Well, that was a bit of a wonderful week, wasn’t it? I suspected from the start that 1954 would be a great year, and it really was! So many marvellous books have been read and discussed, and I imagine that all of your tbrs are now bulging – I’ve certainly added quite a few titles to the wishlist.

Anyway, below are the books I read for 1954 (the Maigret isn’t pictured because it was an e-book) and they turned out to be a marvellous selection. Classic crime is always likely to make an appearance, and both the Simenon and the Mitchell were wonderful reads. “The Horse and His Boy” was a much more enjoyable experience than I anticipated; and the double-header of two parts of the “Lord of the Rings” was just perfect.

However, the week was not without its glitches! I stumbled across a couple of issues with dates; somehow, I got it into my head that Mervyn Peake’s “The Craft of the Lead Pencil” was published in 1954 when in face it came out in 1946! As I had read this before I realised, I’ll post some thoughts about it at a later date! Then I had included Mishima’s “Sound of the Waves” as a possible read but my copy said 1956 in the front. I discarded it as an option and then realised that it came out in Japanese in 1954 but the translation was 1956 – doh!!! I was going to say that I need to always check the actual book rather than an online list, but that’s obvs not the case. I guess for the next club I shall just have to look more closely.

More seriously, I encountered a DNF! I had actually bought a book specifically to read for 1954, and it was one I’d been keen on tracking down for a while – “Pictures from an Institution” by Randall Jarrell. I picked up a lovely old orange Penguin copy and started it enthustically; however, I soon faltered and found that what I’d seen described as a humorous novel was not only leaving me cold but actually starting to irritate. It may just be that the timing was wrong for this book, but I really struggled – not only to find it funny, but also to regard it as a coherent work! I love a satirical book when done well, but with this I felt that a sequence of aphorisms, one-liners and metaphors does not make a novel and it quickly became tiresome. I haven’t ruled out giving it another try, and it may be that in a different frame of mind I might enjoy. But for this week I didn’t…

At the end of the day, though, that doesn’t matter because I did love what I read, and would happily keep on reading more from 1954 – here are just a few of the options which got away and which I’d like to keep on my radar:

Yes – I won’t give up on the Jarrell just yet!

But the #1954Club was a wonderful week of reading for me where I reconnected with authors and books I love, and which were a part of making me the person and reader I am. I hope you had a good week too, and please keep leaving details of your posts if I’ve missed them – I will catch up with linking as soon as possible.

As for our next Club week, Simon and I have put our heads together and come up with the year for October – which will be (drum roll….) – the #1929Club which will run from 24th-30th October 2022!!! Simon suggested it and it looks to have the potential to be as good as 1954. So you have had plenty of warning and we look forward to joining you all for our next club in six months’ time! Thanks so much to Simon for creating this event and co-hosting – itโ€™s been a blast!