Being a not yet enrolled independently supervised graduate student in mathematics, with prospects of applying to American graduate schools hopefully in a 1-2 years' time, I have a background of having mastered **Hartshorne** - "*Algebraic Geometry*" with partial complements like **Beauville** - "*Complex Algebraic Surfaces*" and **Reid** - "*Chapters on Algebraic Surfaces*" to learn the Kodaira-Enriques classification, **Kollár** - "*Lectures on Resolution of Singularities*" to understand Hironaka's theorem, and bits of **Mukai** - "*An Introduction to Invariants and Moduli*" as introduction to GIT and moduli. Now, after studying minimal Cremona models for birational linear systems on rational surfaces from the article by Calabri and Ciliberto, I have become very interested in the general birational geometry of higher-dimensional algebraic varieties and their minimal model program. As this line of research has been very active and with important breakthroughs in recent years, I have tried to compile a large amount of fundamental articles, lecture notes, reviews and books on the subject, but I do not know which are better, which are outdated and in which order they should be studied. This is a selection of the material I think most important:

Books (added recommendations from the answers below):

**Lazarsfeld**-*Positivity in Algebraic Geometry vol I & II*, Springer 2004.**Debarre**-*Higher-Dimensional Algebraic Geometry*, Springer 2001.**Miyaoka, Peternell**-*Geometry of Higher Dimensional Algebraic Varieties*, Birkhauser 2004**Matsuki**-*Introduction to the Mori Program*, Springer 2002.**Kollár; Mori**-*Birational Geometry of Algebraic Varieties*, Springer 1998**Kollár**-*Rational Curves on Algebraic Varieties*, Springer 2001.**Hacon; Kovács**-*Classification of Higher Dimensional Algebraic Varieties*, Birkhauser 2010.**Kollár; Kovács**-*Singularities of the Minimal Model Program*, CUP 2013 (to appear).**Corti**(ed.) -*Flips for 3-folds and 4-folds*, OUP 2007.

Articles & Pre-Prints (added recommendations from the answers below):

**Kollár**-*Exercises in the Birational Geometry of Algebraic Varieties***Andreatta**-*An Introduction to Mori Theory: The Case o Surfaces*.**Kollár; Kovács**-*Birational Geometry of Log Surfaces*.**Fujino**-*On Log Surfaces*+*Minimal Model Theory for Log Surfaces*.**Tanaka**-*Minimal Models and Abundance for Positive Characteristic Log Surfaces*.**Reid**-*Twenty Five Years of 3-folds, an Old Person's View*.**Kollár**-*The Structure of Algebraic Threefolds: An Introduction to Mori's Program*.**Kollár**-*Minimal Models of Algebraic Threefolds: Mori's Program*.**Birkar**-*Lectures on Birational Geometry*.**Corti; Kaloghiros; Lazić**-*Introduction to the Minimal Model Program and the Existence of Flips*.**Corti; Hacking; Kollár; Lazarsfeld; Mustaţă**-*Lectures on Flips and Minimal Models*.**Birkar; Cascini; Hacon; McKernan**-*Existence of Minimal Models for Log General Type Varieties*.**Hacon; McKernan**-*Existence of Minimal Models for Varieties of Log General Type II*.**Druel**-*Existence de Modèles Minimaux pour les Variétés de Type Général*.**Corti**-*Finite Generation of Adjoint Rings after Lazić: An Introduction*.**Cascini; Lazić**-*The Minimal Model Program Revisited*.**Cascini; Lazić**-*New Outlook of the Minimal Model Program I*.**Corti; Lazić**-*New Outlook of the Minimal Model Program II*.**Lazić**-*Around and Beyond the Canonical Class*.**Fujino; Mori**-*A Canonical Bundle Formula*.**Fujino**-*Fundamental Theorems for the Log Minimal Model Program*.**Fujino**-*Introduction to the Log Minimal Model Program for Log Canonical Pairs*.**Birkar**-*On Existence of Log Minimal Models*.**Birkar**-*Existence of Log Canonical Flips and a Special LMMP*.

I would like to get any advice on how to organize a deep study course on these topics for a 1-2 years period, as it were for an independent study program preparation for a future Ph.D. thesis on birational geometry. I would really appreciate if any of the professionals or advanced students in the field could provide hints for organizing such a guide, to make good use of the time I have till then, and get already a good general background preparation on these advanced topics.

- For example, what would be a good approach to acquire the required background to work through the new book by Hacon and Kovács?

Thank you very much in advance for any hints on how to proceed.