Another Roundup of Round-Number Anniversaries

With the New Year here, it’s time for my annual post focusing on some of the novels that will reach round-number anniversaries in the next 12 months.

I’ll work chronologically backwards, starting with 1998-published books turning 25 in 2023. I’ll only mention novels I’ve read, except for two of which I’ve only seen the movie version.

Not sure this qualifies, but Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was first published in the United States a quarter-century ago, in 1998. That novel initially came out in the United Kingdom the previous year under the title of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone — kicking off J.K. Rowling’s outstanding, wildly popular seven books of wizard world-building. The second novel, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, made its page-turning debut everywhere in ’98.

Perhaps the best novel of ’98 was The Poisonwood Bible, about a very problematic American missionary in Africa and his long-suffering/eventually rebelling wife and daughters. Barbara Kingsolver’s masterwork became a Pulitzer Prize finalist, losing out to Michael Cunningham’s The Hours and its Virginia Woolf theme. (I haven’t read the latter book but did see 2002’s excellent movie adaptation.)

In the young-adult realm, Louis Sachar’s quirkily great Holes also arrived in 1998.

Some of the novel notables of 1973, a half-century ago? William Goldman’s The Princess Bride (which I also haven’t read but saw 1987’s famous film version) turns 50 this year. As does Sula, a compelling early Toni Morrison effort about a complicated friendship between two quite different girls-then-women.

Also in ’73 was Rita Mae Brown’s pioneering lesbian-themed Rubyfruit Jungle, a great read; and Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying, which became a bestseller with its candid take on (hetero) female sexuality.

My favorite novel from 1923: L.M. Montgomery’s wonderful Emily of New Moon, the first in a semi-autobiographical trilogy. Also turning 100 in 2023 is Aldous Huxley’s Antic Hay, a comic novel quite different from his later speculative-fiction classic Brave New World; and Willa Cather’s A Lost Lady, one of her lesser-known works but still pretty good.

A notable release 150 years ago, in 1873, was The Gilded Age co-written by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner. Certainly a memorable title, and the portion of the novel Twain wrote is plenty satirical. Also published that year was The Belly of Paris, in which Emile Zola started hitting his stride as a novelist with the story of a wrongly accused man amid the setting of a huge marketplace in France’s capital city.

Two centuries ago, in 1823, saw the release of The Pioneers — the first of James Fenimore Cooper’s top-notch quintet of Leatherstocking novels that would become the fourth book, chronologically, telling Natty Bumppo’s life story.

Also published in 1823 was Quentin Durward, about a Scottish archer in 15th-century France. One of Walter Scott’s best novels even if not as well-known as his Ivanhoe and Rob Roy.

Any comments about the books I mentioned? Other novels youโ€™d like to name with round-number anniversaries this year?

One more thing: Some of this blog’s 2022 statistics are pictured below, including a list of the 12 countries from which posts were viewed the most. Thank you, everyone, for reading my weekly posts and for your MANY terrific comments! ๐Ÿ™‚

My literary-trivia book is described and can be purchased here: Fascinating Facts About Famous Fiction Authors and the Greatest Novels of All Time.

In addition to this weekly blog, I write the 2003-started/award-winning “Montclairvoyant” topical-humor column for Baristanet.com every Thursday. The latest piece — about the saving of a historic house and more — is here.

107 thoughts on “Another Roundup of Round-Number Anniversaries

  1. Hi Dave,

    I donโ€™t think โ€œHarry Potterโ€ does count as it had already been released in the U.K. And if youโ€™re going to bend the rules, then so am I by mentioning two novels published 8 years ago. Thatโ€™s almost a round number right?

    I recently read โ€œOur Souls At Nightโ€ by Kent Haruf. Itโ€™s one of those books that just grabs you from the first word and you canโ€™t put down. A gentle story about love and companionship amongst older people. A truly beautiful novel that will stay with me for a long while.

    Iโ€™m also reading โ€œGrail Nightsโ€ written by Amanda Moores. Thanks so much to both you and jhNY for helping to get me a copy. A collection of atmospheric stories that are so far quite engaging, though perhaps a little bleak.

