Keeping Up With The Penguins

Reviews For The Would-Be Booklover

My Bookish Timeline

Have you ever mocked up your bookish timeline? Probably not – I might be the only person nerdy enough to actually think about doing something like this.

Take a look over your shelves, then: are you mostly in the 18th century? Or do you like to hang out in the years of your youth? It might sound like a really boring exercise, but hold your judgment: it’s actually really interesting to take a look at your books this way. It tells you a lot about yourself and your reading habits, and it might even give you some additional insights into the books themselves.

For instance, I remember The Scarlet Letter reading like a way older book than David Copperfield, and yet it turns out they were published in the very same year. So, I couldn’t help myself, I had to know more!

I present to you: the Keeping Up With The Penguins bookish timeline.

A Bookish Timeline - Keeping Up With The Penguins

So, all told, my bookish timeline spans 695 years. Only 30 of the 109 books are from this century, and yet, for some reason, the single year that produced the most books on my reading list was 2013. Random, eh?

Most of my recommended reads are from the 19th century (so far, anyway), so maybe I enjoy the classics more than I thought I would. I’d also assumed that perhaps the reason it feels like I’m reading so many novels about WWII is that the bulk of my reading list came from the years immediately after the conflict, but in reality I’m only reading twenty books from the following four decades, so there goes that theory.

But putting together my bookish timeline was a fruitful exercise in many other respects, and I reckon you should all give it a go 😉 Drop your most interesting insights in the comments below.


  1. How many years of reading have you covered?
    This seems like a fascinating challenge to undertake.

    • ShereeKUWTP

      March 23, 2019 at 1:36 PM

      Well, this list has me at nearly 700 years(!) – but as I make my way through, I’m sure it will go even further! ❤️

  2. This is an awesome idea. I need to sort through my books and figure this out for my own reading patterns. I think that I would have to only include my fiction reading and exclude what I read when I was younger. If I did this, I think that I probably be living in the 19th century.

    • ShereeKUWTP

      March 23, 2019 at 1:36 PM

      Oooh yes, I’d love to see your timeline, Brian – it’s a really interesting exercise, if a bit dorky!

  3. That’s a fascinating concept. I think mine might cover a similar span to yours, when I think back on the Middle Ages classics from authors such as Chaucer and Spenser that I read at Uni once long ago. But I think the 19th and 20th centuries holds a lot of the best, and some of the more recent 21st century offerings, which might become classics themselves some day.

    Wow, The Scarlet Letter and David Copperfield in the same year is interesting. I know which of the two I’d have preferred had I been a reader of the day.

    • ShereeKUWTP

      March 26, 2019 at 2:42 PM

      Oooh I’d be so curious to see what your timeline looks like, Paula! I’d never really thought of myself as a 19th century kind of gal, until I had a go at arranging them like this. It’ll be interesting to do the same again in a couple of years, see if anything changes.

  4. I haven’t formally tried this but given much of my younger self’s time was spent in buying old science fiction I think the majority of mine is between the late 1940s and the early 1980s.

    • ShereeKUWTP

      March 28, 2019 at 12:26 PM

      Oooh, that’s a good period, though – lots of interesting stuff happening in SF around then!! 😉👍

  5. I love your bookish timeline idea! I feel mine would be a bell curve, starting to curve more steeply in the 1930s with the peak right around my birth year (1966) and flattening off again after about 1990. But that’s based on my idea of what books I enjoy most. I suspect I’ve probably read more books published after 1990 than I think I have. This deserves more thought.

    • ShereeKUWTP

      March 28, 2019 at 12:29 PM

      Oooh I’d love to see how it comes out if you give it a go! You might be surprised – I had no idea I was reading so many books from 2013 (so random!), and I would have been sure before doing this that the majority of my recommended reads would have come from the 20th century. Thank you! ❤️

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