The Thirty-Nine Steps

  
Title: The Thirty-Nine Steps

Author: John Buchan 

Published: 1915

Challenges: Reading the Twentieth Century, The Classics Club, TBR Pile 2015

Synopsis

Richard Hanney is just thinking about how boring is London life is and how he should leave when his upstairs neighbour appears seeking refuge.  This mysterious man has uncovered some kind of plot involving various governments and although he gives Hanney some hints, he largely keeps the plot to himself.  When this neighbour is then found murdered in Hanney’s flat, Hanney knows he must disappear for a while and try to find some way to warn the British Government of the plot.  He hotfoots it to Scotland with the police (who are after him for murder) and some Germans (who think Hanney knows all about their plot) hot on his trail.  His time in Scotland involves a wealth of adventure, from disguises and explosions to car crashes and finding some unlikely allies, Hanney is determined to do anything to ensure he stops this mysterious plot. 

My Thoughts

The Thirty-Nine Steps is a good old fashioned adventure.  Told from the perspective of Hanney, this is a simple and engaging narrative that is action packed but in a simplistic way.  That’s not an insult to the book, in fact it is compliment as I found this an easy and exciting read; you know the hero is going to be successful but it’s fun to read of his scraps and the challenges he faces.  It’s pure adventure escapism.

Published in 1915, I was surprised that there weren’t really any major comments on the war, at least not until the very end of the novel and that was just a passing sentence.  But then the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.  The Thirty-Nine Steps was written at a time when Britain was slowly waking up to the reality of war so it makes perfect sense that this novel is old fashioned adventure and a tale where good overcomes evil; readers probably needed that.  And there are some ‘subtle’ hints at war and the German enemy.  The bad guys in The Thirty-Nine Steps are crafty Germans who are good at disguises and hoodwinking their enemies.  They are portrayed as lying tricksters who will stop at nothing to get what they want and they get their comeuppance.   

Overall this was a great read and one that I enjoyed much more than I expected.  I think I might hunt out some more of Buchan’s work. 


A Room of One’s Own

  
Title: A Room of One’s Own

Author: Virginia Woolf

Published: 1929

Challenges: The Classics Club, Reading the Twentieth Century, Women’s Classic Literature

Synopsis

A Room of One’s Own is an extended essay by Virginia Woolf based on a lecture she gave at Girton College, Cambridge in 1928. In it she explores the life of women and fiction: how they have been portrayed; the struggles they have faced when writing; their style of writing and what they need in order to be a successful writer.  Woolf discusses famous nineteenth century writers, such as Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen, and their writing and goes on to discuss what would have happened if Shakespeare had a sister.  

My Thoughts

I added A Room of One’s Own to my Classics Club List earlier this year as I knew I wanted to re read it (I studied it at university and can remember sitting in my room in my second year house drinking copious amounts of tea and reading it in an afternoon).  When The Classics Club announced their Women’s Classic Literature event and various posts on Woolf and this work in particular started appearing I knew it was time to pick it up again.  The premise is quite simple: in order to be a successful writer a woman must have money and a room of One’s own own with a lock on it.  This is why literature has been dominated by men for centuries – they have always had the freedom to escape their families and explore the world – although this has often depended on money.  Women through history have usually been stuck in the kitchen or at home popping sprigs and raising them and for some bizarre reason that isn’t very exciting to read about. And the women who are written about in fiction? As Woolf puts it:

‘Indeed, if woman had no existence save in fiction written by men, one would imagine her a person of the utmost importance; very various;heroic and mean; splendid and sordid; infinitely beautiful and hideous in the extreme; as great as a man, some think even greater.’ 

As I type this my mind instantly turns to characters like Lady Macbeth.  If your only knowledge of women came from this character alone, you would certainly think women ruled the world and that their husbands were there to do their bidding.  Obviously she doesn’t have a happy ending, but she does persuade her husband to commit murder so she is a formidable woman. 

A Room of One’s Own helps to encapsulate a world where women were just starting to enjoy the freedom granted to them by movements such as the Suffragettes and gaining the right to vote.  Woolf’s essay seems to be encouraging (admittedly quite forcefully in places) women not to miss this opportunity and to be spurred on to help rewrite history, to ensure that women find their rightful place in literature and write their history…even if it is a tad mundane in places. One section in particular struck a chord with me.  Below is my favourite section of the book:

‘Therefore I would ask you to write all kinds of books, hesitating at no subject however trivial or however vast.  By hook. Or by crook, I hope that you will possess yourself of money enough  to travel and to idle, to contemplate the future or the past of the world, to dream over books and loiter at street corners and let the line of thought dip deep into the stream.’ 

