Reading Across Time

I’ve never needed any encouragement to read books! When very young I recall looking at the pictures, longing to read the words beneath. Of course there were lots of children’s books, my favourite comic, all read to me. One set of four books though fascinated me, weighty tomes, even more so for four-year-old me, as I lugged the encyclopaedia, one at a time, from the shelf, to my bunk bed, and sat intensely perusing the images, running my fingers under the words, imagining their wisdom. Occasionally I would ask my  older brother to decipher some of the script … although I made sure never to avail myself of his help too often. I did not want to tire him with my neediness!

Over the years I’ve kept numerous notebooks of the books I’ve read,  made various lists, created my own small reading challenges. However, it was only though blogging that I discovered the plethora of reading challenges out there! All are wonderfully inventive and so tempting. However,  I’ve only taken up a main one so far, the Goodreads Reading Challenge. Here you set your own target for the number of books you hope to read in that one year and duly note each one down when finished and possibly add a review.  This challenge not only encourages more reading, but is accessible to other members to look at and it is also an excellent record of books read! My biggest haul one year was 91, the least 52. Still, I met my targets and it is interesting to see how the reading fluctuates. Some bloggers are a tour de force in this challenge and Jacqui Murray at worddreams… managed to read a phenomenal 222 books last year! Congratulations!

Some other challenges are centred around genre, or a famous book, or even the alphabet.

The ‘When Are You Reading?’ challenge intrigued me straight away by the concept of reading a book set in  twelve different eras. Not too ambitious, effectively a book a month, this is one I think I can manage. It’s not too difficult to discover a book for the later timelines and as you will see I am already well on the way to completing four time periods. However, what can I read for the pre-1300s 1400-1599, etc? The mind boggles. I may have to turn to Chaucer for one. Do you have any book recommendations to help me out for any of the eras? 

I learned about the challenge from Mary Smith at Mary Smith’s Place as she joined in for the first time this year. She had read about the challenge on ‘Taking on a World of Words’.

To take part you need to read a book set in each of the following eras, and it is up to you to determine which these are. The suggestion is to choose a year where the largest part of the action or the most important event occurs.

Below are the time eras and I have filled in some with the books I have read/nearly finished for four of the timelines. 

  • Pre 1300 
  • 1300 – 1499
  • 1500 – 1699
  • 1700 – 1799
  • 1800 – 1899
  • 1900 – 1919
  • 1920 – 1939 The Devil Aspect by Craig Russell… still reading – an Ebook – NetGalley
  • 1940 – 1959   Youngblood Hawke by Herman Wouk … still reading Ebook
  • 1960 – 1979
  • 1980 – 1999 Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (read January 2019) Paperback
  • 2000 – Present This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay  (read January 2019) Paperback
  • The Future

I must admit I rarely tackle four books simultaneously, however the books themselves are so diverse, and owing to the style and content ensured I needed a change of pace and variety.

The dark gothic mystery of ‘A Devil Aspect ‘ by Craig Russell is not my usual genre but asked by the publisher to review this on behalf of NetGalley I could not refuse. Set mainly in the 1930s in Czechoslovakia it is an intense, at times terrifying book. One far too frightening to read at night! Yet the ideas, the merging of the current political instability with the madness of the six homicidal lunatics is intoxicating.  These criminals are incarcerated in the bleakest of prisons and a young psychiatrist travels to see them and unravel their secrets. Meanwhile, in Prague a new serial murderer is at large, his crimes so barbaric it seems they could only be committed by the Devil himself. The city of Prague is incredibly atmospheric and captured in all its layers of beauty and darkness whilst the characters are vivd and intense. 

Many thanks to Barbara at Book Cub Mom for introducing me to ‘Youngblood Hawke’ by Herman Wouk; when it made her most favourite book ever I just had to read it. Do take a look at her review here.

It is a worthy literary opus and runs to nearly 800 pages in paperback. I’m finding it utterly compelling, wonderfully descriptive and the book reaches into the mind and emotions of the young writer, his early success, the crazy ensuing life, battle to control his sense of self. It recreates the era brilliantly but I need an occasional rest from it and hence my more modern books of the past two weeks.

One of these is ‘This is Going to Hurt’ by Adam Kay This a factual book about the ‘life of a junior doctor: 97-hour weeks, life and death decisions, a constant tsunami of bodily fluids, and the hospital parking meter earns more than you.’ I read this book in 24 hours and haven’t stopped talking about it since and there is now a queue in our house to read it next. Although at times hysterically funny the book is ultimately a serious indictment of the numerous governments and their (mis-)handling of the NHS over the years. I feel deep despair at the lack of respect and treatment of the medical staff from the highest level. Whilst laughing at the insanely comic situations (some in graphic detail) I am not sure anyone considering starting a family should read the book – it would have terrified me. Not for the faint-hearted but a very well-written book portraying the harsh reality for NHS hospital doctors.

“Tuesday, 5 July 2005 Trying to work out a seventy-year-old lady’s alcohol consumption to record in the notes. I’ve established that wine is her poison. Me: ‘And how much wine do you drink per day, would you say?’ Patient: ‘About three bottles on a good day.’ Me: ‘OK . . . And on a bad day?’ Patient: ‘On a bad day I only manage one.” 
― Adam Kay, ‘This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor’ 

What books are you currently reading? Are you participating in any Reading Challenges? Would you be tempted to take part in ‘When Are You Reading’ challenge? If so, please click here to learn more and sign up!

139 thoughts on “Reading Across Time

  1. Pingback: 2019 GOODREADS CHALLENGE – Annika Perry's Writing Blog

  2. Like you Annika, I’ve loved reading books since I was a girl. As one online friend recently told me, I’m lucky to have had parents who encouraged my interest in reading. Thanks for the great book shares in this post. I wish you a beautiful weekend xo

    1. Christy, it is a blessing to have been encouraged to read books and learn to love the written word from young! It’s hard to imagine anything different. I’m so glad you enjoyed the book shares. Happy Weekend … hopefully with free time for lots of reading! 😀😀📖📖

  3. Pingback: Whispering | Harvesting Hecate

  4. Seeing as you shut off comments on the previous post, I thought I would pop in and tell you that Valley of the Horses is not the first book in the series, Clan of the Cave Bear is and it is a much more historically interesting book. You must read A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe, it is fascination. I think I must read it again.

