New Beginnings!

Posted on December 31, 2010 by | Posted in Blog, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 2 Comments on New Beginnings!

2011 has just begun, and we have an exciting clean slate in front of us. Let’s fill it with 10 gems straight from our catalog:

The New Year ususally comes with champagne and the resolution to make the New Year also a Better one. Find out if the tolling of The Chimes in Charles Dickens’ novel really does improve things. This recording is also available in Dutch.

A New Year’s tradition in parts of the English speaking world is to sing “Auld Lang Syne” by the scotsman Robert Burns, whose 250th birthday was celebrated on January 25 2009. Listen to poems by and about him in our 250th anniversary collection dedicated to him.

Learning new subjects, languages or skills is a popular resolution. However, going (back) to school and finding new friends can be very daunting for people of all ages. This is certainly what Grace Harlowe has to find out in her First Year at Overton College, a novel for young and old by Jessie Graham Flower.

Or is your new year’s resolution “a new job”? So it is for Christie in Louisa M. Alcott’s novel Work: A Story of Experience. It was written in a time when a woman – especially of the higher classes – working for a living was something extraordinary and usually frowned upon. How times have changed!

If doing the biddings of a boss does not really appeal to you, get creative: How about becoming an inventor? For inspiration, check out the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, born on 17. January 1706, polymath, inventor, writer, … and Founding Father of the USA.

Watkin Tench is not seen as a Founding Father of Sydney, despite him being on the First Fleet that brought British convicts to the Australian shores. Read about his journey and the time after the landing on 20. January 1788 in his work A Narrative of the Expedition to Botany-Bay.

However easy travelling has become these days, moving is still a major undertaking for all concerned. Everyone who ever had to uproot himself will be sympathetic of the numerous moves of Frances Roe, described in Army Letters from an Officers Wife 1871-1888.

While humans often come to accept change quite fast, any disruption in the routine of an animal can be disastrous. Jack London heartrendingly describes this in his famous novel White Fang, the story of a half-wolf half-dog on his way from the wilderness to civilization.

You want to get married this year? Congratulations! Old Mr. Campbell has the same intentions, after all he has been courting the widow Summers for a long time. Pity she can’t stand him. Maybe a cup of Five O’Clock Tea will change her mind in William Dean Howells’ short story.

It does not need a new job, marriage or move to effect a change in us. Sometimes simply accepting who we are marks the biggest beginning of them all. Follow Kurt Gray in Richard Meeker’s novel Better Angel as he finally embraces his homosexuality.

Enjoy – and Happy New Year!



  1. Mallikarjuna Vanenooru says:

    Thank You

  2. Raveendran Nadumana says:

    How I wish I had been born in the 80’s! Then I could have made use of these classics as a student. Hmm…

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