I had hoped that my "Century of Books" reading wouldn't actually take a century to complete, but at the rate I am moving, it would appear that that just might be the case. (Shh--I won't mention how I am doing with book challenges or other planned reading this year . . . I'm trying not to disappoint myself too much with this post). It was January last time I 'counted' books. My, how time flies. A quarter of the year gone and how far have I come?
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
1929: The Man in the Queue by Josephine Tey
1932: Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey
1933: Flush by Virginia Woolf
1935: Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
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
1997: The Black Flower by Howard Bahr
In October of last year I was at twenty-four books, then in January of this year was up to thirty-two. Now I am up to the grand number of thirty-five. I've added books for the years 1929 (just finished and will write about it soon), 1935 and 1997.
It's not that I am not reading (however slowly and meanderingly I am going again this year), but that I am reading more books written after 2000 it would seem. In a few cases, however, I have read books that would easily fit into the list but the years were already 'taken'. I am also being on the selective side in terms of what I am adding to my century list. I have by and large not added any novellas (with a few exceptions), I have not counted any nonfiction either, but I did decide that YA novels were okay. Well, I have added just one of the Little House books. Maybe I should relax my (own self-imposed) rules a little?
Of course I started this with the idea that I would take my time and fill in the list when I could with no pressure to finish by a certain date. I had, however, thought I might be adding books at a slightly steadier rate, but I guess that is where my periodic updates come in, so I can reassess my reading.
I'm feeling better, have gotten back into a routine after having been away for work and most importantly the light is getting stronger at the end of the tunnel--I am actually beginning to feel caught up at work, which has meant I can take a small breather and think about things I enjoy when I am at home (rather than feeling in a state of constant stress). And at the moment I am thinking about books and reading--particularly the books I am choosing to spend time with. And I am well into and am very close to finishing a small stack of books, so hopefully there will be some progress on my sidebar.
After thinking about books I might read to fill in gaps, I didn't pick up a single one! That won't, of course, stop me from doing the same exact thing now. Now, though, I actually have these books sitting right next to me as potential books to start sooner rather than later. These are books I mostly scoped out from my reading piles close at hand.
1900: The Diary of a Chambermaid by Octave Mirbeau
1901: Martin Birck's Youth by Hjalmar Söderbeerg
1916: Non-Combatants and Others by Rose Macaulay
1923: The Devil in the Flesh by Raymond Radiguet
1927: Tarka the Otter by Henry Williamson (I thought initially this was a work of nonfiction, but it is a novel!)
1937: Theatre by W. Somerset Maugham
1944: Laura by Vera Caspary
1959: The Stillmeadow Road by Gladys Tabor (and this one is nonfiction, but I think I will bend the rules a little bit)
1980: Innocent Blood by P.D. James
Of course reading these particular books to fill those specific slots is not set in stone, just some ideas that sound appealing at the moment. (When I check back in again in a few months will I have read any of these, is the question).
I am nearly finished reading several books, but only one will fit into my list, Mad Puppetstown by Molly Keane from 1931. Unfortunately the others are doubles for years already filled. In the end, it's all good. It's sort of fun to look at my reading and give my book choices a little shape. I tend to be a very random reader basing most choices on pure whim. I am sure I will continue on in the same way, but I might give the list an occasional perusal when reaching for a new book.