Monday, November 5, 2007

This Week in Reading - November 4 - 10

Many of the authors born this week are more than mere authors; some are institutions of their field or at least their niche. The same is true for some of the events this week: important moments that held social changes. There was only one Will Rogers, (though Glendale has had a columnist of that name in various local newspapers.) There is only one Walter Cronkite as the times may not accept another anchorman of that stature and believability. (Regardless of the street cred Bryan Williams earned by hosting Saturday Night Live this weekend, he can never have, nor necessarily want, the paternal profundity and reassurance of Cronkite's voice.)

But for all the integral names, will the last one on the list, a youngish writer with remarkable creativity and versatility, become one of a new century's insititutions? If you haven't checked out Neil Gaiman yet, it may be worth your time. His novel Stardust was made into a film this year (by other writers) and he is a co-writer of the screenplay for the soon to be released Beowulf. As you think of the Writers' Guild Association strike developing this week, consider what new media may do to change the expectations of writers and readers. Just as you think and live in several ways now, this author, among others now, writes in several formats from journalism to novels to comic books and graphic novels to television and film scripts.

This Week's Question: It's one year to the next presidental election. Besides writing and talking, which of the authors born this week also ran for president?

Answer to Last Week's Question: Orson Welles and John Houseman founded the Mercury Theatre in New York in 1937. Welles began broadcasting on radio in 1938 in a program called First Person Singular. He hired his theatre's actors and writers to dramatize famous books for the one hour radio slot and by the time they did H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds the radio program was known as The Mercury Theatre on the Air. The first book they dramatized on that series was Bram Stoker's Dracula although Welles had independently directed a well-respected adaptation of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables earlier.

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