Friday, January 9, 2009

My 2009 Reading Plan

Now that I've reviewed my favorite books of 2008 (here and here), I guess the next thing to do is preview my plans for 2009.

In the coming year, I want to be intentional about balancing out the kinds of books I read. These are the "food groups" I want to include in my literary diet:
  • Literature. Fiction by serious writers, such as Camus, Solzhenitsyn, Flannery O'Connor, and the like.
  • New Non-Fiction. Defined more or less as something published in my lifetime by authors who are still alive. Can be either "Christian" or "secular."
  • Old Non-Fiction. Also known as non-fiction that isn't new. This category is important to me, because of a thought C.S. Lewis brought out in one of his essays about why we should read "old" books: "Not, of course, that there is any magic about the past. People were no cleverer then than they are now; they made as many mistakes as we. But not the same mistakes. They will not flatter us in the errors we are already committing; and their own errors, being now open and palpable, will not endanger us. Two heads are better than one, not because either is infallible, but because they are unlikely to go wrong in the same direction. To be sure, the books of the future would be just as good a corrective as the books of the past, but unfortunately we cannot get at them."
  • C.S. Lewis and Friends. I want to keep working through the Lewis canon and get to some books by his brother Warnie, his wife Joy, and his friend Charles Williams.
  • John Wesley. I bought his complete works in 14 volumes several years ago but am only about 10% of the way through it.
  • Novels. Defined, I suppose, as modern fiction written for a mass audience. This category isn't necessarily a priority, but it does make long airplane flights pass more quickly.

My idea is to rotate through the first 5 categories until the year is over, sprinking in the novels when appropriate. Between each book I'll catch up on the periodicals I receive. I'll also read the Bible most days, but I won't read through the Bible this year (I do that in even-numbered years).

So there you have it. I'm now accountable.

After 2009, I want to start into Calvin and Luther, but there's plenty of time yet to figure that out.


  1. Wow, that makes my brain hurt just thinking about some of that stuff. What, no James Dobson? Ha. I'll be making more trips to the library this year if all goes as planned. I'm putting down the remote one step at a time!

  2. Why no Dobson? It's because I can't figure out whether he's fiction or non-fiction.

  3. Only Arnold Barlow, my friend of over 30 years, could have his reading program so meticulously laid out for the year. I am going to throw the whole thing off by getting you a subscription to MAD magazine...


  4. Ugh, CS Lewis is just terrible. He's so mind numbing and childish.

  5. Sorry you feel that way. What of his have you read?