    1. Robbie, thank you so much for popping by here to let me know. I did see it was Book 2 but not sure if they could be read independently. I’ll start with the first one and the Daniel Defoe is a must read for me. Isn’t it wonderful to chat about books from different continents, united by one beloved interest!

      PS. So many had commented in depth on the first post about the challenge, hence the reason I turned off the comments.

      Also, I’m posting a book review tomorrow and I think this is one that will particularly interest you and your current work – and it is superb, heartwarming, brilliantly written and now one of my favourite books!

  5. Pingback: A LITERARY ROLL CALL – Annika Perry's Writing Blog

  6. Great post! I participate in the Goodreads challenge. Last year I just met my 50 book quota by the end of Dec. This year I have the same quota but I’m getting a better start. 6 books read so far!

      1. It depends on your tastes, but I read a wonderful historical mystery set near Nelson, BC. Set in 1946 A Killer in King’s Cove is the story of a 26-year-old woman who is trying to build a new life after working for British Intelligence. The author is Iona Whishaw. I will definitely read more of her books in this series.

  7. theburningheart

    How many books I read a year, got no idea, as we speak I can see unfinished books that I am reading all over the place, stacked by columns of ten, to twenty or more books, even in the kitchen, and other odd places!

    But I figure buy six, or seven books a month, do I finish every book?

    No, some I just do not care for, and give away, after few pages, other I reread up to three, or four times, some I go back and read a chapter, or a couple of pages every so often until I am done.

    Tend to stay away from novelty books everybody talks about, basically interested, on what I like, and find of interest, I am pretty eclectic, and read stuff few people care about it, do not care for genre books, but occasionally may read one, just to see what the hell I am missing, unfortunately I feel guilty reading stuff that find like junk food, good to the taste, but if not unhealthy, a waste of time, same that it’s short, and can be spent on a better book.

    Recommending books to people you hardly know it’s difficult, I have an old friend who I recommend books to him constantly, but know his taste. Spanish it’s my birth language, he like novels, so I recommend, to him many Spanish, and Portuguese authors, specially the old ones, and a few new ones. Margaret Jull Costa, Gregory Rabassa, Lucia Graves, specialize in translating those kind of books.

    I am about to move again, last time was two years, ago, and taking my books, was an ordeal, and did it with few help, this time I gone make sure a few people help me! 🙂

    1. Wow! Thank you so much for your terrific comment and for sharing your passionate emotions about books! Your love for books sparkles across your words and I am nodding in agreement throughout! I too have felt ‘guilty’ reading certain books, feeling maybe my precious time is better spent on something deemed more ‘worthy’. But then if it’s enjoyable and I am happy to read it, why not! Oh, I feel for you moving with all your books. The positive side it gives you an opportunity to revisit them briefly as you pack, the negative side is all the heavy boxes. Good idea to get help – and lots of it if possible. When we moved many years ago I had a whole room full of boxes with books. The removal men were very annoyed but I did point out I had shown them all my books before they quoted for the job.Yeah, great to have books everywhere and even in the kitchen. So much better to have too many than none at all, which I have come across in some houses. Enjoy all your wonderful eclectic reading and thank you for mentioning some interesting writers – I’m going to check these out!😀

      1. theburningheart

        Sure, if you like novels you may enjoy writers from the Iberian, silver age of writing, I recommended to my friend Bob, recently authors like Machado de Assis regarded as the greatest writer of Brazilian literature, and he told me he is enjoying him a lot, and reading whatever he can find in English.

        Unfortunately a lot of these writers works like Leopoldo Alas, Benito Perez Galdos, Armando Palacio Valdes, Pio Baroja, Eça de Queiroz, Blasco Ibañez, Juan Valera, Valle Inclan, Emilia Pardo Bazan, and many others were never translated fully, but only a few of their books, they wrote great literature, the catch is, unfortunately, that most people now day, lack historical knowledge to understand the mores, and thinking of those days, and may find it incomprehensible, or not to their contemporary taste, so much influenced by cinema, in taste, but far from classic literature. And even more contemporary writers are not fully known or translated into the English language, just a work that would interest, and delight, any lover of literature, would be Rafael Cansinos Asséns, 1882-1964, who Borges recognized as one of his mentors: ‘La novela de un Literato.’ His literary memories, not published completely in Spain until 2005, and to my knowledge not translated yet.

        Thank you for your response we appreciate it. 🙂

  8. I just got done reading “The Waiting Room” by F. G. Cottam and have started reading “Whispers” by Dean Koontz. Koontz has been a favorite of mine for a while. I’m hoping to find some deals on more of Cottam’s books now that I’ve found him.

    1. Glynis, some great books you’re reading at the moment. Yikes, The Waiting Room, is one I’d only read in the daytime and the Author seems to have written a lot of books so you’re well-catered for .. there is the matter of finding a good deal, though! Happy Reading and writing! 😀📖

  9. Wow, yoiu have more ambition than I do! As for early (pre-1300) books, someone mentioned Jacqui’s book. If you really want to go old school, there’s always the Icelandic saga of Beowulf. Of course, any of the Greek classics would fit as well. I love the idea of keeping a notebook of all the books I read; however, I suspect I would soon forget to add books to the list. I’m actually using my GoodReads shelf to do this.

    Happy Reading, Annika!

    1. Julie, thank you so much for your suggestions and Jacqui’s book is definitely on my list and I’m intrigued by Beowulf! And it would be great to complete one of the Greek classics (I started many as young but never finished them!) Goodreads is great for keeping a track of books read … and I never fail to be surprised with a book I thought I read last year, was actually a few years earlier!