    NIGHT must be the word of 2023 for me as I also have Dorothy L Sayers โ€œGaudy Nightโ€ coming up on my TBR. Published in 1935 thereโ€™s no way even I can find a link to talk about that this week. Oops, looks like I already did!

    Neil Gaimanโ€™s โ€œSmoke and Mirrorsโ€ was published in 1998. Iโ€™ve only read one of the stories included in the collection, but I think thatโ€™s enough to be considered on topic. I have read lots of other Neil Gaiman, but none of them are quite round enough anniversaries. Same as Iโ€™ve read most of the authors that youโ€™ve mentioned, but very few of the books. I think I might get cracking now on books published last year so that in 2047 there will be lots of anniversary books for me to talk about. Though Iโ€™m still trying to figure out how 1998 was 25 years ago!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Susan! Fair point about the first “Harry Potter” book. ๐Ÿ™‚

      And “8” IS a round number in terms of being comprised of two circles. ๐Ÿ™‚ From your description, “Our Souls At Night” sounds wonderful. Just put it on my to-read list.

      Another “Night” novel — “Gaudy Night” — is quite a good Dorothy L. Sayers book. Enjoy!

      “Grail Nights” is indeed a very compelling novel by Amanda Moores (jhNY’s wife). The format of short stories that meld into a novel can be quite interesting, as also exemplified by “Winesburg, Ohio,” “The Martian Chronicles,” “Olive Kitteridge,” “Cranford,” etc.

      Yes, quite a “Night” or “Nights” theme you have there! I have a sudden desire to re-watch the Marx Brothers in “A Night at the Opera.” ๐Ÿฅธ

      Like

      • I meant to include in my original comment that although I know you don’t mind us not sticking to the rules, I promise to be more on topic from next week ๐Ÿ™‚ Hopefully it was obvious that I was using your “Harry Potter” rule bending as an excuse for my own. It’s your blog, ANYTHYING you say counts!

        Thanks again for listing a few new titles, none of which I’ve read…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great post, Dave, although when someone talks about things that are reaching historic milestones, and you remember them, well…

    I was shocked that Harry Potter hits 25. I haven’t read those books, but I thought they were more recent. I started The Poisonwood Bible, but I gave up.

    My favorite book from 1973 is Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut. Also a reminder of how long I’ve been on the planet.

    I have come to enjoy your blog, and I have learned a lot by following. Thanks for the effort you put into it and the insights you share.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much for your kind words, Dan! ๐Ÿ™‚ I enjoy your varied (and often photo-filled) blog, too!

      Yes, time can fly with certain things. Re “Harry Potter,” it indeed doesn’t seem like a quarter century since that series began. My older daughter got into those J.K. Rowling books starting as an 8-year-old in 1998, and got me VERY interested as well.

      I think I need to increase my Vonnegut reading, which consists of only two of his books. “Breakfast of Champions” is now on my list (in addition to being on Wheaties boxes ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. HI Dave, thanks for another great post. I checked on Goodreads for the list of the most popular books published in 1923 and was surprised at a few books I’ve read that I didn’t know where that old. I’ve read the Aggie Christie’s mentioned by Sarah, and Emily of New Moon, the book that got me started writing poetry as a girl, but also Bambi and The Inimitable Jeeves. 1973 is the year my husband was born. He is 50 this year and I am teasing him about getting old. Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber had the most enormous impact on me as a teen. I had no idea parents could be so cruel and that book really opened my eyes (my childhood was very sheltered). I have been thinking of reading Sybil again but I don’t know if I can stomach it.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. My entry, published in 1973: the historical/hysterical true fiction of “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72” by Hunter S. Thompson, which concerns itself, more or less, with the US presidential election of 1972, specifically, the Democratic primaries. Thompson’s mischievous floating of Edmund Muskie’s ingestion of ibogaine, a supposedly hallucinogenic and psychoactive drug of exotic origin, and Muskie’s purported subsequent behavior on his train, the Sunshine Express, was one of the more fantastic yet telling observations of the candidate, and of the gullible press corps. There are also, within these pages, cogent and and sharp analyses of Richard Nixon, inside-baseball stuff about the McGovern campaign and his young band of staffers, as well as more tall tales and exaggerations. Funny and bitter and smart and nuts.

    from wikipedia:
    “Frank Mankiewicz,McGovern’s campaign manager, would often say in later years that the book, despite its embellishments, represented “the least factual, most accurate account” of the election.”

