The New Year, and Some Anniversaries of Famous Novels

Every January 1 brings thoughts of anniversaries and the passage of time, so I thought I’d put a literary spin on that by looking at memorable novels released 10, 25, 50, 100, 150, and 200 years ago.

The big publishing event of 2007 was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final installment of J.K. Rowling’s renowned wizarding-world series. A novel that delivered excitement, pathos, war, death, hope, and closure.

Also released in 2007 was Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao — which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction the following April for its mix of sharply drawn characters, politics, history, and pop-culture references.

A quarter-century ago brought readers Donna Tartt’s critically acclaimed debut novel The Secret History (1992). While I haven’t gotten to that book yet, I’m currently in the middle of Tartt’s mesmerizing second novel, The Little Friend (2002). And I believe Tartt’s lengthy third novel, 2013’s The Goldfinch, is one of the very best fictional works of the 21st century.

Fifty years ago saw the release of one of the 20th century’s most amazing books: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Ha — just kidding. It was 1967’s One Hundred Years of Solitude — Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s sweeping, multi-generational epic about the town of Macondo but also about, well, the entire human experience.

One hundred years of literature ago (1917) was when L.M. Montgomery’s Anne’s House of Dreams got published. I think it’s the best and most moving of the sequels to Montgomery’s outstanding Anne of Green Gables — with another sequel, the later Rilla of Ingleside, a close second.

Going back another 50 years to 1867, the early Emile Zola novel Therese Raquin got published. It was nowhere near Zola’s best book, but it was quite scandalous at the time and had moments that presaged the much better writing that would appear in later Zola classics such as Germinal.

In 1817, there was Northanger Abbey — which most readers would agree is the least compelling of Jane Austen’s six novels. But everything’s relative — it’s still a pretty good book as it mixes satire of Gothic fiction with a straight story of romance and more. Northanger Abbey was actually the first novel Austen completed (which helps explain its “so-so-ness”), but the late-1790s work wasn’t published until after Austen’s death.

Sir Walter Scott’s excellent Rob Roy also came out 200 years ago. The historical novel is named for the Scottish outlaw/folk hero Rob Roy MacGregor, though he’s not the lead character in the book and doesn’t show up until a number of chapters go by. He’s actually a lot more prominent in the 1995 Rob Roy movie starring Liam Neeson.

What are your favorite novels from 1817, 1867, 1917, 1967, 1992, and 2007? (Google can be your not so “Little Friend” here.) Heck, you could also mention memorable novels published in other years ending with “7” or “2.” Lee Child’s Jack Reacher debut The Killing Floor — 1997! Toni Morrison’s Beloved — 1987! Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits and Alice Walker’s The Color Purple — 1982! Stephen King’s The Shining — 1977! Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago — 1957! John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God — 1937! I’ll stop now…

Except to say that I don’t expect another 2017 milestone — incoming President Donald Trump actually reading a book. If he did, perhaps it would be Russian Bear, Russian Bear, You Love DT.

(The box for submitting comments is below already-posted comments, but your new comment will appear at the top of the comments area — unless you’re replying to someone else.)

My new book Fascinating Facts About Famous Fiction Authors and the Greatest Novels of All Time: The Book Lover’s Guide to Literary Trivia will be published soon.

But I’m still selling Comic (and Column) Confessional — my often-funny memoir that recalls 25 years of covering and meeting cartoonists such as Charles Schulz (“Peanuts”) and Bill Watterson (“Calvin and Hobbes”), columnists such as “Dear Abby” and Ann Landers, and other notables such as Coretta Scott King, Walter Cronkite, and various authors. The book also talks about the malpractice death of my first daughter, my remarriage, and life in Montclair, N.J. — where I write the award-winning weekly “Montclairvoyant” humor column for The Montclair Times. You can email me at to buy a discounted, inscribed copy of the book, which contains a preface by “Hints” columnist Heloise and back-cover blurbs by people such as “The Far Side” cartoonist Gary Larson.

121 thoughts on “The New Year, and Some Anniversaries of Famous Novels

  1. Leafing through a Jungian “Guide to the Symbols of Mankind” as one does, I came across the following, as one wishes one hadn’t, given the obvious implication for us all, and soon:

    “Investigations of ..charismatic leaders (Charles Lindholm, 1990)have demonstrated how figures such as… Adolf Hitler inspired incredible loyalty in the followers who gathered around them. Yet to others unaffected by their personalities, they appear half-mad, ‘driven’, as Charles Lindholm observes ‘by violent rages and fears that would seem to make them repellent rather than attractive, while their messages look, from the perspective of the outsider, to be absurd melanges of half-digested ideas, personal fantasies and paranoid delusions.'”– p. 85, Ariadne’s Clue by Anthony Stevens 1998.

    13 days!

    Liked by 2 people

      • What gets me: all this is known stuff– the cult personality types– joiners and leaders– the outcome, sooner or later, which is disaster. There is nearly no likelihood, in fact, of any other outcome. But here we are, poised at the precipice for real. Again. As if this stuff wasn’t known. Again.

        Liked by 2 people

        • You’re right, jhNY — many, many people know this is not going to end well, but no one (such as the Electoral College electors) had/has the guts or the clout to stop it. I guess the already-filthy-rich “powers that be” figure they’ll make a ton of (even more) money before the Trump administration and perhaps the U.S. and the world implode. “Four more vacation homes! Four more vacation homes!”

