Eleven days into 2019 already, but we’re not too late to take a look at some book anniversaries or “birthdays” that fall this year. An author or two might creep in too. (This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list, just a few I noticed/looked up, just for fun ūüôā )

To start with, some fifty-year-olds. Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander, the first in the Aubrey and Maturin series, Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, and Ursula Le Guin’s The¬†Left¬†Hand¬†of¬†Darkness, number 4 in the Hainish Cycle all appeared in 1969!

But before I come to the centenarians, I just want to mention a couple of my favourites who are a little younger, and turn ninety this year. Tintin, the boy reporter with his loveable dog Snowy, first appeared in French on 10 January 1929. Another favourite, Emil and the Detectives by Eric Kästner too turns ninety this year (I wrote a post about this one last year here).

Published in 1919, My Man Jeeves¬†and A Damsel in Distress by P.G. Wodehouse, The Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham inspired by Gaugain, and also Rainbow Valley, the seventh in the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery, all turn a hundred this year. (I actually have a hundred-year-old copy of the last one ūüôā ) American author J.D. Salinger, best known for The Catcher in the Rye also turned a hundred this year, on January the 1st!

Sir Walter Scott’s The Bride of Lamermoor was first published in 1819 and turns 200 this year. The story forms the basis for the opera Lucia di Lamermoor. And it’s been sitting on my TBR for years (quite literally) but this seems the year to finally read it. Rip Van Winkle, the short story by Washington Irving about a man who slept for twenty years, missing the American Revolution also turns 200 this year.

George Eliot

George Eliot or Mary Ann Evans Cross, author of Middlemarch, The Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner, and Daniel Deronda among others was born on 22 November 1819 and will be 200 this year! So I think I will pick up something by her as well–may be one that I haven’t read or have read only once like Adam Bede or Felix Holt.

And the last one, and perhaps the most famous, one that I have to mention is Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, a book that was so so popular and one that finds so many references in other books and popular culture (the ones I remember best are Gabriel Betteredge in Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone, for whom this book was almost a bible, and William Brown from the Just William books by Richmal Crompton who had a ‘Boy Wednesday’ in one of his stories). This one, the story of a castaway who spends almost 30 years on a remote island, first came out in 1719 and turns 300 this year! And I still haven’t read it!

Any¬†of¬†your¬†favourites¬†on¬†this¬†list¬†or¬†any¬†that¬†you¬†plan¬†to¬†read because of the anniversary or otherwise?¬†Any¬†anniversaries¬†(of¬†books,¬†characters,¬†authors)¬†that¬†you’d¬†like¬†to¬†add¬†to¬†this list?¬†I’d¬†love¬†to¬†hear¬†all¬†about¬†them so do leave a comment!

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8 thoughts on “Happy Birthday to You: Some Book Birthdays/Anniversaries in 2019

  1. That’s an innovative approach! You have some of my favourites listed: Tintin and Wodehouse, as well as Robinson Crusoe, which I read as a child and loved, just like William did. I do remember his Boy Wednesday, as also the “lmost Bible” in “The Moonstone”. Didn’t know that George Elliot turned 200, though I’ve never forgotten “Mill on the Floss” with which I had a love-hate relationship. It was one of our textbooks in senior school.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tintin and Snowy and Thomson and Thompson, and Captain Haddock and Professor Calculus- I love them all!

      I reread Mill on the Floss a couple of years ago and liked it much better than the first time (I didn’t dislike it the first time), but her other books like Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda are also very good.

      Like

  2. I recently reviewed, as you know, John Polidori’s The Vampyre which was published in April 1819 and was the fruit of the same evening that produced Frankenstein.

    I’m also tempted to read Anne Bront√ę’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848) later this year as Anne died the year after publication, making this year the 170th anniversary of her death. (Not a notable number, I know, and a sad event to commemorate, but an excuse is sometimes useful! I’m reading Charlotte’s Shirley at the moment, which also appeared in 1849.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hadn’t noticed the Vampyre- I have been planning to look it up because of the Frankenstein connection but hadn’t got down to it so far. The hundredth anniversary sounds a good time to do so.

      How are you liking Shirley- I remember liking it but not much more. It’s been a while since I read it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s slow but pleasant—I’m about a sixth of the way through—and am enjoying the sly humour and the feminist asides. Can’t say it’s totally gained my adulation, admiration yes!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, and how could I forget? Charles Kingsley, best known for The Water-Babies, was born in 1819 and I’d forgotten I’d intended to reread/read for the first time a couple of his novels! And even some Charles Darwin, born 110 years ago, and, oooh, too many others!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Darwin is very much on my reading list too-I’ve read bits and pieces of the Origin of Species for some courses but still haven’t read the full book or The Voyage of the Beagle which I also want to at some point.

      Liked by 1 person

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