Friday, November 26, 2010

Half a Plan for 2011

I've finished my reading plan for 2010 (except for the Dickens Christmas stories), and I've bought all my books for next year.  So now it's time to start working on the calendar for 2011.

I always want to have two books going at once, so to make the calendar, I first divide the books on my list into two categories: (1) things that work best with a disciplined plan of a few pages a day, and (2) novels and other books that I think I can read in longer stretches whenever I find time.  Then I count the pages in the first category and start a calendar.  This morning I finished that first half of the calendar, and here's the basic outline (more detail on selections is found under the tab marked "The List": 2011 is year 5, so I'll read selection no. 5 in each category on the list):

The year starts with Greek plays: three hilarious romps by Aristophanes and Euripides' Medea.  Even Medea is a little silly, so this group should make for a fun beginning.  But then the work begins, with Plato; much of this year's selection is new to me, and I'll take time for careful notes.  Next is a selection of Buddhist scriptures from the old Harvard Five-Foot Shelf of Classics, and then a month of more note-taking with Aristotle's Topics and Politics.

I have learned to divide the Aquinas reading each year, and I know Hegel is going to be dense, so I decided to split him up as well.  Between these two heavy philosophical sessions, I'll go through more wars and Roman expansion with books 6-10 of Livy's history.  Then comes Calvin, and then Euclid, whose theorems make up the year's last of the selections I take systematic notes on.

I should take systematic notes on Kant, but I'm never sure I know what any given day's six pages mean.  In any case, his is the last difficult read of the year.  I think I'll enjoy Spengler, and I know I'll walk through Plutarch, Durant, Augustine, Boswell, and James with a spring in my step.  I always save these tried, comfortable favorites to read during my busy fall semester.

The full 2011 calendar will go up soon under a new tab.  But for now, here's the schedule for this half of the plan.  Again, detail on each selection is found under "The List" next to each (5).

(1)   Greek plays: 1/3-1/14
(2)   Plato: 1/17-2/1
(3)   Buddhist: 2/2-2/15
(4)   Aristotle: 2/16-3/17
(5)   Hegel I: 3/18-4/5
(6)   Aquinas I: 4/6-4/22
(7)   Livy: 4/25-5/20
(8)   Hegel II: 5/23-6/8
(9)   Aquinas II: 6/9-6/27
(10) Calvin: 6/28-7/11
(11) Euclid: 7/12-7/20
(12) Kant: 7/21-8/1
(13) Spengler: 8/2-9/6
(14) Plutarch: 9/7-9/30
(15) Durant: 10/3-10/31
(16) Augustine: 11/1-11/17
(17) Boswell: 11/18-12/1
(18) James: 12/2-12/14

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