Tuesday, December 15, 2009

This Week in Reading December 13 - 19

Authors born this week -

Novelists and Story Writers
Jane Austen, Mary Russell Mitford, Italo Svevo, Saki, Ford Madox Ford, Erksine Caldwell, Betty Smith, Laurens Van der Post, Penelope Fitzgerald, Shirley Jackson, John Kennedy Toole, Edna O’Brien

Poets and Playwrights
Poets: Heinrich Heine,
John Greenleaf Whittier, Paul Eluard, Rafael Alberti, Muriel Rukeyser Playwrights and Screenwriters: Aphra Behn, Carlo Gozzi, Maxwell Anderson, Noel Coward, Abe Burrows, Jean Genet, Kenneth Patchen, Stephen Spielberg

Thinkers, Believers, Scientists, Historians, Biographers
George Santayana Believers: Jaroslav Pelikan Scientists: Margaret Meade, Freeman J. Dyson Historians: Carter Woodson, Alison Plowden

Humorists, Essayists, Editors and Critics, Journalists, Officials, Media and Others
William Safire, Frank Deford, Chris Matthews Editors and Critics: Roger Fry, V. S. Pritchett, Alan Bullock, Leonard Maltin, Michelangelo Signorile, Miles Marshall Lewis Journalists: Mary Livermore, Drew Pearson, Ellen Willis, Lesley Stahl, Lester Bangs Officials: George Shultz Media and Others: Jacques Pepin

Mystery / Crime / Suspense Writers
Ross MacDonald Crime: Mike McAlary

Fantasy / Science Fiction Writers
Alred Bester, Jack L. Chalker,
Michael Moorcock, Tamora Pierce Science Fiction: Arthur C.Clarke, Randall Garrett, Philip K. Dick

Visual Artists
Graphic Novelists:
J. M. DeMatteis

Young People’s Writers
Teens: Jacqueline Wilson

Events to read about this week:
Steroids in baseball, Nostradamus, reaching the South Pole, Bill of Rights, Basketball, Beethoven, Boston Tea Party, “A Christmas Carol”, the Wright Brothers, “The Simpsons”, Paul Klee, NFL, Poor Richard, “The Music Man”

This Week’s Questions:
There are a lot of critics of various kinds this week and some authors wrote criticism. Which ones said these?

"One recalls how much the creative impulse of the best-sellers depends upon self-pity. It is an emotion of great dramatic potential."

"Avoid cliches like the plague; seek viable alternatives."

"It is a fact that nine-tenths of the HUMAN RACE never have and never will think for themselves, about anything."

" ... the artist's business is not merely the reproduction and literal copying of things seen: -- ... he is expected in some way or other to misrepresent and distort the visual world."

"To achieve harmony in bad taste is the height of elegance."

Answer to Last Week’s Questions:
Willa Cather was one of a few Americans who most deserved a Nobel Prize in Literature but was not awarded one, although she did win a Pulitzer. One American winner of the Nobel prize, Sinclair Lewis, suggested she, among others, should have received it. Perhaps she lamented not having been given it as one of her later novels, The Professor's House, shows the disillusionment of a winner of a very prestigious literary prize. Cather, who is known more these days for the frequently assigned O Pioneers! and My Antonia, wrote often about unfullfilled desires. Though decidedly reactionary, lamenting the past, and not at all feminist for an ambitious woman on her own, she probably was not able to admit to herself or to others her true feelings about her own nature in that time.

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