          Liked by 5 people

          • Thermonuclear devices are equal opportunity destroyers of everybody and everything.

            But heck, maybe an impulsive cult leader with paranoid obsessions and a belief in his own conclusions above all evidence won’t use such weapons even if he feels justified and provoked, because????

            Liked by 6 people

  2. RE: The Trump; I think he missed his Christmas Eve visits from the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future so no ‘born again’ revelations or turnarounds unless they schedule a non-holiday triage visit. Perhaps they’re waiting to see what damage he actually does once he has the authority?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am writing in here because below it was becoming a one word line.
      Thanks for the WP article, the World has become ” too many of us”, so personal surval and keeping a blind eye works for small town residents.
      No politician wanting to run as President is perfect and all are flawed , I was a Hillary Clinton supporter she has spend a lot of her time for public service. Her biggest flaw was a pantsuit wearing Woman.
      Trump on the other hand has not shown any tax returns, or health certificates and no one questioned on those. His whiteness was good enough although this Country is built with Immigrants .
      Donald Trump is a first generation American but his whiteness made it okay.
      His racism was first evident when he started the birther movements.
      Interesting article on Mayberry , if I recall it right Andy personally supported Barack Obama even made a commercial on that and now he is no more.

      Now wanting to do away Obamacare folks who voted for Trump will be at risk and will lose their health care. Now I read we are going to pay for the wall that twitt master Donald will built.

      Damage has already started and DT is not even sworn in…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Terrific sum-up of Trump and more, bebe! Great point at the end: I don’t think any President-elect has done so much damage even before taking office. And, yes, being a white male helped Trump a LOT in our sexist/racist world. It helped him beat Hillary, and I was thinking the other day that the loathsome Trump is almost as much of a sexual predator as the loathsome Bill Cosby, yet one will be President and the other is totally disgraced. Deservedly so in Cosby’s case, but Trump should be disgraced and on trial like Cosby, too. What those Trump tax returns would reveal! All kinds of treason, corruption, and conflict-of-interest ties, I’m sure.

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        • Last night I happen to watch Maddow for a while, it seemed National Enquirer which one can not avoid to look in check out counter was for Trump and for an year or two publishing disastrous fake news on Hillary and on Trump as well with positive twist of lies like he just released his tax reports and so one.
          Why they wanted Trump I wonder ?

          Liked by 1 person

          • I’ve read that, for whatever reason, those purveyors of fake news who were in it just for the money made more $$$ with pro-Trump lies that with anti-Trump lies. And then there were right-wing fake news purveyors who were in it to help fellow reactionary Trump win.

            As for why the Russians wanted Trump over Hillary, I guess they felt they could control him more. And Trump kept saying nice things about Putin, and supported some of Putin’s dictatorial actions.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Problem is– and deftly left out of Maddow’s piece, by the way (to the point that she edited a Trump podium quip right when he mentioned Edwards’ name)– is that the National Enquirer did break a real juicy political story, rather recently, and drove a candidate from credibility and viability to be seriously considered for the Democratic nomination for the presidency– John Edwards.

              Which means now one cannot entirely wholesale dismiss similar, though fantastic and fictional stories about pols when they print one up.


              Liked by 1 person

              • True, jhNY — with The National Enquirer in that case being from the “even a broken clock is correct twice a day” school. 🙂

                Interesting about Edwards. That lowlife definitely deserved to be knocked out of politics, but Trump has said and done much, much worse in all kinds of ways. Different standards, I guess, for Dems vs. Republicans, for reality TV stars vs. hack politicians (though Edwards had a redeeming quality or two), etc.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Edwards had to go because sex scandals are not allowed for Democrats post-Bill Clinton. See entire press apparatus for details.

                  Yes, Edwards’ faux-populist working man in a lawyer blazer thang had some appeal. His thimble-full of water in a desert of neoliberalism might have moistened a lip or two, had he become in position to dispense it.

                  The Enquirer-Trump connection, I think, has been a mutual admiration society of two– the Pope family (which owns the rag) and Trump– both oversized nationwide fish in a smallish pond– the state of FL. Now the Enquirer helped mightily to elect a president, by the fantastic disparagement and gutter lies it printed about the other candidate. I expect the ownership expects to be handsomely rewarded, and I expect they will not be disappointed.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Well said, jhNY! Didn’t realize that strong Trump-National Enquirer connection. Why am I not surprised?

                    And, yes, Edwards did have a bit of the mostly fake populism thing going on (when he wasn’t busy getting pricey haircuts) before Bernie Sanders became a national figure and showed what real populism is like.

                    I guess it also didn’t help Edwards that he cheated on his wife when she was stricken with cancer. I think Newt Gingrich did the same thing, but Republicans do seem to get away with that kind of behavior more.

                    Liked by 1 person

              • I remember that as well, Edwards was doing all that with terminally sick wife, same like Newt. I did not listen to full hour of Maddow, just until the first break. Did not want to have a nightmare

                Liked by 1 person

                • bebe, Newt Gingrich still having a public role (advising Trump, appearing on TV, etc.) is a travesty. One of those swamp creatures from the undrained swamp.

