Fun Facts Friday: Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / September 29, 2017

Today is the birthday of one of the greatest authors in history: Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (29 September 1547 – 23 April 1616. As you can tell, I am a fan. Not only because of the Quixotic pun of this blog’s name, but also because I think that Don Quixote is still one the most relevant stories in the world. “The pen is the language of the soul; as the concepts that in it are generated, such will be its writings.” Miguel de Cervantes 1 ) Very little is known about Cervantes’ early childhood, however we do know that he was a favorite student of Madrid humanist Juan Lopez. 2 ) In 1569, while living in Rome, Cervantes enlisted in the Spanish fleet to fight against the Turks. He suffered injury at the Battle of Lepanto (1571) which ended his aspirations for military glory. 3 ) On his way home from the war (1575) Miguel and his brother Roderigo were captured by Barbary pirates and became slaves until their ransom was paid five years later. 4 ) Returning to Madrid, Cervantes started writing. Even though he is thought to have written as many as 30 plays, only two survived today. 5 ) Cervantes…

Fun Facts Friday: The Indictment of Playwright Ben Johnson
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / September 22, 2017

On this day in 1598 Ben Johnson, an English playwright, was indicted for manslaughter. Mr. Johnson was a bona fide celebrity in 17th Century England, being admired by writers and socialites. 1)      Ben Johnson was educated at the Westminster school by excellent teachers and scholars. 2)      Mr. Johnson’s father was a master bricklayer, a good occupation. Ben tried to follow his father’s footsteps but jointed the army. 3)      As a soldier, in Flanders, Ben Johnson killed a man in single combat. 4)      By 1594 Ben Johnson was back in England acting and writing plays. 5)      In 1598 he had a dual with another actor and killed him. Ben Johnson was arrested. 6)      The playwright was almost hanged, but because he could read and write he claimed “benefit of clergy”, which got him a more lenient sentence. 7)      Mr. Johnson was jailed two more times, but for his writing. It didn’t help that he converted to Catholicism which made him suspicious. 8)      Nevertheless, Mr. Johnson became a successful playwright. 9)      The 1598 comedy, Every Man in His Humor, featured a young friend, named William Shakespeare in a major role (at the time Johnson and Shakespeare were equally famous). 10)   Mr. Johnson was so admired that young writers called themselves “sons of Ben”. Zohar…

Graphic Novel Review: Batwoman, Vol. 2: To Drown the World by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman
3 Stars , Fiction , Graphic Novels , Latest Posts / September 20, 2017

About: Batwoman, Vol. 2: To Drown the World by J.H. Williams III (Writer, Cover Artist), W. Haden Blackman (Writer), Amy Reeder (Illustrator), Trevor McCarthy (Illustrator), Rob Hunter (Illustrator), Pere Pérez (Illustrator), Richard Friend (Illustrator), Guy Major (Colourist) continues with the story of Kate Kane who took up the mantle of Batwoman. This graphic novel collects issues #6 – 11 of Batwoman from DC’s New 52. 144 pages Publisher: DC Comics Language: English ISBN-10: 1401237908 My rat­ing for Batwoman, Vol. 2: To Drown the World  — 3 Buy Batwoman, Vol. 2: To Drown the World  from Amazon.com* More Books by J.H. Williams III More Books by W.Haden Blackman Thoughts: After reading Batwoman, vol. 1: Hydrology I was very happy to continue the story-line. The second graphic novel, Batwoman, Vol. 2: To Drown the World by  J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman (illustrated by Amy Reeder, Trevor McCarthy, Rob Hunter, Pere Pérez, and Richard Friend; colored by Guy Major) did not disappoint as it continued in the same vain as the first, but this time we know the characters better. I felt this book was more complex than the previous graphic novel. It takes the reader a bit of an effort to figure out what’s going one and the villains are just weird monsters…

Book Review: The Golden House by Salman Rushdie
5 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / September 18, 2017

About: The Golden House by Salman Rushdie is a novel about a powerful tycoon who immigrates to the US.  This is the thirteenth novel from Mr. Rushdie’s arsenal of tales, it is the first one I read but am looking forward to filling the backlog. 400 pages Publisher: Random House Language: English ISBN-10: 0399592806 My rat­ing for The Golden House  — 5 Buy The Golden House from Amazon.com* More Books by Salman Rushdie Thoughts: The first thing I noticed about The Golden House by Salman Rushdie is its use of pop-culture to tell an all new American story. Luckily we live in an age where it’s easy to check a refrence to get the gist of what the author meant to convey. Frankly I didn’t need to google a reference too often, but occasionally I did. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. As a movie lover, I did get many of the references but I took the time to view the Criterion Collection which I recommend anyway. Mr. Rushdie uses the story of immigrants, the contemptuous election of the 45th President, and our love of pop-culture to write social commentary to today’s society and media. The author doesn’t shy away from allowing the reader to…

Fun Facts Friday: James Fenimore Cooper
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / September 15, 2017

James Fenimore Cooper (15 September, 1789 – 14 September, 1851) was a popular American writer who is best known for his Leatherstocking Tales featuring Natty Bumppo. Books by James Fenimore Cooper* 1)      Mr. Cooper was born in Burlington, NJ. He was the eleventh of 12 children. 2)      In 1790 the family moved to upstate New  York by Otsego Lake. The area would later be known as Cooperstown, NY. 3)      At age 13 the author was enrolled in Yale University. In his third year, Mr. Cooper was expelled without completing his degree due to some stunts he pulled (blowing up a student’s door and locking a donkey in the recitation room among them). 4)      Mr. Cooper went on the US Navy (a fledgling outfit at the time) and became a midshipman. The officer’s warrant confirming his rank was signed by Thomas Jefferson. Later in life he published The History of the Navy of the United States of America (1839), after 14 years of research. 5)      After his father’s death, young James Cooper found himself a man of means and married the wealthy Susan Augusta de Lancey. The couple had seven kids, five of whom lived to adulthood. 6)      The first novel Precaution (1820) was written because Mrs. Cooper bet her husband that he could…

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