Happy New Year! 1st January 2022 and time for one of my favourite posts to do every year, Book and Author Anniversaries. It’s great having a list of these handy to plan my reads around, and I hope everyone else enjoys it too. This year I’ve included all the categories I had last year, books that turn 25, 50, 75, 100, 200 and 300, and have also added books that turn 150 (I didn’t however find any notables for the 250-year category so am leaving that out). As there are lots of books this year, I’m keeping the accompanying write up in each section minimal and including cover images of all the books I have for each category. As always the list is not exhaustive but just titles that are well known or stood out to me.
2022 sees Harry Potter’s 25th birthday and William Brown’s 100th, while one of my favourite authors, Agatha Christie has three books celebrating anniversaries this year as well. But in keeping with my plan of not writing too much, let me just start with the list!
25: Published in 1997
From my favourite Harry Potter (the first one remains my favourite), Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone where both Harry and us were first introduced to the wizarding world (a roundabout way of saying Harry Potter turns 25!) to my favourite John Grisham, The Partner, which had a twist I didn’t see coming at all, the second volume of His Dark Materials, The Subtle Knife, and a book which I’ve been meaning to read on two figures responsible for the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland, Mason & Dixon quite a few interesting titles turn 25 this year. Here are a few that stood out to me.
50: Published in 1972
Agatha Christie, Georgette Heyer, Ira Levin and Italo Calvino are among the authors whose works turn 50 this year, and in my list is also a book I loved very much but one which did make me cry–a lot: Watership Down by Richard Adams, the journey of a group of rabbits who must find a new home when their old one is destroyed (unsurprisngly due to human intervention). We also have the second Charlie and the Chocolate Factory book, Ira Levin’s creepy classic The Stepford Wives, our introduction to P.D. James’ other detective Cordelia Gray in An Unsuitable Job for a Woman, and Italo Calvino’s imagining of Marco Polo and Kublai Khan’s meeting–quite a few interesting titles to pick from.
75: Published in 1947
Turning 75 are two books about one of the worst periods of human history, the holocaust: The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank’s diary of the two-year period her family and another spent in hiding in secret rooms in Otto Frank’s workplace in Amsterdam; and Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz, a harrowing account of his internment for 10 months in one of the most infamous death camps. The year also saw the publication of a few other classics as well, A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennesse Williams, the story of a Southern belle who moves from a privileged life to a shabby home with her sister and brother-in-law; Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann, a retelling of the Faust legend, and The Plague by Albert Camus, a fictional account of a plague sweeping through the French Algerian city of Oran (a little chilling in view of of current circumstances). Agatha Christie’s collection of short stories featuring Poirot, The Labours of Hercules, and Rumer Godden’s The Doll’s House, in which a wooden doll Tottie longs for a home, but when it comes, with it also come problems she had never dreamed of were published this year. Here are the books:
100: Published in 1922
The year 1922 saw the first appearance of Richmal Crompton’s William Brown, while the queen of crime Agatha Christie, introduced us to her spy-detective duo, Tommy and Tuppence (Thomas Beresford and Prudence Cowley). Mystery stories by Edgar Wallace (The Crimson Circle, featuring a league of blackmailers), and A.A. Milne (The Red House Mystery, his only mystery story, a locked room puzzle set in a country house) as well as another of my favourite reads, The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim were also published this year, as was the Velveteen Rabbit (a classic I haven’t yet read)!
100: Authors Celebrating their Centenaries
Among authors celebrating their centenaries in 2022 are American novelists Jack Kerouac (born 12 March), best known for On the Road (1957) and Kurt Vonnegut (born 11 November), and cartoonist Charles M. Schultz (born 26 November), creator of Peanuts.
Also turning 100 are Dick King-Smith (born 27 March), writer of The Sheep-Pig (aka Babe) and The Water Horse, among many many other children’s titles; Kingsley Amis (born 16 April), author of Lucky Jim (1954); Alistair MacLean (born 28 April) writer of thrillers and adventure stories; and Portuguese writer José Saramango (born 16 November).
150: Published in 1872
Middlemarch, George Eliot’s novel that explores themes from women’s education and role in society to relationships, Samuel Butler’s Erwhon, a satire on Victorian society and beliefs, Phileas Fogg’s trip Around the World in Eighty Days, and Dostoevsky’s tale of a political murder, inspired by real life, Demons, all celebrate their 150th birthdays this year. Joining these are also classic children’s titles, The Princess and the Goblin, and Susan Coolidge’s What Katy Did, the first appearance of Katy Carr.
150: Some Authors Celebrating their 150th
Four authors stood out to me when browsing the list of those born in 1872 were American author Zane Grey, famous for his Westerns (born 31 January); English philosophe, author, critic and poet John Cowper Powys (born 8 October), seen as a ‘successor to Thomas Hardy; novelist, essayist and caricaturist Max Beerbohm (born 24 August); and F.M. Mayor (born 20 October), English novelist best known for The Rector’s Daughter (1924)
200: Published in 1822
While the year 1822 saw the publication of quite a few works, including a novel by Lady Caroline Lamb and some of Sir Walter Scott’s works, only one title really stood out to me, which was the book form of Thomas de Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium Eater. First published in London Magazine the previous year, this has been criticised for more focus on the pleasures than the downsides of consuming opium.
300: Books Published in 1722
Not one but two of Daniel Defoe’s well known works, A Journal of the Plague Year and Moll Flanders were published 300 years ago, in 1722, the first perhaps reminiscent of times we are living in currently in some ways. The first is definitely one I want to get to, though it’s probably not the best time to be reading it.
So that’s 2022’s list of book and author anniversaries. Are there any books on my list or authors on your radar to read or revisit? Are there any that this post makes you want to pick up? Looking forward to your thoughts and comments!
Wish everyone a great year of reading in 2022!
(poster designed using Canva, and all cover images from Goodreads except where mentioned)