Back to where I started... I bought a book called The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had by Susan Wise Bauer. I learned about this book after purchasing a book Bauer co-authored with her mother, Jessie Wise, called The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home. The Well-Trained Mind is a home school book that outlines the classical pattern of education called the trivium (more on this later). The Well-Educated Mind is for all us adults who want to have a simple plan for self-education through a sampling of classical and important books.
In Bauer's personable way, she describes how she returned back to graduate school at thirty-years-old and with four children. Yet the book she wrote is for any person who wants to learn and train their mind. As she read through her graduate course's required reading list, she says she "wrote better, thought more clearly, read more." These are the things that drew me to this book and its reading plan.
The Well-Educated Mind has reading lists divided into five sections: the novel, autobiography and memoir, history and politicians, drama, and poems. In 2004, I started the novel section with Don Quixote (Modern Library MM) by Miguel De Cervantes. I read the Modern Library edition - The Well-Educated Mind offers the best editions to use. It took me 16 months to read it, chapter by chapter with short notes after each reading, read mostly during my daughter's morning nap time. I really thought I'd never get through it but when I finished, I could hardly believe it. I read Don Quixote! It was a great accomplishment for me.
Currently, I am almost finished with the second book on the novel list - The Pilgrim's Progress (Oxford World's Classics) by John Bunyan.
I stopped reading classics from mid-2005 through 2006 for a reason I'll talk about later.