When it comes to book lists, I'm the proverbial horse led to water. I often find that recommended texts just don't speak to me. If I find myself nodding off as I read, I usually don't force matters; I'd rather look for a different publication. But once I find one I do like, there's no tearing me away.
Lately it seems that Thursday afternoons are the right time to have a long session in the library. I sit, read for up to 20 minutes, stretch, then try to write a summary in my notebook. If I have doubts or can't understand something, I write that down, too, much as I have been doing on this blog. My aim with notes is to make them as short as possible. For me, it's the act of note-taking which has the real value; the finished notes are usually just memory aids.
One thing I've learned the hard way is to keep a list of what I've been reading and sources I'm planning to cite as I read. Even if I end up including less than half of it in the finished essay, it's always time well spent. Referencing is tedious enough already without compounding the pain.