Miscellaneous -  A Century of Reading: The 10 Books (497 views) Notify me whenever anyone posts in this discussion.Subscribe
 
From: MerlinsDadJul-10 11:10 AM 
To: All  (1 of 25) 
 7466.1 

I'm reading a book set in the early 1940s which makes reference to quite a number of books.  I was curious to set what books were popular in the 1930s and early 1940s.  I ran across this wonderful list of "The Ten Books that Defined Each Decade of the 20th Century" by Emily Temple on Literary Hub https://lithub.com/.  I recognized many of them; some I did not.  I've read several of them but so long ago that I remember little about them.  Each book has a brief defense for its inclusion.  I recommend those comments.  They're insightful and very informative.  Each decade ends with an "also see" section in which other important works, as Temple and the lithub editorial staff sees it, of the decade are listed.  https://lithub.com/a-century-of-reading-the-10-books-that-defined-the-1990s/

Temple's comments on the project. 

A Century of Reading: The 10 Books That Defined Each Decade of the 20th century

 

Some books are flashes in the pan, read for entertainment and then left on a bus seat for the next lucky person to pick up and enjoy, forgotten by most after their season has passed. Others stick around, are read and re-read, are taught and discussed: sometimes due to great artistry, sometimes due to luck, and sometimes because they manage to recognize and capture some element of the culture of the time.

In the moment, you often can’t tell which books are which. The Great Gatsby wasn’t a bestseller upon its release, but we now see it as emblematic of a certain American sensibility in the 1920s. Of course, hindsight can also distort the senses; the canon looms and obscures. Still, over the next two and a half weeks, we’ll be publishing a list a day, each one attempting to define a discrete decade, starting with the 1900s (as you’ve no doubt guessed by now) and counting down until we get to the (nearly complete) 2010s.

Though the books on these lists need not be American in origin, I am looking for books that evoke some aspect of American life, actual or intellectual, in each decade—a global lens would require a much longer list. And of course, varied and complex as it is, there’s no list that could truly define American life over ten or any number of years, so I do not make any claim on exhaustiveness. I’ve simply selected books that, if read together, would give a fair picture of the landscape of literary culture for that decade—both as it was and as it is remembered. Finally, two process notes: I’ve limited myself to one book per author over the entire 12-part list, so you may see certain works skipped over in favor of others, even if both are important (for instance, I’ll be ignoring Dubliners so later I can include Ulysses), and in the case of translated work, I’ll be using the date of the English translation, for obvious reasons.
--- Emily Temple
 (Head here for the 1910s20s30s, 40s50s60s70s, and 80s)

1900s


L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
Booker T. Washington,
Up From Slavery (1901)
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (1902)
William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902)
Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902).
W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (1903)
Helen Keller, The Story of My Life (1903)
Jack London, The Call of the Wild (1903)
Upton Sinclair, The Jungle (1904 serial, 1906 single volume)
Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth (1905)
https://lithub.com/a-century-of-reading-the-10-books-that-defined-the-1900s/

1910s

Jane Addams, Twenty Years at Hull House (1910)
J. M. Barrie, Peter and Wendy (1911)
Zane Grey, Riders of the Purple Sage (1912)
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes (1912)
Willa Cather, O Pioneers! (1913)
Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams (English translation, 1913)
Gertrude Stein, Tender Buttons (1914)
Booth Tarkington, The Magnificent Ambersons (1918)
W. B. Yeats, The Wild Swans at Coole (1917, 1919)
Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio (1919)
https://lithub.com/a-century-of-reading-the-10-books-that-defined-the-1910s/

 

1920s

Agatha Christie, The Mysterious Affair at Styles
...[Message truncated]

 

 
From: Pegasus (VE5CAP)Jul-10 3:11 PM 
To: MerlinsDad  (2 of 25) 
 7466.2 in reply to 7466.1 

Of the 100 books, I've read 12.

 
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From: Linda (LoveToRead) DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by hostJul-10 3:24 PM 
To: MerlinsDad  (3 of 25) 
 7466.3 in reply to 7466.1 

I've read 28 of these over the years.  One I remember reading as A child ... Zane Grey's Rider of the Purple Sage.  My mom had a complete set and I wound up reading most of them

Judy Blume, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret (1970)  -- this is one of the books I used to entice my younger son to read when he was a tadpole  :-)  I loved those Judy Blume books!

