Having recently looked through one of those "book you must read" lists, I have chartered my own reading throughout the years. I am particularly well-versed in contemporary British fiction, can find my way around the contemporary American literary landscape but generally opt out (bar one or two novelists whom I admire) and I know my early twentieth century poetry/fiction very well. I know my nineteenth-century British novelists and poets, can muddle my way through Enlightenment literature but really do prefer sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English poetry. Some would say that I'm well-read, whilst others would point out that, for a Dane, I'm unusually Anglophone in my reading preferences.
Kimfobo of Reading Matters ponders her reading choices for the year ahead. Looking at my bookshelves, I can see Books I Really Ought to Read (Djuna Barnes, William Faulkner and James Joyce) because they fit so well into what I have already read and would fill up curious gaps on my literary map. I can see Books Waiting to Be Read (Alasdair Gray (signed first edition!), Jonathan Coe and Margaret Atwood). Curious books, whimsical books, flirty books and serious books. Hardbacks, paperbacks, graphic novels and proof copies. Books in Danish, Swedish, German, English and even one in Russian.
How do I choose? Sadly I'm not very good at keeping to To-Read lists. I would quite like to read more pre-1950 novels this year. I have a vague notion about reading some Ivy Compton-Burnett but it is hardly a radical idea. I fear I'm a literary flaneur, really. So I will continue to read without any real sense of direction. Perhaps I will detect a pattern when I look back some eleven months from now.
A vaguely topical link: Can you name the 100 most common words in English? A rudimentary grasp of syntax might come in useful here, actually. I got 61/100 and I'm sure you can do much better.