Gone With The Wind

  
Title: Gone with the Wind

Author: Margaret Mitchell

Published: 1936

Challenges: Reading the Twentieth Century and The Classics Club

Synopsis

Starting before The American Civil War Gone with the Wind is an epic novel spanning the war and the years following it.  The entire novel focuses on Scarlett O’Hara, who begins as a vain and incredibly self obsessed sixteen year old and ends the novel as a slightly less vain and self obsessed woman in her late twenties.  I say ‘slightly less’ as these (along with money hungry) are probably some of the best adjectives to describe Scarlett.  That being said she is also fierce, strong willed and absolutely determined to succeed at everything she wants and this is what she does.  Along the way she faces many hardships, especially as the defeat of the Confederate Army brings about the loss of the world she grew up in; a world where old families on their plantations ruled the South and women were brought up to be ladies.  She sees those she grew up with killed fighting for a cause she cares very little for, she loses those she cares about, buries two husbands and recklessly ruins her relationship with the third, she is dirt poor, starving and has to defend her family home from Yankees.  She becomes a business woman, much to the disgust of the families she grew up with.  She realises that maybe lusting after and wasting her life wishing for a man she can never have may have jepordised her chance for real love and this is probably one of the hardest things for her to learn. 

  
My Thoughts

I’m not going to pretend that my thoughts are going to bring about some wonderful new insight into this enormous novel or that I am going to offer anything profoundly interesting to say, but I am going to type up my jumbled thoughts and my own experience of reading Gone with the Wind.  I feel as though I started this novel in a different lifetime; I bought it in Australia and began reading it on the plane home.  Since then I have returned to work, restarted yoga and the gym, attended a hen party and a wedding, been on a mini trip to Cornwall and grown a year older (*sob*) so you can see how my thoughts might be a tad mixed up.  

Before starting Gone with the Wind I knew very little about it: I knew about Scarlett O’Hara; the setting of the American South; the ‘frankly my dear I don’t give a damn’ film line. That’s it.  My knowledge of America during this time period is also very limited so it was very interesting to learn more about this period in American history and how Atlanta and the neighbouring area coped with such a tumultuous time and all the changes this brought about.  

I did really enjoy Gone with the Wind and I was so keen to finish it.  I loved Scarlett as a character as she is so strong minded and determined to get what she wants.  There were times when she frustrated me, when she couldn’t see the good in people or accept that some people (Ashley) just aren’t going to change or live up to the ideal you have in your head.  And there were times when her behaviour was to be admired, such as when she refused to lose her childhood home, Tara to the Yankees.  Scarlett is certainly a formidable woman and I love how she was willing to break with conventions regardless of what other people thought.  This would have been truly shocking for a woman in the 1860s and I loved how she just didn’t care.  

My limited prior knowledge of Gone with the Wind did go as far as knowing that Rhett Butler is one of Scarlett’s love interests.  Therefore I was expecting some sweeping romance and a happy ever after.  How wrong was I? Rhett is a perfect hero as he is a bit of a scoundrel but he isn’t afraid to call Scarlett out on her behaviour and to put her in her place.  He also won’t stand for any of her nonsense or any nonsense from the people around him.  I can’t believe how long the build up to their relationship was but it was clear throughout that something about Scarlett kept drawing Rhett back to her.  As mentioned their romance does not have the typical happy ever after we expect.  In fact Rhett leaves Scarlett just as she realises how much he means to her,  thus leaving the reader in a somewhat ambiguous position as to what truly happens to Scarlett in the end. I have no doubts that Scarlett gets her way in the end and rekindles her relationship with Rhett, but the unclear ending is frustrating. 

Overall, despite the fact it took me forever to read I really enjoyed Gone with the Wind and I can see it will be a book I return to in a few years time and one I am sure you discover new things about each time you re read it.  I think I would like to read around this novel before a reread as I am sure there is so much I have missed. 