                  And, yes, a small dose of demoralizing Trump-related news at a time is about all that goodhearted people can handle…

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Answering here…I strongly believe Dave, Hillary lost because of Bill Clinton among other things and Trump took full advantage of his past infidelities. Hillary stayed with Bill in spite of numerous infidelities . What Trump did cheated then dumped the wife and marry the other. Sometimes I did wonder Bill did not want Hillary to win. We shall never know…

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • I agree, bebe — Bill is one of the (many) reasons Hillary is not the President-elect today. As you know, when that Trump video emerged of him sickeningly bragging about sexual assault, he partly deflected it by bringing several of Bill’s female accusers to the next debate (I read Steve Bannon suggested that). And, yes, Hillary was more loyal to Bill than Trump was to his first two wives. Maybe too loyal — she probably should’ve divorced the bum. Finally, you could be on to something — Bill might have subliminally not totally wanted Hillary to win because he would then be “just” a “sidekick.”

                      Liked by 1 person

                  • Besides his sexcapades in office, Bill Clinton wrecked his wife’s chances, such as he could from his reduced role in the campaign, the half-hour he met with Attorney General Lynch on that tarmac.

                    A guy who couldn’t resist a freebie or three with Lewinsky while the entire dirty tricks apparatus of the GOP was trained on his every move should never have put himself in position for the temptation, as it shows he is incapable of sober judgment in the face of known risk– not a guy who should be in charge of nukes anyplace or anytime. The fact that he is probably several hundreds of per cent more stable and able than our soon-to-be president is what robs me of my sleep and whatever was left of my repose.

                    A guy who knew his wife’s political enemies were watching his slightest twitch– and hers– for proof of a political fix among friends in a Democratic administration should never have allowed himself the half-hour with Lynch– if he was truly interested in her winning the presidency. And yet…

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • So true, jhNY. Bill Clinton did not help Hillary much at all in the 2016 campaign, and probably hurt her chances — because of his own sordid history and also because of voter fatigue with “dynastic” presidential candidates. Bill Clinton was somewhat more disciplined in the 2016 campaign (with the exception of that shockingly stupid gaffe with Loretta Lynch) than in the 2008 campaign and DEFINITELY more disciplined in the 2016 campaign than during his White House years, but the damage was done. Also, Bill was as money-hungry as Hillary was since 2001, and the timing and optics of that were truly bad for a Democratic presidential candidate last year. But of course GOP guy Trump got a pass on virtually everything.


            • The real surprise for the cable news biz (and me): that just broadcasting the can’t-look-away-from the-carwreck stuff Trump was spewing every day gave the networks enough of a boost in ratings and thus increased ad revenues that their forgoing of anticipated Trump ad money (he spent so little) became a painless non-event.

              I had always counted on the cable news folks turning full-bore against Trump once they understood he wasn’t going to buy ads, and therefore cost them real money. They sorta did, but not like they might have, had their coffers not been topped up just for showing Trump unfiltered.

              Liked by 1 person

                • I’m not sure where this comment will end up, as the thread was becoming so thin, but to add my two cents, as someone who read a lot of comments on a left-leaning website, the number of people who were supposedly liberal or progressive that attacked Hillary for (1) “staying with her man,” which was somehow a failing on her part, that many women have done in the past, including ex-Presidents’ wives (e.g., Eleanor Roosevelt); and (2) that she did so because she’d be nothing without Bill or another powerful man and “rode his coat-tails” to positions of power. This was said even by so-called “feminists,” who had no clue at all that Hillary accomplished much more than Bill did even before he became Governor of Arkansas. Sorry, but it makes my blood boil even thinking about such outrageous criticisms. I’m not saying that there weren’t things to be critical of, which is true of anyone, but these to me were the most specious.

                  Liked by 2 people

                  • Yes, a thin thread or two!

                    VERY well said, Kat Lib. I definitely don’t blame any spouse for staying with their cheating partner, but, given Bill’s multiple offenses, Hillary might have been better off leaving. Still, it’s a totally individual decision, and she made the decision that felt right for her. That is to be respected.

                    Hillary’s marriage to Bill certainly helped pave the road to her political career, but she was smart/driven/talented enough to have risen on her own, if she had never met Bill. As you said, many accomplishments by her before and during the marriage — going back to when she was a teen.


                  • To repurpose and redirect Lloyd Benson:

                    I never served with Eleanor Roosevelt. I never knew Eleanor Roosevelt. Eleanor Roosevelt was not a friend of mine. Senator Clinton is no Eleanor Roosevelt.

                    The Roosevelt Foundation, the one where many millions were raked in from banksters and petro-states and murky international entrepreneurs– out of which Eleanor appeared from time to time to make speeches for money to financial services executives that she kept for herself– didn’t exist. The Clinton Foundation did. The work carried out by the Clinton Foundation undoubtedly did many good things for those in need, but also for those in charge.

                    I voted for Hillary Clinton for senator. I voted for her in the NY primary in 2008. I voted for her in the 2016 general election. But I confess: Never once did I imagine I was voting for a person I might happily compare to Eleanor Roosevelt.

