I have also been thinking about reading goals for a lifetime -- that is, books that I would like to read at some point, but fully realize that I will probably not have the time to read in 2010. One personal challenge that I have is to read the original Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens, Dan Simmons' novel Drood, and Matthew Pearl's The Last Dickens all in succession. I am fascinated by this unfinished novel by Britain's most famous author, and I think this will be a great way to appease that curiosity.
Another reading goal that I have is to read all 6 of Jane Austen's original novels (plus some of her juvenilia), as well as several of the modern day spin-offs of those novels. I teach Pride and Prejudice, and each year I find something notable that I had missed in previous readings. I have heard great reviews of Pam Aidan's Darcy Trilogy - which retells the P&P story from Darcy's point of view. Personally, I have always thought that Darcy is too harshly criticized in the beginning, and I would love to hear his side of the story. I have also heard wonderful acclaim for Rebecca Ann Collins' Pemberley Chronicles series (I think there are now a total of 7 books) that picks up the P&P story where Jane Austen left off. This would require a block of concentrated time to read all these in succession -but I think it would be such fun!
I would also like to start to solidify my personal taste in mysteries - and then focus on those subgenres - rather than hit or miss as I have done lately. I only just discovered that I truly love this style of writing, but I had no idea there were SO many different authors and subjects available. I have purchased several different ones at local second hand thrift stores in an effort to give me a wide overview. I am quickly learning, however, that not all mysteries are created equal. I think if I can learn to pare down my interests, I will enjoy a focused study. Some authors that I know I really want to experience are Laurie R. King, Louise Penney, P. D. James, and Elizabeth George.
Finally, I want to read a complete series - from start to finish - sometime soon. Isn't sad that I have NEVER done that?! I have never really been interested in series before, except when I was younger and read Nancy Drew. But even though, I never read all the books in the series. I do not have a particular series selected. I have given some thought to reading Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings (although I must admit that Tolkien's Middle Earth I find more than a little bit intimidating - especially since I am not well-versed in fantasy fiction). OR I might prefer to start with a mystery and read the entire collection (some that come to mind are P. D. James' Adam Dalgliesh, Louise Penney's Armand Gamache, Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, or Victoria Thompson's the Gaslight series which take place in 19th century New York City)
While my bookshelves are filled with many other TBR novels patiently waiting to be read, these goals I know I will eventually complete at some point in the future. I need to learn to balance my reading to include the "just released" novels that are a constant source of temptation - especially after reading such wonderful book blog reviews - with the known classics that I wish to experience for myself. If you have any words of wisdom to help me achieve this balance, I would greatly appreciate it!