      Happy Reading & Writing to you too, Julie! 😃 Hope everything is going to plan and the weather is not too cold! xx

  10. I have always loved books, and I am now finding again my love of books since retiring.. But your dedication to reading is awesome Annika.. And last year started visiting the library again, listening to audio books while I was knitting and doing my model making.
    loved your childhood memory.. I would read by torch light under the blankets.. I shared my bedroom with three other sisters, and when I was 17 got my first separate bunk bed. I loved my own little space..
    Loved reading what you love reading and also enjoyed your graphics.. 😀
    Have a peaceful weekend Annika.. ❤ Much love

    1. Sue, how precious to rekindle your love of books as you find yourself with more time …it’s a love that never falters and I can just imagine your enjoyment and fulfilment. What a great idea about listening to books whilst undertaking other interests … I haven’t, so far, moved onto audiobooks but I won’t say never! I know so many who only ‘read’ books through audio and was even asked by the plumber if there was an audio version of my book!

      Wow! There were you four sisters all in one room, I hope you all got on but no wonder your own bunk bed was such a special memory to you. We all need our own little space … to read, write, create, dream. To just be!

      Thank you so much for your wonderful sharing comment, Sue, it always means a lot to me.

      BTW, your message on Sammy’s song was incredible, you captured it all and I was touched to tears by it. He’s in Copenhagen at the moment on his first ever trip abroad alone (well, he is with his girl-friend, but you know what I mean!), they’re home tonight after an amazing weekend!

      Wishing you a beautiful Sunday filled with joy and peace! Love & hugs xx ❤️

      1. My pleasure Annika.. I really felt what he must have intended for the listener to feel.. When it comes from your heart it connects..
        I hope Sammy had a wonderful trip, I know how you must have felt, letting him loose for the first time. I remember that well. Its a Mothers prerogative to worry, and pretend we don’t lol.
        I thank you for your kind mention also on my blog and I am only just on my blog catching up for a short time this afternoon as I have been out all day and have plans for this evening and tomorrow.
        But catching up with older replies on my notifications because they have a habit of disappearing for good if I don’t answer them within a couple of days for some reason. Which is why I had altered my settings to moderate new comments on my blog. Or I have been missing some..
        So pleased you enjoyed Sleeping At Last.. 😀
        Sending Love your way Annika.. have a fabulous week. and hope the Snow forecast isn’t too disruptive where you are. ❤ Hugs

    1. Exactly, Teagan … it’s fun to find a challenge with a difference and also one I think I’ll complete! So glad you liked the images too; Pixaby is a treat! Happy Weekend and Happy Reading! 📖📕📖😀 xx

  11. I can’t believe I’m five days late in reading this magnificent post! I love your reading challenge and had not heard of this one. I had read Barbara’s recommendation of Wouk’s book Youngblood Hawke (I’ve read books by him that I loved) but I couldn’t find it in e-book form, and the text was just too small for me in paperback. I like the categories of book times, but one is missing – besides the future, how about ‘other worlds’, fantasy books like Diana Peach writes. They don’t belong in any of our time lines because they’re in a timeline completely by itself.
    I’m off to get This Is Going to Hurt – sounds terrific. The Russel book would give me too many nightmares. ;-0 Thanks for these great review, Annika. Oh, and I’d recommend Jacqui Murray’s book A Treacherous Time for pre-1300. 🙂

      1. Twinned!! ❤️ Just saw the same. I thought of you this morning as we were up at 5 am to take my son and his girlfriend to the airport … and realise this is the time you’re always up. Way too early and so dark! 😀

          1. I feel guilty recommending it – the excess of wealthy wealthy people is rather nauseating. But it does give a sense of a different world that happens in front of us, which we rarely see. And there is a bit of romance in here too.

    1. Haha! 😀Pam, I was waiting for someone to recommend Jacqui’s book!! 😀 That has to be pre-time era and is definitely on my list but so happy you mentioned it. Oh, you’ll love This is Going to Hurt. My husband is now reading it and disturbing my serious Herman Wouk book by laughing out loud and quoting away from the book. I did find a kindle version of Youngblood Hawke for $5.21. The link is here It would be great for your holiday, though they might have to drag you away from the book! Great idea about ‘Other World’ era books and I’ll add that on … I had realised there was no category for these type of books. I must admit I am wary of even reviewing of The Devil Aspect on my blog as I can’t see many who would be interested, brilliantly written and fascinating but just too out there!

      BTW, not late at all … I just realised I’ve missed two of your posts … had a great time reading them and left comments. Happy holidays, my friend … send some warmth to us folks here in England! Happy Beach Reading📖📕📖😀🤗

  12. Wow, I’m amazed. You used to keep a notebook of books you’ve read? I call that commitment. 😀 I like all kinds of reading challenges but time is a factor. But I recently joined Goodreads, and I’ve also tried to connect with you or at least, I think I’m following you. In any case, I’ve have up the Reading Challenge.

    Right now I’m suffering from a reading hangover from Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. This book is long but hard to put down. I’m totally consumed by the story, and have sort put the other two books I’m reading aside. Yes, I’m one of those people who read more than one book at a time. Reading across genres makes this easy to do.

    And yes, ‘When Are You Reading?’ challenge shouldn’t be difficult to do. Have fun with eras!

    1. Khaya, I am hopeless with checking on Goodreads but thank you so much for connecting with me there and I’m following you now! Congratulations on signing up for the challenge, and hope you enjoy. Oh yes, I love being organised and a notebook for books read it all part and parcel of me! (I just love making lists! 😀)

      I love that you’re reading Jane Eyre and no wonder you’re totally submerged in her world. It’s years since I read this but it is a wonderful and all-consuming book. When little we often visited The Parsonage in Haworth and I walked the moors above the house, imagining the Bronte sisters ambling there, thinking about their books. I’m so tempted to reread some of the books now that you’ve mentioned this one!