 

 
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From: greenie225 DelphiPlus Member IconJul-10 8:24 PM 
To: MerlinsDad  (4 of 25) 
 7466.4 in reply to 7466.1 

I've read 18 of these books.  This sent me on a search for unread books that I keep separate from read books.  :3  I had to choose 4 of them.  One is The Nutmeg Tree by Margery Sharp.  1937.  Sounds interesting.  I'm adding books to the list.  Nobody else has done so -- 

Except, oh I almost forgot.  One of our members is a published author!  She sent a private email to tell me about it.  Shyly, I think.  I grabbed it as a kindle book.  I am liking it.  I think she saw herself in me:  Sometimes I Cry:  My Path to Healing:  A Memoir, Jean D. Stouffer.  Long title. This book is unique to me.  It starts with a poem, the kind I write myself, and goes into stories from an animal's point of view.  Losing Molly.  Then Interlude, where she talks about why she wrote a poem or how she felt when writing it.  "It took 5 minutes."

Did I give you whiplash -- jumping so fast into something else completely?  Sorry.  She is my favorite new member.  She has helped me with scheduling the library and my so-called leadership role!  And then I find out she writes.  Sigh.

 

 
From: MerlinsDadJul-11 9:54 AM 
To: Pegasus (VE5CAP)  (5 of 25) 
 7466.5 in reply to 7466.2 

That's a good score.  Do you spot any that you would like to read?  I saw several.

  • Edited July 11, 2021 9:56 am  by  MerlinsDad
 

 
From: MerlinsDadJul-11 9:59 AM 
To: Linda (LoveToRead) DelphiPlus Member Icon  (6 of 25) 
 7466.6 in reply to 7466.3 

I've read 28 of these over the years.

Very impressive.  Rider of the Purple Sage is one I would like to read; also Lonesome Dove, although I saw the tv series.  There's several I'd like to get to.

Judy Blume, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret (1970)

After reading why she added it to the list, I think I would like to read it.  It's very popular and all copies stay checked out.

 

 
From: MerlinsDadJul-11 10:07 AM 
To: greenie225 DelphiPlus Member Icon unread  (7 of 25) 
 7466.7 in reply to 7466.4 

I've read 18 of these books

Impressive.

I had to choose 4 of them.  One is The Nutmeg Tree by Margery Sharp.  1937.  Sounds interesting.  I'm adding books to the list.  Nobody else has done so -- 

I presume you're talking about your book club list?

I think she saw herself in me:  Sometimes I Cry:  My Path to Healing:  A Memoir, Jean D. Stouffer.  Long title.

Is that her book title?  or is it merely a favorite?

I am liking it.  I think she saw herself in me:  Sometimes I Cry:  My Path to Healing:  A Memoir, Jean D. Stouffer.  Long title. This book is unique to me.  It starts with a poem, the kind I write myself, and goes into stories from an animal's point of view.  Losing Molly.  Then Interlude, where she talks about why she wrote a poem or how she felt when writing it.  "It took 5 minutes."

I presume you are talking about the book published by one of our forum members?

Did I give you whiplash

To a certain extent.

She has helped me with scheduling the library and my so-called leadership role!  And then I find out she writes.  Sigh.

That's wonderful that she has been able to help you with the book club.  I hope you are more comfortable now with your leadership role.

 

 
From: Pegasus (VE5CAP)Jul-11 10:25 AM 
To: MerlinsDad  (8 of 25) 
 7466.8 in reply to 7466.5 
To Kill A Mockingbird is on my tbr list. I have Mrs. Dalloway on the bookshelf next to me. Other than that, I'm not sure what else I'll be reading. Lol. I don't think too far ahead.
 

 
From: Linda (LoveToRead) DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by hostJul-11 11:05 AM 
To: greenie225 DelphiPlus Member Icon unread  (9 of 25) 
 7466.9 in reply to 7466.4 

How exciting for you! 

 

 
From: Freeman54Jul-11 1:14 PM 
To: MerlinsDad  (10 of 25) 
 7466.10 in reply to 7466.1 

I've read 12 of the books so far

 

 

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