This month, we’re celebrating our fourth birthday as a blog. Interesting Literature began life on 1 December 2012 (41 years, to the day, since Project Gutenberg was launched; though needless to say we’ve yet to match that site for popularity or sheer usefulness!). Since we began blogging about some of the more curious aspects of literature, this blog has grown to include a Twitter feed, a Facebook page, and – this year – a book, The Secret Library: A Book-Lovers’ Journey Through Curiosities of History.
The book, which we’ve offered a taste of here, was a real joy to put together, since, although we’ve also branched out into literary analysis (and are currently working our way through all of Shakespeare’s Sonnets), this blog was founded in the first place with the modest intention of sharing bits of literary trivia, curious stories and anecdotes, and surprising but forgotten titles from the bookshelves of the past. This is what The Secret Library is about – the core essence of our blog, but in a rather beautifully packaged hardcover book. (If you’ve already read it and enjoyed it at all, then do please consider letting our publishers know on Twitter – it might convince them to commission another book, which we’d very much like to write.)
US readers: our book is available to pre-order now, if you’re interested in discovering more obscure trivia about the world of books – everything from the first detective novel (not Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone, it turns out) to the first vampire novel (whose protagonist was modelled, somewhat unflatteringly, on Lord Byron). And to all of our readers, of this blog and of our book, thank you – it’s a pleasure sharing the interestingness with you all.
And before we go, here’s the most interesting literary fact we’ve learned so far this week: in her 1850 book The First Christmas in New England, Harriet Beecher Stowe – better-known for writing Uncle Tom’s Cabin – included a character who complains that the true meaning of Christmas has been lost in a shopping spree. Nothing’s new, it would seem…