I am, by nature, something of a chaotic person. And these past couple of months, life has sent things my way that have knocked me off balance a little. And when that happens, I always find myself standing in front of my book case, staring at my books.
Books ground me.
In one of my recent standing and staring book sessions, it occurred to me many of these books I have had for years and never read, that my book reading too, is chaotic. So I decided to create a schedule for the entire year.
I decided I wanted to read the complete works of Shakespeare in chronological order, to read the remaining seven Charles Dickens novels I have yet to read, and to read the several Cormac McCarthy books I have on my bookshelf that remain unread. I wanted to I wanted to complete as many Indie books I have - primarily from the brilliant Fahrenheit Press I also wanted to read big books, so I've gone for the likes of Les Miserables and War and Peace - among others. Many of the books I read - I love Victorian literature - quote the Bible widely. So I thought I'd read that too.
I worked out how many pages I could read a day and divided that among the books I wanted to read to create my schedule - four pages a day of the Bible, for example, would ensure I finished it by the end of the year.
The schedule for January looks like this:
Henry VI Part Two 1 act per day
Henry VI Part Three 1 act per day
Henry VI Part One 1 act per day
Nicholas Nickleby 13 pages per day
Blood Meridian 10 pages per day
Les Miserables 9 pages per day
Fahrenheit Book 10 pages per day
War and Peace 10 pages per day
The Bible 4 pages per day
Some of these books will take a few weeks, some a few days, some a few months. As I finish each book, a new one will take its place. I think I've got The Divine Comedy by Dante in there somewhere, Vanity Fair, and The Count of Monte Cristo - plus, as I said, a load of Cormac McCarthy and a load of Indie books.
I'm also taking on what is known as the Bradbury Trio. Something the incredible Ray Bradbury devised, whereby for a thousand nights you read a poem, a short story and an essay.
January's Bradbury trio begins with:
A collection of poems by William Blake
A short story collection from Elizabeth Shepherd
Critical and Historical Essays by Lord Macaulay
Many of my favourite books - Walden by Thoreau, the prime example - quote Latin. So I thought I'd spend half hour a day this year learning Latin too.
So that's me centred.
For a while.
I'll let you know how I'm getting on : )
Meanwhile, happy reading, people.
May this new year bring you kindness, peace and wonder.
And much love.