      Happy Reading, my friend! 📖

  13. I laud you your efforts and participation in challenges. I have had to sing many different time periods and genres and preparing these scores is time-consuming in addition to my own personal reading and blog writing. Currently I have started Bad Blood by John Carreyrou (Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup) after my nephew in Colorado recommended it. He does not read fiction. I, in return, suggested he read Ben Sasse’s THEM which my husband gifted me for Christmas. I had returned to John Grisham’s novels since I admire his writing. I carry a book with me to all appointments because I find a few minutes to read while I wait. Life intervenes sometimes, and I find it difficult to write many reviews these days. I do enjoy my blog conversations with other bloggers. Best to you, Annika. I love your photo for this blog. ox

    1. Mary Ann, how interesting, I never really thought about singing across various eras but of course you have to … do you prepare your own score? I hadn’t realised. Yeah, another Grisham fan and he is perfect for a quick read here and there. I devoured most of his earlier work but then felt there was a lull in quality before his writing strengthened again. Wow! Bad Blood sounds brilliant and a book that is going straight on my list to read. That is a great recommendation by your nephew and it is lovely when you can share book ideas with family and friends (even if friends you’ve never met such as here! 😀❤️)

      Hope you have a fantastic year of music, and lots of chances to read in between. Happy Reading & Singing! 🎵🎶📖📕

      1. Annika, my scores are written by the masters and are from different time periods from Middle Ages through modern times and many countries and languages. So reading musical scores is what I had in mind. I can barely put Bad Blood down and plow through until 2 AM and fight sleep. Almost finished, and I have read a movie is going to be made of this. Reading music notes and scores is a different kind of reading and with choral singing and words added, my cup is full. What an adventure with books and music scores. Thank you as always for such kind words to me. Much appreciated.

  14. What a beautiful childhood memory, Annika. I too, loved books from the time I could hold them. The public library became my home away from home. You’ve taken on a worthy challenge. I’ll look forward to your reviews throughout the year.

    1. Jan, thank you so much and the older me looks with tenderness at the young me and I remember being sad one day as for the fourth time one evening I asked my brother to read a bit and he said no! How wonderful that your library became a second home for you … is it still there? With all the closures these days I think of the children who won’t experience this. So happy you’re looking forward to the reviews … I’ll definitely do some and also keep an update of the challenge.

  15. I loved “How to Stop Time.” Matt Haig is such a quirky, interesting writer. I’m never sure what to expect with him. This is a great challenge Annika, I look forward to following your reviews for it throughout the year. Have fun!

    1. Mackay, you’re right about Matt Haig being a quirky writer, very interesting and different. I read his ‘Humans’ and liked the concept behind the book but wasn’t enthralled by it … however following your recommendation here and by another writer I look forward to reading ‘How to Stop Time’. Thank you so much for reading and commenting… lovely to know you’re looking forward to the reviews! (I really have to get better at writing more!) Happy Reading! 📖😀

  16. I’ve kept a journal of the books I’ve read over the past 8 or 9 years. I primarily started the journal so I wouldn’t read the same book again, by mistake. 🙂 Last year, I only read 53. I’m hoping to go well beyond that this year, but I do have a difficult time reading multiple books at once. I am in awe of Jacqui’s book count for 2018! Wishing you the best with your challenge, Annika!

    1. Jill, why am I not surprised you keep a journal of all your reading?! 😀😀 How special to have this handwritten testament to all your reading over so many years! This must be lovely to peruse and recall the books you’ve read, and I bet there are always some that leave you confused as you barely remember them. 53 is a good number of books and with work and so many other commitments it is all about the books giving you joy and a time to escape, travel! Happy Reading, my friend … sit back and just relax with a good book! Hugs xx

  17. Hi Annika – good for you with this reading across time challenge! I’ve never been good at reading more than one book at a time, although I can sometimes manage if one is fiction and one is nonfiction or one is an audiobook. I’d never be able to read 3 or more, though!

    Thanks so much for the shout-out too. I’m glad you’re enjoying Youngblood Hawke. It is a long one, though! I appreciate that you are reading it. My book club gives me lots of grief for having picked a book with over 800 pages!

    Well, happy reading and I hope you are staying warm across the ocean. We are in the middle of a biting freeze with single digit numbers. Hoping that will change soon! 🙂

    1. Barbara, thank you so much for the recommendation of Youngblood Hawke, I would never have heard of it otherwise and given it a go. So glad I am … absolutely captivated by the young writer and his life, the entanglements, his skill, his money success and worries! I’m very taken with his mother although she only plays a minor part! Haha…I’m can guess at the looks/glares you got as you suggested this to your writing group but bet many thanked you afterwards for that push to read it! 😀

      I must admit I mostly read just one book at a go, possibly two but owing to semi-delirious state when ill I had to take a break from the heavier tomes for a ‘lighter’ reads!

      Blimey, sounds as if you are in the depth of winter and not fun when it goes on so long. I hope warmer spring like weather comes your way soon! Here it’s been unusually warm but soooo grey and damp. The recent frosty cold and sun has been a relief … and will hopefully kill off some of the bugs around the country! Happy Reading and book discussions – and I’m thoroughly enjoying your YouTube channel all about books! 😀

      1. Hi Annika – I’m so glad you’re enjoying Youngblood Hawke. I also liked his mother’s character. The story is loosely based on the American author from North Carolina, Thomas Wolfe.

        As for the weather – we had 5 degrees on Monday and Tuesday. Now it’s 55 and pouring rain!

    1. Denzil, I’m chuckling away here and just trying to imagine having four children under 6! I bet there were days you were pleased just to be up and dressed! 😀 Did it take you all year to read the one book, having to go back a few pages each time to recall what had happened!?Wow! Congratulations on such superb long term record keeping of all your read books … that is most impressive!

  18. Wow Annika, I admire how much you’ve read. These books you’ve shared sound very intense. I used to read a lot but haven’t read much in the last 5 years. When I do read, I feel the pull to support my fellow authors (bloggers) and read one of theirs. It takes me a while to get through them because I have trouble finding the time. Right now I’m reading Anneli’s book, Marlie.

