I recently purchased a book by George Guthrie with a novel reading plan for the Bible. It's called the "Reader's Guide to the Bible" and it presents the Bible in chronological order. Of course a lot of this is subjective since none of the stories were written at the time that things were actually happening and there are multiple accounts of the same stories. We don't know exact dates for most of the writing, much less the actual events. But I like the idea. Guthrie uses "Acts" and "Scenes" to present the themes of God's interaction with humanity. One interesting point is that there is no actual "book" of psalms. Since all the poetry was written in relation to some historical happening or someone's inner turmoil or a worship liturgy, the psalms are scattered throughout the readings. The book also contains a timeline with fill-in-the blanks opportunities, short commentary and group discussion questions. I hate filling in blanks, I find the commentary largely uninspiring, and I'm doing this as an individual, so the extras are pretty much wasted on me. But the idea of a start to finish reading is appealing.
Now, which version of the Bible to use. I've read the King James's and the New American Standard translations through in the past, and I once spent a year reading the New Testament with an outline from the Navigators. I've just spent the past 9 years reading passages in preparation to teach a weekly Bible Study class. Reading something with plans to teach it is different from reading it for illumination or for pleasure. I decided this time to read for fun, and I selected The Message translation for my 2012 plan. The Message is the work of Eugene Peterson, a pastor who collected his personal translations and sermons over a lifetime of Bible study. It is easy reading, and occasionally startling in his folksy choice of phrase. For example, when God asks Cain where his brother Able is, Able replies, "How should I know? Am I his babysitter?"
Now I'm in the wonderful Old Testament stories of the creation, flood, tower of babel, and having a blast.