Tuesday 12 May 2009


Well, I was going to write about The Hours by Michael Cunningham today, which my book group is reading. Tonight I went along, having re-read the novel, ready for the evening - which was to involve watching the film first, then discussing the novel... only to discover that I'd got the week wrong. So look out next Tuesday...

Instead, I'm going to have a crack at something I've been meaning to try for a while. A favourite book, per decade, for every decade from 1800s onwards... doesn't that sound like a fun idea? I'll see how far I get, and then will wait hopefully for other people to give it a go. Requires a little bit of research, but mostly should be a matter of slotting my favourite books into a timeline (my problem being that almost all my favourites are from 1920-40)... and then I should, much like my namesake on Blue Peter, have produced something fun and interesting and good. But not 'here's one I made earlier'. Cos I haven't.

Here goes... do have a go. Don't worry about leaving gaps - I have, and did on my alphabetical list too. But if I find anyone using an apostrophe in their decades, I'll... well, I'll wince and frown and cross you off my Christmas card list.

  • 1800s:
  • 1810s: Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
  • 1820s:
  • 1830s:
  • 1840s: Agnes Grey - Anne Bronte
  • 1850s: Cranford - Elizabeth Gaskell
  • 1860s: The Mill on the Floss - George Eliot
  • 1870s: Through the Looking-Glass... - Lewis Carroll
  • 1880s: Three Men in a Boat - Jerome K. Jerome
  • 1890s: The Yellow Wallpaper - Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • 1900s: Lovers in London - AA Milne
  • 1910s: Literary Lapses - Stephen Leacock
  • 1920s: Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf
  • 1930s: The Diary of a Provincial Lady - EM Delafield
  • 1940s: Miss Hargreaves - Frank Baker
  • 1950s: Frost at Morning - Richmal Crompton
  • 1960s: The L-Shaped Room - Lynne Reid Banks
  • 1970s: The Bookshop - Penelope Fitzgerald
  • 1980s: Deceived With Kindness - Angelica Garnett
  • 1990s: The Winter Book - Tove Jansson
  • 2000s: Speaking of Love - Angela Young


  1. Hi Si
    let me fill in the gaps - with three books that are not actually novels
    1800s - Charles and Mary Lamb's Tales of Shakespeare (you will know that I have been pressing this on you for a couple of decades as a way to understand Shakespeare without having to read all the text!)
    1820's - Walter Scott's Tales of a Grandfather (I once plagarised this for an essay on the battle of Sheriffmuir)
    1830's - Samuel Cobbett's Rural Rides (an insight into pre-Victorian England)

  2. Thanks Dad - good choices. But I spy apostrophes!!

  3. 1. Love the list!
    2. A night filled with The Hours sounds fabulous.
    3. Your strong apostrophe preferences made me smile.

  4. Oh I shall have to think about this - I love these sort of lists, such fun

  5. You don't send Dad a Christmas card anyway!
    I'll apply myself to the task when I get a spare hour (that'll be August then!)

  6. My favorite V.W. movie is Orlando. I remember watching it with my book group and all they could do is drop their jaws. I love that movie!

  7. Apologies if this turns up twice – I typed it out and then it seemed to disappear. This was so much fun to do! I came unstuck with the 1830s though, bizarrely...must remedy that. And look – no apostrophes!

    1800s: Ennui – Maria Edgeworth
    1810s: Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
    1820s: Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner – James Hogg
    1840s: Vanity Fair – W.M Thackeray
    1850s: Bleak House – Charles Dickens
    1860s: Lady Audley’s Secret – Mary Elizabeth Braddon
    1870s: Middlemarch – George Eliot
    1880s: Mayor of Casterbridge – Thomas Hardy
    1890s: Tess of the D’Urbervilles
    1900s: Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
    1910s: Maurice – E.M Forster
    1920s: Cullum – E. Arnot Robertson
    1930s: A Handful of Dust – Evelyn Waugh
    1940s: Jill – Philip Larkin
    1950s: Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
    1960s: A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
    1970s: The Shining – Stephen King
    1980s: The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
    1990s: The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon – Stephen King
    2000s: As Meat Loves Salt – Maria McCann



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