This weekend was sweetheart weekend at Half Price Books- it was 20% off your whole purchase. I only visited 4 of them (you can use the coupon once at each location)! I still might take in another one tomorrow. I am a little obsessed.
I was excited to find Mortimer Adler's Great Ideas Program (I only spent about $1.25 a book) which is an expanded reading list. I hadn't seen the series and each book looks at a theme - law, literature, theology, etc. It's like a an annotated bibliography on steroids because with each recommended selection there is a lot of background information on the topic, author and time period as well as discussion about how the work fits into the great conversation. Each book (there are 10 of them) is meant to take about an academic year - 15 topics with about 2 weeks for each of the readings. The literature volumes (there are 2 of them) break this pattern because they encourage you to read at your own pace.
I have been wanting to be more disciplined about actually reading these works and now I have a very clear plan for doing so. As I said, I visited more than one store. The next store had some of the great book volumes on clearance for $3.00 (then an additional 20% off). I bought both Synopticons which is basically an index based on 102 of the most common themes found in the Great Books. You can find most of this information in Adler's Great Ideas book as well. I also picked up Euclid's Elements in the Great Book format as well. After my recent reading I am much more encouraged to take a look at Euclid's elements. The one's I don't have - the library does.
At one point I listened to a middle school teacher talk about teaching reading to his students. In his class he wanted to focus on thoughtful reading so he provided a reading outline (somewhat like the lists above). Each day, students were expected to read 30 minutes a day and mark in their books and I think they had a reading journal as well. As the students read they were asked to reflect on some of the themes outlined in the synopticon to help them focus their thoughts and ideas. Then during class they would discuss what they had read. I wish I could find the audio for that presentation but I am not sure where it is. I would love to do this with a group when my kids are that age.
I also picked up a great selection of Shakespeare's Comedies, Tragedies and Histories (all 6 volumes were only $20). I really like it because they are nicely bound and there is LOTS of white space inside so that you can actually READ the play. This is another goal, to read more Shakespeare.
I am so excited about my finds. The sale continues until tomorrow - if you sign up to receive their offers you can get the deal too! So no more excuses - I now have a reading plan and the materials to carry out that plan.