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A Very Slow, Very Long Journey 1900 – 1999 (or perhaps 2000)


Oh yes, I know, many of you are shouting furiously that because the first year AD was year 1 and not year 0, so the first century, and all the others, must start with year 1 of its particular century.

But you know that just doesn’t feel like the right start for this journey. So, if I start in error, so be it.

So, having decided crossly, ‘I’m not going to do any more reading challenges’ I’ve invented a variation on one, for myself. It’s going to be a corker, whether I get anywhere near completing, or not. And I’m trying not to put a timescale on it, as there will of course be other reading going on

The challenge is this, reading 4 books, in 4 categories, for each year 1900-1999. And, to qualify as one of the reads for that year, I’ll be doing it sequentially – so a 1967 book, for example, will only qualify as my 1967 book once all 4 1966 books have been read, otherwise, its just a book which I’ve read which happened to be published in 1967!

Cat reading

The categories are, for each year:

A Fiction book written by an author from the United Kingdom, originally published in English

A Fiction book originally written in English, by an author not from the United Kingdom

A Fiction book originally written in another language, date of first publication in its original language (but which I’ll be reading in English)

A Non-Fiction Book 

I’m interested to see what picture I get of ‘the times’ once I’ve read a few years, although of course I’ll no doubt be creating that picture by the choices of book, which are likely to be erratic.

And, once I’ve read all four categories in each year, and have moved on to the next year, the rule is that I can then ADD to a year already read (go back to it) – even though going forward is not allowed. This is because, having I hope gleaned a kind of idea of a flavour of a year, I suspect I may read books set in that year still with an awareness of my ‘read the century challenge’ and if so, they would qualify

And, from time to time, rants may arise connected to a year or a span of years (lets say, then, it’s going to take nearer to 20 years, as I keep creating new complexities and deviations!)

It may also be that I break my own rule, on this blog, of not reviewing anything which is not 4 star, minimum, with my ‘Twentieth Century’ challenge as I might read something less appreciated but which is somehow right in there in that ‘reading the twentieth century’ context, and I might appreciate it in context, even if not on its own isolated merits

I’m beginning to get quite excited by this mammoth reading task, as reading sequentially, and perhaps stopping for quite a while on a certain year, could take me into all sorts of highways and byways – what was happening that year, what were they wearing, what kind of chocolate were they eating……………………………

Even if the books chosen may have a randomness (for example, something already on my shelves) reading with this sequential focus will create patterns, not to mention determine directions.

I’ll compile an index of those reads as they happen, and each read will also get categorised and indexed in my normal fashion

Onwards………………….a journey of 400 books (at least) and a hundred years, starts with just one book in just one year

I'm under here, somewhere

I’m under here, somewhere Flicr, Commons, Alicia Martin Biografias

I rather fear there might be a fair share of these:

At least Noel manages to sound reasonably light-hearted about those blues