Has anyone else noticed? If I'm counting the sidebar correctly, we now have fifty book lists here. I think that's fantastic. There are so many interesting posts I can't keep up with them all. Thanks again to everyone posting their reviews (I haven't written a single one but I've been enjoying all of yours!), and compiling statistics both old and new. You have definitely inspired me to take my own reading even more seriously.
Apart from the fiction titles I'm reading for this challenge, I'm also reading The Well-Educated Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and she describes how common it was for people in the late 1700s and 1800s (ladies especially-- but also the independent-minded men) to take their self-education seriously. Bauer quotes advice from Thomas Jefferson to his nephew, Randolph, to skip university lectures (largely "a waste of time") and read independently instead -- a proper use for "chasms of time not otherwise appropriated."
Bauer herself adds that all you need, in addition to the books, are "a congenial friend or two who can talk to you about your reading..." Thanks to members of this blog for being that congenial group.