    She writes about characters in her native Canada, and this one takes place on a remote island off the coast. Enjoying it very much.

    Thank you for sharing your these books through you love of reading.

    1. Lori, I love reading and it has always been such a part of my life, my saviour at times, always my joy! The pull to review books by friends made here on WP is also very strong for me and I often feel guilty that I don’t have more time to do so … when I do they are very well-received. I know most feel the same and totally understand that time for us all is limited. You are lovely for making that special effort and I will look at some of your reviews. Thank you so much for sharing Anneli’s book, an attractive cover and I love the description of the book. This is definitely going on my tbr list … sounds perfect for the holidays! (Then I read far less intense books!) Happy reading and reviewing! 😀📚🌺

  19. I love to read a variety and have 2 or 3 books going at the same time. Makes finishing any if them take longer but, one usually stands out and that’s the one that I finish first. I challenged myself to read only “classics” several years ago. That was a lot of fun considering many are free on kindle. Now, I am focused on memoir. Thanks for the great suggestions on challenges and the books!

    1. Bonnie, what an interesting idea to concentrate on one genre over a whole year! I’m impressed you read just classics for twelve months … but it’s great that so many are free. Did you find your mind became more attuned to reading this type of literature as time passed? Enjoy your memoir phase and there is a lot of wonderful options available. Will ‘Becoming’ be on the list? What are some of the memoir books are you reading? Enjoy all the books and I loved our book chat! 📖📚😀

      1. I looked back at the list I read… it must have been over about three years actually! You are probably right about becoming more attuned. I finished War and Peace and a few other long ones! Yes, Becoming is on my list. Right now I am reading My Heart is Boundless which is not exactly memoir though it is journal entries and letter written by Abigail May Alcott (Louisa’s mother – Little Women, etc). I love it. I am also reading Watching the Daisies by Brigid Gallagher. I enjoyed Wild by Sheryl Strayed recently. One memoir I really got into recently was Confessions of a Trauma Junkie by Sherry Jones. I am mostly hunting for little known authors rather than the famous. I did recently finish Etched in Sand – great writing, sad story with hope and “happy ending.” In the kindle queue is Coming Clean A memoir, A Book About Burnout, and The Boy They Tried to Hide. Too many books, too little time! Oh, and I enjoyed a couple of D.G. Kaye’s books in the recent past – very easy to read, great flow. I think I am going to be in the memoir phase for a long time!

        1. Bonnie, I can identify with too many books, to little time! And you’ve just added to those books with some great reads here! As a huge fan of Little Women I have to look at My Heart is Boundless! I’ve also got Brigid’s book on my Kindle to read and read a couple of Debby’s books and more waiting! I started thinking of lots of memoir books I have read, but think you have more than enough at the moment! Have a fabulous year of reading!

            1. One that comes to mind is a book I read in childhood and many times since, it touched me deeply. You’ve probably read it. It’s The Flame Trees Of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood by Elspeth Huxley

  20. I knew there were reading challenges out there, but I didn’t realize there were so many. I did the GoodReads challenge two years in a row and made my goals both times. But this year, I’m not doing it. I’m so busy, and I can’t begin to guess how many books I’ll have time for.

    I really like the concept of eras or genres. That’s kind of cool.

    Wishing you many wonderful novels to read this year!

    1. Over the years here on WordPress I have seen so many different challenges and as I researched this post came across many more!! I was tempted to join them all but then have to be realistic which is why I like this one and Goodreads. For the latter the key is to aim lower than you think and then you’ll always be happy at the end of the year! I always have the chance to binge read when in Sweden with no distraction of internet, tv etc … otherwise I may very well never meet any targets!

      Happy Reading to you too, Staci and I hope you have relaxing breaks to enjoy the magic of books! 😀📖🎈

  21. Yes, I confess to being addicted to reading (thanks for the shout out!). Goodreads is the only way I can keep track of what I’ve read. I’m checking out the other reading challenge you mentioned. It sounds good.

    Oh–that picture–book of life. Love that. I found it on Pixabay and am saving it.

    1. My pleasure, Jacqui and I’m still in awe of all your book reading and reviewing ..puts me to shame! 😀😀 I can see why you more than most of us need GR to keep track of them all. This is an interesting challenge and I look forward to completing it … will keep updating now and then.

      So glad you liked the last image … I fell for it too. Pixaby has some amazing images and I can’t believe they are free to use. At the start I looked for the catch! Happy Super Reading, my friend! 😀📖📚

    1. Jena, exactly, the joy of talking books!! 😀😀 I never tire of it! Thank you so much for your great recommendation and this book sounds fascinating. I love the topic and such an interesting era that is rarely written about. Also I am especially keen to look at it closer as I studied German, its language, literature and history at university and lived there for a while. Perfect for the pre-1300 era. Happy reading! 📚

  22. ‘This will hurt’ sounds like a great book! And I also took up the Goodreads challenge for the first time ever…84 books is the goal. And so far I’m on track, because I’ve given up my evening Netflix watching for it 🙂

    1. Have a great time with the Goodreads challenge, Dorothea! It’s fun to mark the books up online and see what you’ve been reading through the year. How about rationing Netflix time instead? I’m not quite ready to give it up yet … all the various series programmes get me through the ironing! 😀 As for Adam Kay’s book – it is both so funny and so sad, not quite like anything I’ve read in ages and a quick read as well. Let me know what you think.

  23. Behind the Story

    I don’t keep track of the books I read, but since I use my Kindle a lot, I could always look through what I have there.

    I just finished The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian. Now I’m starting Becoming by Michelle Obama.

    You could read Don Quixote which was written in 1605 and 1615. It’s very long, but it’s considered the world’s first modern novel. Another old novel: Dream of the Red Chamber, a famous Chinese classic, written in the mid 1700s.

