Around the Year in 52 Books discussion

120 views
To Infinity and Beyond > dalex 60 by 60

Comments Showing 1-26 of 26 (26 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by dalex (last edited Jan 23, 2020 07:24AM) (new)

dalex (912dalex) | 2095 comments Jody's challenge, to read a certain number of books by a certain age, inspired me to create my own similar challenge.

In 12 years I will be 60 (omg-wtf-when-did-i-get-old) so I am creating a challenge to read 60 books by then. I plan to do 10 books published in each decade, beginning in the 1970s - when I was born - and working backwards to the 1920s. I am going to set the start date retroactively to my birthday this year - March 2018 - and the end date will be March 2030 (when spaceships and androids will be commonplace).

This works out to a mere 5 books per year so it seems doable, in theory. I hope to read quite a few lesser known books, like ones that weren't required reading in school (but some authors I love too much to not include them on the list as re-reads, like Woolf, Steinbeck, McCullers, and Hemingway).

So *drumroll* here is the list...

1970s GR bookshelf
The Summer Book by Tove Jansson 1970
To Serve Them All My Days by R.F. Delderfield 1972
If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin 1974
Turtle Diary by Russell Hoban 1975
The Sheep Queen by Thomas Savage 1977
From the Fifteenth District by Mavis Gallant 1979
COMPLETED
(3 Stars - Dec 19) The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper 1973
(4 Stars - Dec 18) The Passing Bells by Phillip Rock 1978
(3 Stars - June 19) God on the Rocks by Jane Gardam 1978
(2 Stars - Jan 20) So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell 1979


1960s GR bookshelf
Rabbit, Run by John Updike 1960
The Moviegoer by Walker Percy 1961
The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck 1961
Stoner by John Williams 1965
Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann 1966
The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter 1967
The Power of the Dog by Thomas Savage 1967
True Grit by Charles Portis 1968
COMPLETED
(3 Stars - Aug 19) The Violent Bear It Away by Flannery O'Connor 1960
(3 Stars - Apr 19) Cassandra at the Wedding by Dorothy Baker 1962


1950s GR bookshelf
The Lost Traveller by Antonia White 1950
School for Love by Olivia Manning 1951
The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley 1953
The Fountain Overflows by Rebecca West 1956
Peyton Place by Grace Metalious 1956
The Wapshot Chronicle by John Cheever 1957
The Vet's Daughter by Barbara Comyns 1959
COMPLETED
(3 Stars - Jan 19) Wildfire at Midnight by Mary Stewart 1956
(4 Stars - June 19) A Death in the Family by James Agee 1957
(4 Stars - Dec 18) Hours Before Dawn by Celia Fremlin 1959


1940s GR bookshelf
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway 1940
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith 1943
Delta Wedding by Eudora Welty 1946
The Street by Ann Petry 1946
A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor 1947
Mood Indigo by Boris Vian 1947
In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes 1947
Rendezvous in Black by Cornell Woolrich 1948
COMPLETED
(5 Stars - Aug 19) The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers 1940
(3 Stars - Apr 19) Selected Poems of Gabriela Mistral 1941


1930s GR bookshelf
Back Street by Fannie Hurst 1931
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck 1931
Now in November by Josephine Johnson 1934
Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald 1934
The House in Paris by Elizabeth Bowen 1935
Keep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell 1936
The Outward Room by Millen Brand 1937
Nightingale Wood by Stella Gibbons 1938
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson 1938
COMPLETED
(4 Stars - July 19) Invitation to the Waltz by Rosamond Lehmann 1932


1920s GR bookshelf
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton 1920
The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim 1922
The Garden Party and Other Stories by Katherine Mansfield 1922
The Lost Lady by Willa Cather 1923
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf 1923
So Big by Edna Ferber 1924
The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham 1925
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway 1926
Selected Poems of Amy Lowell 1927
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner 1929



March 2019 (Goal: 05 Actual: 3)
March 2020 (Goal: 10 Actual: 12)
March 2021 (Goal: 15 Actual: __)
March 2022 (Goal: 20 Actual: __)
March 2023 (Goal: 25 Actual: __)
March 2024 (Goal: 30 Actual: __)
March 2025 (Goal: 35 Actual: __)
March 2026 (Goal: 40 Actual: __)
March 2027 (Goal: 45 Actual: __)
March 2028 (Goal: 50 Actual: __)
March 2029 (Goal: 55 Actual: __)
March 2030 (Goal: 60 Acutal: __)


message 2: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8321 comments Mod
I love the idea of dividing it by decade! I feel like that is a good way to narrow down books and make sure you have good representation.


message 3: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3468 comments Glad to see another one on board! Stoner is one of my all time favourite books. It's so quietly beautiful.


message 4: by Rachelnyc (new)

Rachelnyc | 943 comments Jody inspired me as well and I am planning something similar but going in the opposite direction. I am going to choose 10 books from each decade I've been alive, starting in the 70s.