                    Liked by 2 people

                    • I have not studied Eleanor Roosevelt so no dispute in here. But no one in this century was as exposed and scrutinized as much as Hillary Clinton, she was extensively vetted and have shown her tax returns for years. I am sorry she lost the election to all people to DT.
                      But if the rumor comes to be true if any chance She runs as the mayor of NYC , I sure will send her a dollar or two to show my support.

                      After 2008 many of us though she is a toast but then she came around and ran again. I bet Hillary Clinton will com back in some capacity 🙂

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • Nice Lloyd Bentsen riff, jhNY! I agree that Eleanor Roosevelt was more progressive than Hillary Clinton, and didn’t have her ethics questioned as much. Some similarities: both were first ladies that tried to make their mark in less-traditional first lady ways…and both wrote syndicated newspaper columns. 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Thanks, bebe! I agree that Hillary was very heavily scrutinized for years — much more so than Eleanor Roosevelt, who lived in a no-Fox News time. Hillary did some questionable things, such as speaking to Goldman Sachs for huge fees, but overall she was nowhere near as ethically challenged as the far-right Republicans made her out to be.

                      I’m sure Hillary will surface again in an important position after she recovers from her devastating “loss” to the evil buffoon Donald Trump. As for mayor of NYC, Hillary would be less progressive than current Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is probably running for reelection, so I’d have to think about that… 🙂

                      Liked by 2 people

  3. 1717–
    from wikipedia:

    “Publication (posthumously in Lyon) of the last two volumes of Antoine Galland’s Les mille et une nuits, the first translation of One Thousand and One Nights into a European language, also including the first translation of the story of Ali Baba.”

    I have this Frenchman’s version of 1001 Nights in English translation, and have read a few dozen of the tales inside– magical stuff!!


    • Interesting nugget you dug up there, jhNY! Thanks!

      Coincidentally, I was just listening today to classical-rock band Renaissance’s 25-minute-long “Song of Scheherazade” (great/epic tune!) inspired by “One Thousand and One Nights.”

      And, in the past, I’ve read some parts of “One Thousand and One Nights” — entertaining and fascinating indeed!


      • Dave, I was also listening today to the “Scheherazade” song from the “Live” recording you recommended to me. Now I’m listening to the 1st disc and am awaiting one of my favorites, “Carpet of the Sun,” that has been playing in my head for the past few weeks. I love this CD! Thanks again!

        Liked by 1 person

        • You’re very welcome, Kat Lib!

          I’m currently hooked on that terrific CD, too, usually listening to it whenever I’m in the car. The only problem with the magnificent “Scheherazade” song is that it’s too long for my usual short car trips. 🙂


      • This particular translation has proved my favorite– and I own a couple. The framing story of these tales is engaging, intriguing, even suspenseful, and the stories themselves are a various lot, deriving from many sources and historical periods in the Arabic world– all included in the Tales on the basis of their capacity to entertain and generally delight.


        “The work was collected over many centuries by various authors, translators, and scholars across West, Central, and South Asia and North Africa. The tales themselves trace their roots back to ancient and medieval Arabic, Persian, Mesopotamian, Indian, Jewish[2] and Egyptian folklore and literature. In particular, many tales were originally folk stories from the Caliphate era, while others, especially the frame story, are most probably drawn from the Pahlavi Persian work Hazār Afsān (Persian: هزار افسان‎‎, lit. A Thousand Tales) which in turn relied partly on Indian elements.”

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Dave, I’ve been fascinated by your column and looking up various years’ most popular books, as compiled by “Goodreads.” I went to the year 1957, and I see
    “Doctor Zhivago,” that you mentioned (one of those books I’m never sure I actually read but have seen the movie several times). The most popular book is “Atlas Shrugged,” and again I’m never sure I read it or “The Fountainhead,” but it reminds me (and not in a good way of Paul Ryan, Rand Paul, and others who became infatuated with Libertarianism). In the top 10, there were books I read and enjoyed, “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac, “Franny and Zooey,” by J.D. Salinger, “Dandelion Wine – #1, by Ray Bradbury, and “On the Beach,” by Nevil Shute. The others were “The Cat in the Hat” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (and who hasn’t read and loved those Dr. Suess classics), another children’s book “Little Bear” (that I don’t remember), and an Isaac Asimov book, “The Naked Sun” (who wrote so many books it’s hard to remember too many, aside from the “Foundation Trilogy”). Just to mention a few in the second group of 10 that are non-fiction are “Why I’m Not a Christian,” by Bertrand Russell, and “The Way of Zen,” by Alan Watts (both of which influenced me in my long study of religions). I hope you notice I refrain from mentioning any mystery/detective books, because I’ve read so many throughout the years, and they are enjoyable, but not books that have been a great influence on my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Kat Lib, for the research and the interesting discussion! Nineteen fifty-seven was certainly a fascinating year for books. Heck, “The Cat in the Hat” might have been the most influential of all — helping to make children’s literature more fun and irreverent and less preachy. Though of course “Atlas Shrugged” has also been influential on a whole generation of heartless, despicable Republican leaders.

      As you know, “Dandelion Wine” was one of the sunnier of Ray Bradbury’s works, though not without some spookiness. “On the Beach” was riveting, as it focused on Australians living their last days before radiation enveloped them. If Donald Trump ever reads a book, Nevil Shute’s would be a good one to try before his fingers get close to the nuclear button in fifteen days.

