During each of the past two years, I’ve done year-long reading projects.
In 2021, I read through War and Peace one chapter at a time. Tolstoy’s chapters are very short…he just wrote 361 of them. And, sure enough, when you read one chapter a day, you finish on December 27th! That truth still feels slightly magical as I think about it. When you move at a steady pace, and just keep going, you do in fact reach the end goal.
In 2022, I’ve been reading through all the works of Shakespeare. My illustrated Shakespeare anthology is 1024 pages long, meaning that I only need to read three pages per day to keep up the pace. The font is kind of small, but it’s still quite doable in less than 15 minutes a day. Even with some of his less-great stuff, this doesn’t inspire too much resistance.
It’s been a good reading experience. I mean, obviously, it’s Shakespeare. But I’m even enjoying just the random Shakespeare references that come at coincidental times. I read Henry IV part 1, which is where the phrase “the game is afoot” comes from — and I was also, at the same time, reading This is Not A Book About Benedict Cumberbatch, where the author is obsessed with the actor who plays Sherlock Holmes in the Netflix series…and she throws in a line at some point about the game being afoot, because Sherlock Holmes always says that, and I’m like…hey!
Looking at the calendar, I see that it is…mid-October. Which means that I will, in fact, have read all the works of Shakespeare in a little over two months. So…what should I read next?
I don’t have to choose one work or one author to read over the year, but I like this steady pace of small steps, and I like the sense of completion that comes from finishing something big. I also know, after two years, that I can do it, and the idea of such a challenge feels intriguing.
I am not opposed to re-reading something, but it would have to be the right thing. (In terms of “big” books, I have read Ulysses (and The Odyssey!), Middlemarch, Anna Karenina, Moby Dick, 1Q84, and Infinite Jest…I’m not sure I truly want to spend a year re-reading any of those. I have read about 90 percent of the Bible but I don’t know that I’d want to read it straight through…and not hit the New Testament until fall.)
I could read an author’s entire works…or I could read an anthology of something (poetry?). Anyway, I welcome suggestions! I’m pretty good at sticking with something once I start it (hello, Upholder) so that makes me want to be sure I choose the right thing.
In other news: Tranquility by Tuesday launched yesterday! I’ve loved seeing people’s pictures of their copies. If you haven’t bought a copy, would you please do so? If you have, I hope you love it — and if you do, would you please post a review wherever you ordered it? I’d love to get some more reviews up at the major retailers. Thanks!
A lot of great publicity yesterday! I’ll keep adding to this list this week.
I was on Hilary Sutton’s Hustle & Grace podcast — always a great conversation with her, in this case talking about practical tips for a satisfying week.
I was on the Passion Struck podcast with John Miles, talking all things passion and tranquility, and on A Mindful Moment with Teresa McKee and on Tilt Parenting, a show about raising differently wired kids hosted by Debbie Reber. I’ll send these links out in my emails later this week too! A few others but I am trying to spread the links out!