Starting in 2006, I began compiling several reading lists that I wanted to challenge myself to complete. In part, this came about because although I had been a huge reader since childhood, I became aware that my reading diet was Vitamin C deficient. That is, I felt like I had not included enough Classics throughout that time spent in the pages of various books. I had decided that one way to remedy that was to read all the Pulitzer Prize Winners, so that was one of the first lists that I put in my bucket. Around that time as well the book 1001 Books to Read Before You Die was published. Even with such a daunting title I decided to toss that one in as well. During my time at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, I took a class in Children’s Literature. This spurred me to add the winners of the Caldecott Medal Award and the Newbery Medal Award. The bucket was beginning to get quite heavy, but I didn’t stop there. Along the way I came across other compiled lists and award designations that interested me as well. In addition, my interest in both history and politics merged together in the great idea to read at least one biography of each of the presidents of the United States of America.
The result is that I now have a total of 1,491 unique titles (I use that designation because in some cases short stories are included on some of the lists) in my Reading Bucket. As of this writing, I have read 108 of the titles on all the combined lists – a mere 7% of the total. Considering I have only been averaging reading 20 books a year for the past several years and still have 1,383 titles left to read, I only need 69 years to complete all the lists. The only problem with that is that at the age of 46 I am quite sure I can not count on living for 69 more years. So, I guess I am going to have to accelerate my pace of reading. Regardless of whether I actually complete this challenge in its entirety, it has been an interesting journey over the past several years. I have read books and authors that I probably never would have encountered otherwise. It would be dishonest to say I have enjoyed every one of the books; in fact, some I had to kind of view as the un-desired vegetable on my dinner plate – the item I had to make myself consume so that I could have my dessert after the meal. But for the most part it has been enlightening, educational, and personally satisfying to make my way through this and I look forward to the other surprises that lie ahead for me.
Here is a link to my Reading Bucket List. I am currently in the process of creating page links to each individual list that highlights my current progress in each one. Check them out, and perhaps you may want to add a couple to your own bucket.