    1. Nicki, this is the third time I reply to you … having lost the first two! 😟

      Oh, I am tempted to look at The Sleepwalker but feel this is another book that I wouldn’t read at night!! (Me being a bit of a wimp! 😀) Becoming is lying next to me on my bookshelf and I am looking forward to reading this … savouring the moment until I start.

      I had no idea that Don Quixote was considered the world’s first modern novel – it is one of those books I’ve meant to read but never got round to … a brilliant suggestion and thank you so much. The Chinese classic sounds wonderful, I love the premise to this and this would be perfect for the era.

      It’s lovely to ‘chat’ about books here and wish you a year of great books to read! 📚📕📖

  24. Congrats on undertaking a GR challenge, Annika! It’s something I’ve participated in yearly since I first starting publishing and blogging in 2012. I go for a total books read in a year, rather than a theme. I surpassed my goal of 65 books in 2018 to reach 79. My highest was 80-some two years ago. If I wasn’t writing, I’d surely be over 100 as I read most every night. I’m addicted to it, LOL. There are even times I wish I wasn’t a writer just so I could read.

    And then I come to my senses! 😀

    1. Mae, I’m chuckling away at your last sentence!! 😀 Coming to one senses says it all and I too just wish there was more time to read. I couldn’t go to sleep without reading at least half an hour each night, often longer. Wow! Well done on those books for the GR challenge and for surpassing the goal – it gives one a lift! Wishing you many happy hours reading … interspersed with lots of writing, of course! 😀

  25. What I find interesting about reading challenges is that they allow us to be mindful of what we are reading. Time doesn’t allow us the luxury of reading all the books, so we much chose carefully and rely on others to provide insight on books that we simply don’t have time to read. My 2019 gift to myself was to sign up to Audible, which allows me the flexibility to complete my daily walk and listen to a book. Currently, I am reading “Auntie Mame” by Patrick Dennis. “The Romanov Sisters: by Helen Rappaport, “Passionate Minds by” by David Bodanis and listening to Stephen Fry’s “Victorian Secrets.” Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the books you have chosen. Life is the very best when shared with kindred spirit.

    1. Rebecca, bless you for your lovely comment and I agree wholeheartedly that ‘Life is the very best when shared with kindred spirit.’ Beautiful! There is such a joy and lifting of the spirits when sharing books and just through this post I am learning so much, about the readers and their interests, about history, authors, and of course books! Apart from Stephen Fry, I haven’t heard of any of the books or writers you mention and can’t wait to head off and explore … no doubt finding some to add to my list of books to read. Thank you so much for sharing. Here is to mindful reading and to choosing well the books to which we give our precious time and energy!Hugs, my friend! xx😀❤️📚

  26. Interesting challenge! I’m looking for a recommendation actually, as to what Dostoyevsky book to read first. Hubs has read them all and given his suggestion, but I wondered if you have read any.
    Book Club Mom has me adding Youngblood Hawke to my TBR list, and now I see you’re reading it!
    I’m just finishing The Valley of Horses by Jean M Auel. Taking a break from the series with my latest library book next: Little Fires Everywhere. 😊

    1. Jennifer, it sounds as if you’re travelling the eras in your reading as well! Wow, I’m in awe of your husband who has read all of Dostoyevsky’s work! Even though I studied Russian I never read any of his books so alas have no suggestion where to start. Enjoy when you get to read him. You’ll love Little Fires Everywhere I’m sure and wanted to write about it here but feared the post was already becoming over long! The book is beautifully written and I immediately became enthralled with the place and totally ensnared in all the lives of the characters. I’m definitely going to read more by her during the summer! Youngblood Hawke is a book I’ll never forget and I’m savouring it, although so tempting to rush to the end, the writing is amazing and I keep stopping in awe of the detail and yet how it never flags! I can’t wait to read your thoughts about this tome! When I saw Auel’s Name I knew I recognised it, then realised from Jacqui’s blog and her prehistoric novel. What is the book like? I am most intrigued. Happy 📖 Reading! 📖 😀😀

  27. Hi Annika! I had a fascination with encyclopedias as a child also. The concept of the challenge is great but I enjoy reading one book at a time, because I like to savor a good story. Feeling rushed would take the fun out of it for me. I’m intrigued by a couple of the books at the end. Thanks for this fabulous post, my friend. 😊

    1. Vashti, thank you so much for your lovely comment and I’m glad a couple of the books might be of interest. Oh yes, encyclopaedias are the fount of all knowledge and I wonder if we weren’t drawn to this as young … truly awesome and wondrous! Funny how google has taken over this role, but it just doesn’t feel the same. A few years ago I bought an old set of Encyclopaedia Britannica on eBay and it wasn’t until we went to pick them up quite I realised how many books were included. I still refer to them now and then, much to my son’s amusement. I must say I never feel rushed reading and if for some reason I am not enjoying a book I will nowadays leave it – time is just too precious. Whilst being ill over the past few weeks I ended up reading various books, usually one or two at a time is my maximum. It can get confusing, but less so when they are all very different. Happy reading & writing! 😀📚🌺

      1. I have such fond memories every time I see a set of encyclopedias. You’re just one of those gifted people that can read faster than most. I wish I were too. Happy reading and writing to you too, my friend. ❤ xo

  28. What a lovely memory you have shared from your childhood Annika! Big books always fascinate children. I have never challenged myself to read more books and have written in detail about the reasons in one of my posts…the main one because I don’t want to hurry through the books; I like to read without any pressure.
    Reading Chaucer for pleasure? NEVER! I read him painstakingly for passing my Literature exams and vowed never to read more of him! Ever John Donne gave me jitters!
    I love that excerpt you have shared from ‘This is Going to Hurt’ and the last image is amazing, I could write a poem about it. 🙂

    1. Balroop, wow! Thank you so much for your great comment and you say so much in just a couple of paragraphs … I love these discussions! 😀 It was hard to choose an excerpt from Adam Kay’s book as there are just so many hilarious ones, moving ones. This one stuck with me though. I must admit I haven’t read Chaucer since school but did really enjoy it and I fell totally for John Donne and reread some of this work now and then. It was an epiphany as far as poetry was concerned for the young me! I hadn’t thought about the size of a book being attractive to children but of course, you’re right! I loved my big atlas and big book on space (both of which I still have!)

