Day 120.

This year I’ve turned 50. It’s a bit of a weird one… on one side… well let’s face it… it makes no difference to the traffic of everyday life. Maybe I’m not as supple, yes I have grey hair… but I’m still me and I don’t get why so much fuss should be made by everybody else about it. It’s not that I made it to this out of effort and volition… it kind of just happened!

On the other hand… hey I am fifty and there’s a certain gravitas and self-assurance about having made it so far without completely messing it up, limbs intact (… although dodgy back, currently), good BMI, lovely family and friends and on my way to a second degree.

Whatever, let’s talk books. Two years – yes TWO YEARS – ago I had started this thing about reading 48 books in a year, each from a different year, from 1970 onward. I tried to read books I had already whenever possible and had attacked the challenge with gusto.. but then it all went to pot and I got totally sidetracked. For two years. College… the more you read books the more you read about books and the more books you buy… and on and on. Not good.

Now I think it’s time to bring the whole challenge back, don’t you? Let’s tie it to the number 50 because it has a better ring… 50 books from 50 years!

This is where I currently stand:

2020   A thousands Moons (Sebastian Barry)

2019   Domonicanah (Angie Cruz)

2018   The mermaid and Mrs Hancock

2017 – Magari domain resto (Lorenzo Maroni)

2016 – Upstream (Mary Oliver)

2015   -Reasons to stay alive (Matt Haig)

2014 – Annihilation (Jeff VanderMeer)

2013 – Careless people (Sarah Churchwell)

2012 – Wonder (RJ Palacia)

2011 – The Paris Wife (Paula McLain)

2010 – Visit from the Goon Squad

2009 – Let the great world spin (Colum McCann)

2008 – The White Tiger (Aravind Adiga)

2007  The Road (Cormac McCarthy)

2006  Out Stealing Horses (Per Petterson

2005 – Never let me go (Kazuo Ishiguro)

2004 – American Gods (Nail Gainman)


2002 – Everything is illuminated (Jonathan Safran Foer)

2001  –  Refugee Boy (BenJamin Zephaniah)

2000 – Coram Boy (Jamila Gavin)


1998 – Amy and Isabelle (Elizabeth Strout)

1997 – Under Storm’s wings – (Helen Thomas)

1996 – Wilfred and Eileen (Jonathan Smith)

1995 –  The Seville Communion (Arturo Perez Reverte)


1993 – The Giver (Lois Lowry)

1992 – The daughters of the house (Michele Roberts)

1991- Regeneration (Pat Barker)

1990 – Darkness visible (William Styron)

1989 – Like water for chocolate (Laura Esquivel)




1985­ – Oranges are not the only fruit (Jeanette Winterson)

1984  – Hotel du Lac (Anita Brookner)

1983 –  Heartburn (Nora Ephron)

1982  – The colour purple (Alice Walker)


1980 – Emmeline (Judith Rossiter)

1979 – The bloody chamber (Angela Carter)


1977   The passion of New Eve (Angela Carter)


1975 –  First love, last rites – (Ian McEwan)

1974 –  If Beale Street could talk (James Baldwin)

1973 –  the honorary consul (Graham Greene)


1971  – Reunion (Fred Uhlman)

1970  – A slipping down life (Anne Tyler)

Ten more books to go. I think that’s do-able before my next birthday… I might even be able to find one or two in the many piles of ‘to-be-read-next’ books disguised around the house…

Any suggestions are much appreciated of course.

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