A Decade of Reading


go awayThe end of a decade is a natural time to reflect on many things. Over the next few weeks, I am certain the internet will be flooded with “Best Of” posts on topics ranging from music to film to TV to books. I’ll be sharing a few posts here about some of the things I read and some of the authors and characters I discovered in the decade past.

At this time 10 years ago, I was preparing for an ambitious reading project. 2010 was the 100th anniversary of the founding of my employer, the Rochester (NY) Public Library. I spent the year reading 100 books representing each year the library had existed. I drew titles from best-seller lists from 1910-2010 and sourced the books from local library collections and online repositories. Some were wonderful:

Some had lost their luster to time and fell flat:

Others were just plain fun to read:

What I found most surprising were the number of books that had been best-sellers in their time but which were wholly unknown to me and to many of the librarians who helped me find copies. That certainly made me wonder how well some of our current best-sellers will age. Will Danielle Steel, James Patterson, and Malcolm Gladwell be footnotes in literary history?

If you’re interested in seeing the best-seller lists I used, take a peek here. I gave up on writing reviews of each book – I just didn’t have the time – but you can see my posts on the project by browsing the category 100 Books. 100 Years in the column to the right.

My reading goal for 2020 is to read more widely – more non-fiction, more books by non-white authors, more books by authors from countries other than the U.S.

What are your reading goals for the new decade?