      The last image was a last minutes addition as I felt it summed up the magic and wonder of literature … yeah, I can’t wait to see your poem inspired by this picture. Please do write one… Have a lovely week! ❤️

  29. I could maybe read the requisite number of books but how many would I remember a few weeks later, Annika? I find my memory sadly lacking in this respect. I’m reading a Melvyn Bragg at the moment. The novel I read previously I enjoyed enormously but I’m challenged to recall the name now. I should adopt your system of jotting down. Life is way too challenging sometimes. 🙂 🙂 Happy reading!

    1. Jo, one of the reasons I started the Goodreads challenge was to keep track of the books I read. Although I make notes, I lose these over the years so this is perfect for longterm! Do you read on Kindle or an actual book? Ebook names are difficult to recollect I find as I never see the cover, whilst with a real book it is always in front of you. Although I’ve heard of Melvyn Bragg I never knew he was such a prolific writer – wow! Seems to have written over 45 books and across many genres. Thank you so much for this introduction of a new to me author and I’ll have to read at least one of his books! Happy Reading to you too! 😀

      1. Real books. I haven’t progressed to Kindle yet 😎💕.Sitting on a bench by the river, very gingerly! Pride came before a fall this morning but the sun is still shining 🌞 xx

  30. your story enthusiastically encourages me
    to do a bit more reading, Annika
    although I’m not quite ready for the “challenge.”
    wonderful knowing that this lifelong love
    was nurtured when young. i volunteer to tutor
    reading & writing lessons for local 1st graders.
    wishing you success on finding oldies, but goodies 🙂

      1. I was wondering if you had produced the video … the music was wonderful and lovely to listen to their thoughts and chatter. Superb sound quality and visual recording … well done. Have you worked in this field professionally?

        1. thanks for the kind thoughts, Annika. i began making health education videos while working in public health decades ago. now i offer videography to others from time to time. it was a good concert, including my friend Elizabeth and the other players. 🙂

    1. David, bless you for your gentle comment and I’m so happy my post has encouraged you to read even a bit more. Writing comments here I realise I am most definitely enthusiastic about reading and books, and could gabble on non-stop! 😀 Oh yes, it is a matter of finding the old books but which are still good and readable! How wonderful that you work with the young ones at school, an incredibly rewarding time for both them and you. I helped a number years at my son’s school when he was younger and thoroughly enjoyed meeting all the students, and wow, their enthusiasm and intelligence was fantastic. So fresh and lively … not the world weary we encounter in so many places.

  31. I never did a reading challenge before, mainly because i don’t always keep tabs on goodreads or other places, and also because i don’t have a particular timframe set aside for reading. sometimes i go on a reading binge, and because screen readers pretty much work the way audio books do, i can read a fairly long book in a day or so. Because of that, There are months i read more than 20 books, others i read none…. you get my point.
    But i think this challenge is interesting. I haven’t read a historical in ages, but the ones i used to read were mostly fantasy or romances – yeah, i’m a romantic at heart and enjoy those little pangs when the book is well written.
    Wishing you good luck with the challenge.
    and oh, the good vs. bad day part was kind of funny.

    1. Ahh … Jina, I’m smiling at the romantic at heart you and luckily this is a genre generously catered for with brilliant books out there! How true that well-written books give us a real lift … it is amazing to become one with the world we are reading. I too went through periods of reading just one genre and wouldn’t even have looked at a challenge such as this. Recently the books I read seem to take me everywhere, apart from the earlier periods so I thought I’d give this a go. Wow, 20 books a month is a LOT! Very impressive and I think, as with everything in life, it is a mattter if being flexible and fitting the reading in as and when. There’s nothing quite like a reading binge … and one binge you don’t have to feel guilty about! 😀 Happy Reading and I’ll keep everyone updated how I’m getting on with the challenge through the year! 😀🌺📖

  32. That’s an interesting challenge, Annika. I only do the Goodreads challenge, focusing on the fantasy genre as well as books of other indie bloggers, which give me a nice variety. I smiled at your description of little Annika and the encyclopedias. That was me too! Ha ha. Initially, I loved the pictures that lit up my imagination, and what a joy when I could read about them. Good luck with the challenge, and I’m looking forward to hearing more about the books and your progress. 🙂

    1. Diana, why am I not surprised that you were equally precocious and intrigued by anything to do with books!? 😀😀 Those big encyclopaedias are just so tempting to explore! It sounds like you have your reading sorted perfectly and GR is an excellent way to keep records of the books. Ahh…I’m so glad you found the images inspiring, Pixaby is wonderfully inventive with its choices of pictures. I’ll definitely keep updating here about my books for this challenge and how I’m getting on … I am overwhelmed (positively so) with amazing book suggestions for the various eras and can’t wait to read … and read … and read! 😀

  33. Mike

    Interesting post Annika. I don’t normally get involved in these sort of things as unfortunately I don’t read as many books as I would like – and certainly not 52 a year! However 11 in a 12 month period is a distinct possibility so I’m up for the challenge. Also I could recommend a couple of books from Bernard Cornwall for two time periods – any Sharpe book (early 1800s) and The Last Kingdom (set in Anglo Saxon England in the late 800s)


    1. Yeah! 😀 Mike, great that you’re tempted by this challenge and I do hope you take part … you’ll have to keep me updated here. Although I have heard of Bernard Cornwall books I have never read any; thank you so much for the hint and I will definitely take a look at theses. (Does it count if I watch the TV series?!😀)

  34. Another suggestion for the pre-1300 category: the Cadfael novels by Ellis Peters (the pen name of Edith Pargeter). You may have seen them in their tv dramatised forms, and the books are well worth reading. Good luck with the challenge!

