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Books that Span Multiple Decades

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Whether you are participating in the final month of the Decades Reading Challenge or found this booklist searching for multigenerational novels that span decades, we know you’re sure to love these expansive stories. Rather than providing just a snapshot in time, the fiction and non-fiction titles we recommend below provide a panoramic view of life in the 20th century and early 21st century.

Three angled book covers in dark tones. The center book is black with while title reading The Immortalists.

You can read all about the Decades Reading Challenge, download your free printable reading tracker, and find book lists for each decades from 1910-2010 here.

We’ve heard from many of you that, throughout the challenge, you’ve loved diving into specific decades. This in-depth reading has allowed us all to discover fascinating historical events that we didn’t learn about in school. There’s also a lot to learn by reading long-view novels, non-fiction, or memoir that spans multiple decades or multiple generations. Some of the recommended books are expansive stories that span years. These books allow us to observe how things change over time. Others are books set in two different time periods, allowing us to compare the decades side by side.

As always, you’re welcome to read any book you’d like for the Decades Challenge. But to get you started we’ve compiled a list of non-fiction titles and some best novels that span decades from the 1910s through the present day.

Novels that Span Decades: From the 1910s to the 2020s

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Books Spanning the Years From the 1910s to 2020

THANK YOU again for reading with us this year. We’ve learned so much about the past and present from fresh points of view. We hope you’ve had the same positive experience!

On 12/1/2022, we’ll be sharing next year’s brand new challenge theme AND the January book list. If you’re not already in our Facebook group, now is a great time to join! We will announce the new challenge in the group, and that’s also where we’ll chat about the books throughout the year. Once it’s announced, you can also find the new challenge details on the reading challenge page of this website.

Don’t worry if you’re not ready to be done reading the decades! You aren’t alone. We’re also planning to read our way through the years once again in 2023. Stay tuned for details on a few changes that we have planned for the 2023 edition of the Decades Reading Challenges – we think you’ll be excited!

Love reading as much as we do?
Join us for more free content, reading challenges, & discussion in the Book Girls’ Guide Facebook Group!

Monica S.

Friday 18th of November 2022

I’m excited for what is coming next year! This is one of my favorite challenges. I’ve done it for the past 3 years.

Melissa George

Tuesday 22nd of November 2022

We're so excited to have you join us for a 4th year and can't wait to share the fun little change for Decades in 2023!!!