A Bookish Life: Books & Writing

Category: Self-Education Project

assorted books on book shelves

Self-Education Project Part Two: The Extended Great Books Reading Plan

As I’ve written before, I’m starting a self-education plan, and this time it’s divided into subjects with a rather large reading list. I’ve been working on creating the list for a couple of years now, whenever I can.

I’ll be reviewing my grammar and mathematics skills while reading through the project, along with starting my Latin and Greek study, then add in each subject as my schedule permits.

Furthermore, I’ll be adding each book on the list to both my Gcal and Todoist, so I have a handy list in apps I check daily. If I don’t see something, I won’t think of it, so I put it in places I will see it and already have the habit of checking.

assorted books on book shelves
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Timetable Of Subjects

Language – 45 minutes dailyXXXXXXX
Mathematics – 45 minutes 3x weekly X X X 
Great Books – 2 hours 5x weekly, 1 hour weekendsXXXXXXX
Music Study – 1-2 hours weeklyX      
Art Study – 1-2 hours weekly; 1 hr study of art, 1 hr practice      X
Nature Study – 1 hour weekly  X    
Science – 45 minutes 2x weekly  X X  
Grammar/Logic/Rhetoric – 45 minutes 5x weekly XXXXXX
Movie Study – 2-3 hours weekly, write a review & analysisX      
Weekly Schedule of Autodidactic Study

Subjects to Study

  1. Bradbury Trio – 1000 days: 1 poem, essay, & short story/novella a day. Do this in addition to the reading program. I use Instapaper for this, searching for online short stories, poetry, and essays, then sending to Instapaper to send to my Kindle daily, so I can read with a comfortable screen. I’ve not been very consistent with this, but will be working on it.
  2. How To Read a Book – Chapter a day until finished, take notes and highlight.
  3. The Well-Educated Mind – 1 week. Take notes & highlight.
  4. Harvard Classics – 1 volume every week, including fiction (they get two weeks for each volume)
  5. Gateway to Great Books – 10 volumes, 1 every week
  6. GBWW – 60 volumes, 1 a week, start after finishing Gateway
  7. Combined Reading List – 1 book every two weeks
  8. Classics Club + Reading Challenges: Do along with the reading project/combined reading list (already added/will be added)
  9. TBR: work through my TBR list if not otherwise listed.
  10. Other Subjects
    • Ancient Greek {Perdisco + Athenaze + Mastrode + Duolingo}
    • Latin {Perdisco + Wheelocks + LLPSI} – goal: to read in the original language fluently
    • French {Duolingo + texts}
    • Reading knowledge of German and Italian {Duolingo + texts}
    • Math Review {Khan Academy + texts}
    • Grammar & Composition – Texts
    • Logic {Memoria Press Traditional Logic program, do after Grammar}
    • Rhetoric {Memoria Press Classical Rhetoric program, start after finishing Logic}
    • Nature Study – weekly – nature study book
    • Art Study – weekly + look at daily art’s art of the day
    • Music Study – weekly: albums, genres, eras
    • Movies – weekly: 1001 movies list, other movie lists. Write reviews & comments on the blog, Copy them to Letterboxed

Combined List

Combined Reading List – Organize by WEM methodology (novel, autobiography/memoir, history/politics, drama, poetry, science, philosophy then chronologically in each genre). Read chronologically.

Criteria for List: published in a book, published by a newspaper/magazine/college, or by someone with a literary reputation. The list should be primarily classic works or important texts that influenced people. Include a source: cite where I got the list (book or site)

I have the lists below as PDFs for my own use, but I am working on making a collated list, which will be linked here as a new page when it’s done and ready.

