July 15th: A popular day in books

Today is my parent’s wedding anniversary. They’ve been married 27 years, and neither of them has committed any serious crimes against the other. Believe me, it’s a big achievement.

While my parents celebrate, July 15th is also a pretty popular date for fiction. Maybe it’s because it’s almost right in the centre of the year (it’s the 196th day of the year, and there are 169 days until the New Year) but it’s come up in two books I’ve read so far.

July itself is a regular month in fiction anyway, with Harry Potter‘s birthday on the 31st.

One Day by David Nichols

Emma and Dex meet in Edinburgh University on the night of their graduation, July 15th 1988. Over the following 20 years, we follow Emma and Dex through crappy jobs and even crappier relationships. Emma struggles in her career as a writer, while Dexter’s TV career is flourishing, and bringing him to far flung places he could only dream of.

Eventually, they realise their feelings for each other and start a relationship, but their love does not come without its hurdles.

There’s a reference to St Swithen’s Day in the first chapter, but it’s not mentioned if it actually rains on July 15th.

Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O Farrell

July 15th 1976 is a day in the middle of a heatwave and a draught in London – much like the day my parents married in Ireland, it is sweltering.

Robert Riordan goes out to buy the morning paper on July 15th, but this time he doesn’t come back. His disappearance unsettles not only his wife Gretta, but also their three children Michael Franic, Monica, and Aoife. It gathers the family together for the first time in years, and takes the spotlight off their own problems.


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