In For the Long Haul: Part II

Read Part I (How It Began) if you desire.

How It Ended

It has taken two years, 9 months, and 18 days.

I have finished reading this book:

The Complete Works of Shakespeare

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.

It turns out that some of the comedies aren’t that funny, the histories (all those Henrys!) are a whole lot better than I thought they’d be (shout out to King Henry the IV and King Henry the V),  Julius Caesar was just as good as I’d remembered from tenth grade, the tragedies are tragic, and Hamlet is still perplexing.

I originally figured that it would take me three years to read The Complete Works, but I picked up momentum after I made it to Julius Caesar in the spring of 2013—and it was utter serendipity that I read it in March. “Beware the ides of March,” the soothsayer said (soothsaid?).

Conquering the long goal is satisfying. I’m learning to look, think, and plan farther into the future in my goal-setting.

Thanks, Will.

And, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be: for loan oft loses both itself and friend;” is good advice.

So yes, after three years, I will return The Complete Works to my sister, from whom I borrowed it.

A Pile of Reading To Do

“You are the same today as you’ll be in five years except for two things: the books you read and the people you meet.”

This thought is generally attributed to Charlie Jones and I heard it a few years ago while listening to The Dave Ramsey radio show (yep, I’m a fan).

I’ve always been an enthusiastic reader (particularly of genre fiction), but in 2010 I set a goal to read at least one nonfiction book per month in addition to the other reading I was doing. I astonished myself and read 26 nonfiction books that year. I’ve kept this nonfiction reading goal going ever since.

So, now whenever I pass a library book sale or visit a thrift store, I scan the stacks for interesting nonfiction titles. I also have an extensive wish list going at PaperBackSwap—an online book-swapping club that I highly recommend.

Lately, my “To Read” pile has been, well, piling up.

The "To Read" pile of nonfiction books

Here’s to the next five years’ worth of reading!

In For the Long Haul: Part I

How It Began

I saw a thick, hardbound copy of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare sitting on a bookshelf at my sister’s house. She had found it at the local thrift store.

I picked it up and looked at it. The thought crossed my mind, “How awesome would it be to be a person who had read the complete works of Shakespeare?”

 I had experienced Romeo and Juliet in junior high school—I say “experienced” because not only did I study the play in English class, I was also surrounded by lovestruck, Romeo-quoting female classmates swooning over actor Leonardo DiCaprio as Romeo in the new film adaptation Romeo + Juliet.

I had also studied Hamlet, Julius CaesarA Midsummer Night’s Dream and some sonnets in high school and college. I had seen more than one performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as performances of As You Like It, The Taming of the Shrew and All’s Well That Ends Well. And I had seen film adaptations of Twelfth Night and Much Ado About Nothing.

Altogether, a pretty scattershot reading, viewing, and screening of Shakespeare works.

So there I was, holding the book.

My sister kindly let me borrow The Complete Works. I took the book home and checked the table of contents. Then, I did a little math. If I read one play per month and then read all the poems, I would be finished with The Complete Works in three years.

Three years.

That’s a long time. And it was scary to think about being three whole years older and to think about where my life would be three years in the future.

But still.

I told myself, “The time is going to pass anyway.”

Would I rather have three years pass and have done it or have three years pass and not have done it?

I started reading in January of 2011.

Don’t be afraid. Set a long goal. The time is going to pass anyway.

Read Part II (How It Ended).