Thursday, October 6, 2011

2011 Challenge: The Birth Year Reading Challenge


I enjoyed the Birth Year Reading Challenge hosted by Hotchpot Cafe. The idea is to read books published in the year of your birth. There is no set number of books to read, but you earn a "candle" for each book and there are pretty terrific prizes.

THE YEAR: 1966

Then came 1966, a remarkable year altogether: a Jewish child was born in Spain for the first time in 374 years, Ronald Reagan was elected boss of California, Indira Gandhi was elected boss of India, the Soviets landed a Luna spacecraft on the moon, John Lennon opined dryly that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus, Haile Selassie visited Jamaica, the Grateful Dead moved to a house on Haight Street, the Americans landed a Surveyor spacecraft on the moon, Montgomery Cliff died, the Beatles released Revolver, "Star Trek" was first televised, Namibia declared independence, Jimmy Hendrix changed his name to Jimi, LSD was declared illegal, Catholics began to eat meat on Fridays, Barbados declared independence, the Americans bombed Hanoi, Walt Disney died, Kwanzaa was invented, Tom Stoppard wrote Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Arlo Guthrie wrote "Alice's Restaurant," Hewlett-Packard introduced its first computer, Buster Keaton died, Guyana declared its independence, Malaysia and Indonesia declared peace, taekwando was invented, Lesotho declared independence, Thich Nhat Hanh visited America, [and] Bill Evans opened a long run at the Village Vanguard jazz club . . .

-- The Grail: A Year Ambling & Shambling Through an Oregon Vinyard in Pursuit of the Best Pinot Noir Wine in the Whole Wild World by Brian Doyle (leading up to the point that 1966 was also the first year that pinor noir vines were planted in Oregon, giving birth to Oregon's wine industry).


There may be several books on my TBR shelf that were published in 1966, but without going through them all, it is hard to guess which ones. The possibilities I knew of were:

I, the King by Frances Parkinson-Keyes (I'm a big FPK fan)

The Comedians by Graham Greene (on my TBR shelf)

The Anti-Death League by Kinglsey Amis (which is on the Anthony Burgess list)


The Anti-Death League by Kinglsey Amis, reviewed here.


I did better in 2010 and got two candles for reading:

Indian Summer by John Knowles (reviewed here)
The Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann (reviewed here)

NOTE: Updated on January 2, 2012.


  1. My assumption, when I started reading your post, was that I wouldn't like anything published in my birthyear, 1958. However, I just Googled and found a Goodreads list, and there are a surprising number of books I've already read and some I want to read. Who woulda thought?

    I've heard of all the novels you have on your list for this year, but haven't read anything by any of them myself...yet.

  2. Thanks Kathy!

    Jane: Thanks for the tip! I'm going to do the same thing and see if I can find a Goodreads list for 1966.

  3. Oooh, I like -- I might try it for next year as I'm swimming in unfulfilled reading challenges already.

  4. not sure I'll be taking part but will be having a look at book out in my birth year 1972 :),good luck ,all the best stu

  5. The Fixer, by Bernard Malmud was published in 1966. It won the Pulitzer in the spring of 1967 when you were still just a wee tyke.

  6. Welcome (officially)! I've updated the page and look forward to your always-insightful reviews.

  7. Hi, again -- just checking in to see if you met your reading goal for the BYRC, in which case I owe you a prize! Can you let me know, and I will e-mail the prize list if needed.

  8. Jane: I didn't meet my goal, which was to read two of the tree book possibilities I came up with. But that just leaves me two for this year!


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