I'm really looking forward to watching everyone's progress!


message 5: by Kathy (new)

Kathy | 2484 comments I'll be stealing some of your lesser-known classics to add to my TBR. Looks like I fun challenge!


message 6: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3468 comments That’s a cool idea Rachel!


message 7: by dalex (new)

dalex (912dalex) | 2095 comments Emily wrote: "I love the idea of dividing it by decade! I feel like that is a good way to narrow down books and make sure you have good representation."

Because if I didn't I would definitely have some decade with 20 and another with 5.

Jody wrote: "Glad to see another one on board! Stoner is one of my all time favourite books. It's so quietly beautiful."

Someone else said something similar about 10 years ago and I added it to my TBR List...and there it still is, unread. However, I ordered it a week or so ago and have every intention of reading it in '19.

Rachelnyc wrote: "Jody inspired me as well and I am planning something similar but going in the opposite direction. I am going to choose 10 books from each decade I've been alive, starting in the 70s."

I look forward to seeing your list. Good luck!

Kathy wrote: "I'll be stealing some of your lesser-known classics to add to my TBR. Looks like I fun challenge!."

I added links to the bookshelves for each decade so it will be easier to look up and investigate the ones you want to add to your list. And, hey, if you get to one of the books before I do and it's horrid, make sure to let me know, k? :)


message 8: by Rachelnyc (new)

Rachelnyc | 943 comments Thanks Jody and Dalex!

I may add a classics component as well since I am intrigued by some of the pre-1970s books on all of these lists and am woefully lacking in that area.


message 9: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8321 comments Mod
Rachelnyc wrote: "Thanks Jody and Dalex!

I may add a classics component as well since I am intrigued by some of the pre-1970s books on all of these lists and am woefully lacking in that area."


Ugh, I know what you mean, Rachel! So many books that I was looking at were before 1920s (where my list starts). Debated making a pre-1920s category and a post-2000s category, but I figured I can always add that in later if I'm finishing my list quickly.


message 10: by dalex (new)

dalex (912dalex) | 2095 comments Rachelnyc wrote: "I may add a classics component as well since I am intrigued by some of the pre-1970s books on all of these lists and am woefully lacking in that area."

The time period I am covering -1920s to 1970s - is one of my favorites. I far prefer vintage lit to classics that are 19th century or older. There are some fantastic well-known authors in this time period, like Woolf, Steinbeck, McCullers, and Hemingway. And there are several publishers who are bringing some of the more obscure titles back into print - Virago, New York Times Review, Persephone, MacMillan, Penguin, New Canadian Library.

I hope you give vintage lit a try, Rachel! Let me know if you'd like some specific recommendations.


message 11: by Rachelnyc (new)

Rachelnyc | 943 comments So many books, so little time, right Emily?! But yes, you can always add categories especially since you have a long lead time. I have 4 years so I am going to try not to be ambitious without being unrealistic.

Thanks Dalex! I think I shy away from "classics" because I was forced to read them in school and found most of them boring. That was mostly 19th century stuff and having just read Middlemarch and loved it, I have been thinking of revisiting that period. I do want to incorporate some of the authors you mention as well.

I have started compiling lists and will create a thread in the next couple of days. I will definitely be looking for feedback and suggestions so please keep an eye out for it!


message 12: by dalex (new)

dalex (912dalex) | 2095 comments I decided to go ahead and create and post my full list though I'll be very surprised if it doesn't undergo many revisions.


message 13: by Tammy (new)

Tammy | 704 comments This looks like a lot of fun. I just finished The Violent Bear it Away last week and loved it. Very, very dark stuff. I keep meaning to read Cheever's short stories. You've reminded me that I need to get that on my TBR.


message 14: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8321 comments Mod
We have some overlap between our lists! I'm going to need you to tell me if something is awful if you read it before me haha!


message 15: by dalex (new)

dalex (912dalex) | 2095 comments Tammy - I've read short stories by Flannery O'Connor and John Cheever and really enjoyed them so I'm interested in reading something by them in longer form.

