While looking over the books I’ve read this year, I was dismayed to find out that I had read very few books published before the 1990’s. So, I decided for next year to read one book for every decade from 1800 to 1989. It happens that the book that I picked for the 1980’s was published in March 1982, several months before I was born. Thus this goal: read 19 books older than myself in the year 2010.
The tentative booklist:
1800 – Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth [review]
1818 – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley [review]
1825 – The Talisman by Sir Walter Scott [review]
1831 – The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo [review]
1847 – Children of the New Forest by Fredrick Marryat
1841 & 1844 First and Second Series of Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson
1853 – Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell [review]
1860 – Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
1865 – Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
1871 – Middlemarch by George Eliot [review]
1882 – Anandamath by Bankimcandra Chatterji
1896 – Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett (technically a re-read but it’s been so many years, I remember very little of it.) [review]
1901 – Kim by Rudyard Kipling [review]
1910 – Howards End by E.M. Forster [review]
1929 – Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
1930 – As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (one of the few I haven’t read by him)
1940 – The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers and/or The Street by Ann Petry
1952 – East of Eden by John Steinbeck
1964 – Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau
1977 – Dispatches by Michael Kerr
1982 – Faces in the Water by Janet Frame
All but Jewett’s book and some of Emerson’s essays will be first-time reads for me. Feel free to add thoughts or suggestions.
16 responses to “Personal Goal for 2010: Read 19 Books older than myself”
That is a great personal challenge! It will be tough though. I am really failing at my TBR challenge in which I named 12 books that I wanted to read in 2009 – I keep being distracted by other books. God luck!
You know, this is a really good idea! I tend to read books mostly from the 1990s and newer, with some scattered choices in the first half of the 20th century. I think I’ve only read maybe one book this year that was written before 1900? I should make an effort to read a wider variety of dates, too. 😀
A very promising book list – looks great!
I have read four of yours (Shelley, Jewett, Forster, and McCullers). Howards End is definitely my favorite of those four. I loved, loved, loved the TV version of Cranford a few years ago. Doesn’t get better than that.
Oh – good for you, Christy! I can vouch for three of the books (Dickens, Kipling, and Hemingway), but I see I have a lot more to work on for older literature! What was your favorite Faulkner novel? He’s an author I’ve neglected for far too long.
Jackie – Thanks for the good luck! I hope I don’t burn out but I’m hoping that giving myself the whole year will leave myself adequate room to read these books plus other books that I pick as whim strikes me.
Anastasia – It’s so easy to focus on the current books because they are the ones getting the most buzz. My pre-1990 books from this year consisted of two books: Austen’s Sense & Sensibility and Peter Mansfield’s A History of the Middle East.
Colleen – Thanks! I’m excited about them.
Thomas – Looking forward to Howards End then. I almost watched the Cranford miniseries, but I’m glad I didn’t so that I can read the book first.
Hey Jason! I took a special topics class on Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor so that’s why I’ve read so much Faulkner. Although, I was looking at his list of published works and realized that there are a lot more novels than I thought. Anyway, what I love about Faulkner is his writing, not so much the plot, so I liked all the ones I read. But from what I remember, Absalom, Absalom! was the most absorbing.
What a fun personal challenge! I’ve read and loved Cranford, Middlemarch, Kim, Howard’s End and East of Eden. 😀 Was less fond of Frankenstine and Great Expectations, but I read them both for school which changes things.
Frankenstein, Great Expectations, East of Eden…all great books! This is a great idea. I try to always be reading one book older than 1950, but don’t always get through them very fast!
Ooh, great goal, and what a fantastic list!!
East of Eden is a fabulous book. Enjoy!
I’ve heard nothing but praise for East of Eden prior to posting this list, and the praise continues with your comments!
And Eva, totally with you on the school context changing the reading experience. I read a lot of classics while in high school and then as an English major in college, so it will be good to tackle some classics for my own enjoyment now.
Thanks all for the encouragement – I’m sure I’ll need it for some of those tomes!
Great idea! I am always wondering how I will ever get to the older titles when the new releases keep looking so darn good! 🙂
how interesting – I was just thinking to myself a few days ago that I read so many contemporary books, I really should start reading more “classics” / older books (thus reading Agatha Christie – even though I love reading murder/mystery/thrillers, I have only read one Christie book that was like, 18 years ago, and I don’t even remember the title.)
If you are going to read East of Eden by John Steinbeck, there is a “Classic Reads Book Club” that “jendevourerofbooks” is hosting. I just joined and we’ll be reading this book this quarter! http://classicreads.wordpress.com/ Haven’t started reading it yet though but have borrowed it…
Thanks for pointing me to the Classic Reads Book Club. I think I did come across it before, and contemplated joining, but I’m not sure I want to commit myself to reading East of Eden at a specific time. I was thinking I would make my way through my personal books challenge chronologically.
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