      Thanks again!


      • Dave, I realized that I mistakenly wrote Zoey – which should be Zooey. I always liked that name, but I now always think about David Bowie’s son with his first wife, Angie, who they called Zowie. He decided at age 12 that he’d rather be called Joey, then Joe, and is now known as Duncan Jones. Perhaps his father was prescient when he wrote the song “Kooks” on the birth of Zowie:
        “And if you ever have to go to school
        Remember how they messed up
        This old fool
        Don’t pick fights with the bullies or the cads
        ‘Cause I’m not much cop at punching other people’s Dads
        And if the homework brings you down
        Then we’ll throw it on the fire
        And take the car downtown”

        Liked by 1 person

        • Just fixed that, Kat Lib. 🙂

          I’m not a fan of celebrity parents giving their kids unusual names — which can result, among other things, in the kids being taunted at school. (A place mentioned in those very interesting lyrics you posted.) But I guess the Bowies’ son eventually and wisely resolved that himself!


          • So true that unfortunately some kids are wiser than their parents, especially when he and Angie considered themselves as “kookie” too. Fortunately, he and Iman named their daughter Alexandria (“Lexi”) many years later.

            Liked by 1 person

  5. 1917–
    Prufrock and Other Observations published by TS Eliot. In my time at school, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock was perhaps the most lingered-over poem in the modern catalog, despite or because of its irreducible ridiculousness, as evidenced in the name of J. Alfred Prufrock, and insight into the passive-aggressive heart of life lived in upscale drawing rooms. Certainly its author seemed to crowd out all his contemporaries in our assigned consideration.

    Though I do get his point— so often I find myself ragged-clawed, more days than not, with the bottom of my trousers rolled, concerned over the digestive problems entailed in a peach.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Good Morning Dave, good bye 2016 and welcome 2017 which started with a scary note as you know a dear friend Cobalt`s Son fell down some stairs onto concrete yesterday morning while helping a friend. He has broken ribs a C7 fracture and worse of all a frontal brain bleed.” Last night`s report was promising , no additional blood from CAT and has been moved to a regular room.
    CBD is a dear friend from 2010 from HP days was always there for me when I was getting into trouble with multi sock puppets…those were the days HA.

    You have kept a very good record of all the books celebrated their anniversary in 10`s.
    So, speaking of Lee Child as we know his books always comes out in October, a gentleman at the Library was asking for the book which I displayed just then. No, I have not read it yet as I have several books lined up.
    He just saw the latest ” Reacher” movie and said to me in spite of Cruise`s stature it was a great movie well produced and directed with great casts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good morning, bebe! Yes, good riddance to 2016 — though 2017 will probably be worse. 😦 That said, Happy New Year, and I hope (aside from the political situation) that 2017 will be a great year for you.

      Very sorry about your friend’s son’s accident. (I saw Jack’s post about that yesterday.) My best wishes for his recovery. Another example of “when bad things happen to good people” — or their good family members. So glad CBD was helpful to you when you really needed it.

      I also haven’t read Lee Child’s latest Jack Reacher novel yet — “Night School”! — but am greatly looking forward to it! And I meant to see that second Reacher movie, but didn’t get around to it. Maybe on DVD…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Bill, for the comment and for the link to your excellent blog — which, as you know, I read religiously even though I’m not religious. 🙂

      It does sound like “The World’s Religions” would be a GREAT book for Donald Trump to read — along with many other books, nonfiction and fiction, that might open his mind and fill it with some much-needed information other than lies and “fake news.” But I guess none of us are holding our breath (which might not be a bad idea given who Trump has chosen to head the EPA).

      To which I would add that Trump doesn’t have a heart, but he could have a Harte (Bret).

      Happy New Year to you, too!


    • RIP to Huston Smith and I will be looking for the book.
      But Donald Trump is not known to read, he only tweets in the middle of the night and gets into brawl with folks he does not even know.

      Liked by 1 person

        • It is going to be a tough 4 years Dave, and if voters does not get back their senses it might a be a horrible 8 years while he looks his own country that he hates , He should move to Russia and let us be.

          Liked by 1 person

          • So true, bebe. I’m afraid that even if Trump does a rotten job for four years (as I’m sure he will), he might still get reelected because of the Republican Party’s vote-rigging and voter suppression, and because much of the mainstream media will do their usual groveling to power. Yes, Trump would be a good fit for Russia — maybe he and Putin could live in estates next door to each other.

            Liked by 1 person

        • Ha! I don’t know if either of you have seen the former “The Daily Show” correspondent Samantha Bee’s “Full Frontal” show on TBS, but she had a very funny segment about “Some People are Saying that ‘Trump can’t read’.” Just seeing a clip of a deposition he did about a legal proceeding where he was asked by the lawyer about portions of the lease was illuminating, as he continued to comment that it was too long, and he admitted he never read the entire lease at all! Small wonder that he can’t be bothered with intelligence reports on Russian hacking or anything else, or so it seems to me. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • And he’s going to be President! 😦 Not wanting to read something longer than a tweet is even worse than not being able to read. One of the least intellectually curious people on the planet. Yes, Kat Lib, unless intelligence reports could somehow be shortened to a few words, he’s just not into them.

