It’s the New Year! The Mayans were wrong, and we’re moving on!
After last year’s plan to just not buy books and only read things from my library, I think I’m due for a new plan. Fortunately for you, dear reader, I have crafted said plan, and I am beginning it today!
The plan: 52 books in 1 year. 11 different genres, 48 different authors. A total of 22,083 pages in all (I’m going to have to average about 60.5 pages a day).
Why do it this way? Why plan out my reading for an entire year? One main reason: structure. Normally people don’t want to structure their reading; usually they just pick up a book that looks good or had heard about and have at it. There’s nothing wrong with this; I’ve been doing it for years when it comes to personal reading. When it comes to this plan, though, structure is going to help me accomplish a few things:
- Finish books I started and put back. Several of the books on my list are books I only got about 100 pages into before trading it for something else, fully intending to return to them, but never did. One of these is Lies My Teacher Told Me.
- Read on subjects in which I’ve developed an interest, but couldn’t follow because I committed to not buying new books. The big one here is cosmology, hence the addition of Stephen Hawkings and Neil DeGrasse Tyson. To even out the science category, I’m also adding On the Origin of Species and The Noonday Demon, a book on depression. All of this comes from reading different articles on life and the cosmos, so I thought I should pursue some of the things I already have with a couple new additions.
- Solidify my opinions on a few matters in which I am ill-educated. One of these is biblical inerrancy. I’ve been really wondering where I stand on this matter; though I was once very much an inerrantist, my reading over the last year, as well as my study of the Bible, has led me to question that standpoint. I’ve got two of Peter Enns books lined up to explore an alternative to inerrancy (while still holding a high view of Scripture); hopefully this will help to answer some of the questions I have in this area.
- Finally tackle a few larger books that have sat on my shelves for awhile, namely NT Wright’s Christian Origins and the Question of God series.
How am I to go about accomplishing this? Here’s some guidelines I plan to utilize:
- If I can, knock out smaller books in a day. Though my work schedule is erratic, and I have quite a few other things planned for the new year (including another blog), I do get whole days off that don’t need to involve those things, so reading will be excellent to fill the time.
- Pair nonfiction with fiction books. This’ll help me if I start to get a headache from the philosophy and theology selections I have.
- Pair single subject books with books that have multiple writings (essays, short stories, poetry, etc.). This’ll make it easier to feel progress.
- Keep 2-3 books at a time. I already do this, but it’s going to be a must if I’m going to meet my goal.
Now, one of these books is borrowed from a dear friend, so I’ll be starting there, and because I love a little controversy, that book is Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism. My interest in anarchism began when I was a senior in high school, when I found out that it was a lot more than just a symbol punk rock kids wore on their T-shirts, so this is right up my alley.
Now, will I continue to not buy books? Well, not exactly. I don’t typically buy new books much unless I get gift cards, so anything I do buy will at least be used, and since I still have almost 600 books in my library, the more of those I read, the more I can trade in for new ones. However, this is only going to be for every three books read, so there will hopefully be very few new books acquired this way.
There will also be at least one occasion where I very much intend to purchase a book or two, that being a patristic symposium at Princeton in February (which you should check out!). If I do any traveling (and I hope to), I may buy a book or two while I’m out and about, and if I find collectible books (such as the missing volumes for my Harvard Classics set), I’ll pick them up as funds allow.
It’s a new year, and each day is a chance for all kinds of awesomeness, so here we go!