Last year I found myself reading nothing but genre fiction. It was all spaceships and murders. I was putting off the heavy lifting of my other interests in favor of flying through a lot of fiction. So, being a man who likes a schedule, I set up a routine. I now rotate through my interests, switching between topics and genres in order to have a more balanced reading diet. The schedule below gives a pretty clear view of where my interests are focused as of late. Sometime down the road, this will surely change, but for now here is the schedule I am using:
1. A work of classical or Jewish philosophy or history.
One of my long term intellectual projects is to get a handle on the classical world, especially as it relates to Judaism. My interest in classical philosophy started in undergrad, but it is only recently that I’ve begun to delve into the area mu seriously. While most of the books I’ve read so far are background introductory texts, I’ve dabbled in a bit of source material.
Why Judaism? I converted to Judaism two years ago and have been working on deepening my understanding of the religion. Most of my reading in this area is concerned with the time frame around the birth of Rabbinic Judaism and the foundations of the Christian faith. I think this is one of the most interesting intellectual times in Judaism, but I’ve also been known to dip into more modern works (i.e. Hescehel, Scholem) as well.
2. A Shakespeare Play
As I have written about here before, I am working my way through the complete works of Shakespeare in chronological order. A long term goal is to read and see performances of all the plays. So far it has been a slog, but things should pick up when we get to the Julius Caesar sometime this winter.
3. A book on economics or the law
I am by trade an attorney and keeping up on the law is part of my job. My undergraduate degree is in economics and philosophy and I try to keep somewhat abreast of the popular books in these fields, though my days of reading econometrics are probably behind me.
4. A work of fiction
Being whatever the hell I feel like. Lately I’ve been switching here between a work of “serious” fiction (i.e. Bolano) and a work of genre fiction (i.e. Sojwall and Wahloo).
E teases me terribly for scheduling my recreational reading, but what can I say, I’m a man who likes a plan. I don’t always stick exactly to the schedule, but by and large I’ve found it helpful for keeping me on track with my more serious reading while still allowing time for alien civilizations and crime bosses. Do you plan out your reading, or am I alone in this insanity?