    Liked by 1 person

      • My second attempt–I posted in the usual way, and saw nothing appear in the comments. So I did it again. Nothing.

        As tempting as it was to repeat the repetition, I forwent, in hopes that it was stuck someplace you’d find it.

        Huzzah!

        (Wonder when you’ll see this…)

        Liked by 1 person

  5. In 1963 at the age of 12, I was mostly reading comic books. ’73 was a great year’s reading: Breakfast of Champions, Harvest Home, The Onion Field, and Gulag Archipelago and these are only the most popular ones from that year. ’83 raising kids and working with very little time yet ironically managed to catch up re: my comic book years when reading bedtime stories such as Where the Wild Things Are and Amelia Bedelia. ’93 King’s Nightmares and Dreamscapes, Proulx’s Shipping News… Oh my, this is becoming longer than expected and then again, it’s only a fraction of what I still want to read. In fact, in checking the publishing dates of the above, I discovered even more. Yikes! As Frank Zappa said, “So many books, so little time.” Very Happy New Year to you and yours, Susi.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Susi! ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy New Year to you and yours as well!

      You named various notable works published in years ending with “3.” I’ve gotten to several, including the quirky “The Shipping News” and the grim “The Gulag Archipelago.” One of these days I should read more Vonnegut, with “Breakfast of Champions” one possibility. My novel reading also dipped somewhat when my daughters were very young, but, yes, plenty of children’s books to compensate. ๐Ÿ™‚

      And that Frank Zappa quote is iconic!

      Like

      • Thanks Dave. I have no idea what the least popular books were for those decades, but I’m sure I read a few of those as well. Not certain, in the least, how they make that particular distinction unless it’s based on sales or some muckety muck’s opinion and we have enough of those. In fact, I recently heard a horrible review of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment from a criminologist who was comparing it to the pathological mind set of the alleged Idaho murderer. Geezaloo! He completely missed the whole point of what Dostoevky was trying to convey. It was the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard lately knowing it won’t be the last *sigh*. Sorry, I’ll end my rant with yet another quote, this one from Tom Waits: “We are buried beneath the weight of information, which is being confused with knowledge; quantity is being confused with abundance and wealth with happiness. We are monkeys with money and guns.”

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you for the great follow-up comment, Susi! A lot of truth in that Tom Waits quote. And, yes, some not that good round-number-anniversary novels are pretty much forgotten. And, yes again, it’s hard to believe “Crime and Punishment” (one of my five favorite novels ever) got that kind of review. I realize Dostoevsky isn’t as “deep” as Nicholas Sparks, but… ๐Ÿ™‚

          Like

      • Here’s a fave outta that Mother (of Invention):

        “Rock journalism is people who canโ€™t write interviewing people who canโ€™t talk for people who canโ€™t read.”– Frank Zappa

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Dave, I don’t know what anniversary it would be of my reading your columns but it’s been a number of years; intervals in the passage of time that have provided so much enjoyment. Thank you for sharing your extensive literary knowledge. May you have a great New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Happy New Year Dave!

    I had a look at 1923 and 1933 as these particular decades are dominating my reading at the moment. From 1923 Agatha Christie published “Murder on the Links” and, rather neatly, I’m currently reading “Lord Edgware Dies” which was published in 1933. Also from this particular year and one that is awaiting my attention is ‘The Thin Man’ by Dashiell Hammett. Other authors that I’ve enjoyed from these two decades but not read these published works are Arnold Bennet, Joseph Roth and Hans Fallada.
    And whilst I remember it’s the 180th anniversary of ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens!
    All the best for 2023 and I look forward to joining you and your readers for more discussions about literature!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Sarah! Wishing you a Happy New Year and a great 2023, too, for life and literature!

      Ah, Agatha Christie. So prolific that I’m not surprised she wrote some novels published in years ending with “3.” I haven’t read the two you mentioned; I’ve only gotten to a handful of her mysteries — most notably “And Then There Were None.”

      Wow — “A Christmas Carol” being 180 years old! Still so relevant in the 21st century.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for your well wishes!

