One of the things that prevented me from returning to the blog for weeks at a time was that I felt very stilted in my reading project (my list of 250 classics). I was struggling to keep going since the original purpose was so far removed from me, and the project was too big to begin with. That's not to say I won't ever read those books in the future, but more that there were other reading projects calling for my time and attention. And I was sick of feeling guilty for picking a book to read off a list other than the 250 list.
My first venture out was my list for the Classics Club. I should have thrown that 250 list out the window then, but I held on to it. And the Classics Club has been great in regards to opening my eyes up to more and more classic work to read...at some point in my life. I don't feel as much urgency to complete that real long list of books...mainly because I consider it to be a lifelong goal.
However, I needed to officially break away from my 250 list of books, and I think I've finally done it. That list is now buried in draft on my blogger dashboard. And while I will probably read from the list and finish it, I'm not going to worry about it. I'm sure I will check it from time to time so I can see what's left, but I'm no longer focusing on it. And that's a HUGE relief.
Instead, I'm focusing on reading freely-classics, YA, some science-fiction and fantasy, non-fiction, etc. I want to be free to grab what I'm interested in at any time and not feel like I am cheating on my poor book list. That being said, there are some author studies I've been longing to do, as well as some other projects.
Classics Club list, which needs a bit of maintenance and revision (folding my remaining 250 books into my larger list). The Classics Club will remain a focus for me. Because while I am reading a little more diversely, I still have mad love for the classics.
I also have a link to my progress for my Willa Cather Project, which I abandoned last winter when guilt from my other commitments stepped in. I've already made a lot of progress for that project, so I'm hoping to pick it up again in the very near future. I think it's perfectly doable to pick up one Cather title/month, since most of her work is on the slim side. This is a project I'm very excited to get back into, so look forward to lots of Cather posts in the future!
Now, on to the new projects!
Similar to my Willa Cather Project, my Shakespeare Project is a way for me to dive into an author study by completing his/her complete works. In the case of Shakespeare, I want to finish reading all of his plays and poetry. On the page linked above, I've listed everything known to be written by the bard, as well as links to posts I've written about each piece. For now, I'm going to work towards reading and writing about the pieces that don't already have a dedicated post (even though I've read more of the plays than it seems). After I've completed that, I'm sure I will reread a few (especially from my early days of blogging). I'd also like to make it a point to read more information about the Bard himself, so links to biographies, etc will also be forthcoming. I've also added links to some of my Shakespeare focused posts on that page as well! Some of those posts remain my most popular blog posts!
Charles Dickens' Major Works. This is something I've been toying with for quite some time (I was initially going to do this last year as opposed to Willa Cather).
For this project, I'm looking to read (and reread) the 16 major works of Charles Dickens. I've read about half of his work, but some of it was very early on in blogging and some begs for another reread (hello David Copperfield, how I LOVE you!). So, unlike Cather and Shakespeare, I will be setting out to reread initially. I'm not sure if I'm going to read in publication order, but that is something I'm toying with.
I'm also hoping to read a little more about Dickens. I already have the Tomalin biography on my shelf, as well as the lovely Dickens Bicentenary that I referenced while reading his work before. I imagine I'll add to those two as I move forward in this project, so if you have a title to suggest, please do!
Lastly, I'm hoping to add a lot more rereading to my life with my Rereading Project.This was very much inspired by o at Behold the Stars, so all credit goes to her genius!
I think that as bloggers, we always feel pressured to read things that are new to us, but like many of you (I'm sure), rereading was a huge part of my reading persona prior to blogging. I miss rereading, so this just serves as a way to bring that back into my reading appetite.
This project requires that I try and reread 15 books/year, which isn't an overwhelming amount. Considering that I read 65 books last year (and 80+) in the years before, that doesn't even come close to have my reading diet. I also think it'll be interesting to see how books stick out in my memory from my early days of blogging (or, alas, pre-blogging years!). And while I've made a tentative list of 15 books (which happen to all be books from that 250 list) to get me started, I'm not holding myself to any list for this! This is my chance to stare at my shelves and reread as I want-classic or not! I really think this is a great way to bring me back to a sense of normalcy in my reading...and help me remember that reading is for pleasure, not work.
There you have-some revisions to old projects and quite a few new ones! I still have some ideas for other things to tackle-further author studies, time period studies, etc, but for now, these are enough to keep me entertained and busy. I'm hoping that working with open-ended goals provides me the intellectual stimulation I crave and the ability to abandon at will. :)
How do you feel about reading projects? Do you have any of your own?