The Big Four

 

Title: The Big Four

Author: Agatha Christie

Published: 1927  

Challenges: Reading the Twentieth Century

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis

Captain Hastings returns from South America to visit his old friend Poirot, only to find the Belgian detective wrapped up in cases and when a mysterious stranger talking about The Big Four arrives in the flat and then promptly dies, Poirot soon becomes engrossed in this mystery.  Hastings and Poirot are soon putting their own lives in danger as they come up against The Big Four, an international crime group who are planning something big.  This Poirot novel sees our detective and his hapless friend travel across Europe and Poirot’s ‘little grey cells’ are truly put to the test.

My Thoughts

Of course I’m going to say I liked this book as I always like a good Poriot novel. It has everything I love in it: a mystery; Poirot; some tricky crimes and another chance for me to attempt to solve the mystery before I got to the end.  Poirot novels are usually known for cosy crime committed in quaint little British villages and a choice of criminals from a small circle of the victim’s intimate acquaintances, however The Big Four is slightly different in its choice of criminals, an international gang.  The book still has the typical Agatha Christie touches but I also felt it had a little bit of a James Bond style, even though this was written decades before Fleming wrote any Bond novels and even though it is still a little cosy.  There isn’t much more I can say about Christie books, I just love them. 

Mariana

 
Title: Mariana

Author: Monica Dickens

First Published: 1940

Challenges: Reading the Twentieth Century, TBR Pile 2015 and Reading England

Synopsis

Mariana is a novel following the life of Mary Shannon as she moves from childhood to young adulthood (for some reason I remember reading that they didn’t have teenagers until the 1950s?) to marriage.  It opens at the start of the War and with her new husband away fighting Mary takes off with her dog to a secluded cottage to escape from her worries.  It is here on the wireless that she hears some terrible news and, due to storms cutting off communication lines, she must wait until morning to discover if her worst fears are to be realised.  

The narrative then moves to Mary’s childhood and her love for her Grandparents’ Somerset home, Charbury and her cousin, Denys who Mary is infatuated by.  Her whole childhood and time at school is spent in awe of Denys, keeping a secret engagement and doing anything he asks, such as jumping off a garden wall.  It is not until she visits him at Oxford that Mary realises how silly her girlhood dreams were.  Her life then takes her to acting school (a dismal affair) to Paris and a more public engagement to a Parisian who cares rather too much for the showy and finer things in life and then back to London to meet the perfect man.  And then the War begins.

My Thoughts

I knew I would like Mariana as soon as I read the following lines in the Introduction:

  
I couldn’t think of a better way to sum up England if I tried and just to make it clear I love living in England.  That being said I feel as though it has taken me a long time to read a relatively short book, well 370+ pages.  I’m completely blaming this on moving and I promise that will be the last time for a few months that I blame anything on this…well apart from when I can’t find a certain book because it’s packed in a box somewhere.  In places Dickens’ description is lyrically beautiful; there is a fantastic passage detailing two young men strolling across a sunlit lawn that just instantly brought that image to my mind and made me wish for those hot, lazy summer days.  

In places I laughed and in places I cringed as I was reminded of a young me and all the silly infatuations your teenage years brings.  One particular quotation I snapped on my phone was Granny’s response when Mary asked if her school friend could visit Charbury: ‘Of course, Darling. Bring the whole school if you like.’  I found Mary such an endearing protagonist; she was such an ordinary, young woman, in fact I think she is even described as ‘not a beauty.’  She goes through all the dramas and dilemmas anyone growing up faces, from finding your career path to being fooled by the superficial facade of some people.  Who amoung us hasn’t fallen madly in love with some handsome guy only to find that actually there isn’t that much going on behind the eyes?  

Mariana can successfully be added to the list of Persephone Book I have thoroughly enjoyed.  For me it is the romantic simplicity of the narratives that I truly love and I know I will always be transported to a beautiful world.  

Challenges

Mariana ticks off a book in three lists: 1940 in my Reading the Twentieth Century; book 6 in my TBR Pile 2015 and Somerset in Reading England.

The Phantom of the Opera

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Title: The Phantom of the Opera
Author: Gaston Leroux
Published: 1909
Challenges: Reading the Twentieth Century and TBR Pile 2015
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
Underneath the Paris Opera house lives a ghost, a phantom, an angel of music. He haunts those who work at the opera and although many believe the ghost is nothing but a superstition, there are those who truly fear his presence. One of those people is singer Christine Daie. Christine is an orphan and on his death bed her father promised her he would send her a The Angel of Music and this is exactly who Christine meets. Only it isn’t an angel, it’s Erik, the phantom who lives in the depths of the opera. He falls hopelessly in love with Christine and longs for her to feel the same, hoping that when she sees his true face she won’t recoil in horror. Erik’s fascination with Christine could lead to horrific outcomes for Christine and all those she cares for.

