Do you have a reading plan?

Do you have a reading plan?

I will die without having read all the books I want to read, or even all the books I should have read.

That’s simply the probability.

It’s possible they’ll extend life significantly…perhaps if what makes me me can be digitized and still be self aware, I might have a very much longer time than would now appear reasonable.

That seems unlikely.

Even more unlikely is that I stop wanting to read books. 😉

Given that, I now shy away from having a “reading plan”.

What’s a reading plan?

It’s when you have a set goal:

  • “I will read every Hugo best novel”
  • “I will read every book in the Great Books of the Western World series”
  • “I will read a book written by an author from each country in the United Nations”

I used to do that sort of thing, and I think that may be more common when you have a longer life expectancy in front of you.

Certainly, I completed some things like that.

I read all 181 of the original Doc Savage adventures.

I read an unabridged dictionary cover to cover…not quite the same thing, but that was a plan.

Now, I’m more aware that my time is limited…no reason to think that’s a near future thing, in case you are concerned (and thank you if you are), but it can happen at any time.

If I was following a plan like that, and there were twenty books in that group and I died having read nineteen…well, I can’t face that idea. 😉

So, I tend to bounce around.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve gotten value out of every book I’ve read. I don’t think I’ve ever regretted reading a book.

I think it’s good for me to shake up my thinking…to try things I might not otherwise have tried.

That may be one of the best things books can do for you.

That means I’ll read books where I really don’t know how good they’ll be ahead of time, perhaps because I have no relevant experience with which to judge them.

That might be as simple as reading an author of which I’ve never heard.

It could be an entire genre I’ve never explored…although that’s not super likely. When I managed a brick-and-mortar bookstore, I suggested to my employees that they read a book from each section in the store, to be able to better help customers. I suggested they ask a regular for a suggestion.

I did that myself, and discovered some interesting things that way!

That’s when I first read

Jude Deveraux (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)


Jerry Ahern (at AmazonSmile*)

two authors I enjoyed.

On reflection, I did read them because of a plan…to read a book from each section in the store. That was a plan that promoted eclecticism, but it was a definite plan. I would have been disappointed if I had almost completed that task, and then became incapacitated. I wouldn’t want to be aware of the goal, and know I wasn’t going to reach it.

I’m sure for a lot of you that’s silly. Not embarking on a quest because you might fail may seem…I’ll go with timorous, although some might use a stronger word like cowardly.

I think one of the differences for me is that I don’t need a linear goal to stay focused. I’m not a linear thinker, really…I love chaos.

I also love organization (like alphabetizing shelves), but I think that may be because it isn’t natural for me. I’m fascinated by timelines, although I don’t have a good sequentially chronological memory.

I’ve lost about forty pounds (over the course of maybe a couple of years…it’s been a good, safe pace) using the MyFitnessPal app (which I reviewed in this blog).

For me, though, it’s important not to have a “goal weight”. I just want to do it because it is good for me (and by extension, for others…my family, my co-workers, my readers, who benefit in some way from me being here and well functioning).

If I set a goal, I’d get more frustrated with my progress…and what would happen when I reached it? What if I’d underestimated the weight loss which would be healthy? What if I got in great shape, but I actually started gaining weight at some point because of muscle mass increase?

No, I don’t think that’s the best approach for most people, but for me, not having a goal makes me more likely to stick to something.

What about you? Do you have a reading plan? Do you mind sharing it? I’m sure some of my other readers might appreciate it…even be inspired by it. What reading plans have you accomplished in the past? Feel free to tell me and my readers by commenting on this post.

Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


13 Responses to “Do you have a reading plan?”

  1. Phink Says:

    The only goal I have when it comes to reading is to finish a book in the same year I start one. I made an Excel file that keeps my literary records for me. It is very detailed and how I know that Lissa Price’s ‘Starters’ is my 24th favorite book of all-time with a rating of 9.05 out of 10. The records I keep has problems as well such as: If I start a book in 2014 and finish it in 2015 than does it go in the 2014 or 2015 literary records? Is it the year I start it, the year I finish it, or the year I spent the most days reading it? Therefore, I just make sure I finish the same year I start. I wish I could get over this and perhaps my wife is right when she says I have OCD. I told her once I have CDO, the same thing as OCD but in alphabetical order. I cannot make myself do any different although I’d like to because another problem is I cannot start a book the last couple of weeks of the year out of fear something will come up and I won’t be able to finish it. I spend the last 1-2 weeks in December unable to read because of my own self inflicted rules. I know it’s dumb but what can I do?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Phink!

      What can you do?

      Embrace it or change it. 🙂

      I loved a line, which I’ll have to paraphrase, where the author of a memoir was talking to a therapist. The author was explaining that it a situation was very stressful, and it was very difficult to figure out exactly what was happening. The therapist asked if it was possible to figure out, and the author said no. The therapist said something like, “Learn to live at a high level of uncertainty.”

      OCD is certainly a legitimate condition, and you can’t count on anybody being able to overcome it. Like most things, there can be some advantages to elements of it at times, even though it can have terrible effects.

      My only question would be why the year matters in the first place. Do you run reports based on the year? You might. Could that be reframed (which can be a successful strategy) in any way? Could you pick a definition for a year (the one where you finished it, as you suggested).

      I sometimes read the same book for years, only dipping into it from time to time until I eventually finish it. Sorry if that made you shiver. 😉

  2. Karen Says:

    I was part of a reading challenge last year: to read as many big books (over 500 pages) as possible in one year. This year I am In a challenge to read books set around the world. So, I am finding books set in each country. So far, it’s been a lot of fun, and I am reading books that have been languishing in my library for a long time.
    I do have one bucket list: to read all of Dickens’ novels. I believe I can attain that.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Karen!

