The Outlaw Life

running, reading, blogging, loving

Conscious Reading

on December 13, 2012

young-woman-reading-by-a-window_delphin-enjolras-2012 was kind of an interesting reading year for me. I started the year in a very different place, both physically (still living in my college town) and emotionally (working a job I hated, which didn’t last long, after which I was unemployed and out of school for the first time in 23 years – it put me in kind of a weird head place, to say the least). Add to this the fact that I read quite a few HUGE books this year – mostly from The Song of Ice and Fire series, which I may or may not ever get around to writing about – and I felt like I have read more books in the past few months than I did in the first 2/3 of the year combined. I’m usually far more of the school of steady if slow reading, but I got slightly out of that habit this year, and I think I’m going to enjoy going in to the New Year on such a high point, reading wise.

I do think, however, that I want to do a bit of pushing myself in the coming up year. Not in the way I usually do, which is to make these crazy lofty plans and then follow them like a dog for, on average, like three months before just saying “fuck it” and crawling in to a hole for the next month or so, after which I come to a kind of ambivalent equilibrium which will no doubt last me until the following January. As you can imagine, it’s a cycle I’m well familiar with by now.

I’ve been thinking a lot this past week (I have been feeling pretty sick and not going in to work much, which leaves me ample time for said thinking) about this blog, and about how much I’m enjoying the experience. I’m making the concerted effort to make visiting, writing, and participating in my blog, and it’s making a far less stressful experience than the ones I’ve had in the past (failed blogs that have dragged on far beyond their prime). But I also think that, in order to keep things new and fresh, I’ve got to add some slightly more rigid structure to my “go my own way” reading scheme. A blog I adore, Maple & a Quill, recently discussed a similar feeling in this post, and I really, REALLY like the list she came up with in order to read 52 books in 52 weeks in a variety of categories:

  • 2 African-American works
  • 2 books on writing
  • 2 classic poetry collections/epic poems
  • 2 contemporary books
  • 1 Depression-era America
  • 1 essay collection/long essay
  • 2 Greek classics
  • 2 rereads
  • 2 Romantic era/Regency
  • 3 American Civil War era
  • 3 classic translated
  • 2 feminist/women’s studies
  • 3 history non-fiction
  • 3 lit studies
  • 2 pre-1800s books
  • 1 pre-WWI America (post Civil War)
  • 2 WWI era
  • 3 WWII era
  • 1 Vietnam era
  • 3 biographies
  • 3 children’s books
  • 3 Victorian novels
  • 4 Shakespeare plays

I like the idea of keeping the categories general enough that I’ll still be able to read “what I want”, meaning that there are ample options to fulfill each category, and I love that the categories are diverse enough that there are several categories in which, I’m ashamed to admit it, I haven’t read books in in quite a while (primarily Shakespeare plays. And feminist works. And biographies. And anything poetry, espeically epic. Damn – more than I thought).

So, in order to keep it loose and fun, that’s the only “challenge” I’m committing myself to right now. I know  very well that that may change between here and January 1st. Or here and tomorrow.  But for now, I’m  going to revel in my non-challenge-joining feelings of self accomplishment. Enjoy the GIF:



One response to “Conscious Reading

  1. […] I shared a post with you a bit ago about my desire to read more consciously, and I put forth a list of general categories (gratefully […]

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