My Thoughts
I love the musical The Phantom of the Opera, it is one of my mum’s favourites and I have lovely memories of watching the DVD and seeing the stage production in the West End. I end up in tears every time and my resounding feeling at the end is always ‘but he just wanted to be loved.’ The novel has been on my shelf for years and I have never quite managed to pick it up, which is why I put it on my TBR Pile for this year…and if I’m honest I was a little disappointed.

I found the novel really hard to get in to and I just didn’t feel much interest in the characters, despite knowing the narrative and caring about the musical version. There were points where I genuinely thought I would give up as I was losing interest. The only thing that saved the novel for me was that just over halfway through it actually became much darker and thus much more interesting. After Erik has kidnapped Christine from the stage, right in front of the eyes of the opera audience, we follow Roaul, her love interest, on his quest to find her. Roaul is helped by someone who knows Erik from his past and is aware of the depraved and warped way his mind works and is therefore looking for a trap around every corner. The description of Erik’s torture chamber and ‘house’ by the lake deep underground is terrifying and truly encompasses many gothic features, however despite how fascinating this part was, it still wasn’t enough to make me rave about this book. I think the biggest issue for me is that I know and love the musical so much that this was always going to be a tough benchmark for the book to live up to. Unlike the musical, I didn’t feel any real empathy for Erik, rather I just wrote him off as a horrid character.

I’m glad I have read it, but I don’t think The Phantom of the Opera will be making a permanent home on my bookshelf.

Challenges
The Phantom of the Opera Is the third book ticked off my TBR Pile 2015 which means I am on track in terms of reading the twelve books in twelve years.
It also counts as my book for 1909 in my Reading the Twentieth Century challenge.

The Great Gatsby

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Title: The Great Gatsby
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Published: 1926
Reread
Challenges: The Classics Club, Reading the Twentieth Century
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
On the banks of the river in Long Island is a magnificent, opulent house. Every weekend it is thrown open to the most lavish parties, with never ending streams of liquor, the most talked about guests and fantastic music that takes everyone to the small hours of the morning. Few people are officially invited to these nights of decadence and even fewer people have met their enigmatic host, Mr Gatsby. Some say he is related to the German royal family, others say he is a spy; the sad truth is very few of his guests can actually be bothered to find out, something which is clearly evident at the end of the novel. One of the few who does make an effort is next door neighbour, Nick Carraway, our narrator and it is through him that we discover Gatsby’s background, rise to fortune and the love that has been the driving force behind his life.

My Thoughts
This is probably the third time I have read The Great Gatsby and I find that each reread I have discovered something new and something else that I enjoy about it. From the recent Baz Luhrman adaptation I think people have a certain image of this book and it is so much more than just these spectacular parties you see in the film trailer.

The term ‘The American Dream’ has come up quite a lot recently in my teaching life and I am planning to teach The Great Gatsby so I had this particular theme in mind throughout. The idea of ‘The American Dream’ is that everyone in America has the opportunity and ability to achieve their dreams, whether this is owning a plot of land (I’m thinking Of Mice and Men) or making a pile of money, America is the land of opportunity. But as with many works of literature the reader is left wondering if ‘The American Dream’ is actually achievable or is it just some myth sold to those planning a new life in this country? This is certainly the case for Gatsby, who has all the money he could possibly ever need and yet he is still searching for and desperate for the love of a woman (Daisy) who rejected him when he was poor. In turn, Daisy is trapped in an unhappy marriage with a man who can’t seem to stay faithful, so it seems her American Dream has also fallen short of the mark.

I remember the first time I reread The Great Gatsby I felt a little underwhelmed, however this time I thoroughly enjoyed it. I find the character of Gatsby so fascinating, especially in his attempts to reinvent himself and his quest for money. I also found myself feeling sorry for him at the end of the novel as he truly epitomises the idea that money cannot buy you happiness and can certainly not bring you true and loyal friends. I’m not going to ruin the twist in the novel, but it is a fantastic one and I think Fitzgerald has been very clever when weaving hints at what is to come throughout the novel.

