Here we are thinking about some wispy fun summer reads and somehow William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair slips into the pile. For this, we owe Brad Craft, one of the used book buyers from University Bookstore in Seattle. The ever-charming Craft blogs that July 18 will be Thackeray’s 200th birthday and he was shocked that there “wasn’t a damned thing planned for the occasion anywhere.” The University Bookstore will celebrate Thackeray’s 200th birthday with a party and a reading July 14.
Why should we read Thackeray? To wit: “William Makepeace Thackeray was one of the greatest, most successful novelists of the Nineteenth Century —which is rather like saying the greatest and most followed “Tweeter” of the Twenty First, I suppose, for those that may not appreciate the three volume novel . . . More should read Thackeray than do now, not as a duty or any nonsense like that —I don’t believe in reading books because they might be good for us—but we should more of us be reading Thackeray because he is that good, in fact masterful in many instances. He can be deucedly funny. No lie. More than this though, he was a brilliant writer, capable of many moods besides the comic. He could be quite gentle, even sentimental about things like the superiority of the female, and the kindness owed to children.”