  • Adler – How To Read A Book
  • Bauer – Well-Educated Mind
  • Bloom – Western Canon
  • Ward – Lifetime Reading
  • Fadiman – Lifetime Reading Plan 3rd & 4th edition
  • Mustich – 1000 Books to read
  • Boxall – 1001 Books to read [all editions combined, no removals]
  • Borges – Personal Library
  • Smiley – 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel
  • Van Doren – Joy of Reading
  • Durant – 100 Books for an education
  • The Lists at Greater Books [skip the ones already listed above]
  • Prose – Reading Like a Writer
  • Foster – How To Read Like a Professor [+ Novels + Poetry]
  • Utne – Loose Canon 1 & 2
  • Vulture – 21st Century Canon
  • Guardian – 1000 Novels, Best English Language, 21st Century
  • Modern Library Lists – Editor’s Picks
  • St. John’s College – Curriculum per their website. I’ve also written down the essays they read for their Science and Mathematics Labs.
  • Any lists on R. Teeter’s site not listed above
  • Classics Club List (already on blog)
  • Reading Challenges (already on blog)
brown wooden desk

Self-Education Project: Great Books Reading Plan


The plan includes the reading projects that I’ve already posted here on the blog (check the pages) along with teaching myself Latin and Greek, to begin with, then other languages as said further on in this post. My ideal schedule will be 1-2 hours of writing, a walk, then studying and fun reading.

I’ve always thought of myself as an autodidact, a self-taught learner, and this plan has been an off-and-on project that I pick up every so often. There is a rather large spreadsheet in Google Drive with various book lists along with the Harvard Classics (HC), The Gateway to Great Books (GGB), and The Great Books of the Western World (GBWW) 1st & 2nd editions. I already have copies of all the listed sets, except for the GBWW 2nd edition, and I’m keeping my eyes out for a good deal.

The main part of the plan involves reading each volume of the above sets, one per week. For the first ten weeks of 2023, I will be reading a volume of the Harvard Classics and a volume of the Gateway to Great Books, then start the Great Books of the Western World while still reading all 51 volumes of the Harvard Classics and 20 volumes of the Shelf of Fiction until finished. Gateway is only ten volumes and is meant to be read before the main GBWW set, even though it was released after the 1st edition. There is also the Great Ideas Program, which is basically meant for the solo reader to give them a way into the Great Books without having to depend on a discussion group. It is a list of selected readings from the 1st edition in ten subject areas to give the reader a broad introduction. I’ve located a physical set since I have no other way to read the prefaces, which look to be interesting.

brown wooden desk
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Plan & Method

  1. Set up Google Calendar and Todoist with the schedule: as an All-Day Event in GCal, and as part of a project with due dates in Todoist. I love ticking off things in Todoist, and GCal gives me an agenda/schedule view on my phone, perfect to keep track of when and where I should be.
  2. Read through and take notes from How To Read A Book by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles van Doren. I have a physical copy as well as a digital copy, and I can use Moon+ Pro (Android e-book manager & reader) to do highlights and notes. Readwise will get a copy of the highlights. Readwise is the service I use to collate all my highlights and notes from Kindle, Moon+, Twitter, and other places. I’d like it if they offered Reddit as an option, for I have loads of saved posts (mostly recipes and recommended books).
  3. Read through The Well-Educated Mind, taking notes. I have the list on the blog and that list is in my spreadsheet of doom as I said above. I have a digital version which I will be using to take notes.
  4. Create a template in Evernote to hold all my collected highlights and notes per book/volume I read during my project. I’m also testing out Obsidian for book notes.
  5. Create a page on this blog with a running list of works I’ve read while reading the Harvard Classics, Gateway, and GBWW sets. A second page for books on the consolidated reading list I have collected from the various Great Books lists and other reading lists. This and the above items to be done by Dec 31, 2022.
  6. Starting in January, read 1 volume of the Harvard Classics Five Foot Shelf & Shelf of Fiction per week (71 volumes)
  7. Also in January, start reading The Gateway to Great Books, 1 volume per week, 10 volumes in total.
  8. Once done with Gateway, begin reading Great Books of the Western World, 1 volume a week. I have the 1st Edition as stated above, will be looking for the 2nd edition published in 1990.
  9. Not directly related to this, but keep a list of books that I’ve read, even if they aren’t part of the program. Also, include other forms of media if possible.
  10. Post notes & commentaries here once finished with the book/volume.

Per my spreadsheet, if I spend a week per volume (I’ve read thicker books in a day), and have the first volumes read by Jan 7, 2023, I will be done on May 11, 2024. Super reasonable to me, since I’ve seen others say 7-10 years to get through just one set (The GBWW).

Part Two: The Extended Reading List

Part Two

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