My plan for ProjectTHINK is extensive, but flexible. I want to challenge myself to not only read for pleasure or read about pet topics, but to stretch into areas in which I am uncomfortable or have otherwise missed. Sometimes I think we tend to hunker down in our comfort zones when it comes to what we read. We become very knowledgeable in those areas, but really don't expand our thinking much. I want to change that about myself.
With that in mind, I have a list of topics/genres I want to read this year. Some are favorites (it shouldn't ALL be hard, right?) and some are things I will need discipline to accomplish. Without further ado, here is my master list:
The "Great Books" and books from "You must read this to be well-read" type book-lists
Financial Training Courses (Ugg. I will need discipline for this. Why, oh why, can't these things just happen without me having to think about them?)
Etiquette and Social Skills books (Let me just remind you that I am actually shy and not very good at small talk or social gatherings. There's a reason I write, folks. It's so I can say these things without actually having to TALK to you -- because that would just be scary.)
Other things that I'm doing that aren't exactly reading, but contribute to ProjectTHINK:
Making room for art (Somehow my art sort of fell by the wayside while I was busy growing churches and a family. Slowing down for creativity is a huge part of learning to think deeply.)
Continue to exercise -- Not too much Just enough for health, but not enough to impress the nearest Olympian or make the Anorexia Queen nervous that I might become skinnier than her. Maybe I'll add some Tai Chi or something.
Take lots of long walks -- I do a lot of thinking while I'm walking.
Clean up the diet after the holiday binge. ('Nuff said.)
Each month I will (try) to post my book stack for the month, and tell you how things are going.
*Gulliver's Travels and other Writings by Jonathan Swift (This is one of those books that I really should have read in school, but was too busy with the required Edgar Allen Poe binges that my teachers seemed to think was necessary every.single.year. Would someone PLEASE tell them that there are other (more wholesome) authors!?!)
*Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes (If I finish Gulliver's Travels in time. This is another one of those books that I can't believe I've never read. I mean, really!?!)
How to Make Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (I have heard about this book for years, but I figuratively stuck it on a shelf marked "For Outgoing People Only". I don't expect to ever be super with this sort of thing, but knowledge is power, right? Maybe I can at least learn to be a little more comfortable with it.)
I am also doing read-alouds with the kids, studying for ministry, and doing all my normal research, study, etc.
*If my list looks vigorous to you, please realize that I am a fast reader, and there is not much I would rather do than read. Don't be intimidated because I may not be able to keep up with this. If I can't, I will monitor and adjust, but I won't worry about it. This is an EXPERIMENT, not a law.
*If you think my list looks too lenient, perhaps you could post your list in the comments and tell me HOW you do all that reading without neglecting your kids, your ministry, your house and your other responsibilities.
If you are interested in compiling your own ProjectTHINK list, here are some helpful links and books:
The Well-Educated Mindby Susan Wise Bauer-- If you aren't used to reading things like Moby Dick, Beowulf, and Plato's The Republic, this book will guide you through the process of learning to read more deeply. There is even a little test to check if your reading abilities are ready for the Great Books (I passed easily. It isn't hard. Pinky promise.) If your skills aren't up to par, don't despair. She walks you through it and gets you ready to really read. Then she has a decent starter book list with commentary on each book, so you know what you're getting into. This is helpful to weed out the books you might want to pass over, even though you'll see them on everyone's must read list.
How to be Well Read There are a lot of great things in this post. One word of caution, however. One of the books she recommends, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, is a fine book in that it has a summary for each book, (so you know what you're getting into and all.) It also has a number of smutty books listed, with pictures to match. I had to go through the book with a sharpie adding clothing to the pathetic pictures. Some of those summaries aren't something I'd want my kids to get hold of, either, so buyer beware.
The Harvard Classics in a Year-- This book was compiled based on the work of long time Harvard University President Dr. Eliot. He believed that a studious person could obtain a Harvard level liberal arts education in a year just by following his reading guide. He compiled a list of the World's Great Books which still stands today. The book is only available in Kindle format, that I can see, but it is only $2.71.
I am thoroughly enjoying this book. It has wonderful variety. So far, I have read Benjamin Franklin, Cicero, Milton, and even Grimm's Fairy Tales. And I'm just getting started.
My Harvard Classics (a free version of The Harvard Classics in a Year) This lacks the introductory commentary and the kindle layout, but otherwise seems to be about the same.
Charlotte Mason Help This is a site for homeschoolers in the style of Charlotte Mason. It involves lots of reading, and as such, has a lot of books listed that you might have missed along the way. Also, if you are looking for book ideas for your kids, this might help. Explore the site a bit, then click on the Free Curriculum banner. Once there, you can click through the years. Obviously, the earlier years will have very easy books, the upper years get slightly more difficult.
Ambleside Online This is another online homeschool site in the style of Charlotte Mason, so the reading lists are extensive. Once you click this link, you can scroll down to see clickable booklists for different years. When you click one of those book lists, you will be taken to a page with lots of material listed. The links have extensive reading lists sorted by category (history, literature, poetry, science, etc.) You can browse until you find something interesting. Many of the books/writings listed here are available free online and include the link. If you think a high school reading list is too easy, you might check these out anyway. Unless, of course, you've already read Mein Kampf (which just so happens to be the kind of mindless rant I'm so concerned about...) Or John Wesley Denounces the Doctrine of Predestination. There are extensive historical writings, but the standard literature is there, too, often with free links.
From Zero to Well Read in 100 BooksThis blogger attempts to give a 100 book plan to make you a well read individual. Again, use discretion, but its a good list to get you thinking.
Where to get the books:
Many of the classics are available for free online, if you don't mind reading on a screen. There is also the public library. Or, you could get a bookshelf, buy the books and start building a home library worth having.
Until next time, in which I shock you with yet another really crazy thing I am doing this year...
Have a great day!
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