Emily - Haha! And you, me. It will be fun to compare reading experiences.


message 16: by Katie (new)

Katie | 2362 comments I love how you have your goals set like that.. That seems a good way to keep yourself focused & on track.


message 17: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 8321 comments Mod
Ohhh I love that you added those goals like that dalex! Going to have to copy that for my own!


message 18: by dalex (last edited Jul 12, 2018 11:11AM) (new)

dalex (912dalex) | 2095 comments Listing the goals by year made me freak out a little bit. It was so weird typing 2030. Surely that is like a hundred years from now, right? :lol:


message 19: by dalex (new)

dalex (912dalex) | 2095 comments I've already made some changes to my list. Not that that is surprising haha.

I randomly remembered the title of a book that I had been trying very hard to think of to include in this challenge - To Serve Them All My Days. It's been on my radar for ages but somehow I'd never cataloged it anywhere.

And I remembered that I want to read The Paris Wife, which is about Hemingway, and correlates best with The Sun Also Rises, so I switched out my choice of book by Hemingway.

And I was recollecting how when I was a teenager my grandmother and I would spend summer afternoons on the porch reading gothic romances from the 50s and 60s so I realized I really would like to include one of those on my list. They're horrid books but o so fun!

So, I've made some edits to the list and also started to include a list of alternates so I have the option of switching out a book for something else if I want to. So many books, so little time - to use a cliché.


message 20: by Katie (new)

Katie | 2362 comments I loved The Paris Wife! The author has a new Hemingway historical fiction that just came out, and I'm seriously looking forward to it.


message 21: by dalex (new)

dalex (912dalex) | 2095 comments Katie wrote: "I loved The Paris Wife! The author has a new Hemingway historical fiction that just came out, and I'm seriously looking forward to it."

Yay, thanks for the thumbs up! It's been on my TBR List for ages but it had gotten lost amidst the largeness. (I have like 2,000 books cataloged that I'm interested in!)


message 22: by Rachelnyc (new)

Rachelnyc | 943 comments I really liked The Paris Wife as well and Katie, thanks for the heads up on the author's new book on Hemingway. Will definitely need to check that out.


message 23: by Katie (new)

Katie | 2362 comments I was on my phone yesterday so I couldn't look it up. Here's the new book: Love and Ruin


message 24: by dalex (new)

dalex (912dalex) | 2095 comments I've completed my first March-February "year" and have gotten off to a slightly slow start with this challenge. The plan is to read at least 5 books per year but I only read 3.

1978 The Passing Bells by Phillip Rock (4 Stars)
1959 The Hours Before Dawn by Celia Fremlin (4 Stars)
1956 Wildfire at Midnight by Mary Stewart (3 Stars)

Hope everyone is doing better than I am with their challenges. Happy reading!


message 25: by dalex (new)

dalex (912dalex) | 2095 comments I'm just about halfway through my March-February year for this challenge. I have read seven books so far, which means I've already met my goal for February 2020.

April
Selected Poems of Gabriela Mistral - 1941 (3 Stars)
Cassandra at the Wedding by Dorothy Baker -1962 (3 Stars)

June
God On The Rocks by Jane Gardam - 1978 (3 Stars)
A Death in the Family by James Agee - 1957 (4 Stars)

July
Invitation to the Waltz by Rosamond Lehmann - 1932 (4 Stars)

August
The Violent Bear It Away by Flannery O'Connor - 1960 (3 Stars)
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers - 1940 (5 Stars)



My favorite book, by far, was The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. Most of the books on my list are new-to-me but this one was a re-read. The summer I was 15 I read this book over and over and over. I just loved it so much and it really spoke to me. I was trepidatious about revisiting this much loved favorite but I was delighted that it was just as good all these many years later.


message 26: by dalex (last edited Jan 23, 2020 07:35AM) (new)

dalex (912dalex) | 2095 comments Since my last update, I've read two additional books for my challenge:

The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper - 1973 (3 Stars)

So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell - 1979 (2 Stars)

That brings the total books read between Feb '19 - Mar '20 to 9 books. I've now completed 12 of my challenge books, just slightly ahead of my target of 10 books (5 per year). Only 48 books to go...haha! I admit that, with a few exceptions, I haven't read any books that really wowed me but I am enjoying chipping away at this list of books.


back to top