Monday, 2 April 2012

Quarter of a Century of Books

Since the first quarter of 2012 has finished, I thought I'd check in with A Century of Books, and see how you're doing if you're playing along.


According to the badge on the side of my blog, I've read 20 - but I have, in fact, read another five which I've yet to blog about.  Making me exactly on track (hurrah!) unless you think for a moment, and realise that the likelihood of overlapping years increases throughout 2012 (boo...)  But I'm quite pleased with that.

You can see all the titles reviewed here; I shan't list all the unreviewed titles, but here are the current totals per decade:

1900s: 1
1910s: 0
1920s: 5
1930s: 3
1940s: 5
1950s: 3
1960s: 2
1970s: 2
1980s: 2
1990s: 2

So, that's not badly spread out - although there is (surprise surprise) a definite interwar concentration, and neglect in the earliest part of the century.  Hmm.  I thought post-1950 would be tricky, but apparently it's pre-1920 which is going to be the sticking point.  Suggestions?

How are you getting on with yours?

27 comments:

  1. Hurrah indeed for being on track! I think the reviewing is going to be the real issue for me, which is pretty much what I thought when I started. I've read 25 years worth of books read but have only reviewed 15 of them so far - lots of catching up to do! I'm also a bit stumped by the pre-1920s years but I've got 4 or 5 Elizabeth von Arnim books I'm looking forward to from that period, which will definitely help. I'm also getting very frustrated with all the books I've read or am planning to read that were published in years I've already completed - 1931 and 1945 are proving particularly annoying that way.

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    1. Hurrah that you are also on track - except, as you say, for the reviewing. That is definitely the tricky bit.

      Elizabeth von A is a great pre-1920 choice, especially since I have lots of hers on standby. Annoyingly Elizabeth and Her German Garden, which I really want to read, is 1898.

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  2. Good work for being on track! I'm still on track with my (much less ambitious) version- though my 1920s review was a bit slow to go up. While reading 10 books is a lot easier than reading 100, I think it's the reviewing that really makes a difference- reviewing 10 books is definitely easier. Also since I'm only reading (at least) one book per decade I am done with the pre-1920s years now. I did enjoy them though.

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  3. kudos for this progress - my list of books actually read for the Century is much less impressive, but I'm glad that the list of the books to be read is almost set! (not a small feat, thank you!). For the pre-1920 I've included D.H. Lawrence, E.M. Forster, A. Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, M.Twain, so lots of classics for me!

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    1. Forster is a great idea - in fact, all of those are great ideas. Thanks!

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  4. Off to a slow but very enthusiastic start. Just started first of March so planning on ending last day March 2013. The girle site (I forget it now) lets you sort books by date so that might be a way to get those early dates. I am sure there must be other sites out there where one can do that. Just haven't had time to look. Picked up a 1926 book today at an op shop as well as a 1954. They look fun. No idea of quality. That's the fun part but have lovely dustjackets on covers.
    Lots of fun ...... all of this!!!

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    1. It is often fun to pick books unknown, isn't it? I hope they turn out to be great!

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  5. Oh Simon well done. I am lagging behind terribly. My pre-1920 suggestion if Arnold Bennett who I think is a terrific writer -- An Old Wives Tale and Clayhanger have given me a lot of pleasure. I also second Forster.

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    1. Ah, I've still never read Bennett. Well, only some reviews and essays. Mum has lots, so maybe I'll nab one. Bonne chance with your century!

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    2. to your surprise Si I think that I have read 3 if not 4 Bennetts (The Card (1911) is quite short).
      OV

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  6. I have to suggest Colette for the pre-1920s, particularly the Claudine novels or The Vagabonde, or Cheri just gets in there being published in 1920. But I'd also second Elizabeth von Arnim, Miles Franklin's My Beautiful Career and The Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum.

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    1. Colette, but of course! I'll have to check the publication dates of the one or two that I have.

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  7. Katherine Mansfield's 'A German Pension' was published in 1915 - certainly not a well known one and I think its a short novella

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    1. Ah, I did read that ages ago. I think it is short stories, but linked ones - each a different character in the Pension, so it felt quite novella-like. Not her best work by any means, but maybe worth a revisit for the tricky 1910s!

