A few years ago, I decided I was going to read a biography of every former U.S. President. I did so, and though I ordered the books somewhat randomly (so as to not deal with the ongoing saga of… Thomas Hart Benton, for example. (He came up a lot, and he was very interesting, but I think you also may get my point.)
After I finished fifty-three biographies (forty-three Presidents, since I didn’t want to read two biographies on Grover Cleveland; ten coulda-shoulda-woulda beens), I needed a change of scenery.
So, I built a few lists, and did some research. Fiction I Should Have Read By Now, which included some classics, some writing by white men; Fiction by Non-White-Men, which included some classics and a lot of new stuff; Fiction Written in the Last Twenty Years, which had a pretty wide spectrum to it. At one point, I made a list of like, one hundred and fifty works, pulling from many sources. I kept track of other books I’d read (airport bookstores mean going off list!). I read for work. I read history because history is exciting.
And every time someone recommends a book in a lecture, in footnotes, in conversation, I usually write it down. And sometimes, I read it; and sometimes, I don’t. Right now, I’m working through The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz; Reflections on the Psalms by C.S. Lewis; American Apocalypse by Matthew Avery Sutton. And when they’re done, I’ll add them to the list. You’re welcome, I guess.
I bet there’s a widget for the front page. I’m going to work on that.