            (I haven’t seen Samantha Bee’s show, but I’ve heard she’s great!)

            Liked by 1 person

            • Irtnog! That may be where the tweeting phone-iverse imagines it is heading, without me, as I am phone-adverse.

              Trump won’t be the first; he’ll just be the first to brag about not reading. I remember that GWB, having a former school librarian for a wife, felt obligated to report after one of his several yearly vacations that he’d read a book: Camus’ The Stranger– Ironic, I thought, he would choose a book in which heedless and careless meddling (for no particular reason of his own) in the affairs of Arabs ends in disaster for the narrator– and the Arab he shot to death, of course.

              Ironic, if I thought he actually read what he said he had.

              To be uncharacteristically charitable, if GWB did read The Stranger, he got through it sans comprehension.

              I’m pretty sure Trump, if he had to read Irtnog, would insist on an abbreviated summary.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Excellent seriocomic comment, jhNY!

                It’s appropriate, when talking about the racist Trump, that “Irtnog” comes from E.B. White, not E.B. Black…

                Yes, at least George W. Bush seemed a bit self-conscious about not reading much. If he did read “The Stranger,” my reaction would be that his 2001-2009 administration was “The Plague.”

                Trump’s administration will be even more dystopian — “Knave New World”?


                • “If he did read “The Stranger,” my reaction would be that his 2001-2009 administration was “The Plague.”

                  Unfortunately, I think it will, in future ages, if any, be referred to as “The Prelude to the Deluge”

                  Where black is the color, where none is the number
                  And I’ll tell and speak it and think it and breathe it
                  And reflect from the mountain so all souls can see it
                  And I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’
                  But I’ll know my song well before I start singing
                  And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
                  It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • You’re absolutely right, bebe, about Pence and the other Republicans who are preparing to kill Obamacare. Their heartlessness shows in their dead eyes. Whatever inadequate approach they replace Obamacare with (if they replace it with anything), many non-rich people are going to die because of their cruelty. Meanwhile, I don’t see any of those immoral GOPers giving up their own government health care.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • I can’t shake the following little phrase:

                      So many will die, but we must live.

                      All over the world just now, seems as if ethnic, race, religious, economic divisions have set so many firmly in their own camps, fearful of others, certain there will not be enough for all, with something more or less like that little phrase driving them toward those of their own kind, and against all others.

                      Thank goodness teevee has prepared the armed to shoot the diseased, the hungry, the wounded survivors of catastrophe– they’re zombies!!!

                      Hope I am entirely wrong, and I’d like to be– but I can’t shake that little phrase.


                  • bebe, that was very funny, but yet so sad, as I can actually picture him doing just that. Who’d have thought that we’d have a President who’d run and lead this country via Twitter? Unfortunately, Pence just might be even worse!

                    Liked by 2 people

                    • For some insight into how the Trump won, here’s a Washington Post article:


                      Andy’s home town bears very slight resemblance to Mayberry, but Mayberry was a nostalgic fantasy from the beginning. For one thing, Mayberry had an all-white population and was about large enough to fit on a postage stamp. Also, everybody knew everyone else on a first name basis. True, Andy did not carry a gun and only allowed Barney to carry one with bullet safely in his pocket. Unfortunately, I do see the 2016 population of Mayberry voting overwhelmingly for Trump. They would think they’d know who had their best interests and Trump would be their choice of con man.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • Thanks, Brian! An article that was well worth reading. I “get” people’s longing for a return to “the good old days” (which weren’t as good without the gauze of memory and which weren’t good for a lot of people who weren’t white men). But I’m still trying to wrap my mind around why rural, non-rich whites think Donald Trump has their interests at heart. He said some stuff they wanted to hear during the campaign, but his vile past and present actions, his “one-percenter” lifestyle, etc., said otherwise. Maybe they thought Trump would be better than the flawed Hillary, but with her as President they would have had a better chance of health insurance and a higher minimum wage, and not be at risk for possible Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid cuts. (I know I’m not saying anything you don’t know. 🙂 )


                    • I should add, Brian, that Trump’s picks for his cabinet and other positions in his administration seem to be almost all people who couldn’t care less about less-affluent rural white people. They are “the one percent” and will serve “the one percent.” 😦


          • So true, bebe! And imagine if a Democrat (say, Obama) had cozied up to Putin and the Russians like Trump has done. Republican Party leaders would have went berserk. What a bunch of hypocrites. Anything for power so they can enact their heartless policies and coddle the ultra-wealthy. Of course, most GOP “leaders” are pretty rich themselves.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I find for the first time I can remember becoming so enraged that I start yelling at the TV, using language that I never used to, much to the dismay of my friend Bill. He agrees with me, but he’s never seen me act this way, and I agree, I’m not the person I thought I have always been. It’s rather disconcerting to both of us. So then I retreat to my den and listen to music that is soothing to my soul, and it definitely helps me. But, ugh, it’s going to be a very long four years! I’m looking forward to the weekend and going down into my basement and losing myself in sorting CDs and books, while dancing around to Bowie, Springsteen, and others.

              Liked by 1 person

              • I know what you mean, Kat Lib. I’ve been in a constant state of simmering rage since Nov. 8, and it’s agony to read The New York Times every day and see what Trump has done or who he has found under a rock to serve in his administration. But I feel I need to keep up. As you say, the next four years might be almost unbearable. I hope you do have some escapism time this weekend.


