Patterns — in Reading

My Reading Plan

The Core

I began a Bible reading schedule several years ago. It grew to become the rhythm of my daily and weekly reading. Back then I began with Genesis chapter 1, Psalm 1, Matthew 1, and Proverbs 1. I read each chapter, or listened to in as an MP3, daily for a week.

The chapters in Psalms are picked by the date of the Sunday at the end of the week. There are 150 individual psalms in the book, so after five months the Psalms begin a repeat. The second month, add 30 to the date, the third month 60, the fourth month 90, and the fifth month add 120.

There are 31 chapters in Proverbs. The Proverb of the week is the date of the Sunday ending the week. The book repeats monthly, so there is no need to add 30 each month as in Psalms.

The other threads are also cyclical. It takes about fourteen years to read the Old Testament (minus Psalms and Proverbs) at fifty-two chapters a year. The New Testament will repeat every five years at fifty-two chapters a week.

The Old Testament begins with the advent of the Son of God in his role as creator. The Old Testament leads to the climax of creation in the advent of the Christ as the Son of Man. Historically several hundred years are missing between the Old Testament and the New Testament.

The New Testament begins with the birth of the baby Jesus as the Son of Man and continues to the end of time and the judgment of all creation. So together the Old and New Testaments run from before time as we know it until time as we know it ends.

The Psalms are the major musical part of the Bible. Here are all the Hallelujahs that are the background of creation. Here is the celebration of victory, the praise and the glory.

Proverbs is like the manual mankind needed didn’t come packed in the basket at childhood. These are the signposts that tell us how to behave, how to succeed. This is the stuff we should all have learned in Kindergarten. This is the most valuable part of any education.

Annual Reading

There is a small core of books I find valuable to read over and over annually. They are not difficult to read. Nor are they greatly expensive. For several years I have been using the Time Quintet by Madeleine L’Engle for the core of my annual reading. The titles follow:

  1. A Wrinkle in Time
  2. A Wind in the Door
  3. A Swiftly Tilting Planet
  4. Many Waters
  5. An Acceptable Time

When you have started this reading program with the daily/weekly Bible reading setting the rhythm and melody of your reading life, these books by Madeleine L’Engle read like the grand finale of a Fourth of July fireworks display. Don’t miss the joy in your reading.

Semi-Annual Reads

For the purposes of keeping in touch with the historical nature of this website, I add a number of histories that I like to review periodically. My first interest was in what once was pre-historic America. Now much that was once unknown or seriously misunderstood by the scholars of not very long ago has been made known by scholars like Barry Fell who have interpreted what ancients in America carved in stone.

Books by Barry Fell
  • America B.C.: Ancient Settlers in the New World
  • Bronze Age America
  • Saga America
Book by Steven M. Gillon
  • Ten Events that Unexpectedly Changed America
Book by Tony Horwitz
  • A Voyage Long and Strange
Books by Thomas Cahill
  • How the Irish Saved Civilization
  • The Gifts of the Jews
  • Desire of the Everlasting Hills
  • Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea

Horwitz’ book gives the story of a driving tour of all the early explorers of America, from the Vikings through the Spanish conquistadors. I used it as a time-line for early history of America, and added to it a time-line from one of Barry Fell’s books. As the major part tells of the Spanish exploration, I intend to alternate reading the Spanish history with English and other explorers. It will be interesting to compare how each group has shaped the world.

Gavin Menzies has some interesting titles that fit the pattern to become semi-annual reads. Particulary

  • The Lost Empire of Atlantis

Also I must add Bryan Sykes into the cycle:

  • Saxons, Vikings, and Celts
  • The Seven Daughters of Eve

The Avenue of the Giants

Each year I pick three authors to read. I once moved to a small town and made it a habit to try to read each of the authors in the novels section. I read sequentially, one book after the other, one author after the other, starting with A.

Now, as I am collecting books I make a note of possible future authors to read. Having following this practice I have become familiar with a dozen or more authors. And picking three authors I have multiple starting points in the alphabet. I am not neglecting the authors later in the list. I have a couple thousand books in print, but mainly I read digital books. It is easier to keep a book handy on my phone than to stuff a book under my arm and keep track of it.

Sometimes one author runs naturally into the next. Last year I read Henry Rider Haggard. The last book in the sequence was co-authored by Andrew Lang, a natural place to start a new author year. I first noticed Lang when I was collecting fairy tales to read with my granddaughter. Then I discovered how broad his topics were, and how deep. Sometimes with Lang I am way over my head. That is OK, it is good to practice treading water, even in your reading.

These chains of books by the three authors are like the roadbeds on great highway. Sometimes on author will mention one of the other authors I picked for the year. (Highways merging 400 yards ahead.) Sometimes an author mentions other authors who might disagree with his theories. (Make a note for future reading list.)

Sometimes while reading the three authors it happens that there is something in common among the stories, maybe a common setting. One week a year or two ago I discovered I had an ancestor in Iceland. That week I was reading a Jules Verne book set in Iceland and a Henry Rider saga of Iceland. Three highways, sometimes running in different worlds, sometimes running parallel in the same valley.

Side-Roads and Detours

A reader can’t live by three authors and a ton of annual reads. Sometimes someone else has something important to say. Maybe a detour suggested by one of the other authors, or just a catchy title on Amazon, or maybe some background literature for a trip I am planning, or books about ancestors. Can’t let reading get in the way of enjoying reading.


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