Wednesday 1 January 2014

It all starts again...

Happy new year!

For those not in the know - my plan in 2014 is to read a book for every year from 1914-2013, review them, and put the links on this page.  I did a century of books (the 20th century) in 2012 and it was super fun - see the whole list here - and I'm very excited to be doing it again!

Various lovely bloggers have been doing the same thing, or will be, or did - A Century of Books is a challenge you can do over any length of time, although I'm hoping to complete the list by the end of the year.  Pop a link to your own list in the comments if you've done, are doing, or will do the challenge!

1914: Love Insurance by Earl Derr Biggers
1915: I Pose by Stella Benson
1916: Inclinations by Ronald Firbank
1917: This Is The End by Stella Benson
1918: Patricia Brent, Spinster by Herbert Jenkins
1919: Not That It Matters by A.A. Milne
1920: The City of Endless Night by Milo Hastings
1921: Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley
1922: The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne
1923: The Artist: a Duologue by A.A. Milne
1924: Letters from England by Karel Čapek
1925: A Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham
1926: The Happy Tree by Rosalind Murray
1928: The Suburban Young Man by E.M. Delafield
1929: The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie
1930: Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
1931: The Sittaford Mystery by Agatha Christie
1932: The Provincial Lady Goes Further by E.M. Delafield
1933: Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanael West
1934: The Listerdale Mystery by Agatha Christie
1935: Mr. Norris Changes Trains by Christopher Isherwood
1936: Muddling Through by Theodora Benson and Betty Askwith
1937: Murder in the Mews by Agatha Christie
1938: My Sister Eileen by Ruth McKenney
1939: It's Too Late Now by A.A. Milne
1940: Pigeon Pie by Nancy Mitford
1941: As For Me and My House by Sinclair Ross
1943: A Literary Journey Through Wartime Britain by AC Ward
1944: Green Song and other poems by Edith Sitwell
1945: Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie
1946: Every Good Deed by Dorothy Whipple
1947: Abbie by Dane Chandos
1948: Blood on the Dining-Room Floor by Gertrude Stein
1949: Delight by J.B. Priestley
1950: Cinderella Goes To The Morgue by Nancy Spain
1951: Hangsaman by Shirley Jackson
1952: Mrs. McGinty's Dead by Agatha Christie
1954: Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead by Barbara Comyns
1955: Riding Lights by Norman MacCaig
1956: Here Be Dragons by Stella Gibbons
1958: The Sundial by Shirley Jackson
1960: Jeeves in the Offing by P.G. Wodehouse
1961: The Forgotten Smile by Margaret Kennedy
1962: The Pumpkin Eater by Penelope Mortimer
1963: A Day in Summer by J.L. Carr
1964: The Soul of Kindness by Elizabeth Taylor
1965: Mrs Harris MP by Paul Gallico
1966: The Perfect Stranger by P.J. Kavanagh
1967: The Small Widow by Janet McNeill
1968: The Midnight Fox by Betsy Byars
1969: Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie
1971: A.A. Milne by Thomas Burnett Swann
1972: The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty
1973: Asleep in the Sun by Adolfo Bioy Casares
1974: The Siren Years by Charles Ritchie
1975: Curtain by Agatha Christie
1976: Tea by the Nursery Fire by Noel Streatfeild
1977: Hovel in the Hills by Elizabeth West
1978: The Fur Person by May Sarton
1979: Territorial Rights by Muriel Spark
1982: The True Deceiver by Tove Jansson
1984: Charlotte Mew and Her Friends by Penelope Fitzgerald
1987: Mr. Fox by Barbara Comyns
1988: The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing
1990: A.A. Milne: His Life by Ann Thwaite
1995: Summer in February by Jonathan Smith
1997: Old Books, Rare Friends by Leona Rostenberg and Madeleine Stern
2000: The Blue Room by Hanne Ørstavik
2001: Marrying Out by Harold Carlton
2002: Land's End by Michael Cunningham
2003: Pleasures and Landscapes by Sybille Bedford
2005: Making It Up by Penelope Lively
2006: The Literary Conference by César Aira
2007: Tove Jansson: Life, Art, Words by Boel Westin
2008: Home by Marilynne Robinson
2010: The Man Who Unleashed the Birds by Paul Newman
2012: The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman
2013: The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp by Eva Rice


  1. I made a list of all the books I had read to see if I could list one for each year and found that I could do it with ease, though I found I slipped a bit in the eighties. I must put it up. Happy New Year Simon

    1. Do put it up, Elaine, it might well prove v useful for ideas!

  2. Wow, that's a serious undertaking - good luck. Wish I had the time to do it.

    1. Thanks Jeremy! You DO have time - because it can be as open-ended as you like! Lots of bloggers have done it over two years, but it could be longer.

    2. Yes, indeed - I'm doing an open-ended, come as they are, see what happens, no pressure one starting now ...

  3. I'm going to do it but without a time limit ... look forward to mining your lists for ideas!

    1. Excellent, I look forward to watching your progress!

  4. You're a glutton for punishment - except I know it's not really a punishment is it! :)

    1. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to doing it again, Annabel!

