Friday, December 4, 2009

This Week in Reading Nov. 29 - Dec. 5

Authors born this week -

Nobel Prize in Literature
Historian Theodor Mommsen, historian and Prime Minister Winston Churchill

Novelists and story writers
Louisa May Alcott, Samuel Butler, Ellis Parker Butler, Joseph Conrad, Henry Williamson, Hans Helmut Kirst, Rose Wilder Lane, F. Sionil Jose, Joan Didion, John Crowley, Sue Miller, Tehar Ben Jelloum, T. Coraghessen Boyle, Eric L. Harry, Ann Patchett, David Nicholls

Poets and Playwrights
Poets: Sir Philip Sidney, Anafasy Fet, Christina Rossetti, Rainier Maria Rilke Playwrights and Screenwriters: Nunnally Johnson, Howard Koch, David Mamet

Thinkers, Believers, Scientists, Historians, Biographers
Believers: Tom Wright, Benny Hinn Scientists: Anna Freud Historians: Thomas Carlyle, Jacques Barzun Biographers: David Hackett Fisher, Adeline Yen-Mah

Humorists, Essayists, Editors, Journalists, Officials, Media and Others
Jonathan Swift, Mark Twain, Woody Allen, Richard Pryor, Garry Shandling Essayists: Nigel Calder, Calvin Trillin, Abbie Hoffman, George Saunders, Editors and Critics: Russell Lynes Journalists: E. J. Kahn Officials: Paul Simon Media and Others: Dick Clark

Mystery / Crime / Suspense Writers
Rex Stout Crime: Cornell Woolrich, James Lee Burke

Fantasy / Science Fiction Writers
Fantasy: C. S. Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle

Visual Artists
Photographers: Gordon Parks Graphic Novelists: Joe Quesada, Chris Claremont, Keith Giffen Manga: Cartoonists: Morris

Young People’s Writers
Children’s: Lucy Maud Montgomery, Daniel Pennac, Wil Mara Teens: Peter Pohl

Events to read about this week:
Vin Scully, Lucy, Vietnam draft, Napoleon, Monroe Doctrine, Manifest Destiny, Dickens' first public reading of A Christmas Carol, Enron, the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley, the LA Times, Charlemagne, Walt Disney, prohibition ends, Phi Beta Kappa starts.

This Week’s Questions:
A pair of fascinating pairs share birthdays this week. There are similarities in their two forms of writing and thinking. Who, born this week, gave us these quotes?

"The humorous story is told gravely; the teller does his best to conceal the fact that he even dimly suspects that there is anything funny about it."

"Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own."

"There's more to life than just the things that can be explained by encyclopedias and facts. Facts alone are not adequate."

"The value of myth is that it takes all the things you know and restores to them the rich significance which has been hidden by the veil of familiarity."

Answer to Last Week’s Questions:
Two cafĂ© society authors who wrote before and after World War II have not been considered serious authors with as much critical acclaim given to others, perhaps because they both were witty satirists about the love relationships of intelligent people. The one you may have heard of, but not read yet, is Nancy Mitford, an English woman who lived in Paris. Her writing was praised as “a-shimmer with wit”, but she was considered, by at least one critic, the author who in our “sadisto-sentimental age has gotten to the sane simplicity of Jane Austen.”

The other one you may not have known either is Dawn Powell, a Mid-Western American who lived in New York City just after the heyday of the Algonquin Round Table. She satirized the poseurs and wannabes. One critic said “that she is closer to this high social comedy than to any accepted brand of American humor--and the English do not insist on having the women in their fiction made attractive. Miss Powell's books are more than merely funny; they are full of psychological insights that are at once sympathetic and cynical."

Read about both, and many more authors from the last hundred years or so, in the Biography Resource Center database available from the Glendale Public Library website Online Resources page. You must have a valid GPL library card barcode number to log in.

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