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Rachel’s Reads – January 2023

“Sooner or later, everything old is new again.” – Stephen King

I often see and hear requests for classics that should either be revisited or books that have stood the test of time. Although everyone has incredibly diverse tastes, there are books that have and have not aged well. Literature is something that should be evaluated critically, and flaws should be acknowledged as well as appreciated. 

All of these ideas were circulating in my brain when a few friends introduced me to the Decades’ Literary Challenge. The goal is to pick 12 books which were set or published within consecutive decades. Moving forward chronologically, it allows new readers to discover older books. The Challenge captured my attention, and I decided that it is something I want to complete in 2023. I started with the 1890s and picked works that were completely new to me, rather than ones I had already read. I found titles by authors I have read and enjoyed along with early National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winners, and some which I was surprised I hadn’t actually picked up. I’m excited to jump in and read one of the following books each month during 2023. Feel free to join me in your own Decades’ Literary Challenge!

1890s – The Sorrows of Satan by Marie Corelli

1900s – Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov

1910s – The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington 

1920s – Cane by Jean Toomer

1930s – Nightwood by Djuna Barnes

1940s – A Street in Bronzeville by Gwendolyn Brooks

1950s – Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov

1960s – Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion

1970s – A Crown of Feathers and Other Stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer

1980s – The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos

1990s – Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson

2000s – Erasure by Percival Everett

As promised in my December article, here are a few of our subscribers’ favorite reads of 2022: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin, The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams by Stacy Schiff, I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy, The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’ Farrell, and Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover. 

Happy Reading!


Rachel became the publisher of The Independent in March of 2017 and then married her husband Jake in May. Their goldendoodle Einstein joined the family in 2019. Rachel is an avid reader and loves to share book recommendations. (Don’t miss her column, Rachel’s Reads in the Magazine!) She can always be found with a book nearby, especially while traveling (another of her favorite things).

Bailey Pianalto Photography



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