  5. I won't be joining A Century of Books, but I enjoy your blog and want to wish you a very happy, healthy New Year!

    1. A very happy new year to you too, Joan! I hope it's a good one.

  6. Well, I still have 32 to go to complete my *first* century, so instead of starting over, I'm just going to give myself a third year to see if I can actually complete it. (In the first 19 years, I've only read 4, so I will be watching everyone's lists for recommendations for the early years.) Love that Thomas gave you three authors for the last 50 years! :)
    Happy Reading to you in 2014!

    1. I believe in you, Susan, you can do it! Those early years were certainly difficult - now there are plenty of lists to cast your eye over for ideas :)

  7. I'm in! And I'm going for the whole works in a year. The last few months I have been setting aside likely-seeming books I already own onto a "Century" shelf, and I've been slowly purchasing ones I want to read to fill in the gaps. I'm aiming for new-to-me books and ones I haven't read for many years, to keep things fresh and interesting.

    Thank you for the inspiration, Simon. I'm quite excited about this project, and it's lovely to have the cheerful support of my family in keeping an eye out for prospective reads for the troublesome years, though no one else seems at all inclined to join me on my upcoming challenge. The term "crazy" has been bandied about on occasion when I've invited then to play along... ;-)

    So here we go. Happy New Year, and I'm looking forward to hearing about everyone else's bookish discoveries and "gap-fillers" as the Century year progresses.

    ~Barb @ Leaves and Pages

    1. Fantastic to have you on board, Barb, and very pleased that you'll be doing it in the year too - or trying to, anyway! ;) Very wise to have a Century shelf - it would be lovely to see all 100 in order one day, if possible.

      I tried to get my family to do it between them - only about 33 books each! - but they weren't having it... I've heard the word crazy too ;)

  8. Can I be slightly picky? The 20th century began in 1901 and ended in 2000 because there was not a year 0.

    Good luck on your project!

    1. Be picky as much as you like! ;) And thanks!

  9. I am so ready to start! I've been getting edgy the last few months as I've been saving up certain books to be part of my Century. Now I can finally read them! Good luck to you; I'm sure we'll have as much fun this year as we did in 2012.

    1. I love the pile that you have saved for yourself - so many glorious treats there! Having been super geared up for it, I have read nothing all day...

  10. Happy New Year! I'm excited to be joining in. I've made myself a list of books currently on my shelves (a few gaps there though) and have pulled down my first handful to get started on! I've been looking forward to this... Here's my working list

    1. Very excited that you'll be joining in, Melwyk, and I look forward to watching your progress through the century!

  11. Happy New Year, Simon! I've decided to join in and spread it over two years. I'm slightly worried about the seventies and eighties, but I'll do my best not to leave them 'til the end. Good luck - I look forward to seeing what you read throughout the year.

    1. Happy new year! Very glad to have you on board - I'll let you into a secret; I cheated and mostly read biographies and autobiographies for the 70s and 80s....

  12. I've decided to take up your challenge with delight. Here are my first 10 books (1900 - 1910) A lot of fun reading up on books published each year. thanks for your challenge!

    1. Excellent! I'm loving how many people are getting involved this year. Good luck with it!

  13. I'm in! I've got pages running for a 1800-1900 challenge and a 1900-2000 challenge. I'm going to work on both over the next two years, should keep me good and busy... and if anyone's interested in seeing how I do. :)

    1. Lovely, Alex! Amazing dedication to the century challenge - best of luck with BOTH centuries!

  14. I'm not doing them in chronological order, although that would definitely be interesting. I like the challenge because it is so unrestrictive (at least for most of the year) but it could definitely work chronologically too.

  15. You know my feelings on this, but then seeing that empty list makes my fingers itch. Must. Resist.

  16. Great idea. I'll be giving this one a go!

  17. Great idea! I'll be giving this one a go.

  18. Looking forward to this Challenge!

  19. Is there a list pulling together everyone's previous lists? I am struggling with 1914, I had one book I'd labelled as such in my LibraryThing catalogue but it turns out to have been published in 1908 really. I can't find the other one I've labelled, and looking at Wikipedia's books of 1914 was not encouraging. Help!

  20. Liz - I'm torn between 'Letters of a Woman Homesteader' by Eleanore Pruit Stewart and 'Kokoro' by Soseki Natsume for 1914. Admittedly I haven't actually found copies of them to read yet ... (and thanks, btw! It was your blog post filtered via Goodreads that reminded me about this challenge and I've been happily filling in a list of potential reads for the last week or so.)

  21. I am definitely going to enjoy doing this project. :) I won't give myself a deadline, though. I just want to get back in the saddle and read books that aren't related to work. :)


I've now moved to, and all my old posts are over there too - do come and say hello :)

I probably won't see your comment here, I'm afraid, but all my archive posts can also be found at