Friday 28 September 2007

On This Day...

Have you ever come across those On This Day... books, which list all the significant events to take place on a single date throughout time? Today, for example, being 28th September, witnessed Toronto becoming the capital of Ontario, Canada; cannabis was outlawed in the UK; the first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation aired. Brigitte Bardot, Gwyneth Paltrow and Confucius were born (how can they know when Confucius was born?!) Herman Melville, Louis Pasteur and Harpo Marx died.

But Stuck-in-a-Book is going to look at something both more trivial and more literary than these - trivial and literary, that's a fairly accurate description of this blog... I've kept a list of books read for a few years, and thought it might be quite interesting to see what I was reading on September 28th every year. One of those utterly arbitrary, but nonetheless intriguing, things which can occupy the blogger with time on his hands (and, incidentally, a cold. Bah.)

In 2007... right at the moment I am reading L. P. Hartley's The Go-Between and utterly loving it. I anticipate reporting back in the near-future...

In 2006... get ready to be impressed - I was reading Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus. What good fortune that I chose today's date; had it been a week earlier, I would have had to confess to The Devil Wears Prada.

In 2005... Fidelity by Susan Glaspell. Goodness, that doesn't feel like two years ago. A Persephone Books reissue, and a rather wonderful one, though perhaps that is tautologous.

In 2004... In a nice piece of cross-post serendipity, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte, read in my preparation for starting university and my VicLit course.

In 2003...
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. This does seem to be a fairly misrepresentative list - I read so few classics, as the rather peculiar books mentioned on this blog demonstrate... perhaps September is my month for reading renowned works?

In 2002... I was reading the very wonderful General Impressions by E. M. Delafield. For those who've loved Diary of a Provincial Lady, do seek out this book, and As Others Hear Us. Both are compilations of sketches, generally writing about an aspect of British domestic life in a way even funnier than the PL herself.

In 2001... First Plays by A. A. Milne. Some of his earliest work was as a playwright, and these are well worth seeking out. Probably due a re-read now...

Hope you didn't find that trip down memory lane too dull! I find these comparisons so interesting, and, if you don't object, they might be back at a later date. If nothing else, they should offer a representation of how my reading has changed and developed over the past seven years. Anyone else able to share their September reads through time??


  1. You've mentioned Delafield before and I like her a lot too (own all the P.Lady books). Your mention of Delafield's "General Impressions" sent me looking for it online since since it is a new title for me. My first "click" was on a Delafield bibliography. I had no idea she had written so many books. Here's the url if it interests you:

  2. Goodness, you do keep good records! I've never dated my reading diary and you've made me wish I had.

  3. Thanks anonymous! Check out too, for lots of info. And would be great if you leave your name too next time, so I know to whom I'm talking! Your prerogative of course :)

  4. What a gift to find this blog. I teach British Literature in New Hampshire and my new 3-year project to get recertified is to find at least one contemporary British novel to teach to the kids. What we teaach now just isn't doing it for the students. I'll be checking back and using your list of books quite often, I'm sure! Thanks. ~Linda

  5. Currently reading Miss Hargreaves (thanks to you!). Last year, Negotiating with the dead, Margaret Atwood.
    2005: The New House, Lettice Cooper
    2004: The pig who sang to the moon, Jeffrey Masson
    2003: Hostages to Fortune, Elizabeth Cambridge
    2002: A childhood in Scotland, Christian Miller

  6. > those On This Day... books >
    My husband gave me one of those - a huge/thick thing of diary entries. He knows how much I like reading diaries (real, collected ones, and published ones). It's interesting to pick up occasionally and look through but not really readable in a satisfying way. It would be nice if there were not so much clutter around and the book could be kept out to dip into on a regular basis - maybe weekly or monthly. I tend to find someone I like to read (i.e., V.Woolf's diaries - oh, and Pepys can be a real hoot!) and look them up in the Index, etc.
    [I was "anonymous" yesterday - thought I'd signed it. Sorry]

  7. Ah Nancy, thanks for letting me know!
    Is the diary book you've got Assassin's Cloak? I wrote about that back ages ago, under the title 'Dear Diary', I think. Great reference volume, if nothing else.

  8. Hi Simon,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! Yes, we are almost neighbours. I know Oxford well as I spent several years working right in the centre of it!

    I love reading. I do tend to 'binge-read' on a lot of easy on the brain novels, but I make sure I interject with a smattering of classics. I've just started re-reading Jane Austen's Emma, so was interested to see your recent post.

    Oxford is a great city, I hope you will enjoy being there!


  9. I like this idea very much - please do it again some time. If you don't mind I think I'll look up my reading lists and do a similar post.


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