  7. I couldn’t find much in the years that you mentioned although there were a couple of milestones in 1962. Faulkner’s last novel, ‘The Reivers’, was published that year. Faulkner also died that year but I can’t determine if the novel was published just before or just after he died (July 6). It’s not one of his major novels but it’s pleasant and kind of upbeat in contrast with his darker, tragic heavyweight novels. Either way, it won the Pulitzer Prize the next year, probably as a way for the Pulitzer people to honor his entire career. That same year, Anthony Burgess’ novel, ‘A Clockwork Orange’, also came out. Of course, he had been writing for several years before that but it’s one of those results of a furious creative outpouring from him when he thought he was going to die of a brain tumor (I think). Also, to his dismay, it’s the one work of his for which he will always be famous. 1962 is also the year one of Ray Bradbury’s few novels, ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’, was released. While I still regard his short stories as his major accomplishment, ‘Something Wicked’, along with ‘Dandelion Wine’ are both worthwhile, though not as major as ‘Fahrenheit 451’, probably his most successful novel.

    I had thought Walker Percy’s ‘The Moviegoer’ came out in ’62 but it came out in 1961. It won the National Book Award in 1962, though, I believe, so that’s sort of a number two suffixed year accomplishment isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, Faulkner’s last novel and death are memorable milestones, bobess48. And it’s not unusual for a last novel NOT to be one of an author’s best. Some exceptions, of course — “The Brothers Karamazov” anyone? 🙂 And, yes, a Pulitzer can sometimes be sort of a lifetime achievement award.

      Ah — “A Clockwork Orange”! An important novel in 1962. I heard about Anthony Burgess’s possible brain tumor that fortunately didn’t kill him after all. Misdiagnosis?

      And glad you mentioned Ray Bradbury, too. I FINALLY read “Fahrenheit 451” and “Dandelion Wine” during the past couple of years. Both great — very different from each other.

      Finally, Walker Percy DOES deserve a mention for winning that award during a “2” year. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. A belated Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to you, Dave. It was nice throughout 2016 to see lots of chatter about William Shakespeare, being that it was the 400th anniversary of his death. Sadly, your blog only goes as far as 200 years, and it’s technically not 2016 anymore, so I guess The Bard will have to go uncelebrated this week. Oh well, I’m sure he’ll be ok waiting until 2416 for us to celebrate the next big anniversary.

    I must admit that I didn’t jump on the Potter wagon straight away. I saw the first movie, and read the first book or two, but that was about it. Until the release of the last book. There was just so much hype that I got swept up in it, and did something that I’d never done before – pre ordered the book. I wasn’t tragic enough to line up for the first delivery, but I wasn’t far off it. I remember getting my copy of “The Deathly Hallows” at around lunch time on the Saturday, and then spending the rest of the weekend finding out what happened to Harry and his friends. I can’t believe that it’s been ten years!

    I did a silly quiz thing on Facebook the other day to find out What Book I Am. Lots of comments showed that people were “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Alchemist” and “Journey to the Centre of the Earth”. I was a little disappointed to get “Their Eyes Were Watching God” which I’ve never heard of, let alone read. Now that I know it’s celebrating an anniversary this year, I’ve added it to my list 🙂

    Cheers from Susan (will probably show anonymous as I’m doing this from my laptop)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, too, Anonymous aka Susan!

      Great idea — I could have expanded the blog post to include anniversaries of writer births and deaths. Yes, just missed Shakespeare — and also “Don Quixote” guy Cervantes, who died in 1616, too.

      (LOL — I’m sure Shakespeare can patiently wait for future anniversaries. 🙂 )

      But Henry David Thoreau was born in 1817, as was brother Branwell of the three Bronte author sisters. And Jane Austen died that year.

      Anthony Burgess was born in 1917, as was poet Gwendolyn Brooks.

      Etc. Thanks, Wikipedia! 🙂

      My older daughter, not yet 10 at the time, discovered Harry Potter soon after the first book came out in the latter 1990s, got hooked, and soon got me hooked.

      Interesting “What Book I Am” result. “Their Eyes Were Watching God” is actually quite good.

      Thanks for the wide-ranging comment!


  9. Hi Dave, of all the books you’ve mentioned, the only ones I’ve read were the Harry Potter finale, of course, as well as “Northanger Abbey.” The latter was my least favorite of Austen’s books, probably because of its being based on Gothic mysteries, none of which I’ve read. Yet, as I’ve likely mentioned before, there is something so sympathetic to the heroine, Catherine Morland, who was purposely depicted to be a character who would be taken in by authors who wrote books that would be thrilling and suggestive to a young woman without any means other than her small inheritance from her parents, who had so many children. It was personally gratifying that she still managed to win the affections of the very intelligent and virtuous Henry Tilney.
    I’ve spent the past two days down in my basement trying to organize my various collections, and I’m somewhat horrified about the number of DVS, CDs I’m amassed over the years. Not to even mention books!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Kat Lib!

      I agree that Catherine Morland is a very appealing character. And while the book’s satire of Gothic fiction wasn’t all that riveting, I did find it funny at times.

