Tuesday, June 30, 2015

2015 Anniversaries

This is a great year for anniversaries, both historical & literary. I plan to read something about all of these anniversaries this year. I've already mentioned the 200th anniversary of Anthony Trollope's birth & I've already read two Trollopes this year, Cousin Henry & John Caldigate.

The 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta has been in the news lately, with an exhibition at the British Library & a number of books about the charter & about King John. Is John the one irredeemably bad king in English history? Richard III used to hold the title but he's been almost completely rehabilitated now. I suppose John, Ethelred the Unready, & Edward II are seen as wicked or incompetent, with Henry VI & Charles I not far behind. I've borrowed Stephen Church's new book from work & look forward to learning more about 1215. I'm afraid I can't get the picture of Claude Rains as Prince John in The Adventures of Robin Hood out of my mind...

The Battle of Waterloo was 200 years ago. I'm not a big fan of military history so I'm going to read Georgette Heyer instead. However, in my defence, An Infamous Army was recommended reading at several British military colleges because of the accuracy of Heyer's research. I may as well get some romance & sparkling dialogue with my military history. I'm listening to the audio book read by Clare Higgins &, so far, it's living up to the romance & sparkling dialogue of the best Heyer. I don't know about Lady Barbara but I'm in love with Charles Audley already (half way through).


2015 is also the 70th anniversary of VE Day. Victory in Europe was an occasion for rejoicing & sadness as the toll the war took on everyone, in the services or on the Home Front, was enormous. I have plenty of books on WWII on the tbr shelves to choose from, but I think I'll be reading one of the new Persephones, London War-Notes by Mollie Panter-Downes.

It's the 80th anniversary of the birth of Carol Shields. I had great plans to reread all her books this year but, it's June & I haven't started so I've decided to regroup. Where has the year gone? I don't know why I thought I'd start any kind of reading challenge at the beginning of the year, in summer, my least favourite season of the year. Winter is a much better time for me to settle down to a reading plan. A warm house, lots of tea & a cat or two on my lap - perfect. I've started rereading Mary Swann & next, I plan to read the Letters I bought last year.

It's also 80 years since the death of Winifred Holtby. After recently rereading Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth, I want to reread her biography of Winifred, Testament of Friendship, as well as at least one more of Winifred's novels from the tbr shelves.

Any other anniversaries I should be aware of? On second thoughts, maybe I'd rather not know, the reading year is filling up quite fast enough...

10 comments:

  1. December is the 200th anniversary of the publication of Emma, so I'm looking forward to a re-reading then. :)

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    1. I started off well with the Austen anniversaries but haven't kept up with the rereads. Emma's not my favourite Austen but I may try to squeeze it in before the end of the year.

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  2. I don't know if this is your sort of thing, but Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is another take on Waterloo. I've been meaning to reread it myself and this is a good excuse.

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    1. I didn't realise JS&MN was set at that time. I keep hearing about how wonderful the book is so I may have to give it a try.

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  3. Also time this December will also be the 200th anniversary of the publication of Headlong Hall—though dated 1816—by Thomas love Peacock.

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    1. Now that's a book I've never read, I should investigate. Thanks!

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  4. An Infamous Army is one of the few Heyers that I haven't read, so it would seem topical to do so now. I love the idea of it being prescribed reading for military colleges. That whole martial/marital thing, perhaps?!

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    1. I'd been putting off reading it because I thought it might be too full of military manoeuvres but there's been lots of romance & social manners so far (just over halfway through). However, the battle is about to begin so the romance should take a back seat for a while.

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  5. Quick note, Lyn. It's actually 80 years since Winifred Holtby died in 1935. Amazing how times flies, eh?

    Yes I have a number of her works and letters to read.

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    1. Of course! Thanks Susan, I'll fix it.

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