this year to make a list of books from different categories that I have to read. Any books beyond these books can be the random spontaneous books that I pick up from the library.
Fiction: The Handmaid’s Tail by Margaret Atwood. (also a book by a female author)
Non-fiction: The Making of Blind Men by Robert A. Scott
Classic: The Odyssey by Homer
Recommended by a person I know: The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (also was on a newspaper list though….)
Recommended by a fancy-pants list: Between the World & Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Also recommended by a friend…)
Graphic Novel: The Sandman by Neil Gaiman
Science Fiction: The Martian by Andy Weir
Biographical: Words Without Music: A Memoir by Philip Glass (also recommended by a co-worker)
Pop-lit: Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
Poetry: Words Under the Words by Naomi Shihab Nye (or another poetry book by her. I’m trying to give poetry another shot).
Design / Professional Development: The Reflective Practitioner by Donald Schön
Philosophy: The Chomsky – Foucault Debate: On Human Nature by Noam Chomsky
What do you think of my plan? I know that having a structure is really reassuring to me. Maybe I’ll get through my 300+ book list more efficiently.