2014 Reading, Independent Education Project, Themed Reading

2014 Themed Reading

free owl reading poster

So, I’ve decided that, in an effort to gain a deeper understanding of and appreciation for certain topics that I have always been interested in or curious about, I am going to arrange my reading in 2014 into themes/categories.  I am selecting 12 themes and will spend one month on each.  In that month, I will focus on selected readings for that topic – some months may have just 2 or 3 books, depending on the complexity of the topic and the length/density of the works, whereas other months may have 4 or 5 books planned.

Of course, I will still be doing other reading as well – reading for my own classes, reading whatever interesting books happen to pop-up throughout the year, reading whatever is on my shelf that calls to me, etc.  If I read, say, 3 books per theme throughout the year, that’s still just 36 books in the year, and I tend to read about 70.  So, plenty of room to still do other things!

This is just my effort to dig deeper into the things I’ve really always been curious about but feel that I don’t know as much about, or at the level I would like to know about it.   Once I have the calendar completed, I will create a page here on the blog specifically devoted to it.  For now, here is what is starting to take shape:

January: Walt Whitman

Reading: The Complete Poems by Walt Whitman

Supplemental: Walt Whitman’s America: A Cultural Biography by David S. Reynolds

February: John Steinbeck

Readings: To a God Unknown by John Steinbeck

Readings: Steinbeck: A Life in Letters by John Steinbeck

March: Literary Theory

Reading: Beginning Theory by Peter Barry

Reading: The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition by M.H. Abrams

Reading: Mythologies by Roland Barthes

Reading: An Introduction to Literature, Criticism, and Theory by Andrew Bennett and Nicholas Royle

April: History

Reading: Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis

Reading: The Crisis of the European Mind by Paul Hazard

Reading: Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff

Reading: The Defining Moment by Jonathan Alter

May: Science

Reading: A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Reading: Cosmos by Carl Sagan

Reading: A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

June: On Reading and Writing

Reading: How to Read a Book by Mortimer Jerome Adler

Reading: On Writing by Stephen King

Reading: Willa Cather on Writing: Critical Studies on Writing as an Art by Willa Cather

July: The French Revolution

Reading: The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction by William Doyle

Reading: The French Revolution: A History by Thomas Carlyle

Reading: A Place of Greater Safety by Hillary Mantel

Reading: Ninety-Three by Victor Hugo

August: Philosophy

Reading: Poetics by Aristotle

Reading: The Republic by Plato

Reading: Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche

Reading: Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction by Edward Craig

September: International Literature

Reading: China?

Reading: South America?

Reading: Middle Eastern?

Reading: African?

October: LGBT Studies (Literature/History)

Reading: The Absolutist by John Boyne

Reading: Annabel by Kathleen Winter

Reading: The Essential Gay Mystics by Andrew Harvey

Reading: Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America by Christopher Bram

November: Romanticism (American & European)

American: Walden by Henry David Thoreau

American: Pierre; or, The Ambiguities by Herman Melville

European: Blake’s Poetry and Designs by William Blake

European: A Sicilian Romance by Ann Radcliffe

Supplemental: Romanticism: A Very Short Introduction by Michael Ferber

December: Religion

Reading: Fear and Trembling by Soren Kierkegaard

Reading: Confessions by Saint Augustine of Hippo

Reading: The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

Reading: Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction by Damien Keown

Reading: Science and Religion: A Very Short Introduction by Thomas Dixon

If you would like to join me in pursuing these themes (any or all of them) throughout the year, please feel free!  You do not need to read the exact same works as I do – in fact, it could be fun to interact with folks who are reading different texts within the same theme.

Also, if you have thoughts about or suggestions for any of these categories, let me know!  This is a work in progress up until the start of the new year. 🙂

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