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My Antonía by Willa Cather – 100th Anniversary


“I wanted to walk straight on through the red grass and over the edge of the world, which could not be very far away.” –My Antonía

Like Jim Burden, the narrator in My Antonía, a young Willa Cather moved from Virginia to the Nebraska prairie. Cather later lived in Pittsburgh and New York City (where she penned the novel) and traveled around the U.S. and Europe, but it’s with the Great Plains that she is most readily identified. In Red Cloud, Nebraska, the Willa Cather Foundation conducts tours of the author’s childhood home and other sites associated with her real and fictional worlds. In honor of the centennial of My Antonía’s publication, special events are taking place in Red Cloud and across the state through the fall and are listed at

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – 150th Anniversary

A visit to Orchard House, the Alcott family home in Concord, Massachusetts, is like stepping into the pages of Little Women. Louisa May Alcott drew heavily on her family members and their home for the characters and the setting, and the storied abode remains largely as it did during their day.

Orchard House is open year-round and regularly offers interpretive tours, workshops for kids, holiday festivities, and more. Love for the March sisters and their story is universal, though, and readers around the world can celebrate at a wide array of exhibits and other happenings. Check out the list of events at

Emily Brontë’s 200th Birthday (July 30, 1818)

Wuthering Heights was hewn in a wild workshop,” Charlotte Brontë said of her sister Emily’s famed (and only) novel. The wild workshop was the dramatically scenic moorland around the village of Haworth in West Yorkshire, England. A several-mile walk on the moors leads past a waterfall the Brontës often visited and then on to Top Withens, the stone ruins of a remote farm credited as being the geographical setting of Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff’s domain.

Visitors can also explore the Brontë Parsonage Museum, the beautifully restored Georgian parsonage where the wordsmiths lived and wrote. The museum is in the midst of a five-year bicentennial celebration, Brontë 200, which commemorates the 200th anniversaries of the births of siblings Charlotte, Emily, Branwell, and Anne Brontë. The new exhibit “Making Thunder Roar: Emily Brontë” showcases a selection of Emily’s possessions, writing, and artwork, along with contributions from well-known contemporary admirers of the novelist.

John Steinbeck – 50th Anniversary of His Death (December 20, 1968)

One of the most impressive literary shrines anywhere is the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California, a purpose-built museum dedicated to John Steinbeck’s life and works. Thematic galleries with interactive exhibits, mini-theaters showing film adaptions of his novels, and unique features like an oversize, light-up crossword puzzle for testing one’s Steinbeck smarts make it both informative and entertaining.

The brick-and-glass building anchors one end of Main Street in the city’s Oldtown section, which is depicted in East of Eden. Use the Center’s interactive map to take a self-guided tour of Steinbeck-related sites in Oldtown, ending at the writer’s childhood home. Down the street from the National Steinbeck Center (which marks its 20th anniversary this year) is the Steinbeck House, a Queen Anne-style Victorian abode that has operated as a luncheon restaurant since 1974.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – 200th anniversary

At a villa in Switzerland during an unusually stormy summer, Lord Byron suggested to his housebound guests – Mary Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley among them – that they each conjure up a horror tale to help pass the time. The winner of the friendly competition was Mary, who penned Frankenstein after dreaming the idea for the story.

The Keats-Shelley Association of America is spearheading an international celebration of Frankenstein‘s anniversary. Events are taking place throughout the year, culminating in “Frankenweek” from October 24-31. Worldwide events – such as book discussions, stage productions, film screenings, and full and partial readings of the novel (reciting the entire text takes about 9 hours) – are listed on Also check in with bookstores, museums, libraries, and universities in your area to find out what Frankenstein-related fun they might be planning.








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#wanderlustwednesday During last week’s literary travel talk, another destination high on wish-lists was England’s Lake District. Here bibliophiles can tour the homes of two authors who lived there a century apart: poet William Wordsworth in the 1800s and children’s author Beatrix Potter a century later. 🧳 📚 Visit the Lake District and you’ll be following in well-trod footsteps. Literary travelers have been trekking to the lovely region since at least the 1830s. Enthusiastic Wordsworth fans would peer in the windows at his last home, Rydal Mount, hoping to catch a glimpse of him. The famed poet was welcoming and gracious, often chatting with the celebrity seekers parading by his place and showing them around the gardens. ... #classy #literarytravel #lakedistrict #england #blueskies #williamwordsworth #booklovers
There is a used bookstore in my town that has a table on the sidewalk outside the storefront, and it stops me in my tracks every time I walk by. There is always a fabulous selection of fiction, and today—after browsing for a long time and whittling down the many, many choices—I headed home with these two novels. ... I read VANESSA AND HER SISTER previously on my e-reader, but as soon as I saw it I really wanted this lovely edition for my shelves. The story is told in the form of a diary kept by Virginia Woolf’s sister, Vanessa, beginning at the turn of the 20th century with the formation of the Bloomsbury Group in London. ... THE EYRE AFFAIR has been on my to-read list for a long time. I’m not sure what to expect from classic lit meets science fiction, but it’s time to give it a read. #hadtohavethem #bookbuying #books #book #booklovers #bookstagram #igbooks #bibliophile #symposiabookstore #bookshelf #bookish #bookworm #bookaholic #booksandcocktails #purplegin #vanessaandhersister #theeyreaffair
#tbt Edith Wharton’s library. The books on the shelves belonged to Wharton, including a copy of THE GOLDEN BOWL inscribed to her by Henry James, her close friend and sometime guest at her Berkshires home. Wharton didn’t work in the library, though, preferring to write in her upstairs bedroom. ... #dreamy #library #librarylove #books #booklover #edithwharton #themount #berkshires #massachusetts #noveldestinations #literarylandmarks #authorhouse

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