Saturday, April 21, 2007

Defining an era

The main thing worth commenting about in the papers today is the supplement in the Guardian about the books that defined certain decades. There are fifty books listed that have the potential to be seen as the titles that inspired their decade. The public gets the chance to vote for their choices and if lucky enough get a prize.

What is interesting looking at the choices is that some decades seem to have generated more than others with the 1920s being a particularly strong year with six choices. Again, just like the recent Waterstones list in The Telegraph this is all subjective but it does at least have the benefit of putting books and as a result hopefully reading on the agenda this weekend.

The full list:
1900s
Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Interpreting Dreams, Sigmund Freud
Kim, Rudyard Kipling

1910s
Howards End, EM Forster
The Good Soldier, Ford Madox Ford
The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry, ed Jon Silkin
The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell

1920s
Lady Chatterley's Lover, DH Lawrence
Relativity, Albert Einstein
The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Agatha Christie
The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
The Waste Land, TS Eliot
To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf

1930s
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
Brighton Rock, Graham Greene
Right Ho, Jeeves, PG Wodehouse
The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler
The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

1940s
1984, George Orwell
The Diary of a Young Girl, Ann Frank
The Naked and the Dead, Norman Mailer
The Outsider, Albert Camus

1950s
From Russia With Love, Ian Fleming
Look Back in Anger, John Osborne
The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
The Day of the Triffids, John Wyndham
Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

1960s
Ariel, Sylvia Plath
Catch-22, Joseph Heller
Portnoy's Complaint, Philip Roth
Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, John le Carré
Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann

1970s
Carrie, Stephen King
The Female Eunuch, Germaine Greer
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert M Persig

1980s
A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking
Beloved, Toni Morrison
Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie
Money, Martin Amis
The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe
The Wasp Factory, Iain Banks

1990s
Birthday Letters, Ted Hughes
Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
Fever Pitch, Nick Hornby
No Logo, Naomi Klein
The Buddha of Suburbia, Hanif Kureishi

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