2009 Reading Plan

11:34 Fri 19 Dec 2008. Updated: 19:05 23 Jun 2013
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To try to hit my year’s reading target, I planned out my December reading, and it seems to have worked well (I’m currently halfway through book 71, The Art of Learning), so I’m going to try planning out my reading for next year.

I’m trying to read 80 books in 2009, just under seven per month. I’m not going to plan the entire year this far in advance the way I planned December, however—that would be a little insane even for me.

I had already decided to read the eleven books that have won the Nebula, Hugo, and Locus combined, so that’s an easy start to the list for next year. At that point, I thought I might add in other awards: the Booker, the Pulitzer, and the IMPAC fiction prizes. I’m going to start with the most recent ones and work my way back, rather than going back to earlier books, mainly because that seems easier and I don’t want to discourage myself at the start of this endeavor. For the science fiction, however, I’ll go in chronological order, partly because doing otherwise would mean reading The Yiddish Policemen’s Union again within about six months—it’s a good book, but I’d prefer to re-read it after a longer break.

I’m re-reading for the science fiction, partly because I want to try to understand what made these books win all three awards, but for the others I won’t re-read the books unless I’ve really forgotten what they were like.

So for January, that means I should read the following three books: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz’s Pulitzer winner; De Niro’s Game, Rawi Hage’s IMPAC winner, and Ringworld, Larry Niven’s winner of the SF triple crown. I read Ringworld a long time ago, possibly multiple times, and remember it quite well, but will re-read it anyway. I’ll have to keep an open mind for it—I liked it when I read it, but now suspect that its brand of science fiction might irk me, and that the sexism I remember in it might bother me a lot. Maybe I’m doing it an injustice, but that’s what I’ll find out. Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger I read just last week, and will not be re-reading it—solely because it was so recent, it was quite a good book, one I recommend.

I’ll probably try to plan out specific books to read each month around the start of the month, again because that seems to have worked well this time.

The other thing I’m going to try to do, again, is get myself to write some amount, not necessarily a review but more of a summary aimed at myself, about each book when I finish it. 500 words or so to help me remember the book, to try to stop myself from completely forgetting salient points within months of reading. I had been hoping to write a web app to store this info, but if necessary I’ll just use something like TiddlyWiki in the interim, to try to avoid letting technical dependencies get in the way.

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One Response to “2009 Reading Plan”

  1. Radegund Says:

    In light of our discussion last night, I did a quick tot-up on the awards pages you link to.

    No guarantee of accuracy, given my lack of sleep, but the female representation is approximately as follows:

    SF triple crown: 11 authors listed, 3 women (27.3%)
    Booker: 42 authors listed, 13 women (31.0%)
    Pulitzer: 54 authors listed, 14 women (25.9%)
    IMPAC: 13 authors listed, 2 women (15.4%); there’s also a female translator of a book by a male author

    I’d love to know how these stats correlate with the gender of the authors of all novels eligible for each award published in the relevant time periods.

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