Last time I checked in, I had read twenty-four of my hundred books that will make up my Century of Books. I've not been doing anything special until now, just plugging in titles when and where I can. I am now up to thirty-three books, which isn't bad considering I am not listing (well, with a few exceptions) novellas or nonfiction titles. So I am now officially a third of the way finished. I think now it's time to give the list a little thought and put some planning into it.
The decade I have fewest books is the first from 1900-1909 and the most is the decade of the 1980s. Who'd of thought! I thought I'd have filled in the earlier part of the century first. So now I am going to look for books to read (hopefully that area already in my TBR piles or on my wishlist) from those two decades. I'll keep adding randomly but in many cases I've read multiple books published in the same year.
I might as well begin at the beginning and I am finding that the earlier the period the more challenging it might be. Take 1900 for example. I've only done a little digging, but so far I've only found two books that I would like to read: Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie (which I already have in my classics pile) and L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz (which I don't own but have requested from the library). Not to be shallow or anything, but the Dreiser is a pretty hefty book (though not as long as An American Tragedy!). The Baum is a children's book, but as I am waiting for the annotated edition, it would end up being almost as long. Decisions, decisions. Should I keep looking or opt for one of these two? Any other reading ideas for books published in 1900? I suspect this decade is going to be the most challenging when it comes to variety of books to choose from.
So, moving on to the 1980s, which apparently I've had lots of luck with (without even trying!), I need to fill the slots for 1980, 1982, 1987 and 1988. If I am feeling especially industrious I can grab my copy of Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose, which was published in 1980. I'm leaning towards P.D. James's Innocent Blood, which I have somewhere. If I am looking for something easy and likely quite entertaining there is Judith Krantz's Princess Daisy (I've never read her before, and to be honest I hadn't really planned to anytime soon, but maybe I am missing out). Or there is John Le Carré's Smiley's People, as I am always in the mood for a little espionage. Maybe John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces, which hovers on the periphery--I've heard many good things about it, but never seem to be inspired to pick it up myself.
As reading projects go this is sort of mindless, but also painless, too. Not that I need any help finding yet more books to read, I have to say I am finding it fun seeing which books have been published in a given year--what was popular (and perhaps forgotten) and what has endured. What follows is my list of books read so far (and I am in no hurry to complete the list or am on any sort of timeline).
1905: Doctor Glas by Hjalmar Söderbeerg, tr. Paul B. Austin
1912: Alexander's Bridge by Willa Cather
1915: The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
1922: Jacob's Room by Virginia Woolf
1924: The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie
1928: Grey Mask by Patricia Wentworth
1932: Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey
1933: Flush by Virginia Woolf
1941: Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie
1942: The Lieutenant's Lady by Bess Streeter Aldrich
1943: The Last of Summer by Kate O'Brien
1950: There's No Home by Alexander Baron
1951: Transit by Anna Seghers
1953: Guard Your Daughters by Diana Tutton
1958: My Face the World to See by Alfred Hayes
1961: Everything Flows by Vasily Grossman
1965: Airs Above Ground by Mary Stewart
1968: The Wall by Marlen Haushofer
1974: Cashelmara by Susan Howatch
1975: Turtle Diary by Russell Hoban
1977: The Wars by Timothy Findley
1981: A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson
1983: Pitch Dark by Renata Adler
1984: Testing the Current by William McPherson
1985: Crampton Hodnet by Barbara Pym
1986: A Summons to Memphis by Peter Taylor
1989: The Quincunx by Charles Palliser
1991: Letters from Constance by Mary Hocking
1992: At Weddings and Wakes by Alice McDermott
1993: A Grave Talent by Laurie King
1995: Total Chaos by Jean-Claude Izzo
1996: Hotel Paradise by Martha Grimes
Simon was my inspiration for this project and I know there are a number of other bloggers who have also done it or are in the process of doing it as well. I have linked to my posts and will be writing about the few titles that don't have links--first up in the next day or so will be Agatha Christie. I wonder how far I will get with my list this year!