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Reading Plans for 2019

Folio Society devotees

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Edited: Dec 30, 2018, 7:58am Top

Anyone got any reading plans for 2019? For what it's worth here is mine based on an average reading speed at 90 minutes per day.

Reading 2019


Montaigne - Essays
Burton - Melancholy
Aristotle - Ethics
Plato - The Republic


Aquinas - Summa Theologiae
The Bible


Dickens - Bleak House
Dickens - Nicholas Nickleby
Henry James - The Portrait of a Lady
Goethe - Faust
Scott - The Antiquary
Dostoevsky - Crime and Punishment
Stevenson - Prince Otto
Dick - The Man in the High Castle
Marquez - One Hundred Years of Solitude


Solzhenitsyn - The Gulag Archipelago
Heffer - Like the Roman: The Life of Enoch Powell

Dec 30, 2018, 1:02pm Top

A challenging list for sure. Are you reading the unabridged Gulag Archipelago?

Dec 30, 2018, 2:23pm Top

That’s an admirable list! I don’t plan my reading out in advance, but you have a very solid reading plan that inspires me to be more organized.

Dec 30, 2018, 5:45pm Top

I don't make plans, just take one off the pile when I've finished another. In 2018 I read 128 books which I think is a record though I haven't been counting for long.
At the beginning of the year I had good intentions of reading in turn one in English, one in French, and one FS. That didn't work out, as out of my 128, 49 were in French and only 6 were FS books, and two of those only half-read - The Southern Gates of Arabia, and In Parenthesis. I like them both but they were taking a long time to get through and I set them aside to get on with other things.

Dec 30, 2018, 7:29pm Top

A wonderful list! I've done the Bible, Montaigne, Aristotle's Ethics, Plato (need a re-read, though), Bleak House, Faust, Crime and Punishment, The Man in the High Castle, One Hundred Years of Solitude; and dipped into Burton and Aquinas. But not all in the same year! Hat's off to you.

Dec 30, 2018, 8:56pm Top

>2 NLNils:

Yes, I recently bought the 3 volume unabridged, reissue by HarperCollins.

Dec 30, 2018, 9:00pm Top

>3 Mr.Fox: >5 Betelgeuse:


I must say I'm probably a tenth of the way through the bible already, half way through Marquez, a fifth through Burton, and a quarter through Heffer.

It's not an impossible challenge, but just that needs consistency, persistence and single-mindedness.

I struggle in all 3. :-)

Dec 31, 2018, 1:17am Top

I ... ran out of books to read for 2019. No, really, I just achieved Folio 0, with 254 off the pile in 2018. So my plan is to go binge shopping.

Dec 31, 2018, 2:06am Top

>8 gmacaree:

Really, you read 254 FS books in 2018? Amazing. Care to share?

Edited: Dec 31, 2018, 2:29am Top

>9 LesMiserables: Well, Folio/LEC/Fine Press, which I lump together, plus a few other miscellaneous special editions (like the Books of Earthsea). Looking at my library tracker, 165 were Folios.

Essentially, what happened was that the newest addition to the family decided, for several months, that he only liked to sleep while I wore him. This lead to me doing a lot of reading, being unable to do much of anything else. Good for the TBR pile, extremely bad for my back.

Dec 31, 2018, 12:21pm Top

Reading plan?

I envy you :-)

Dec 31, 2018, 2:58pm Top

I surprised myself as I am now finishing off book 100 for the year. I picked a very wide variety of reading and branched out more to Slightly Foxed, Peirene Press, Thornwillow and Pushkin Press. Also mixed in were some TBR stack FS, Franklin Mint American Classics (in their original best bindings) and some recent history like The Color of Time and the Sapiens books.

For 2019, I will likely exceed 2018 if my health permits.

I wish each of you continue to have good reading and health for 2019!

Dec 31, 2018, 7:38pm Top

>12 Forthwith:

Nice reading!

Dec 31, 2018, 9:19pm Top

169 books read in 2018 from Shakespeare and art histories to His Dark Materials and 200 year old medical texts, in a completely unplanned and random order. Same (un)plan for this year.

Dec 31, 2018, 9:26pm Top

You people read a lot of books.

Unfortunately, I work too many hours to read more than 70 or 80 in a year if I push it. But in two and a half years I plan on retiring and having a lot more reading time. Oh, how I long for the day, for that reason and others! But I doubt I'll ever plan my reading more than a book or two ahead - I change my mind too easily.

