Thursday, September 10, 2009

This Week in Reading September 6 - 12

Authors born this week

Nobel Prize in Literature
Poet Frederic Mistral (1904)

Novelists and story writers
Leo Tolstoy, O Henry, Alexandr Kuprin, D.H. Lawrence, Elinor Wylie, Franz Werfel, George Bataille, Julien Green, James Hilton, Cesare Pavese, Carmen Lafloret, Grace Metalious, Michael Ondaatje, Anne Beattie, Barry Siegel, Alice Sebold, Jennifer Egan, James Frey

Poets and Playwrights
Poets: C. J. Dennis, H.D, Siegfried Sassoon, Edith Sitwell, Louis MacNeice, Mary Oliver Playwrights: Lodivico Ariosto, Alfred Jarry, Michael Frayn, Jerome Ragni

Thinkers, Believers, Scientists, Historians, Biographers
Philosophers: Charles Sanders Peirce, Theodor Adorno Believers: Neale Donald Walsch Scientists: Jared Diamond, Stephen Jay Gould, Michael Shermer, Terry Tempest Williams Biographers: Carl van Doren, Robert M. Pirsig

Humorists, Essayists, Editors, Journalists, Officials, Media and Others
Humorists: Jeff Foxworthy Essayists: Jane Addams, Mary Hunter Austin, Paul Goodman, Paul Miller Editors: H. L. Mencken Journalists: Jessica Mitford, Simon Reeve, Maria Bartiromo, Markos Moulitisas Media and Others: Elia Kazan, Sid Caesar, Charles Kuralt, Pamela des Barres, Bill O’Reilly, Carly Fiorina

Mystery / Crime / Suspense Writers
Mystery: Phyllis A. Whitney

Fantasy / Science Fiction Writers
Science Fiction:
Stanislaw Lem, Dan Cragg, China Mieville

Visual Artists
Sergio Arragones Photographers: Ben Shahn Graphic Novelists: Alison Bechdel

Young People’s Writers
Felix Salten, Eric Hill, Philip Ardagh

Events to read about this week:
Philo T. Farnsworth perfected his telvising process so that years later we could see the first events such as the Miss America contest, the Star Trek series, ESPN, a network devoted totally to sports, on which we saw Cal Ripken break Lou Gehrig's iron man record, and news events such as President Ford pardoning Richard Nixon for his Watergate indiscretions, and the opening of the Kennedy Center for the Arts. What we did not see on television, however, was the discovery of prehistoric paintings in a cave in France, and the the founding of California as a state.

Hollywood columnist Army Archerd, (87)
Literary critic Richard Poirier (83) (late last week)

This Week’s Questions:
This week gives us several very famous literary authors and most of us know them through their work, yet some held social and political ideas that could give others pause. Many complained about the puritanism of their time. We all probably know Mencken's famous quote - "Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy" - but who, born this week, said these words?

"To the Puritan, all things are impure, as somebody says."

"The great artists of the world are never Puritans, and seldom even ordinarily respectable."

"Perhaps there is no happiness in life so perfect as the martyr's."

"Puritanism persists, yet there is a remarkable shift away from moralism and hypocrisy and toward plain inconsistency."

"Pure and complete sorrow is as impossible as pure and complete joy. "

Answers to Last Week’s Questions:
Eleanor Alice Burford Hibbert (we hadn’t even caught onto her real married last name at the library). (1906 – 1993) was the prolific “Queen of romantic suspense” who is credited with reinvigorating the gothic romance genre as Victoria Holt in 1960. She wrote close to two hundred novels under pseudonyms for her historical romances, among the most well know were Jean Plaidy (the "Tudor Sagas," "Plantagenet Sagas", the "Norman Trilogy," ((not to be confused by the three play trilogy called "the Norman Conquests" by Alan Ayckbourn.)) etc) and Philippa Carr (the "Daughters of England" series.) She also used at least five other names for other series, with her own birth name, Eleanor Buford, leading the list which includes Kathleen Kellow, Ellalice Tate, Anna Percival, and Elbur Ford. She also wrote a few stories and some books for children.

C. J. Cherryh, a contemporary writer with over forty books already, has wrttien at least seventeen different kinds of science fiction genres from space opera to high fantasy. Her series include "Tristan," "Cyteen," "Compact Space," "Faded Sun," "Merovingen Nights," and she has contributed to other series and has written many stories.

Joan Aiken, (1924 – 2004), daughter of the famous poet Conrad Aiken, created about a hundred fantasy novels which she called “unhistorical romances” for youth (mostly) and adults. Her most well known series was "The Wolves of Willoughby Chase" but "Arabel and Mortimer," and "Black Hearts in Battersea" were also popular. She also wrote plays and many stories.

Edgar Rice Burroughs, (1875 – 1950,) wrote many more pulp series besides the Tarzan adventures we all know him by. The other series include the "Barsoom" books about fighting Martians on the planet Mars, the "Pellucidar" series about going to the center of the earth, along with series about the Moon, about the planet Venus, and the "Land That Time Forgot." He also wrote historical novels, western novels, other jungle series books, and other science fiction, as well as many stories.

Mary Renualt, (1905 – 1983,) wrote contemporary fiction as well as the historical novels set in Ancient Greece that she was most well known for. The name 'Mary Renault' is a pseudonym, as is the name Cherry Wilder, another prolific genre author born last week.

All the authors above, and their series, may be found in the Novelist database available through the Online Resources page with your Glendale Public Library barcode (found on the back of your library card.) And while there, check out Biography Resource Center for more on the lives of fascinating authors to be found here at the library.

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