John Buchan (1875 – 1940) was an author, poet, lawyer, publisher, journalist, war correspondent, Member of Parliament, University Chancellor, keen angler and family man. He was ennobled and, as Lord Tweedsmuir, became Governor-General of Canada. In this role, he signed Canada’s entry into the Second World War. Nowadays he is probably best known – maybe only known – as the author of The Thirty-Nine Steps. However, he wrote so much more that is worth reading: fiction, poetry, short stories, biographies, memoirs and history. In his lifetime, he published over 100 books.
You can find out more about John Buchan, his life and literary output by visiting The John Buchan Society website.
Continuing with the project I commenced in 2018, I’m going to read (in some cases, re-read) twelve more of John Buchan’s books in 2020 – a different book each month. You can find my reading schedule below. It has to be said that we’re now getting to considerably less well-known works, possibly justifiably so in some cases.
As I did last year, I’ll post an article introducing each book at the start of every month (no spoilers!) and then publish my review of the book at the end of the month.
If you want to catch up on the John Buchan novels I read in 2019 you can do so here.
January: Sir Quixote of the Moor (1895) – Buchan’s first published novel, a romantic tale set in 17th century Scotland
February: John Burnet of Barns (1898) – adventure novel set in 17th century Scotland
March: A Lodge in the Wilderness (1906) – a symposium formed of various characters meet to discuss subjects including Imperialism
April: A Book of Escapes and Hurried Journeys (1922) – the stories of twelve escapes and adventurous journeys from history
May: The Last Secrets (1923) – accounts of key achievements in exploration from the first two decades of the 20th century
June: Homilies and Recreations(1926) – a collection of essays
July: The Gap in the Curtain (1932) – the fourth novel to feature the character, Sir Edward Leithen
August: A Prince of the Captivity (1933) – a novel about one man’s journey from disgrace to redemption
September: The Magic Walking Stick (1932) – Buchan’s first novel for young children based on an earlier short story
October: The Free Fishers (1934) – adventure set in 18th century Scotland
November: The King’s Grace (1935) – written to celebrate King George V’s Jubilee
December: The Long Traverse (1941) – an unfinished novel for children focusing on episodes in Canadian history, published posthumously