I feel quite scathingly towards some of the characters in this novel and Fitzgerald sums it up perfectly when he writes ‘They were careless people…they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness…and let other people clean up the mess they had made.’ . Saying that I would LOVE to have attended one of Gatsby’s parties and the ‘romantic possibilities’ they held.

Challenges
Yay another book ticked off of my Classics Club list, this is the challenge I am most worried about -if I could honestly say I was worried about any of them – as I haven’t been as good with my classics reading.
The Great Gatsby counts towards my Reading the Twentieth Century challenge, filling a space in the 1920s.

The Camomile Lawn

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Title: The Camomile Lawn
Author: Mary Wesley
Published: 1984
Challenges: Reading the Twentieth Century, Reading England
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis

‘It is August of 1939 and five cousins have gathered at their aunt’s house in Cornwall for their annual summer holidays.’ Nineteen year old Oliver has just returned from fighting in The Spanish Civil War. He is desperately in love with the beautiful Calypso who claims she is incapable of love. Brother and sister, Walter and Polly have travelled with them for the annual ‘Terror Run’ and orphaned Sophy make up the group. By the end of the evening war has been declared and the lives of the five cousins are dramatically changed. The Camomile Lawn follows the five cousins – and some extended family and friends – throughout the war years and gives a glimpse into how they survived in such turbulent times. The novel takes the reader beyond the war years and into the cousins’ old age, exploring their loves and losses with the ever present backdrop of the camomile lawn and the hope, innocence and lost youth it represents.

My Thoughts

The Camomile Lawn was recommended to me by a work colleague months ago and I always remembered the title but never quite got round to searching out a copy. With my recent obsession with visiting my local library I decided I needed to order a copy in and finally tick this book off my list. I am so glad I did; I know I say this all the time, but I LOVED The Camomile Lawn . Within pages I was laughing out loud, mainly at the somewhat blasé comments of the cousins towards their Uncle Richard’s lost limb, an injury of the First World War. I quickly warmed to the characters and genuinely cared about their lives and wanted to find out what happened to them and how the war affected them. It was interesting to see how their lives intertwined and how their relationships with one another developed and disintegrated in the decades following.

A lot of the narrative is centred on the war years and it was lovely to read about the freedom this brought some characters, such as Helena who found the opportunity to leave Richard in Cornwall and have a life in London, admittedly as the mistress of a Jewish composer who had fled to England with his wife shortly before the outbreak of war, leaving their son to the fates of a concentration camp. There are some sections set in the present day – well the 1980s – and these create a more mysterious element to the narrative as you wonder how each character came to this point in their life and who will turn up at the final event that draws them altogether: a funeral.

My favourite themes running through the novel centres on the sexual liberation/freedom that seems to arrive with the onset of war. This is not a new concept when reading war literature but I loved how the illicit – and often somewhat incestuous – were almost hinted at and not thrown in your face, as some more recent books/films tend to do. The casual way some of them are mentioned almost reflects the casual attitude some had towards sex and relationships during the war. I always feel I fall in to a trap when reading some war literature, especially novels that are written decades after the war, as I get this romanticised view of the war and the freedom and the excitement of the bombings and air raids that came with it. I am fully aware that this is a skewed view and not 100% reflective of reality, but some authors make it sound so glamorous and exciting. There are some strings to the plot that do explore the horrific side of the war, however these are quickly brushed over, perhaps mirroring the ‘carry on with little fuss’ style attitude that was arguably needed to have the strength to go on and keep some element of humour.

The Camomile Lawn is a fantastic read and I would certainly recommend it. In keeping with my reading habits of this year I have enjoyed this novel and the escapism from reality it brought me. It is a lovely novel and I am keen to discover more of Mary Wesley’s work in my local library.

Challenges
The Camomile Lawn counts towards my Reading the Twentieth Century challenge, ticking off another year in the 1980s and my Reading England challenge, introducing Cornwall to the mix.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

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Title: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
Author: Winifred Watson
Published: 1938
Challenges: TBR Pile 2015, Reading England, Reading the Twentieth Century
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 l

Synopsis
Miss Pettigrew is on her last chance. She has no position, no income and her landlady is threatening to have her evicted, which for a lady in her 40s with no family is a terrifying prospect. She has two chances at a job; a maid or a governess. So when she knocks on the door of Miss LaFosse’s London flat the last thing she expects is to be swept into a world of glamour, parties and men. From the moment Miss Pettigrew meets Miss LaFosse she is saving her from various men and helping her to cover up their existence when the next one appears. Miss LaFosse is eternally grateful and takes Miss Pettigrew under her wing as her new friend, introducing her to her glamorous friends and giving her the make over Miss Pettigrew always dreamed off. It is a tale that takes Miss Pettigrew to a world she never thought existed and certainly a world she never knew she could be a part of.