      Absolutely, I think those sorts of things can be a great road to discovery. What countries are proving particularly challenging? I’m guessing it might be some of the newest ones, although the presence of a publishing industry probably affects it more.

      I hope you are able to read all of the books you want in your life, but that you never run out of things you want to read. 🙂

  3. Carolyn perreau Says:

    My 2 sets on my want to read. Stephen king. Tower series. It has been many yrs since I read the first five so I want to start over because I’ve lost some of the continuity. The other series is Diana gabaldon’s. Outlander series again it’s been awhile and I know I’ve forgotten some of the characters. I am also a fan of Jude devereaux. Have not read many of hers in awhile. Thanks for the reminder. Efree books dot org lists free books every day have found several indie and new authors thru this blog

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Carolyn!

      I’m glad you have two specific series in your future…gives you something to which to look forward! 🙂

      There are a lot of blogs/sites with free Kindle books…it’s great that you’ve found one that is working for you. On the impetus of your comment, I took a look: it looks like they do add original commentary on the books, which makes it much more useful for discovery.

  4. Zebras Says:


    I was going to say my goal was just to read as much as possible, but upon further reflection, its really a necessity. Pre-kindle, I had a virus in my eye and the medication kept me from being able to read, I begged the doctor to fix this, as I thought my head was going to explode without being able to read!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Zebras!

      Sorry to hear that…are things okay now?

      You know, that makes it fit my definition of an addiction: “It’s an addiction if it feels bad not to do it.”

  5. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I have to say I don’t have any big “in my lifetime” reading goals (like all of the Harvard Classics, or reading Einstein’s theory of General Relativity as originally published — this latter is extremely difficult even for modern top-flight physicists — as the notation is quite idiosyncratic by modern standards :grin).

    OTOH I do from time to time have certain short term reading “patterns”. Like right now I’m reading all of E. S. Gardener’s Perry Mason stories in order (there are about 52 of them starting in 1933), while at the same time (I interpose the series title by title) all of Margery Allingham’s Albert Campion stories (there are far fewer of these — they start in 1929, and go on for a few years beyond her death in 1966 — her husband continued for a while).

    For several years now I’ve been using Google & Bing maps in their “bird’s eye” views to help in visualizing locations as I read a story. With these two series, however, I’ve additionally become interested in the cars that the various protagonists are driving in the 30’s and 40’s. Google and Bing images let me see what these cars looked like.

    One thing is very apparent: how much physically smaller car engines have gotten for yet increased performance and mileage :grin. Looking at cars — especially from the 30’s — they are all engine in front of relatively small passenger compartments. Stylistically, on the other hand, they look great!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      Interesting reading habit! Will you follow on the Campion books with another series when you complete it but still have Perry Mason stories to read?

      Oh, yes! Early cars were sometimes sitting on a rocket. 😉 Are you using a web search from within the book on a tablet, or do you go to a separate browser?

      Speaking of the cars reminded me of the friend of a sibling of mine who was really into buses. So much so that you could give this person a starting point, a destination, and a year, and they could tell you which bus line you would take (in San Francisco). 🙂

      • Edward Boyhan Says:

        Allingham wrote a WW2- flavored Campion story in 1939/40, and then there was a hiatus until 1952. During that time Campion had married (at the very end of the WW2 story), had children, and was clearly older than in the earlier stories.

        I’ve stopped reading the Allingham stories with the WW2 one, and will only read Perry Mason’s (I’m currently reading one from 1938) until I get them up to the early 50’s. I have interspersed two SciFi titles, after the WW2 Allinghan, but now my plan is to read only Mason’s until I get to 1952.

        The Mason books are mostly interesting for what they say about life in California in the 30’s. Did you know that capital punishment was by hanging in California until 1939 or so (he gives a pretty graphic depiction of the procedure which matches pretty closely the one used a few years back in Oregon or Washington where they had to get the procedure out of an army field manual because there was no one left that had any experience with hanging)? Or that California in the 30’s was not on Daylight Savings Time so that the time difference in the summer tween LA and NYC was 4 hours?

        The stories at times have a CSI flavor — there have been detailed descriptions of micrographic bullet comparisons, wiretapping, bugging (using a device called the Dictograph), and the like.

        Also it’s interesting how much legal procedure has changed over things like rights to counsel, how police interrogations were conducted (counsel not allowed to be present), etc. Also prompts an interest in preliminary hearings vs grand juries (the tv show always used prelims because then they didn’t have to hire actors for the jury (:grin) — also the set could be simpler). Material witness arrests figure predominantly in the stories. Their usage has been drastically circumscribed since then (there was a flurry after 9/11).

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Edward!

        Interesting stuff!

        That’s one of the reasons I enjoy the original Doc Savage adventures…getting those in-period details. For example, I loved a scene where Doc was in an aerial dogfight…and opened a window and threw a wrench at the other plane, bringing it down (as I recall). Hard to think about how, even in the superfast planes, they weren’t pressurized back then. Sure, there are unpressurized planes now, and they were experimentally in the works before 1938 (Doc starts in 1933), but as readers, we certainly weren’t supposed to assume a plane would be pressurized.

        There are still states that don’t do DST, but I didn’t know that about California!

  6. Zebras Says:


    Thanks for asking. I have a scar inside my eye leftover from it, but it did not effect my vision permanently. I am just having the same getting older changes in my close up vision everyone gets, which makes me thankful in advance for Kindles knowing I will be able to read without having to buy special large print books, and that many of the books I already have, I will be able to listen to if my eyes ever get that bad.

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