30 January 2013

Mental health has been restored

I must admit that Simon T's A Century of Books challenge made me a little loopy last year. The point was to read one book from each year of the 20th century over the course of 2012. Since my reading pace was so slow last year I kept eyeing the end date and my slow progress and ended up obssessing over not only the fact that I wouldn't finish on time but also over what books to read and in what order they should be read. None of that was too hard to deal with, but what happened as the year went on was that I felt more and more like I couldn't read anything written before or after the 20th century  until I finished the challenge. And that, I am afraid turned the challenge into a chore.

But then the end of 2012 came and went without me finishing and suddenly I feel free to read whatever I want. The odd result is that I now feel even more committed to, and enthusiastic about finishing the challenge. Now that the yoke of the deadline has been lifted I am suddenly excited to tackle the list again. Unlike last year, I will not limit myself to the 20th century list, but will read whatever I feel like reading.

And Simon, don't feel bad, it has nothing to do with your specific challenge. My problem is with the mere existance of challenges.

It also helps that I finally finished a decade, in fact two: the 1950s and 1980s. If you had asked me which decade I would finish first I wouldn't have said the 1980s or the 1950s. I would have assumed the '30s or '40s. I am tempted now to read the rest in chronological order. I have made a bit of an attempt at that already. Let's see if I can keep it going.

It is doubtful that I will finish this list by the end of the TBR Double Dog Dare on April 1st, but it will be interesting to see how far I can make it. Maybe I could finish the list by midyear. That seems doable. With 62 years finished, that only leaves 38 to go. Hmm, 19 books each in February and March maybe I could finish by April 1st.

[Updated 07/24/13]

1900 - Claudine at School by Collette
1901 - Claudine in Paris by Collette
1902 - The Immoralist by Andre Gide
1903 - The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers
1904 - Peter Camenzind by Hermann Hesse
1905 - The Duel by Aleksandr Kuprin
1906 - Young Torless by Robert Musil
1907 - The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad (ML100)
1908 - Love's Shadow by Ada Leverson
1909 - Martin Eden by Jack London
1910 - Clayhanger by Arnold Bennett
1911 - Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm (ML100)
1912 - The Charwoman's Daughter by James Stephens
1913 - T. Tembarom by Frances Hodgson Burnett
1914 - Penrod by Booth Tarkington
1915 - The Underdogs by Mariano Azuela
1916 - Under Fire by Henri Barbusse
1917 - Gone to Earth by Mary Webb
1918 - Patricia Brent-Spinster by Herbert George Jenkins
1919 - Consequences by E.M. Delafield
1920 - Queen Lucia by E.F. Benson
1921 - Dangerous Ages by Rose Macauley
1922 - The Judge by Rebecca West
1923 - The Ladies of Lyndon by Margaret Kennedy
1924 - Some Do Not by Ford Madox Ford (ML100)
1925 - The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
1926 - Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
1927 - Rhapsody by Dorothy Edwards
1928 - Quartet by Jean Rhys
1929 - Passing by Nella Larsen
1930 - Angel Pavement by J.B. Priestly
1931 - The Square Circle by Denis Mackail
1932 - Year Before Last by Kay Boyle
1933 - Ordinary Families by E. Arnot Robertson
1934 - Burmese Days by George Orwell
1935 - A House and Its Head by Ivy Compton-Burnett
1936 - Summer Will Show by Sylvia Townsend Warner
1937 - Lady Rose and Mrs Memmary by Ruby Ferguson
1938 - Princes in the Land by Joanna Cannan
1939 - Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Anne Porter
1940 - Sapphira and the Slave Girl by Willa Cather
1941 - The Castle on the Hill by Elizabeth Goudge
1942 - Clark Clifford's Body by Kenneth Fearing
1943 - Gideon Planish by Sinclair Lewis
1944 - Cluny Brown by Margery Sharp
1945 - The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford
1946 - Every Good Deed by Dorothy Whipple
1947 - Not Now, but Now by M.F.K. Fisher
1948 - The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh
1949 - Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford
1950 - Our Spoons Came from Woolworths by Barbara Comyns
1951 - A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Taylor
1952 - The Far Country by Nevil Shute
1953 - Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis
1954 - Tortoise and the Hare by Elizabeth Jenkins
1955 - The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
1956 - The Flight from the Enchanter by Iris Murdoch
1957 - Angel by Elizabeth Taylor
1958 - A Glass of Blessings by Barbara Pym
1959 - The Flame Trees of Thika by Elspeth Huxley
1960 - The Bachelors by Muriel Spark
1961 - Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (ML100)
1962 - A Clockwork Orange by A. Burgess (ML100)
1963 - The Old Man and Me by Elaine Dundy
1964 - The Garrick Year by Margaret Drabble
1965 - Everything that Rises Must Converge by Flannery O'Conner
1966 - The House on the Cliff by D.E. Stevenson
1967 - My Friend Says It's Bullet-Proof by Penelope Mortimer
1968 - Sarah's Cottage by D.E. Stevenson
1969 - The Waterfall by Margaret Drabble
1970 - 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
1971 - A Meaningful Life by L.J. Davis or My Own Cape Cod by Gladys Taber
1972 - Augustus by John Williams
1973 - After Claude by Iris Owens
1974 - House of Stairs by William Sleator
1975 - Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and Crucial Conversations by May Sarton
1976 - The Takeover by Muriel Spark
1977 - Golden Child by Penelope Fitzgerald
1978 - The Sweet Dove Died by Barbara Pym
1979 - The Safety Net by Heinrich Boll
1980 - The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
1981 - Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (ML100)
1982 - Wish Her Safe at Home by Stephen Benatar
1983 - Look at Me by Anita Brookner
1984 - Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner
1985 - Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
1986 - Anagrams by Lorrie Moore
1987 - Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher
1988 - The Temple by Stephen Spender
1989 - Passing On by Penelope Lively and Summer People by Marge Piercy
1990 - Then She Found Me by Elinor Lipman
1991 - The Translator by Ward Just
1992 - Little Altars Everywhere by Rebecca Wells
1993 - While England Sleeps by David Leavitt
1994 - The Longings of Women by Marge Piercy
1995 - Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson
1996 - Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
1997 - Grace Notes by Bernard MacLaverty
1998 - The Book of Lies by Felice Picano
1999 - Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson


  1. Glad that you're feeling more at ease with this, and thank you for not blaming me (too much!) - think what a sense of accomplishment you'll feel when it's all over! (But, er, enjoy it too. I miss it now!)

  2. I'm curious you chose your books in advance. Did you just want to do it that way? Of course, I'm trying to read authors that I've been meaning to read...

    I'm doing the challenge this year, (already read 11 books!) and aside from the Dance to the Music of Time series, I haven't prefilled in any years. I'm also doing a Canadian Authors challenge (only 5 Canadian authors)

  3. Looks like you've read all the good ones but I see you. Still have Alias Grace on the unread list. Do read it! It's riveting!
    I've also heard a lot about Zuleika Dobson and want to read it at some point.

  4. When I decided to do the challenge I left out the time line to finish it. Was going slowly then I realised I have a book from every year on my own TBR shelves at home and also am more relaxed and happy I can find books at home though am not choosing the books ahead of time. I am enjoying it so far.

  5. That looks like pretty good progress to me, you got further than I did! I believe reading The Cryptonomicon can take some people several years! I've never felt quite ready to tackle it.

  6. I'm enjoying following your progress, your choices are mostly very different to mine up until the late 1940s so I am having fun seeing what my alternative might be/what should be on my wishlist. :)


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