Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Reading Through the Decades Challenge Wrap Up

With so many contemporary books lining my shelves and even more out there that I have yet to get my hands on, there are also older books that have caught my eye, some classics and others not. Stepping back through time and reading at least one book for every decade over the last century was a worthwhile challenge. My walk through the decades proved to be revealing, both historically and socially, not to mention entertaining. Not all of the books I read for this challenge were set in the time period the novel was written, nor even in this world, and yet each still carries the footprints of the era it was written.

Michelle challenged participants to read a personally set number of books falling in consecutive decades over the course of a year. I chose to begin my journey at the beginning of the 20th century and end at the beginning of the 21st century.

A Century of Books
1900's - The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle (1902)
1910's - The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley (1919)
1920's - Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayer (1923)
1930's - The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett (1930)
1940's - In A Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes (1947)
1950's - Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953)
1960's - A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin (1968)
1970's - Sula by Toni Morrison (1973)
1980's - Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock (1984)
1990's - Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (1996)
2000's - The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards (2005)

Not one of the books on my list was a disappointment, although I did like some more than others. The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley and Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon were my favorites in the mystery category. Both captured the essence of time and place, touching on issues related to those time periods and yet all the while being timeless in their own right. Toni Morrison's Sula and Kim Edward's The Memory Keeper's Daughter, also favorites, spanned the lifetime of the characters and dealt with difficult issues.

I would like to offer a heartfelt thank you to Michelle for hosting the Reading Through the Decades Challenge and allowing me to go on this journey through time with her and the other participants. It was an adventure that will stay with me for years to come.


  1. Well done on completing another challenge! It sounds like it was really interesting to compare the time periods that they were written in.

  2. Congrats on completing another exciting challenge, Wendy! This reading challenge sounds interesting, as you can compare the time periods and the authors' different style of writing. ;)

  3. Tanabata - Thanks! I wasn't sure I was going to be able to finish this one, but I had only two books left, and so I was determined. :-) It was interesting to see get a feel for writing over the ages. I actually read a few other books that could have qualified at varying points on the time line, and really, that's probably the best way to make any sort of comparison. One book from each decade doesn't provide a whole lot of insight. Still, it was fun and I think I gained something from it in the end.

    Melody - Thanks! It was a fun challenge--and a real challenge selecting the books!

  4. Congratulations on finishing the challenge! Would you have read more contemporary books this last year without Michelle's challenge?

  5. Carrie K - I was so tired when I was writing up this wrap up. It's very vague. Ugh. Anyhow, thank you for the congratulations. I think that some of the books I may have read anyway because they were crossover books for other challenges, but not all were initially, and I think that I probably wouldn't have read quite so many of the older books had it not been for this challenge. Definitely not going back to 1902, with the Sherlock Holmes mystery. And maybe not even Morley's book. There were a few others that I selected because of the year they were published as well.


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