Edited: Jan 9, 7:12pm Top

>15 coynedj:
I am whimsical in all things literary, but I like writing lists! 😊

>16 LesMiserables:
Nice haul Warwick. BTW I notice that the wiki sale spreadsheet doesn't include some LEs but I may be wrong?

Dec 31, 2018, 10:21pm Top

>16 LesMiserables:
The sales spreadsheet was compiled by redshirt. I have merely posted it on the wiki.
I’ll ask him to recheck it.

Dec 31, 2018, 11:55pm Top

>17 wcarter:
Oh no trouble. I just couldn't see the Gill-Cockerel pair that were on the LE sale in 2017 which I bought; Troillus, Canterbury Tales.

Jan 1, 12:42am Top

>18 LesMiserables:
That was an LE sale specifically. The spreadsheet covers only the usual Winter and Summer sales. The LE sales are not included.

Jan 1, 4:32am Top

>19 wcarter:
No bother. I had a look around the wiki site and it's rather impressive. Well done to you and the others who have taken this on as a labour of love.

Jan 1, 2:26pm Top

>16 LesMiserables:
>18 LesMiserables:
That's correct, I only had access to the most recent sales catalogs and didn't have a copy of the LE sale catalog. The question led me to an interesting fact of which I was unaware (though I use "interesting" guardedly). It seems that the books on sale vary slightly by country. Specifically, there are 202 books in the US and Canada sale, 203 in the ROW, 205 in the UK, 206 in Australia. I'd guess that has something to do with copyright laws. Not sure I have the energy to figure out the differences.

Jan 1, 3:50pm Top

>21 Redshirt:
No bother at all. Great work on the wiki.

Edited: Jan 6, 4:27pm Top

Hmm reading plans. I have a goal of 70 books this year with an additional goal of at least 3 a month being Folio/Related books. That TBR pile has mocked me long enough and gmacaree has inspired me with reaching Folio 0. With 5 kids and a business to run 70 is about the maximum I can get through in a year.

Jan 6, 5:21pm Top

>23 Sorion:
Despite having a 20 year reading goal of reading 50 a year, of which I am now into my 12th year, as can be seen from my plans this year, quality will always underpin my reading, rather than quantity.

I have read too many threads on LT over now then a decade of some folk - not on FSD btw - deluding themselves of reading hundreds of books in a year like baby books: no kidding, all in the name of notching up figures.

Jan 6, 8:19pm Top

I am impressed by the totals some of you achieve. I hit 23 this past year and that was my largest total in years. As for 2019, I've just started in on one of my Christmas gifts, the Andrew Roberts biography of Winston Churchill. I also plan to continue my survey of biographies of US Presidents, hoping to cover at least Truman and Eisenhower this year. Beyond that, I will go where the mood takes me, though that will be mostly novels.

Edited: Jan 9, 7:13pm Top

>25 Redshirt:

In 2017 I read the Lord Jenkins biography of Churchill. A very good book. I too have been meaning to read some on the US Presidents, most interested in Theodore Roosevelt after reading John Muir's work.

Jan 7, 9:59am Top

I’d certainly recommend Edmund Morris’s three-volume biography but it is a significant time commitment. The first covers TR’s life pre-presidency, the second focuses on his presidency and the last focuses upon his life after leaving the White House. Perhaps even more, I’d recommend the following web-site as an excellent resource for you and anyone else interested in biographies of US Presidents: https://bestpresidentialbios.com/. The author of the site embarked on a multi-year project of reading multiple biographies of each US President, in order, to identify the “best” biography of each president. He is up to George H.W. Bush. His reviews are interesting and insightful and I’ve found his website an invaluable resource as I’ve worked my way through the biographies of a more select group of presidents. I’d suggest checking out his site to identify the TR biography that most suits your taste and interests.

Jan 7, 11:11am Top

>27 Redshirt: Fantastic resource. Many thanks!

Jan 7, 4:51pm Top

>27 Redshirt: That really is a great resource thanks for posting it.

Jan 8, 11:11am Top

>27 Redshirt:

I will also be making use of that site; thanks for posting.

Jan 8, 1:51pm Top

128? That's incredible!

