Christmas Book Flood | Recommending reading

2 January

Book of the day

emilezolaThe Disappearance of Zola: Love, Literature and the Dreyfus Case
Michael Rosen
(UK: Faber & Faber, 2017; USA: Faber & Faber [Kindle], 2017)

It is the evening of 18 July 1898 and the world-renowned novelist Émile Zola is on the run. His crime? Taking on the highest powers in the land with his open letter ‘J’accuse’ and losing. Forced to leave Paris, with nothing but the clothes he stood in and a nightshirt wrapped in newspaper, Zola flees to England with no idea when he will return.

This is the little-known story of his time in exile. Rosen has traced Zola’s footsteps from the Gare du Nord to London, examining the significance of this year. The Disappearance of Zola offers an intriguing insight into the mind, the loves, the politics and the work of the great writer.

Available in the UK via ‘My Local Bookshop‘ search engine or Amazon (The Disappearance of Émile Zola: Love, Literature and the Dreyfus Case)
Available in the USA via Amazon (The Disappearance of Émile Zola: Love, Literature and the Dreyfus Case)

white-ch-head-bk-mid-leftFacts of the day

2 January

1839 French photographer, Louis Daguerre, took the first photograph of the Moon.

New Year

The Times Square New Year’s Eve ball was first dropped in 1907 after there was a fireworks ban in the USA. Back then, a 317.5 kg (700 lb) ball was dropped, embellished with 25-watt bulbs and made of iron and wood. The modern-day ball weighs 5386.4 kg (11,875 lb), is 3.66 m (12 ft) in diameter and is adorned with 2668 Waterford crystals.

The tradition has continued in Times Square, except for in 1942 and 1943 when the ball was not lowered due to wartime restrictions.


Vladimir Nabokov wrote Lolita on notecards whilst he was travelling in the USA on on butterfly-collecting trips. His wife, Vera, prevented him from burning the unfinished drafts of the novel.

Rising star in 2017

Debut novelist, Sarah Schmidt, See What I Have Done (UK: Tinder Press, May 2017; USA: Atlantic Monthly Press, August 2017)
A re-imagining of the unsolved American true-crime case of the Lizzie Borden murders

Writers birthdays

1752 Philip Freneau (USA)
1830 Henry Kingsley (UK)
1836 Mendele Moykher Sforim (Belarus)
1870 Ernst Barlach (Germany)
1884 Jacques Chardonne (France)
1886 Moyshe Leyb Halpern (Poland)
1894 Robert Nathan (USA)
1903 Anton van Duinkerken (The Netherlands)
1910 Ulrich Becher (Germany)
1920 Isaac Asimov (Russia)
1928 Gerhard Amanshauser (Austria)
1928 Daisaku Ikeda (Japan)
1933 Seiichi Morimura (Japan)
1938 Hans Herbjørnsrud (Norway)
1960 Naoki Urasawa (Japan)

Jokes of the day

My wife still hasn’t told me what my New Year’s resolutions are.

Cartoon: William Steig, New Year dinner party, Quote Ideas

Quote of the day

T S Eliot, Four Quartets: ‘For last year’s words belong to last year’s language / And next year’s words await another voice.’