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  8. No suggestions...I can't say I'm up on my knowledge of pre-1920s novels. Just wanted to say congrats! Impressive progress so far!

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  9. Two that I've enjoyed from the 1910s are both American (does that matter?!):

    Jean Webster _Daddy-Long-Legs_ (1912)
    Booth Tarkington _The Magnificent Ambersons_ (1918)

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    1. For some reason I thought Booth Tarkington was a character in a Wodehouse novel! I'm happy to be corrected :)

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    2. Oh, and American authors are definitely welcome!

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  10. Well, I'm at 18 so far (but I am giving myself two years to finish, just in case I need it). I'm not sure about the early years, although if children's books count, E. Nesbit was writing in the early 1900's (I think). If you've never read a Josephine Tey mystery, she was writing in the 30's-early 50's, and hers are not your typical mystery stories. (She has one about twins, Brat Farrar (1950), and one that takes place in a girls' school, Miss Pym Disposes (1948), that I think you might enjoy.) She died young, so didn't write much.
    Clearly, I was on a mystery kick last month. :) Kudos on your progress, and Happy Reading to you!

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    1. E. Nesbit was on my mental list, as I had some vague idea that she wrote around then. I also discovered today that Three Men in a Bummel was 1900 - hurrah!

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  11. Willa Cather: O Pioneers! (1913) and My Antonia (1918). Enjoyable and Eminent. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (1905). I was also going to suggest The Magnificent Ambersons (1918). Sister Carrie by Dreiser (1900). I am at 17 so far. But I think I may be missing the point about reviewing them...is that part of the challenge.

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    1. I do have Sister Carrie somewhere... but I have just discovered Three Men in a Bummel was 1900, so that might take the slot :)

      My personal challenge was to review them all too, otherwise I wouldn't have anything to link to on the challenge page - but I imagine some of them might end up in a summary post of some kind.

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  12. Hi Simon, So nice to see the progress you've made! Out of the books I've read only four count for the challenge, but I'm happy as I'm not worried about time limits. I'm also doing this challenge in chronological order (no re-reads, no reading the same author twice), so I need to go slower or I'll end up giving up reading.

    1900 was hard for me. Everything I came across, I'd either read or didn't want to read (I'll second Thomas's recommendation of Sister Carrie by the way). So I opted for Henry Harland's The Cardinal's snuffbox. A bit or romantic fluff set in Northern Italy. Quick and pleasant enough read.

    For 1901 I chose a book by Norway's Selma Lagerlöf the first lady to win the Nobel prize for literature. The book is called Jerusalem and shows how a peaceful rural community gets torn apart when it falls prey to religious cult fever. The writing is quiet and gentle throughout. I am glad to have been introduced to this lady.

    1902 was Henry James's The wings of the dove and 1903 Erskine Childers's The riddle of the sands both well known so I needn't say much.

    I've got Luigi Pirandello's The Late Mattia Pascal lined up for 1904. I've read a number of his short stories many years ago, and remember them very fondly. 1905 will be Natsume Soseki's I am a cat
    another satire I'm looking forward to. Amazon let you read the first chapter so you might want to check it out if you don't object to the idea of a Japanese book.

    I could go on like this as I've found a number of books that look interesting but I've literally written a blog post here, so I'd better stop. Just a request, please. Any thoughts on 1910?
    The

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    1. Fantastic to hear all of this, Marina! Your challenge is a brilliant spin on it - although I'm glad you're not reading ONLY challenge books, because you'd go crazy(!)

      Amazing suggestions too - I hadn't realised that Pirandello was that early; I've read some of his plays, but nothing else. I Am A Cat is another I'll be hunting for - I don't think I've ever read a Japanese book, so that'll be fun.

      1910 - have you read Howards End? That's fantastic.

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  13. It's such an Oxford novel that I'm sure you'll have read it but what about Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm? It's 1911. You could also try skimming through the Oxford Companion to Edwardian Fiction. I'm sure the Bodleian would have it.

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