You must read in all your free time? I know I could probably read a lot more if I really dedicated myself, but even so I don't think I'd reach that figure. I just don't physically read fast enough (I can't bring myself to skim read and I'm more likely to re-read pages than skip any!).

Jan 9, 4:00pm Top

>31 Uppernorwood:
128 is about one book every three days. They can't all be War and Peace in length...

Someone mentioned Shakespeare...one of those plays can be read in an afternoon. Thus, for any one of us, there's a distribution of book lengths and difficulty levels to factor into these numbers.

I'm curious: has anyone here taken speed reading classes or learned of some useful techniques? Perhaps you could share your thoughts on the topic.

Jan 9, 4:20pm Top

> You reminded me of an old Woody Allen quote - “I took a speed-reading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It involves Russia.”

I practice a form of speed reading for some books, generally non-fiction with few ideas per page (a lot of books these days are really long-form magazine articles, padded out to book length because people don't read many long-form magazine articles any more). But for "serious" books, I read slowly. When I speed read, I generally use my finger to quickly scan along each line of print. It works for getting the gist of a book, but certainly not for deep comprehension. If I hit a section that I need deeper comprehension of, I slow down.

Jan 9, 6:01pm Top

Don Quixote
Iliad (probably Pope’s)
Ovid’s Metamorphoses

And I plan to read LOTR aloud to my kids.

Jan 9, 6:08pm Top

>34 kermaier:

I have yet to read Ovid and will have to get around to this sometime soon. Cervantes in the end was very enjoyable, but I struggled with the middle part, but glad I persevered. The Iliad was brilliant, thoroughly enjoyed my first reading using the Everymans Library edition. I own both these in Folio guise, but not the Ovid.

Jan 11, 10:48am Top

Main goal is another attempt at Dawn of Decadence; only got half-way last year. A bit ashamed to say so but never really read any history books so reading this, along with the research required to cover the gaps, is quite a feat.

If anyone could recommend similar, and approachable, history books that cover large periods would be much appreciated (Gods, Graves & Scholars and Medieval History seem like good candidates)

Jan 11, 1:01pm Top

>36 clymbouris: - I'm quite a fan of Barry Cunliffe's books (Europe Between the Oceans, and By Steppe, Desert and Ocean - I haven't gotten to On the Ocean yet). His work covers very long time periods and might be considered more archaeology than history though. When a book covers 10,000 years it obviously doesn't go into much detail, but concentrates on major trends, trading patterns, and a bit of geographical and environmental determinism.

I read a bit of Braudel's The Structures of Everyday Life but didn't finish it. I loved it and swore that I would get back to it, along with the other two books in the series. They cover a mere four centuries, the 15th through the 18th.

Jan 15, 3:14pm Top

>23 Sorion: With 5 kids and a business to run 70 is about the maximum I can get through in a year
With a business to run and only 1 kid, 70 sounds about as achievable to me as 700!

>15 coynedj: You people read a lot of books
Yourself included! :)

With family, work, and other interests, I just don't see how it could be possible for me to read that much. One surely needs to read every single day to pull high numbers, but sometimes you get tired, or spend a whole day with family/friends, or have an occasional, even if rare, hangover (see spending time with friends), or busy traveling the world (the actual travel time, like being on a plane, is prime for reading, but once I reach destination I spend my time exploring and rarely have much reading time), or there is simply not enough time in a day when you have to work, take care of kids, run errands, practice a sport, go to a theatre or some other event, etc. Often, I open a book in bed just to realize after reading only a page or two that I'm looping around the same sentence/paragraph and my mind is shutting off...

Also, I'm not even sure if I actually want to read 100+ books a year. Sometimes, when I really like a book, I intentionally slow down and linger a bit, as I don't want to end the experience too soon. And when I'm finally done with it, I don't want to jump to a new book right away. It's a bit like dining in a top michelin-starred restaurant - you need to take your time to enjoy different courses, feel the aftertastes, etc.

As for reading plans, I'm firmly in the camp of folks with no plans. Whenever I pick up a new book, I grab whatever I feel like reading at the moment. It might be influenced by current mood, or desire to learn more about some topic that was touched upon in some recent conversation, etc. Usually I have a few books going at the same time.

Jan 15, 3:15pm Top

>8 gmacaree:
254??? My jaw is on the floor. Please pm me your address so I could send you my orthodontic bill.
Joking aside, what were your highlights among Folios and LEC/other Fine presses?

