Happy New Year! It’s the 1st of January 2023 and time for a post I’m doing on Literary Potpourri for the fifth year now, and one I very much enjoy putting together–a list of books and authors celebrating anniversaries this year. Below is a list of books celebrating their 50th, 75th, 100th, 150th and 200th anniversaries this year, and authors who turn 100 and 150 respectively. As always, none of these lists are exhaustive but just names that stood out to me either for the book itself or the author. Hope you enjoy the list and it helps plan some fun reading for the year ahead!

Agatha Christie and P.G. Wodehouse have works turning 100 this year, and some other classic mysteries too celebrate their centenary. Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle, William Goldman’s The Princess Bride, and books I recently enjoyed including Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising and Margery Sharp’s The Foolish Gentlewoman also have anniversaries this year. So here goes!

50 Years Old: Published in 1973

Quite a few notable titles turn 50 this year including The Princess Bride by William Goldman, the story of a beautiful princess who marries the handsomest prince in the world, but he isn’t quite the man of her dreams; A Wind in the Door, the second of Madeline L’Engle’s time quintet; Thomas Pinchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow, exploring the impact of technology on society. Susan Sontag’s award winning, On Photography, six essays exploring the role of the art in capitalist societies was also published in 1973, as was another hard hitting work, Alexander Solzhenistyn’s The Gulag Archipelago, portraying soviet repression. Ernst F. Schumacher’s influential Small is Beautiful, which critiqued mainstream economics and talked of sustainability, environmentalism and economics also celebrates 50 years!

A recent read, which I loved very much, Susan Cooper’s fantasy, The Dark is Rising, unsettling yet also Christmassy; Sidney Sheldon’s The Other Side of Midnight, probably his best known work; J. G. Farrell’s The Seige of Krishnapur, a story set in an isolated outpost in India in the midst of the 1857 mutiny; and Graham Greene’s The Honorary Consul, a thriller that takes us to the Argentina-Paraguay border, are others that turn half a century old!

75 YEARS OLD: BOOKS PUBLISHED IN 1948

Like the 50-year olds, the list of books turning 75 in 2023 also comprises many many titles that stood out to me and all of which I can’t possibly list out (including quite a few by my favourite Enid Blyton). But in the list are Dodie Smith’s wonderful I Capture the Castle, introducing us to the eccentric Mortmain family; Margery Sharp’s delightful The Foolish Gentlewoman; The Heat of the Day by Elizabeth Bowen, a portrait of London during the Blitz; Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata, ‘a tale of wasted love set amid the desolate beauty of western Japan’; Graham Greene’s The Heart of the Matter, the story of Henry whose one moral compromise leads him into a web of blackmail, adultery and murder; and Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth Carey, a hilarious story of growing up in a large large family!

Unsurprisingly, there are also several mysteries in this list including Taken at the Flood by Agatha Christie, the 24th Poirot mystery in which a widow on the verge of inheriting a mansion learns that her first husband might still be alive; Love Lies Bleeding by Edmund Crispin where Oxford Don Gervase Fen is invited to deliver a speech in Castrevenford School where students are going missing and teachers shot dead (featuring the inimitable bloodhound Mr Merrythought); and Josepine Tey’s The Franchise Affair, the third outing for Inspector Allan Grant who is called to investigate a brutal kidnapping. Also on the list is the recently republished Death of Jezebel by Christianna Brand.

Two connected books from Herge’s series of Tintin books also turn 75: The Seven Crystal Balls, where seven explorers who return from an expedition in the Andes fall into comas; and Prisoners of the Sun where Tintina and Captain Haddock head to the Andes to find answers, since among the original explorers was also their friend Professor Calculus!

Enid Blyton published, among other books, Second Form at Malory Towers, and Five Go Off to Camp, where the Famous Five encounter spook trains in the dead of night!

100 Years Old: Published in 1923

This is the last segment of this year’s Anniversaries list to include once again, a longish number of entries, though I am keeping it limited to 10. To start off this list are once again some mysteries; Agatha Christie’s The Murder on the Links, where Poirot and Hastings arrive in France to meet a client only to find that he’s been murdered; Lord Peter Wimsey’s first outing, Whose Body by Dorothy L. Sayers, where a corpse is found in a bath, wearing a pince nez, and is assumed to be a prominent financier, but Lord Peter of course knows better; and The Groote Park Murder by Freeman Wills Crofts, where a mutilated body is found beside a railways tunnel!

Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet, his collection of philosophical, spiritual and poetic essays; The Prisoner by Marcel Proust, fifth in his In Search of Lost Time, and on a different note, Powder and Patch by Georgette Heyer, and L.M. Montgomery’s Emily of New Moon, the first in her Emily series where young Emily Byrd Starr must go to live with her father’s strict aunts after his death, all celebrate their centenaries.

And to end this part of the list on a lighter note, are a few comic novels, two by Wodehouse-The Inimitable Jeeves, in which Bingo Little falls in love and Bertie Wooster falls into Mulligatawny; and Leave it to Psmith where Psmith arrives at Blandings, mistakenly thought to be a poet, of course to woo the young lady he has fallen in love with; and a collection of nonsense poetry by Sukumar Ray, Abol Tabol.

Turning 100: Authors Born in 1923

2023 sees not only the centenaries of various books but also many many authors. Among them are American novelist Norman Mailer, known for among other books by The Naked and the Dead (which turns 75); Elizabeth Jane Howard, author of the Cazlet Chronicles; John Mortimer, creator of Rumpole; Judith Kerr author of When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit and author and illustrator of the Mog books; Italian writer Italo Calvino, and South African author, Nadine Gordimer, winner of the Nobel prize for literature in 1991.

150 Years Old: Published in 1873

Only three books stood out to me for 1873, Work: A Story of Experience by Louisa May Alcott, a book about both Alcott’s own personal conflicts as well as social commentary; A Pair of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy, which tells of Elfride Swancourt, daughter of a rector, who is courted by two men; and the fourth of Anthony Trollope’s Palliser series, Phineas Redux, which involves politics of course, but also murder.

AUTHORS TURNING 150

Another list of three; Colette or Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette author of Gigi and the Claudine books; American writer Willa Cather, known for among others, O Pioneers and My Antonia; and English novelist Ford Madox Ford, writer of The Good Soldier, Parade’s End and other works.

200 Years Old: Published in 1823

And finally, the last set of anniversaries. Turning 200 this year is The Pioneers by James Fenimore Cooper, a look at Frontier life and the conflict between Native Americans and settlers. Hans of Iceland by Victor Hugo, his first novel and Valperga by Mary Shelley, based on the life of Castruccio Castracani, Price of Lucca, brilliant soldier and cruel tyrant!

So that concludes my list of Book and Author Anniversaries for 2023. Hope you enjoy going through these! If you have any suggestions as to more (or less) categories or subcategories, or any changes you’d like to see on this post, do let me know in the comments, and of course, any notables you feel I’ve missed!

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29 thoughts on “Book and Author Anniversaries 2023!

  1. Thanks for this post. You’ve revived many memories from this diverse listing of books and authors. From Herge and Blyton to Agatha Christie, Wodehouse, Sayers and Heyer. I’ve read many of them, but not all. I do remember “Small is Beautiful”. The “seeing ones” did know where we were heading, and we are now witnessing first-hand, the truth of those predictions.

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  2. Oh, I was looking for an excuse or maybe reason to reread Goldmanโ€™s The Princess Bride and you’ve provided it, thank you! Such wide-ranging and useful lists, but I think the writer I may most need to note in a review or post is Italo Calvino, I have his Italian Folktales to revisit and a handful of short stories too. It may be all I manage in what may otherwise turn out to be a busy reading year for me.

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  3. Too much here for me to remember and comment on but Sontag’s and Schumacher’s books were signifcant to my generation, as was Khalil Gibran’s The prophet. I enjoyed seeing them in your list.

    So many other books caught my eye too but I’ll leave it there or I’ll end up writing my own post in reply. Thanks for an enjoyable read.

    Like

  4. Thank you for such an informative and interesting post! It felt like time travel as you went backwards. I also feel that this year has to finally be the year I read The Dark Is Rising given its anniversary!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A remarkable post! I admire your efforts to research and write this. It’s very helpful and a nice remembrance of some memorable books, such as Tintin (I’ve posted about re-reading Seven Crystal Balls just yesterday!), The Franchise Affair, Whose Body?, The Inimitable Jeeves, and of course, Christie’s. Thanks, and bravo!

    Your post also inspire me to read The Princess Bride and Fenimore Cooper’s The Pioneers on their special birthdays.

    Liked by 1 person

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