The 1954 Club

This week sees us reading books with Simon @Stuck in a Book and Karen @Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings that were first published in 1954. And what a stellar year it was!

Looking through the various online lists, I see that I have read and reviewed an impressive number of books from 1954 already. From children’s fiction, school texts, fantasy, historical fiction, a play, Japanese lit and erotica, 1954 has certainly been a diverse reading year for me.

Books & Short Stories I Have Read from 1954:

What will this latest challenge deal me?

Of the five options below, I have decided to read The Tortoise and the Hare as it is one of my gorgeous Virago Designer editions. It also came up as my latest CC Spin book. Two challenges with the one book!

1954 books on my TBR:

  • The Sound of Waves | Yukio Mishima
  • Madame de Pompadour | Nancy Mitford
  • The Tortoise and the Hare | Elizabeth Jenkins
  • Cockatoos | Miles Franklin as Brent of Bin Bin
  • Maigret Goes to School | Georges Simenon

Tempt me!

Have you read any of the four books below? Or any other books from 1954 not on these lists that you think I should read?

1954 Books I would like to read one day:

  • Bonjour Tristesse | Françoise Sagan
  • Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead | Barbara Comyns
  • Destination Unknown | Agatha Christie
  • The Manadrins | Simone de Beauvoir
  • Interval in Sunlight | Ray Bradbury
  • Touched With Fire | Ray Bradbury

What will you be reading for #1954Club?

This post was written on the traditional land of the Wangal clan, one of the 29 clans of the Eora Nation within the Sydney basin. This Reading Life acknowledges that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are our first storytellers.

27 thoughts on “The 1954 Club

  1. I’ll look out for your review, since your pick is one I’d have liked to read as well as is Bonjour Tristesse which I have but don’t think will get to. Madame De Pompadour is the first of my picks though. Glad you mentioned the Trixie Belden; I’d forgotten that there are both Nancy Drew and Belden mysteries from 1954


    1. I put this post together quite some time ago, so I would have posts going live whilst we were on holidays, so I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the books o the list. Lots of happy reading memories from age 10 to 54 😄

      I haven’t read a Mitford for over a decade. Madame de Pompadour feels overdue for me too.


  2. From Jacqui’s review yesterday I’d say Tortoise and the Hare is a great choice, it sounds wonderful! I’m planning on blogging about the Comyns this week. So many great books to choose from.


    1. 1954 was really an incredible reading year wasn’t it. Hopefully I’ll have some time at the end of this week to catch up on other reviews, but being on holidays is taking up all my spare time right now!! 😎

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have a short story in my sights, and given I’m away that’s all I’ll read. From my spreadsheet of books I’ve read since the mid 1990s I can find only one from 1954, Francoise Sagan’s Bonjour tristesse. I read it in 2004 and can barely remember it!


    1. I finished The Hare and the Tortoise in good time, but writing a review on holidays is not an easy thing to do! And you have grandies as your good excuse 😊
      All I know about Bonjour Tristesse is that it’s a novella (& therefore on my radar for Nov).


      1. No it’s not I agree Brona … I have started mine … but then had a conniption re dates so had to start again! And I have another book I’ve finally finished to write up. Enjoy your holiday. Far more important.


        1. I agree. The couple of times I’ve been able to sit down to comment & read other posts though, have been something I’ve appreciated more than I was before this holiday, as a treat rather than a chore 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  4. You’ve read many more 1954 books than I have (4):  Lord of the Flies, Katherine, Under Milk Wood  and The Doors of Perception which I struggled with, not sure if I really understood what I was reading.

    Curious to see the Barbara Comyns on your list – it didn’t get captured in the Wikipedia list of literature published in 1954 so that’s made me wonder what else they have missed.


  5. Of the books you name and which I’ve read, or think I might have read, only Under Milk Wood sticks, and that only because of the movie with Richard Burton. And maybe Lord of the Flies, which I disliked.
    I hope I’ve read The Mandarins, and all the Ray Bradbury’s, but without looking up the storylines I can’t tell. I’d read the Nancy Mitford because she’s always clever.
    Checks list. Yes, I’ve read Cockatoos of course, it’s one of my favourite Miles Franklins. I wonder if I’ve read that Maigret.
    I thought there was a second good Australian from 1954, ah .. White Topee by Eve Langley. And I see I’ve actually reviewed a third – Vance Palmer’s The Legend of the Nineties (only so-so).


      1. The place to look is Annals of Australian Literature, Hooton & Hesseltine which lists every Australian book up to 1988. But in the short term WG’s last Monday Musing lists all of 1954’s novels

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry you didn’t enjoy it Marianne. My first time with Under Milk Wood was the play which left me completely bemused, but it is one of Mr Books favourites from his school days so I persisted. The audio of Richard Burton reading the play is highly recommended. He brought the words to life.


        1. Thanks, Brona, I doubt that I will attempt it again soon. It just happens that we don’t like certain books and there are so many out there that we can just move on to the next one.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve got that edition of the Jenkins, I just shared my review on someone else’s review. I have read an Elizabeth Fair novel which I very much enjoyed; I have read quite a few others, too!


    1. I love the virago designer cover editions – so pretty. The only problem with reading it on holidays though, is that I haven’t had time to read the Introduction or Afterword. I may just have to post some thoughts about in it the next few days and catch up on that side of things later. Will also look out for your review.

      Liked by 1 person

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