Book Projects for 2010

December 21, 2009

OK, so 2009 wasn’t a banner year for quantity—certainly not compared with 2008, during which I read 75 books. 2009′s mere 40 or so make me feel like a slacker. Nevertheless, I did complete some reading goals. Let’s see how I did, what I want to do in 2010 and maybe you’ll tell me what reading projects you’re up to.


  • Herodotus’ HistoriesYou can read my story about that. Part of my overall knocking through classical Greek works toward that shining goal of being well read.
  • I wanted to dally in some French literature. Mixed success here. I completed The Three Musketeers and tried my hand at Rabelais. The latter was intriguing but inconclusive.
  • A major theme of 2009 was exploration and geography. I read the entirety of Lewis & Clark’s journals from their 1805-06 landmark journey; Laurence Bergreen’s biography of Magellan; Blood and Thunder, Hampton Sides’ unflinching look at the development of the American Southwest; 1491 by Charles Mann (in the sense that it happened right before exploration changed things forever); Simon Winchester’s Krakatoa. Rounding this out was Ivan Doig’s The Sea Runners, which, while fictionalized, is based on a true adventure in 19th-century Alaska. Amitav Ghosh’s The Glass Palace also helped to shatter the top layer of my ignorance about Burma/Myanmar.
  • I powered through some 20th century American classics: For Whom the Bell Tolls, Of Mice and Men (a second reading), The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.
  • Not so great: I only read one Shakespeare last year: Richard II. Though it was read inside a vigorous context of York-Lancaster-Tudor historical learning, one play a year is not going to cut it. I think I’m a bit afraid of the histories.


  • Reading Mary right at the end of the year inspired me: I want to read as much of Nabokov’s works, in order, as possible. I just obtained a copy of King, Queen, Nave and it’s near the top of my list.
  • I want to read The Plague by Camus. Oddly enough, this is because I want to contrast him, on a philosophical level, with:
  • Plato. It’s time for me to break into classical philosophy. And then have a long, long, long conversation with my stepfather, who used to be a philosophy professor (when he wasn’t a math professor: interesting guy). He says he likes to compare Plato and Camus.
  • I’m going to read a couple of plays by Aristophenes to round out my classical Greek dramatists (Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripedes? Done, done and done).
  • This is the year I’m finally going to read The Inferno and War and Peace (comma, dammit). Also, The Sound and the Fury. Faulkner intimidates me and I’ve been putting it off. Finally: Wuthering Heights. I’ve never read it.

You can see all of my planned reading list for 2010 thus far on LibraryThing.

How about you?

What are your reading goals for the year? Do tell!


  1. cjm says:

    I tend to get stuck in the sci-fi genre, but I've downloaded some Plato from the Project Gutenberg (Protagoras and the Apology). Let me know if there's a better place to start, since I'm a first timer with Plato.

    Also found Walking by Thoreau, which seems like an interesting read.

  2. Donna says:

    Hi Lyza,
    What a lofty reading list! I cannot wait to read your end of the year wrap up – not that I am wishing time away mind you – too old for that – but I wish I could put together such a list and actually get to it. I have read Thoreau, mentioned by cjm above, and his writings tend to calm me when I am stressed. Not sure Plato would have the same effect!

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