I love to read and about seven years ago, I took on the challenge of reading rereading some “classic” books. I made it through quite a few before my mother came to live with me. Once she arrived, I had less time for reading and little bandwidth to think about the high-concept reading. Rather than reading serious books, I either focused on light-weight books or on puzzles and games. I thought I was starting pivot back to books a couple of years ago but didn’t make the transition. So, I’m trying again.
My first step will be revisiting the book “reviews” I wrote on the books I read. I think reviewing my thoughts will help me realize how much I enjoyed those books and why I need to start the process again. My goal will be to publish about one review per week. Hopefully, by the time I finish with these older reviews, I’ll have some new ones to add to the mix.
I engaged in this process in a systematic way. I found a list of 1001 books to read before you die – published in about 2008 – and started a spreadsheet. Then I found other lists of “greatest” books to read and added them in. After adding several lists, I sorted by appearance on various lists and by which books I owned. Then I started reading and thinking about the characters and the stories and their affect on me.
After I finished a book, I wrote notes about what the book meant to me and what I thought were the takeaway messages. I didn’t really care what the author intended to convey, but really focused on my reaction to the book. I didn’t write synopses, formal reviews or critiques. So, what I will be sharing are just my thoughts.
Note: when I say “classic” books, I’m talking more about the supposedly important books written between, say, 1700 and early 1900s that appear on lists you should read, not the “originally written in Greek or Sanskrit thousands of years ago” kinds of books. I realize some people have a more strict interpretation of classic literature, so I just want to be clear. I would love to read the true classics too but for now am concentrating on working my way through books written over the past few centuries!