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The End of the Beginning

March 1, 2010

It was only recently that I realized how long this project would take me. According to my calculations I will finish in approximately 45 years. That’s when I decided to start this blog.

On January 23, 2009 The Guardian published a list of 1000 Novels Everyone Must Read. I happened to be flicking through The Guardian during a lonely lunch hour in Cubicleland that day and it tickled my fancy.  As an inveterate bibliophile it was irresistible to pore over the list and see which books I had read were on it. Several of my favourites were there, as well as many that were already on my To Be Read shelf. I printed it and set to work wielding a yellow highlighter.  I had read about 60 of the novels. I stashed the pages in my bag with my lunch kit and carried on with the day.  I came across the list again on the train home while retrieving a book to read.  I flipped through it with amusement. It was filled with good intentions of novels I had long wanted to read, and other intriguing titles I had never heard of.  This wasn’t the first such list I had seen, but something about it resonated with me deeply. The next day I acknowledged the notion that had been pinging in my subconscious all along. I would attempt to read all of the books on the list.

That was a year ago. At the time blogging about it didn’t appeal to me. This project is something I am doing for myself and I didn’t feel I needed to share it with the world. I still feel that way to a degree. But now that I am a year into it, I have realized that I want a chronicle of my thoughts and experiences reading my way through the list, and a record of who I was when I read these books. Much has changed in this first year alone. I no longer inhabit Cubicleland for instance. On New Years’ Day I was contemplating my goals for the year and I set a target of reading 52 books in 2010, with 20 of them being from the 1000 Novels list. That’s been my average reading pace for the past few years and it seemed reasonable.  Then for a lark I calculated how long it would take me to complete the list at a rate of 20 novels a year and came up with the aforementioned 4.5 decades.  I always knew this would be a long-term project that I will be lucky to complete in my lifetime, but it was only then that it hit me how things will have changed in in both substantial and subtle ways.  Blogs will likely be obsolete by the time I finish. Books may well be obsolete by then. Most of all, I will be different and I will be able to look back and laugh at myself.

You are welcome to come along for the ride. 101 down, 899 to go.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 11, 2010 20:37

    I love the concept. Btw, there is a Call of the Wild Road in the Santa Cruz Mountains. 🙂

  2. March 11, 2010 23:58


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