        Christie was, indeed, so prolific! I’ve barely scratched the surface of her writing really but I am enjoying it all very much.

        And yes, that’s quite a notable anniversary for ‘A Christmas Carol’! As you say it’s still very relevant today.

        Liked by 1 person

      • HI Dave, Murder on the Oriental Express is another great Christie Novel. And then there were None is brilliant, I read it when I was a young teen and loved Anthony Marsden and his description as a young Hercules like man. I also enjoyed Death on the Nile. I had a Aggie binge when Michael was a baby and I couldn’t concentrate on books that were to long or heavy. I read about 50 of them.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Thank you, Robbie! I haven’t read “Murder on the Orient Express,” but did see the great movie version. I really should try another one or two Agatha Christie works, and will look for “Death on the Nile.” Wow — that was quite a Christie binge you were on! Totally understandable to read shorter novels when one has very young children!

          Liked by 1 person

  8. I had to use Duck Duck Go for assistance. I found two I’ve read from 1953: Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger and Life among the Savages by Shirley Jackson. Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” was also published that year. A very, very, very big deal!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Liz! Wow — 1953 (70 years ago) was quite a year for fiction! Also “Go Tell It On the Mountain,” “Fahrenheit 451,” and “The Crucible,” among other works. That Flannery O’Connor story you mentioned is absolutely chilling.

      Liked by 3 people

        • Three months ago, I read the bulk of her collected short fiction. Very talented and able writer, but she seemed to be standing quite an unsettled and unsettling distance away from her characters and settings. I did not quite recognize the South she was describing, nor its inhabitants. I had the sense she was making a South, and Southern people, of her own.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Now that you mention it, I haven’t noticed authorial distance in O’Connor’s work, just that a single consciousness created it. I think you’re right about O’Connor’s South being a creation all her own–but with a connection to the actual South of her time.

            Liked by 1 person

            • As a son of the South, and 71, I think I was around to see at least the remains of the times and places she would depict. But I think she suffers from her Catholicism in that context. Milledgeville GA was no hotbed of Papists, and growing up, she must have felt somewhat estranged from the radical Protestant strains of Christianity prevalent. Also, she suffered poor health for most of her writing life, increasingly poor health. Seeing the world from a sickroom gives one perspective of a kind, but her condition made for an intrinsic distancing from the workaday world nearby, which I would argue she had always observed from afar, as a matter of personality and circumstance.

              Finally, she was praised by writers and critics of the Northeastern variety, who themselves had little real connection to the South, and seemed to see her as a kind of ambassador of the homespun exotic, shedding light on strange simple people and places they otherwise would have found inexplicable, and possibly beneath their interest. Her original writing instructor found her speech to be literally incomprehensible, which seems more like a story than a fact– but it did much to uphold the preferred portrait of the artist, among those I cite. Of course, none of that was O’Connor’s doing, though it did benefit her professionally.

              Liked by 2 people

  9. The Poisonwood Bible was brilliant. There was humour intermixed with difficult concepts that were explored with compassion and detailed knowledge. It was as if Barbara Kingsolver was intimately involved in the narrative. The Poisonwood Bible remains on my top books read during my lifetime.

    I always enjoy January 1st because it is when books come into public domain. It is a reminder to me that books have lives of their own and extend beyond the life of the author. I was on Lit Hub this morning to check on what came out for 2023. In the US (and Canada) the books published in 1927 will enter the public domain. Here is a short list that came from a longer list:

    Herbert Asbury, The Gangs of New York
    Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop
    Agatha Christie, The Big Four
    Countee Cullen, ed., Caroling Dusk: An Anthology of Verse by Negro Poets
    Arthur Conan Doyle, โ€œThe Adventure of the Veiled Lodgerโ€
    Arthur Conan Doyle, โ€œThe Adventure of Shoscombe Old Placeโ€
    Ernest Hemingway, Men Without Women
    Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf
    Franz Kafka, Amerika
    Edith Wharton, Twilight Sleep
    Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey
    Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

    Thanks for a fabulous year of reading,Dave. I am excited about reading in 2023.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you, Rebecca! I totally agree about “The Poisonwood Bible.” A real tour de force. Barbara Kingsolver has written a number of excellent novels — “Prodigal Summer,” “The Lacuna,” “Flight Behavior,” etc. — but “The Poisonwood Bible” is her masterpiece.

