This is always an incredibly exciting time of year for me, the time when January is in sight and I begin planning projects and goals for the new year. I love the process of it, the anticipation, the figuring out how it all will work. Let's be clear: these are not resolutions, they are plans. I like to bite off just enough to feel motivated.
I plan to read more in 2012. That is, I plan to read more intentionally. I recently stumbled upon Jim Trelease's advice on reading with your children in which he says "Don't continue reading a book once it is obvious that it was a poor choice." Preach it, brother.
I don't think I wasted much time reading duds in 2011, but I also think I didn't spend enough time consciously choosing delicious books. There are so many plums to be picked. Let's not fritter our reading time away on poor choices, or out of a sense of obligation that a book, once started, must be finished. Life's too short. Let's purposely pick the juiciest plums.
To this end, I would like to make 2012 the Year of the Classics. There are so many I have never read, especially ones that people assume I have read given my background. There are even ones that I assume I have read, because I talk about them as though I have.
So. I'm compiling a list. A list of good books, good-for-me books, classics I shouldn't skip over. I'd like to populate the list with 20 or 30 books, then pick one a month in 2012. If I read more than that, hooray for me (and the books). But I think given my current at-home constituency, one "real" book a month is a fair goal, especially when we know it will happen in addition to my usual lighter reading.
I'm starting my list of books to read. (See below; you'll notice I interpret the word classic fairly loosely.) And this is where I need your help. Can you help me compile my list? What classics do you love so much that you can't imagine a life without having read them?
I can't wait to hear from you, here or otherwise!
My Plum Tree for 2012
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese