Of Michener and McCullough: A Brief Remembrance, with Links

4 Feb

I wish I’d written this. I was the same age as the author with all the same reading touchstones, including a deep love of James A. Michener. It’s hard to convey how much these books meant to those who weren’t around when they first hit, but this does am excellent job.

Badass Romance

download (1)In 1977 when The Thorn Birds was published I was fresh off a junior-high year of obsessively re-reading Jane Eyre and addictively consuming hundreds of Barbara Cartland category romances for my 7th grade reading log (fortunately, I had some understanding of the quality/quantity distinction, which is probably why my English teacher let me inflate my numbers so cravenly as long as there was a diversity of other literary selections mixed in with the formulaic Cartlands). I was also sneakily reading Harold Robbins paperbacks and other similarly torrid material I found stashed in the guest room. And I’d discovered James Michener and the lengthy escapism of the place-based epic historical novel/family saga. I still have an incredibly dog-eared copy of Centennial with heavily doodled inside covers – I was practicing signing my name in different handwritings, and designing monograms. I loved that book.

But I think Colleen McCullough’s sweeping Australian saga of…

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