      Those are some superb books, by great authors, entering the public domain this year! I appreciate the list!

      Liked by 2 people

    • HI Rebecca, thanks for sharing this list of books entering the public domain this year. I have just purchased The Circle and The Every, both by Dave Eggers, subsequent to reading fascinating reviews of them. Have you read either or both? They sound like food for thought.

      Liked by 2 people

    • “The Gangs of New York” by Herbert Asbury was an early find here in NYC when I moved here 40+ years ago– though my copy is a Garden City reprint. Still, it’s a hardback, and everything inside was news to me– if, upon further inquiry, not always above the temptation exaggerate, though mostly by quoting contemporary overheated publications and periodicals, many of which were printed up by reformers and anti-saloon types.

      His introduction contained a statement that never left me: he had not given much consideration to the so-called gangs of the present New York (this was written in the Roaring 1920s[!}), because they were so minuscule in comparison to gangs of the 19th century, when a single gang, the Dead Rabbits, could call a thousand men to arms overnight.

      Somewhere in the book was a list of his previous publications, and an early one was titled “Up From Methodism”. The name Asbury is telling. Herbert was is a descendant of Francis Asbury (1745-1816), a pillar of American Methodism, whose log church, a small and cramped affair, sits on the Scarritt College for Christian Workers campus in Nashville TN. Recently, Scarritt College (closed in 1988) has offered rooms to visitors , and as it was close to the folks I was visiting, I stayed there, knowing nothing about the cabin. But I took a walk around campus one night, and there it was, complete with commemorative plaque.

      The staff of the place did not know whether to be scandalized or delighted when I informed them of the Gangs of New York connection, (then recently made into a movie with but the slightest relation to the book) and of Herbert’s other title “Up from Methodism”, which they themselves were yet laboring under.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Very interesting, jhNY! I guess NYC was indeed a hotbed of gang activity in the 19th century. I got a sense of that when recently reading “The Alienist” by Caleb Carr, who might possibly have read “The Gangs of New York” for all I know. And nice for that former college to offer rooms for visitors.

        Like

      • This is an brilliant back story. Thank you jhNY!! I just look up Herbert Asbury (I had never heard of him before) although I heard of the book title. I see that he also wrote โ€œThe Gangs of Chicagoโ€ โ€œThe French Quarterโ€ and โ€œThe Barbary Coast.โ€

        Liked by 1 person

        • I have read “The Barbary Coast” and “The French Quarter” and “The Gem of the Prairie” aka “The Gangs of Chicago” within a couple of years of stumbling upon “The Gangs of New York”. As you might imagine, the book covering New Orleans was the most compelling among them, and its underworld personalities and doings most unique– but I’d be hard-pressed for particulars of each today, 40 years on.

          What attracted me generally was Asbury’s accounts, if somewhat sensational, of another kind of American social history, the unofficial side of things that officially was forgotten or repressed. As a writer, Asbury can be pointed and he can be wry, and his overall authorial tone, a sort of jaundiced bemusement, served subject and readers well.

          Liked by 2 people

    • I echo the comment about the great and thought-provoking content, and the excellent recommendations I was able to get as well!

      I did read The Princess Bride (yes, after watching the movie), and the book is an utter delight. It follows the script of the movie pretty much to the letter, but with a different, memorable, and funny intro and also a side story about a new scene. If you loved the movie, you’ll love the book, too! Wow, a 50th anniversary… I just read that millennials are pushing 40, I guess time waits for no man? ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 3 people

      • Thank you, Endless Weekend, for the kind words! ๐Ÿ™‚ And it sounds like I need to put “The Princess Bride” novel on my to-read list; just did. Not surprised when a book is as good or better than even a great movie it inspires!

        Yes, 1973 doesn’t seem THAT long ago. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 2 people

  10. What an interesting way to survey literature–one of the few commodities judged positively by how long ago its sell by date was. Im especially interested in your nineteen-twenties selection, since having moved to an area with many houses of that vintage. It is interesting to think what the original owners were reading, and how that shaped their worldview. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 5 people

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