    1. Clive, I did see some of the Cadfael series on TV and thoroughly enjoyed them. I would love to read the some of the books and they are perfect for the first category. Thank you so much for the recommendation. I must admit to feeling rather shame-faced as I had no idea that Ellis Peters was the pen name of Edith Pargeter. Looking at her biography she was a phenomenal writer and led a very interesting life!

      I think this is turning out to be an even more interesting challenge than I realised … and I will keep updating my progress through the year.

      1. I can recommend the books – the tv series was very good and did justice to them. I hope you enjoy them, and she was indeed an accomplished woman. I’m looking forward to hearing more about the challenge 😊

    1. Neil, thank you so much for this recommendation. I had no idea Defoe wrote factual books and this sounds incredible … I am fascinated by this time period in history and this book looks remarkable. I look forward to reading this.

      Hope you are having a lovely Sunday … sunny here after weeks of grey & damp! Heavenly!😀

  35. I’m so glad you’ve decided to join in, Annika. I smiled when I saw we’ve both read the same book – Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt. I bought it for my son’s friend who is a junior doctor but before I wrapped it my son said he already had it so I had to add it to my tbr pile, didn’t I? I’ve just finished it.

    1. Mary, I’m so sorry! As I’m having hassle with wordpress it’s tricky for me to check spam … just got in there today and found your lovely message!

      Thank you so much for pointing us in the direction of this challenge and I can’t wait to tick off more of the eras and will keep updating on the blog.

      I got Adam Kay’s book from my husband and I usually know about the latest book releases but hadn’t seen this. What did you think of the book? Is it quite as crazy as this in Scotland or is the health system a bit different?

  36. I love that last image!! It sort of describes how I feel about books, that each one is an adventure. Like you, as a child I needed no one to push me to read. It was not uncommon to find me in my room or under our crab-apple tree reading the day away!!

    1. GP, warmest thanks for your lovely comment and sharing the magic of reading. How special to enjoy a book outside under your crab-apple tree … I have a swing-bench on the decking just next to a lilac tree, which in the summer is full of birds – perfect place to lose oneself in a book. Funny you picked the last image as this nearly didn’t make it into the post. I came across it and fell for it but thought it might not be relevant, then realised it is always about the adventures/escape of books. Happy reading!

  37. This is an interesting challenge Annika! I’ve participated in the Good Reads challenge before but not many others. I’m not a big fan of historical fiction so I probably don’t have many recommendations. If it just has to be set in those eras rather than written then, I know Kate Mosse’s Labyrinth was set in the 1200s and she has written others set in earlier times. What about Hilary Mantel’s historical novels – I haven’t read any of the historical ones to recommend them though! What I have read is two books by my favourite author Phil Rickman which are based on the life of John Dee and set in the 1500s…

    1. Andrea, you’re right that the challenge is more about when the book is set than exactly when they are written. I love your suggestions … thank you so much! I’ve seen Kate Mosse’s books about but for some reason never looked at them closely. The blurb of Labyrinth has me hooked straight away and I thoroughly enjoy books across two timelines, with the present interacting of the past. I’m noting this down straight away! A great one for the pre1300!

      I am rather abashed to never having heard of John Dee before and after a google search realised his huge importance and incredible work. Wow! I am keen to learn more and hope to look at the Phil Rickman books you recommend.

      Even though you might not be a fan of historical fiction, Andrea, you are widely read with books set in history … these are excellent books and thanks again. Happy Reading!

  38. Annika, your title pulled me straight in, to read from so many eras of known literature.
    Great idea.
    First I want to say that your images are enchanting and emotive. Says so much about what literature can be. Loved, enlightening, entertaining …
    Your article is engaging and gives me such good guidance. I am definitely going to read ‘ Youngblood Hawke’ and ‘ This is going to hurt’. Both sound deep and entertaining.

    Now, what about ” Edda ” from 1300 … and ” The Emigrants ” by Vilhelm Moberg .
    Both fantastic literary work.
    Thank you for this guidance


    1. Miriam, a heartfelt thank you for your wonderful and comprehensive comment. I’m so happy you liked the images … it’s always fun to try and choose some and pixaby has lots to offer. I wanted to capture the magic of books, and the first one gave the indication of time! Books have and continue to give us so much richness in life!

      Yeah … great that were tempted by some of the books I mentioned and I would love to know what you think of them once you’ve read them. I have a feeling that ‘This is Going to Hurt’ will have you spluttering with laughter and disbelief!

      Wow! What terrific suggestions of books to read as part of the challenge. I’ve never heard of Ebba before but thoroughly enjoyed researching about the writing now. It would be fascinating to read these 13th century in Icelandic literary works and will see if I find them in English. What a precious gift from the past! I’ve heard of ‘The Emigrants’ and meant to read it … sounds wonderful, intense and probably a bit tragic too. This is perfect for the 1800s and will let you know when I’ve read it!

      Hope you’re having a lovely sunny Sunday!

  39. What an interesting concept, Annika – to read across timelines. I suspect most of us are more familiar with reading across genres as we were encouraged to do when in school. My reading goal is to try to read more than I managed last year.

    As for pre-1300 – The Iliad, The Odyssey, The Aeneid.

    1. Shari, how true that reading across genres starts in school … I hadn’t realised until you mentioned it now. This challenge tempted me by being a bit different and also one I could probably complete! Thank you so much for the mention of The Illiad and others. I tried some of these before my teens but think I was way too young. I’ve meant to return to them so they’re definitely on the list. Happy Reading … enjoyment of books is the most important of all! 😀🌸

  40. How to Stop Time by Matt Haig will cover a lot of those eras. Here’s the blurb:
    Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. From Elizabethan England to Jazz-Age Paris, from New York to the South Seas, Tom has seen a lot, and now craves an ordinary life.
    Hope you enjoy it.

    1. Josie, I like the way you think! 😀 This book would definitely cover a lot of the eras and what a terrific premise for a book … one that I definitely want to read! Many thanks for the great tip. Hope you’re having a lovely sunny Sunday! 🌻

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