A few days ago, a list was released for all the books that will drop into the Public Domain! What does that mean for us? It means that throughout the year 2022, the works listed here will become available to be quoted or used for free without needing permission from estates. You want to read aloud on Instagram A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh? I’ll watch and comment! If you want to use a quote from T.E. Lawrence’s famous memoir Seven Pillars of Wisdom, quote away!

Because this year’s list is extensive, below are a few of the highlights:

Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne

Written in 1926 by A. A. Milne, a successful playwright and poet, Winnie the Pooh has collected accolades all over the world and been translated into over sixty languages. These sweet bedtime stories of a bear and his best friends were based on the real nursery toys of his son Christopher Robin. These stories still delight readers of all ages.

Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence

T. E. Lawrence came from inauspicious beginnings as one of five illegitimate children of the Seventh Baron of Westmeath in Wales. Educated at Oxford, he eventually worked for British Intelligence during WWI and fought with the Arabs to defeat the Turks. He earned the name Lawrence of Arabia and eventually wrote this book which is his autobiography of his time living and fighting in Arabia. This is a fascinating account of a period of time that few remember. It is filled with colorful stories, sorrowful regrets, and an historical overview of an area of the world that is often misunderstood.

My Mortal Enemy by Willa Cather

This is a fictional story of a marriage that suffers from love in the same way it suffers from resentment and regret. The question becomes is “love enough to save a marriage?” You’ll have to read this amazing book to find out!

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

This is Hemingway’s first published novel. It’s about a wounded WWI veteran who works as a journalist in Paris and chronicles his friendships, lovers, and the despair he fights against daily. It’s a study in friendship and love across continents backdropped by a war that was supposed to end all wars… yet didn’t. It’s a powerful novel that will leave you feeling haunted.

The Dancing Girl of Izu by Yasunari Kawabata

This story was published in Japan in 1925 and caused a stir even back then. It’s about a university student who is traveling through Tokyo and falls in love with a young dancer in a dance troupe…until he realizes she’s just a child. His feelings for the girl change, and he undergoes a powerful realization. It’s a poignant story, although it’s not for everyone.

Don Segundo Sombra by Ricardo Güiraldes

About a rebellious teenager desperate to become a gaucho of the pampas under the mentorship of Don Segundo Sombra. Don Segundo Sombra is the perfect gaucho who symbolizes freedom and complete anonymity in the world…until the world changes and the gauchos are either forced to change or die off along with their horses.

These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer

A Georgian romance, this book was Georgette Heyer’s first commercial success and the first of a four-book series. This book placed her firmly in the world of popular romance authors. This is about the truly wicked Duke of Avon who ends up saving a street urchin in Paris. This urchin, whom Avon believes is a boy, turns out to be the heroine. Think the Scarlet Pimpernel meets Pygmalion with lots of quirky characters and great dialog.

The Blind Owl by Sadegh Hedayat

This is one of the most important pieces of literature to come from Iran in the last century. It is a cross between a love story and a psychological thriller told from the point of view of an unreliable (mentally ill) narrator. His memories, many of which are tragic, appear out of order which makes this a more difficult story to read. This is a powerful story of pain and suffering without a happy ending. It is sad but it’s also unforgettable.

Soldier’s Pay by William Faulkner

Written in 1926, this is Faulkner’s first novel and one of many that emerged from WWI. It’s about a wounded veteran’s homecoming and how he deals with the trauma of war. It takes a particularly forlorn look at the people–especially the women–who were left behind.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

A Hercule Poirot mystery by the master of the genre. This story, written in 1927, is considered one of her best mysteries. It’s both a love story and a murder mystery filled with quirky characters, funny dialog, and so many red herrings that you’ll never see the end coming.

The Blue Lagoon by Henry De Vere Stacpoole

This romantic tale of two children marooned on a tropical island has been made into multiple movies and even songs. It’s a moving story that follows a young boy and a young girl as they grow up alone on an uninhabited island in the South Pacific and eventually fall in love. It’s a beautifully descriptive book with a blossoming love story set against a restless sea.

Ulysses by James Joyce

This book was banned until 1934 and still, to this day, causes quite a stir. It’s a modern take on the journey of Ulysses that spans one June day in Dublin in 1904. Some called it pornographic, others still complain that it’s unreadable due to the psychological voice of the POV narrator which is told in stream of consciousness. Essentially it’s about two friends who wander around Dublin, during one nondescript day, and keep running into each other. Since James Joyce was Irish, there’s lot of lamenting and scenes in graveyards that represent the hopelessness of the Irish situation of the time. But it’s worth reading because the story jams every kind of human emotion into a twenty-four period–a story technique that will keep you turning the pages until you finish.

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