100 Years of Books- Decade Challenge

Guest Blog by Brittany P.

Last year, I was listening to a podcast called What Should I Read Next. The host was interviewing a guest reader who had created a challenge for herself to read 100 books, one for each year beginning in 1922. Knowing that there was no way that I could complete this challenge, I decided that I could commit to 10 books! Below are my 10 titles and what I thought of them. I would be very interested to know what you thought of the titles listed if you have read them!

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1923 The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie

3 out of 5 stars

In this second installment of the Hercule Poirot Series, Detective Hercule Poirot finds himself in France after receiving a letter from millionaire Monsieur Renauld. Upon arrival however, Poirot finds Renauld’s body in a hollow grave on the golf course near his property. To make matters more complicated, Renauld’s wife was found bound and gagged. Upon further inspection, things are not always black and white.

I listened to this on audio and enjoyed it immensely. This involved a full cast of characters complete with background sounds! It was a whole experience and surpassed my expectations. I hope to read more Agatha Christie works next year!

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1933 The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett

4 out of 5 stars

I didn’t know how much I was missing until I picked up this short and fantastically-written piece by Dashiell Hammett. Nick and Nora Charles find themselves in New York for a short visit. After marrying Nora, Nick took on her family business and left his detective days behind. This all ends when the pair are approached by a flustered young woman asking for help locating her missing father. Nick begrudging takes on the case after some rather interesting interactions.

This book was fun, the characters were hilarious, but the best part was Nora Charles. She made the entire book a joy to read. Set in the 1920’s it was full of parties, drinking, and wise banter. Truly a recommended read.

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1943 The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and translated by Richard Howard

3 out of 5 stars

When a pilot crash lands in the Sahara Desert, his situation seems hopeless. As he is trying to repair his broken engine, the pilot is greeted by a small child. The Little Prince offers hope in the hopeless to the Pilot and shares of his adventures that led him the the very place they stood together.

I am glad that I read this title as it was one that I have meant to read for a while now.

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1953 Madeline’s Rescue by Ludwig Bemelmans

5 out of 5 stars

Twelve little girls in two straight lines go out for a stroll one day. All is going according to plan until Madeline slips and falls in the Seine. When all seems hopeless, a brave dog jumps in and rescues the child. After the great rescue, the dog is taken in and has especially taken a liking to Madeline. Just when everything is settled, Lord Cucuface discovers that a dog is living in the old house in Paris and bans Genevieve and all future dogs from the home. Never fear, the girls and Miss Clavel find a way to keep the beloved dog Genevieve in the end!

As a child, I loved Madeline in all of her forms! It was fun to revisit her adventures with my children through this lovely story. I ended up buying this title used and it currently resides on my daughter’s bookshelf!

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1963 The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

5 out of 5 stars

A classic novel that is required reading for most high school and college curriculums that I somehow never got a chance to read until now. The Bell Jar is a story of one woman’s battle with mental illness and the stark contrast of care in which is given to those with connections vs. those without. Having been written in 1963, Esther gives a first-hand account of the practices Psychiatry performed.

Plath writes beautifully and perfectly grasped the feelings of a young adult woman trying to figure life out while battling serious depression. At times this boom was hard to read due to traumatic scenes but I am so glad that I read it! I am especially glad to have read it at this stage in my life.

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1973 How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell

3 out of 5 stars

Billy, Tom, Alan, and Joe are all bored one day. Out of their boredom, a bet ensues. Alan and Joe bet that Billy can’t eat 15 worms in 15 days. If Billy succeeds, his buddies must pay him $50. With the dream of buying a bike from a neighborhood kid at stake, Tom helps his best buddy every step of the way.

This book was part of my 2023 reading challenge. This book turned 50 years old this year and I understand why kiddos have loved it so much. It was witty and very gross. The perfect combo for many of the kids that I know.

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1983 Heartburn by Nora Ephron

4 out of 5 stars

Rachel Samstat, a well-known public television chef and author is seven months pregnant when her husband tells her that he has fallen in love with someone else. In the midst of a downward spiral, Rachel heads home to New York City and finds refuge in her father’s apartment and recounts her life leading her to Mark, the cheating scoundrel.

Nora Ephron is famous for creating witty characters and romantic comedies. This story is all about loving yourself and being whole on your own. I really loved this short read and look forward to watching the movie!

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1993 The Giver by Lois Lowry

2 out of 5 stars

Jonas lives in a society dictated by the elders. No one seems to question the rules and regulations because they help keep the society efficient and running smoothly. When a child is a 12 they are assign the job that they will carry out for the society. Jonas is assigned a rather distinguished role that makes him begin to question everything.

The Giver is assigned reading for many young people and I missed the boat. Deciding to take this on as an adult, oof. It is heavy and sad. The writing is good but I gave it a 2 because of where I am in my life currently.

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2003 Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

3 out of 5 stars

On a flight home from a business trip, Emma pours out all of her secrets during some uncommonly rough turbulence. Thinking that she will never see the man sitting next to her again or anyone else for that matter, Emma discloses everything that she has kept locked tight for years. Once home, she finds that spilling her secrets to a stranger had a lasting effect beyond her wildest dreams.

I love Sophie Kinsella books and I am excited to have finally made time for this one!

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2013 Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

4 out of 5 stars

Rachel Chu is invited to spend a summer with her boyfriend Nick’s family in Singapore. Rachel and Nick have a quiet life in New York City but finds that the Nick in America is not the same Nick in Singapore. Nick is from a well-known family that is quick to judge Rachel making her question everything.

I really liked this book and look forward to reading more titles in this series! Kwan paints a beautiful story making you feel as if you are in Singapore as you read and made me incredibly hungry as he described the meals that were consumed. Food, paired with delightful characters, made this book a very fun read!

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2023 Good for You by Camille Pagán

5 out of 5 stars

Aly Jackson has finally landed her dream job but after a public meltdown, she is put on administrative leave. Not knowing where to go from there, Aly finds herself in Michigan at her brother’s lake house. When Aly arrives, she finds that she is not the only one in the house. Her brother’s broody, messy best friend is there too.

Good For You is a story of finding your strength even in the darkest of times. Pagan paints a gorgeous story making this a perfect summer read!

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