      Also, as I noted in my post, everything is relative. Jane Austen’s worst novel would be the best novel for a lot of other authors.

      Well, finding one has amassed many books, DVDs, and CDs can be horrifying but also bring a feeling of pride at having read, seen, and listened to a wide variety of things — some of them undoubtedly great!


      • Dave, I went to the year 1967 and couldn’t too much of note, but I did a search of the year 1987. Much to my dismay, the first book image that popped up on that page was none other than “The Art of the Deal,” by Trump. I know that’s not a novel, but since he didn’t actually write the thing, can we call it fiction? Also interesting was this was the year that Carrie Fisher’s novel “Postcards from the Edge,” was published. I haven’t read it yet, but I downloaded it onto my Nook, because many of her books were coming up as “out-of-stock” or “not available at this time” on the regular B&N site. I’m sure that this will be rectified shortly, because of all of the increased interest in her and her mother. It was also the year the first “Calvin & Hobbes” collection came out, for which I’m eternally grateful that this genius comic strip can still be taken out and read many times (by me at least, as I’m sure do many others). The best novel from that year that I’ve read was “Crossing to Safety,” by Wallace Stegner, an excellent and riveting book. Also of note is a memoir by Annie Dillard, “An American Childhood,” that I’ve read several times. Oh, and one thing that stood out to me from 1967 was a collection of stories by Harlan Ellison, “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream,” which I haven’t read, but I plan to do so. The title epitomizes my feelings as we thankfully leave 2016 behind but enter what could be an even darker and more depressing year.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yikes — the 30th anniversary of “The Art of the Deal,” which of course was ghostwritten by someone who last year revealed that he despised working with Trump. Ha ha — funny line by you, Kat Lib, about that book being essentially fiction, both because Trump didn’t write it and because I’m sure the book literally contains a great “Deal” of fictional content.

          “Postcards from the Edge” and the first “Calvin and Hobbes” collection in 1987, too? Definitely an interesting, eclectic year in the publishing biz.

          And thanks for the other mentions, and not just from 1987.

          “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream” IS very apropos for the coming year, when Trump will perfect “The Art of the Steal” and the millions opposed to him will have despairing moments resulting in “The Art of the Squeal.”


        • When Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker’s Creek was selling like hotcakes, I happened to meet her husband, himself a writer, at the college where he was (and I guess she was) teaching. The fame that had so quickly come to surround the book and its author he found overwhelming, even if entirely directed at his wife. When he was asked what he was working on currently, he replied a novel titled The First Man on the Sun. The marriage didn’t last.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Sounds like that marriage had other issues in addition to Annie Dillard’s success and the resulting public attention.

            “The First Man on the Sun” — ha! Shades of H.G. Wells’ “The First Men in the Moon.”


            • He’d recently written something that had a Sherlockian aspect, among a number of quirky unlikelihoods, but it was overshadowed utterly by the success of The Seven Per Cent Solution, so he was a bit shellshocked by the book biz in general. A review of that book, from 1974, by an old pal, opens thusly:

              CONSIDER THE DENIZENS of The Book of Changes: a peripatetic German dwarf named Otto; Albert Longinus, laundry truck driver in Newark, N.J.; Pudd, a queasy executioner who speaks only in verse; Sir Hugh Fitz-Hyffen, the boorish and misanthropic mirror of Sherlock Holmes; Sherlock Holmes, who is in reality Jack the Ripper; Oscar Wilde; Warren Harding; Herbert Hoover; Vladimir Nabokov; the Marx Brothers; a dancing wolf; hermaphrodites; whores; and a whistling paperboy.

              Liked by 1 person

  10. From 1817 I’ll choose Shelley’s Hymn to Intellectual Beauty, which starts with these lines:

    The awful shadow of some unseen Power
    Floats though unseen among us, – visiting
    This various world with as inconstant wing
    As summer winds that creep from flower to flower. –
    Like moonbeams that behind some piny mountain shower,
    It visits with inconstant glance
    Each human heart and countenance; (Lines 1–8)

    From 1867 I’ll mention The Gambler by Dostoevsky, which draws on his own passions for gambling and women. From 1917 I’d mention The Rise of David Levinsky by Abraham Cahan, a Jewish-American novel famous in its day but now largely forgotten. From 1967 I recommend The Joke by Milan Kundera and Cancer Ward by Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

    Gosh, I sound so serious! Let’s go back to 1917 and pick up P. G. Wodehouse too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Shelley was some poet, wasn’t he? Thanks for posting that verse — and for mentioning several famous and not so famous novels having round-number anniversaries. I had never heard of “The Rise of David Levinsky” — a shame when some books fall into complete obscurity. And “The Gambler” is a Dostoyevsky novel I’d like to get to eventually. As for P.G. Wodehouse, there are few funnier writers in the history of the Universe.

      Great comment, Anonymous!


    • Hi Anon always love to read poems those move me here is another by Shelly

      O World! O Life! O Time!
      On whose last steps I climb,
      Trembling at that where I had stood before;
      When will return the glory of your prime?
      No more -Oh, never more!

      Out of the day and night
      A joy has taken flight:
      Fresh spring, and summer, and winter hoar
      Move my faint heart with grief, but with delight
      No more -Oh, never more!

      ~Percy Bysshe Shelley

      Liked by 1 person

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