Jan 15, 3:59pm Top

>38 elladan0891: It helps if you don't sleep :) . I average only about 5 1/2 hours a night so there is a lot of extra time when the house is quiet late in the night.

Jan 15, 4:48pm Top

>39 elladan0891: Off the top of my head, my highlights were something like


My Name is Red, Orhan Pamuk (Faber)
Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi (Indiespensibles)
Pedro Paramo, Juan Rolfes (Arion)
The New York Trilogy, Paul Auster (Folio)
Germinal, Emile Zola (Folio)


The Spanish Civil War, Hugh Thomas (Folio)
Lectures on Physics, Richard Feynmann (California Institute of Technology)
The Double Helix, James Watson (Folio)
SPQR, Mary Beard (Folio)
Dialogue Between Two Chief World Systems, Galileo (Folio)


Moon as Bright as Water, Qin Guan (Chester River)
Sonnets to Orpheus, Ranier Maria Rilke (LEC)
The Splendor of a Morning, CP Cavafy (Barbarian)
The Collected Sonnets, Edna St. Vincent-Millay (Harper)
Edward Thomas: Selected Poems (Folio)

Jan 15, 4:52pm Top

>40 Sorion:
I knew sleep was overrated! 5 1/2 hours! I wish I could pull it off. When I was in my teens/early twenties, I could pull an all-nighter just to read something I was really into. Now - not so much: although I need less sleep on average than when I was younger, lack of sleep promptly lets itself know in a form of a headache in the morning...

Jan 15, 9:20pm Top

I have a long daily commute to work (about 50 minutes each way) and "read" many books along the way, on CD. I include those in my total. Some rare days I can get a few hours of reading, but 5 1/2 hours is beyond imagining. Maybe once I'm retired, but even then I expect many activities to keep me from my reading chair.

>41 gmacaree: - Ever since I read it a few years ago, I have been an evangelist for Pedro Paramo. I'm glad to see it on your list.

Jan 16, 2:59am Top

>39 elladan0891: >41 gmacaree:
I too am absolutely gobsmacked by your 254 total (not that I don't believe you of course). And it includes plenty of tomes which aren't exactly short, light reads (The Spanish Civil War etc). And you say you have young kids around...Amazing. I'm pretty sure that even if I didn't work or have kids and focused all remaining free time solely on reading, I still wouldn't come anything close to this total. Would love some more details on how you do it. Are you practicing some form of extreme speed reading?

Jan 16, 4:36am Top

>44 Levin40: I speed read, but I can't really explain how, since it's a technique I picked up while learning to read rather than something l I actively trained myself to do. When I was younger I was up at 2-3k words/minute, with comprehension and retention (a handy skill for studying!). These days I sit closer to 500, which I find is a good speed for luxuriating in the prose and enjoying myself. Dropping much slower than that is something I find very difficult unless I'm reading aloud. Combine that with setting aside 3-4 hours per day to read, with more on weekends, and the books pile up fast.

Jan 16, 5:31am Top

>45 gmacaree: Thanks for the reply. That's very interesting, especially that you picked up these techniques entirely naturally. Never experienced anything like it myself, I'm quite a slow reader - 3k words/minute (50 /sec) is mind-blowing. Whilst non-fiction is one thing, from the perspective of a slow reader I've never understood how fiction can be read at these speeds. When I'm reading fiction I like to play out scenes, especially dialogue, cinematically in my mind, almost in real-time. To me, it seems that speed reading must be like watching a movie at 10x speed, which would of course spoil it even if it would save you time. Guess it has to be experienced to be understood.

Jan 16, 6:24am Top

>46 Levin40: "To me, it seems that speed reading must be like watching a movie at 10x speed, which would of course spoil it even if it would save you time."

This is right, I think, but I experience it backwards: since I grew up consuming information so quickly, I find most films (and podcasts) intolerably slow.

Apr 21, 10:15pm Top

Well as usual my list has become somewhat of an embarrassing remnant of some wishful thinking. Almost a third of the way through 2019 and I've only managed to get through 3 of them... despite having read around 30 books this year, which is more than usual at this stage.

Dickens - Nicholas Nickleby
Dick - The Man in the High Castle
Marquez - One Hundred Years of Solitude

The last of that triad ended up being like a weight on my shoulders. I just don't get Marquez, Magical Realism or both.

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