18 May 2007

By the Decade: Reading 12 decades in 12 months

Blogger 3M has issued a challenge to the book-reading blogosphere to read books from as many consecutive decades as possible by the end of the year. She is going to do 15 books/15 decades between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2007. You can check out her By the Decade Reading Challenge and sign up by June 30, 2007 if you want to participate officially.

Even if you don't, you might want to think about going beyond the bestseller list and choosing some things from other decades.

I have decided to do 12 books from 12 consecutive decades, working back from our present 2000s (otherwise named by my partner as the "ought naughts" as in "these Bush years ought naught to have happened") to the 1890s.

So, here is my list (bold titles have been finished):

1890s: Lourdes by Emile Zola
1900s: The Golden Bowl by Henry James
1910s: The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence - 5/23/07
1920s: Point Counter Point by Aldous Huxley - 7/16/07
1930s: The Big Money by John Dos Passos (3rd in his USA trilogy) - 5/30/07
1940s: Dirty Snow by Georges Simenon - 5/20/07
1950s: Mountolive by Lawrence Durrell (3rd in his Alexandria Quartet) - 2/27/07
1960s: The Mandelbaum Gate by Muriel Spark - 7/1/07
1970s: A Word Child by Iris Murdoch - 6/4/07
1980s: In the City of Fear by Ward Just - 11/10/07
1990s: American Pastoral by Philip Roth
2000s: I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe - 4/20/07


  1. That sounds like an interesting way to organise some reading... unfortunately I have been stuck slogging through Joyce's Ulysses for over a month now... I'll be looking forward to a change once I finally finish it! I'm too stubborn to give up ;P

  2. My list has morphed since it was first posted. But this should be the final list.

  3. Thanks for joining the challenge! I like your list.

  4. I have only read Justine so far, but I dare to say I fell in love with Durrell. I always wanted to read the entire quartet but never really got around to it. But now, with this challenge (my first one) I hope i will advance a little in my reading :)

  5. I'll have to go check on this challenge - it sounds like a good way to work through (and, I hope, enjoy) some older novels I might not try otherwise.
    For the early 1900's, can I also suggest the Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy, if you haven't read them yet? I particulary liked the first three, starting with A Man of Property.

  6. I decided to swap out The Kreutzer Sonata after I realized it was a novella not a novel. So, I plugged in Zola. I have never read any of his works. Lourdes, the one that I chose, the first of a trilogy. Looking forward to it.


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