This month, we are exploring ways to choose books to lose ourselves in, as a way to find an oasis of calm in our daily lives. Last week, we suggested some book lists to get you started. Our three-generation family is exploring another way to keep it going: we are each committing to read a book published in the year we were born. It’s a fascinating task to research and choose a book from a very different kind of list, one based on a uniquely personal snapshot in time. I found so many interesting possibilities for my own birth year: enduring classics that I have read before (and am considering rereading); books by well-known authors of series, like Agatha Christie and Erle Stanley Gardner; and of course, some authors and books I have never read before. The twins are considering rereading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows or digging into The Invention of Hugo Cabret for the first time. The choices we consider and the reasons are making wonderful pre-reading discussions and now we can’t wait to get started and have a chance to share what we’ve learned. I have already begun, and I have discovered the crisp writing and plotting of the Perry Mason books–and also the casual and normalized sexism that I never noticed as a younger reader. I look forward to our family discussions!
If you decide to take up this challenge, I suggest you just begin with a Google search: Best books published in (the year of your birth). Or you might go to The New York Times 100 Notable Books of the Year (and add the target year). Then, let the adventure begin! Enjoy!