A Century of Books

2018 is going to be the year of A Century of Books – henceforth to be known as ACOB. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here before, only on Twitter, but hopefully it’s not too late for people to join in if they’d like to.

What is ACOB, you ask? Back in 2012, I thought it would be fun to try to read and review a book for every year of the 20th century – not in order – and various people joined in, with different targets. Some wanted one book for each decade; some wanted to do it over 2, 3, or 4 years. Essentially, you can make up your own rules. I think Claire from The Captive Reader was the only other person aiming to do 1900-1999 in one year, and… we both did! Here’s what Claire read, and here’s what I read. My post also has some stats and tips; Claire also has some helpful hints on how to get the most from ACOB.

I’m thrilled to say that Claire is doing it again this year! My century is shifting a bit – I’m going to do 1919-2018 – and I’ll keep track of the reviews on this page. If you’d like to, please do join in in whatever form you choose – I certainly found it one of the most rewarding and enjoyable (and, in the final month or so, frustrating!) reading projects I’ve ever undertaken. The best thing about it is that it is the anti-project, as you can more or less read at whim – at least for the first two-thirds of the year…

Let me know if you’re joining in, and… here we go!

1919
1920
1921
1922
1923
1924
1925
1926
1927
1928
1929 – First and Last by V.L. Whitechurch
1930
1931
1932
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940
1941
1942
1943
1944
1945
1946
1947
1948
1949
1950
1951
1952
1953
1954
1955
1956
1957
1958
1959
1960
1961
1962
1963
1964
1965
1966
1967
1968
1969
1970
1971
1972
1973
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1979
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018

22 thoughts on “A Century of Books

  • January 1, 2018 at 5:41 pm
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    Yay! I’m so excited to get this started. I’m intrigued by your shifting of the century years this time around but not quite sure if I’m ready to follow – I’ll decide for sure in the next couple of weeks. The early years of the 20th century ended up being my favourites back in 2012 and I’ve some good books lined up already (including at least 4 A.A.M. books and plays I haven’t already read).

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  • January 1, 2018 at 5:54 pm
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    Wow, that’s some undertaking Simon! As I tend to respond very badly to limitations of any sort, I shan’t join in. But I shall watch from the side with interest, cheering you on! :)))

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  • January 1, 2018 at 6:04 pm
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    I don’t have Twitter so I’m thankful that you told us about ACOB. It’s a wonderful idea although overwhelming on first thought. To make the undertaking more manageable, I think I’ll research each year’s books and consider ones I’ve already read as read for the project. Then if there is time for this between my other book groups and study projects, I’ll go back to read new to me books in those years. And now I’ll read your helpful hints.

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  • January 1, 2018 at 6:04 pm
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    I’m in! Did this back in 2014 and had a grand – if occasionally frustrating – time searching out books I actually wanted to read for each year. Tried to repeat the project in 2017 but it derailed, so here’s a chance to take another shot at it, in very good company. I think I’ll be a traditionalist, and read the 20th Century again, 1900-1999. Though I must say I am tempted by your time shift which takes in the more recent years. Thank you, Simon, for the nudges, then and now. Happy ACOB Reading in 2018!

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  • January 1, 2018 at 6:18 pm
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    I’m in! It’ll be fun to put some structure into my reading choices this year. Mine won’t all be fiction though.

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  • January 1, 2018 at 6:33 pm
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    I’m in Simon, doing the same century as you, 1919-2018. I will most likely need two years to complete. I do read a little over 100 books a year, but I need some flexibility.

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  • January 1, 2018 at 9:43 pm
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    Hi Simon, as I commented on Claires post I had started this then let it lapse this past year. I think I will try to get more books on the list and may add years 2001 to 2015. I would like to take as many as I can from my TBR on the shelves. I had so many titles when I had my massive Penguin collection but am now going to need my shelves to see what I still have since I sold my Penguin library. It will be fun to watch others in this challenge.

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  • January 1, 2018 at 10:47 pm
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    I will definitely have a go – hope I’m more successful than last year’s attempt to only acquire 24 books!

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  • January 1, 2018 at 10:57 pm
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    I’m in! Can’t wait to get started!

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  • January 1, 2018 at 11:20 pm
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    Simon, I’m back for another round. Given the number of challenges I do (it’s a sickness, I tell you…), I’m going to plan on taking two years to complete this one. But I’ll try to squeeze them all into 2018 if I can. Here’s my Sign-up Post.

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  • January 1, 2018 at 11:54 pm
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    I love this idea and didn’t participate in the past. I am going to start with A Half Century of Books (AHCOB), 1910 to 1960, and see how I do with that. If I can take two years as suggested by others, the whole century may be doable.

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  • January 2, 2018 at 12:00 am
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    I’m sort of in…
    I don’t do challenges any more, because I like to read at whim, but for a couple of years now I’ve had a long-term mini-project to read one *Australian* book for each year of the C20th. I’ve made a fair bit of progress, – which you can see easily from the Year of Publication drop-down menu on my blog, right down at the bottom – but I haven’t got it nicely set up on a page like this, something I’ve now put on my To-Do list, thank you for the idea.
    It’s not easy to find books from early in the century because the Australian publishing industry was in its infancy, but Bill from The Australian Legend has given me a list of possibles to fill in the gaps. (Now all I have to do is find where I put the list, I knew I shouldn’t have reorganised my desk!

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  • January 2, 2018 at 1:46 pm
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    The shift to beginning in 1919 is just enough to make me throw my hat in the ring again. I stayed up way to late last night combing my shelf for books to fill the list. I think I was surprised last time how challenging it was to find stuff last time around (for me) that hit the first two decades of the century. This time seems much more manageable. I am hopeful that I will be able to read entirely from my TBR pile.

    I also made the mistake last time of trying to go in chronological order. That still appeals to me this time around, but it proved to be such an impediment to progress before that I would be very stupid to try that again.

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  • January 2, 2018 at 6:17 pm
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    I am also in – can’t guarantee completing in a year – but it will give me some focus and encourage me on some mid-century authors that I have always meant to read.

    Definitely will have some non-fiction in there, and audio books.

    I appreciate the time-span adjustment – I don’t want to pass up some more recent publications just to fill in a spreadsheet

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  • January 4, 2018 at 12:32 am
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    Yes, I’m in! I can’t wait to get started. It’s great that so many people are participating. I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone reads!

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  • January 5, 2018 at 8:22 pm
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    I initially deleted your post after reading it as I thought there is no way I can do this challenge! I am increasing my work hours and will have less time to read. However, after reading the comments and the posting about it on Thomas’ Hogglestock blog, I am intrigued to keep track of my reading by year. I am going to pay attention to the year and make a list of the 100 years, writing the first book I read from that publication year. This will take me several years as I tend to read newish books and my house is full of them. I’ll see how it goes and I am sure I will get suggestions for older books from both you and Thomas. Thanks for the suggestion!

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  • January 11, 2018 at 3:52 pm
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    I’m In ! Will do Two Centuries of Books to include 19th and 20th centuries. I’ll keep a written spreadsheet, and it will probably take a few years…..but I’m excited to start!

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