Today in Literary History – August 17, 1945 – George Orwell’s Animal Farm is published

Animal Farm, George Orwell's satirical dystopian fable, was first published on August 17, 1945. He had begun the novel in 1943 after resigning from his position at the BBC to concentrate on writing. The story of Animal Farm is one of a revolution by the barnyard animals against Farmer Jones, his wife and his hired …

Today in Literary History – August 16, 1920 – Charles Bukowski is born

The American poet and novelist Charles Bukowski was born in Germany on August 16, 1920 as Heinrich Karl Bukowski. His father was a German-American who served as a sergeant in the American army during World War I and with the army of occupation in Germany after the war. After leaving the services he stayed on in …

Thought of the Day

"Buying books would be a good thing if one could also buy the time to read them in; but, as a rule, the purchase of books is mistaken for the appropriation of their contents." — Arthur Schopenhauer

Today in Literary History – August 14, 1969 – Leonard Woolf dies

Leonard Woolf, the editor, publisher, novelist and memoirist and husband of Virginia Woolf, died from a stroke on August 14, 1969 at the age of eighty-eight. Woolf was born into a Jewish family in London. His father had been a lawyer but after he died when Woolf was eleven years old the family fell on …

Thought of the Day

"A bad reader is like a bad translator: he interprets literally when he ought to paraphrase, and paraphrases when he ought to interpret literally. In learning to read well, scholarship, valuable as it is, is less important than instinct; some great scholars have been poor translators." —W. H. AUDEN

Today in Literary History – August 12, 1867 – Classicist Edith Hamilton is born

Edith Hamilton, whose books popularizing Greek and Roman culture and mythology, was born on August 12, 1867. She died in 1963 at the age of ninety-five. Her books, such as The Greek Way, The Roman Way and, most especially, Mythology, introduced many readers to the ancient myths and their meanings and to the worldviews of …

Today in Literary History -August 11, 1984 -Publisher Alfred A. Knopf dies

The influential American publisher Alfred A. Knopf died on August 11, 1984 at age of ninety-one. Knopf was 22 in 1915 when he founded his own publishing house with a $5,000 loan from his father, a Jewish immigrant from Poland who had become a successful advertising executive in New York. Knopf was joined in the …

Book Review – MA’AM DARLING: 99 GLIMPSES OF PRINCESS MARGARET by CRAIG BROWN

bookworm norm

Note: I reviewed this strange and wonderful book last fall when it came out in the UK. It is being published this week in the US and Canada so I decided to re-post it. -Norm

Craig Brown, a British satirist and humorist who has written for The Spectator, Private Eye and nearly every London daily newspaper at one time or another, has produced a very witty and catty book about Queen Elizabeth’s wayward younger sister called Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret.

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In her lifetime Margaret was famous for being as rude and disagreeable as possible to nearly everyone she met. As Brown says, it was in a way her trademark or party piece. People came to almost hope for bad behavior from her to make for a juicy anecdote.

Brown’s book is certainly chock full of haughty and arrogant behaviour from Margaret, most of it verifiable or at…

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Today in Literary History – July 11, 1960 – Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is published

Harper Lee's beloved novel To Kill a Mockingbird was published on July 11, 1960. The novel is the coming of age story of Jean Louise "Scout" Finch and her brother "Jem," whose principled lawyer father, Atticus, chooses to defend a black man, Tom Robinson, who is accused of raping a white woman in Depression Era …

Today In Literary History – July 8, 1822 – poet Percy Bysshe Shelley drowns in Italy

The Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley drowned in the Gulf of Spezia in Italy on July 8, 1822, just weeks short of his 30th birthday, after his boat sank during a sudden storm. There have been theories that his death was a suicide or a botched robbery but it seems more likely to have been …

Today in Literary History – July 7, 1907 – science fiction author Robert Heinlein is born

The eminent science fiction writer Robert Heinlein was born on July 7, 1907, in Butler, Missouri. He is the author of dozens of science fiction novels and short stories --such as Stranger in a Strange Land, Starship Troopers, Time Enough for Love and The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress-- many of which have crossed over …

Today in Literary History – July 6, 1932 – Kenneth Graham, author of The Wind in the Willows, dies

Kenneth Grahame, the author of the classic children’s book The Wind in the Willows, died on July 6, 1932, at the age of seventy-three. His epitaph reads "To the beautiful memory of Kenneth Grahame, husband of Elspeth and father of Alastair, who passed the river on the 6th of July, 1932, leaving childhood and literature through him …

Thought of the Day

"You remember too much, my mother said to me recently. Why hold onto all that? And I said, Where can I put it down?" —Anne Carson