Reading by the Decade – The Final Update

Back in May I entered an online reading challenge to read 12 books from 12 consecutive decades in 12 months. I wasn’t worried about the volume of reading. I read tons. What I should have been worried about was my selections. The good news is that I enjoyed almost every book that I finished. The bad news is that I gave up on three of the twelve.

The Zola started out interestingly enough. I kind of had fun looking up descriptions of the diseases the characters suffered from. But it didn’t take long for that to get old. I set it aside in favor of something more interesting. As I have mentioned earlier, despite being 2/3 of the way through the Roth, I couldn’t be bothered to finish it. It just bored me. As for the James, I hope to pick that up again one day. Given my tastes in reading I feel like James is an author I should really like, but the only novel of his I have ever finished is Washington Square. Just think of all his great works that I could read if I can get over whatever obstacle is keeping me from enjoying him.

As I wrote in this November post, as I tried to pave the way for me not finishing this challenge, life is too short to read books one finds tedious.

1890s: Lourdes by Emile Zola
1900s: The Golden Bowl by Henry James
1910s: The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence – 5/23/07
1920s: Point Counter Point by Aldous Huxley – 7/16/07
1930s: The Big Money by John Dos Passos (3rd in his USA trilogy) – 5/30/07
1940s: Dirty Snow by Georges Simenon – 5/20/07
1950s: Mountolive by Lawrence Durrell (3rd in his Alexandria Quartet) – 2/27/07
1960s: The Mandelbaum Gate by Muriel Spark – 7/1/07
1970s: A Word Child by Iris Murdoch – 6/4/07
1980s: In the City of Fear by Ward Just – 11/10/07

1990s: American Pastoral by Philip Roth
2000s: I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe – 4/20/07

One thought on “Reading by the Decade – The Final Update

  1. Anjou Wu January 10, 2008 / 2:40 pm

    You have incredibly good taste, Thomas. You couldn’t have known that “Lourdes” is Zola at his most tedious. I thought that book was hysterical (in the diagnostic sense!) I am surprised you didn’t finish the James. His 1881-1903 output is almost uniformly brilliant, if you ask me. “The Golden Bowl” is late, minor, James. At least you tried!I’m so happy you read Iris Murdoch. She’s so wildly underrated in America. Kudos to you for all that great reading!


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