My Thoughts
It is very rare that I finish a book with a huge smile on my face, yes I enjoy a lot of what I read and a lot of it makes me smile, but Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day left me feeling uplifted and just generally happy. Miss Pettigrew’s journey from a quiet, unassuming and slightly scared woman to a confident woman who finally finds her calling in life was a lovely one. It truly showed how someone’s life could easily change in just one day and change for the better. Miss Pettigrew is a lovely character and although she is only 40 – which is hardly old – she seems much older and reminds me of a lovely old lady and an old lady you want to have around in a crisis. Within minutes of meeting Miss LaFosse she starts helping her out and makes her realise what, or who, she truly wants in life. It made me want a Miss Pettigrew of my own, as I know there are times when I desperately need someone else to steer me in the right direction and perhaps having someone impartial can be hugely beneficial. Perhaps one of my favourite chapters centred on a visit to a party and Miss Pettigrew, who has never really had a drink before, has a few too many strong drinks and tells one young man exactly what he needs to hear. I loved the description of Miss Pettigrew after a few drinks and the confidence she felt; ‘she felt grand. She felt brimming with authority and assurance. It was a marvellous sensation. She thought scornfully of her former timid self.’ . I loved how confident and bolshy the alcohol made Miss Pettigrew and how free she felt having drunk, although she did suffer from the sober guilt of ‘have I offended anyone’ which I also enjoyed.

For me the novel explored the idea that you should take advantage of all opportunities that come your way and that helping others will always lead to positive outcomes and I think this is what left me smiling at the end. Miss Pettigrew got exactly what she deserved, in a positive way and I was pleased for her character. To go from having no one and nothing to having everything is a lovely ending.

Challenges
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day falls into three of my challenges for the year, so I am very pleased; I like books that tick more than one box. This is the second book I have read from my TBR Pile 2015; I am happy with the progress I am making with this challenge especially as I have a bit of a head start with two books in one month. This novel also ticks off London in my Reading England 2015 challenge. I only set the challenge of reading 4-6 counties so I am hoping two counties in one month is a promising sign. Finally, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is another book towards my Reading the Twentieth Century, so all in all a good challenge book.

Reading the Twentieth Century – 10% Update

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Last year I decided to take part in my own little Reading the Twentieth Century project. I haven’t set myself a deadline, instead I am running this alongside some of my other projects and hoping books fit in. I am interested to see which decades I complete first/last and which author appears the most, although I think I can already guess that one. When I posted my first update at the 10% mark I was debating whether or not to include just one book from each author, but I have decided against this. I would quite like to see which authors appear more than once.

Here I am at the 20% mark and I have ticked off a few more decades, although I still haven’t completed one.

One from the 1900s (The Hound of the Baskervilles)
One from the 1910s (Peter Pan)
Three from the 1930s (Peril at End House, Murder Underground and Dumb Witness)
One from the 1940s (A House in the Country)
One from the 1950s (Ordeal by Innocence)
One from the 1970s (Bella)
Two from the 1990s (Ian Fleming and Girl with a Pearl Earring)

New decades for this update include the 1900s, 1930s and the 1970s, with three books from the 1930s in this update alone. The 1990s is still the most read decade at the moment as I have read five books from this decade, if I include 2000, which I realise actually makes my list 101 books long, but I have never been that good at maths. At the moment Agatha Christie is the most read author and I have a feeling this might stay the same throughout the challenge. The only decade without a read so far is the 1960s so maybe that will be ticked off by the next update.

It is difficult to choose a favourite read from this 10% but if I had to choose it would be A House in the Country as it wasn’t what I expected and I really enjoyed it. Equally my least favourite book wasn’t what I expected: Murder Underground. I think I have been spoilt by too much Agatha Christie and when I read a book from the same genre and era and it doesn’t live up to it I certainly notice.

Another great 10% completed from my list and I wonder how long it will take me to reach the next 10%.