Since I have retired, I decided I should list out at least a good number of the books I want to read. I broke them down into categories (history, linguistics, music, etc.) and then listed a couple of books in some of the categories. So the list is partial despite my having several such lists made up in years past.
One category I had a couple of books for was Culture, but both books in the list were on Russian culture. I picked up The Icon and the Axe, Billington’s masterly history of Russian culture. As I started reading it, I thought, “You know, after I finish this, it will make the reading of Klyuchevsky’s magisterial 9 volume history of Russia easier (written toward the end of the 19th century, so you can imagine it is a bit detailed). As you can see, this is definitely a life-time reading plan.
But then it occurred to me that most of the other categories, once books are selected for them, can be arranged in rank order of starter books to the more massive studies requiring the most background knowledge. So that’s what I’m doing now……. in addition to reading, of course.
The reading program is going very well. What has suffered is my Circuit of language study. Today I devote to Urdu simply because I meet with my friend tomorrow and want to be prepared to engage in useful work with him in Urdu. But the rest of the week, I going to put in at least one hour of Circuit work but continue the reading for at least one hour – actually it’s worked out to quite a bit more.
For anyone interested, here are some titles:
Magister Ludi, The Warmth of Other Suns, Cuba & Its Music (reread), A Basic Grammar of Modern English, The Fifies, The Wandering Scholars, The Story of Spanish, Flash of the Spirit, American Grace, Theories of Anthropology, The Icon & the Axe, Russian in AZ, Second Language Learning & Language Teaching, A Day of My Life, Marijuana, and Integration or Separation.
Some time ago, I had tried to do my Circuit spending 15 min. on each language and ran into scheduling problems and tried just 5 min., figuring it just wouldn’t be enough time to even get started. Instead I found that I was able to read as much as a page, whether it was reading or grammar or history of the language and it was very satisfying. So when I hit upon reading 15-20 books at once in rotation, spending about 15 min. on each, despite some misgivings, I decided to try it. It has worked very well so far.
I spend 2-3 hours a day cleaning the house and doing other chores and errands, about 2 hours cooking and shopping and cleaning the kitchen, and about one and a half hours exercising. That leaves about 10 hours (I’m getting 8 hours plus of sleep regularly) for reading, study, and generally messing around.