Fun Facts Friday: Dr. Watson
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / July 8, 2011

Today, August 7 is the birthday of the fictional character Dr. Watson. Created by Arthur Conan Doyle, Dr. Watson became almost as famous as the protagonist, Sherlock Holmes. 1) Full name John Hamish Watson, M.D born July, 7 1852. 2) Arthur Conan Doyle, a physician by trade as well, died on July 7, 1930 3) Watson attended the University of London Medical School and worked worked at St Batholomew’s Hospital in London as a staff surgeon before joining the English Army in World War I. 4) Coming back from the War, after being wounded, he heard about someone wanting a roommate to share expenses on Baker Street. That was how he met Sherlock Holmes. 5) “Elementary, my dear Watson” is the good doctor’s famous catchphrase. However, he never actually uses that phrase in any of the books. 6) Dr. Watson is the narrator of most of the Holmes books. 7) The good doctor is not only an excellent surgeon and healer, but also described as an excellent marksman with firearms. 8 ) Doyle created Dr. Watson, an ordinary man, to contradict Holmes, the analytical, unemotional machine. 9) Dr. Watson was a precursor to many sidekicks of great fictional detectives such…

Fun Facts Friday: George Sand
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / July 1, 2011

Today is the birthday of famed author George Sand. Despite the name, Sand was a woman who had a very interesting life. Here are ten facts about her. Portrait of George Sand by Auguste Charpentier (1838) 1)      Born in France on this day in 1804 under the name Amandine-Aurore-Lucile Dupin. 2)      Sand was a descendent of Augustus II the Strong, King of Poland through her father, through illegitimate lines. 3)      Sand became Baroness Dudevant through marriage. 4)      Sand justified her cross dressing (wearing men’s clothes) by saying that they are less expensive and more comfortable than the dress of a noblewoman. 5)      Not giving a hair rat’s behind about social codes, Sand shocked Parisian society by smoking tobacco in public. 6)      Despite, or because, or her behavior, Sand was both hated and admired by writers of her time. 7)      Two years after her divorce, Sand started a love affair with famed composer Frederic Chopin. 8 )      Sand wrote several books in which she drew from her countryside childhood experiences at her grandmother’s estate. 9)      Later, Sand’s inherited the countryside estate and retired there. 10)   Sand’s autobiography is 20 volumes in length. Zohar – Man of la Book   Related articles…

Fun Facts Friday: Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / June 24, 2011

This week we celebrated the birthday of Anne Morrow Lindbergh (June 22, 1906 – February 7, 2001). Besides being the wife of the famous aviator, Mrs. Lindbergh was an accomplished woman in her own right. 1) Born Anne Spencer Morrow to Dwight and Elizabeth Morrow in New Jersey. 2) While attending Smith College she won several coveted literary awards. 3) She met her future husband in Mexico through her father, who was Lindbergh’s financial adviser at J.P. Morgan and Co. 4) She flew solo for the first time in 1929 and was the first American woman to earn a first class glider pilot’s license in 1930. 5) The Lindberghs were the first to fly from Africa to South America. 6) Mrs. Lindbergh was hailed as “one of the leading advocates of the nascent environmental movement” after the 1955 publication of her national best seller “Gift from the Sea”. 7) Mrs. Lindbergh’s “Gift from the Sea” has sold over 3 million copies and has been translated into 45 languages. 8 ) The Lindberghs lived in New Jersey, New York, England, France, Maine, Michigan, Connecticut, Switzerland, and Hawaii. 9) In 1994, Anne was awarded the Hubbard Medal by the National Geographic Society…

Fun Facts Friday: Father’s Day Edition
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / June 17, 2011

It’s Father’s Day and while researching this post I have noticed how lacking literature is when it comes to fathers. Even the “manly” novels don’t seem to pay much respect to the role fathers play in the lives of their children. I did manage to get ten though, but tried to stay away from the famous literary father figures (King Lear, Atticus Finch, etc.) which are always given as examples. 1) In “Little Orphan Annie” Daddy Warbuck’s full name is Lieutenant General Oliver Warbucks Picture from http://file.vintageadbrowser.com 2) Charlie Brown’s father’s occupation is a barber. 3) It’s a tradition that Mr. Darling and Captain Hook are played by the same actor in the play “Peter Pan”. (c)Disney 4) Jack Torrance, the psychotic father in Steven King’s “The Shining”, is a school teacher by trade. Special Father/Son picture – the happiness “shines” 5) Babar, King of the Elephants, is first and foremost a father to Pom, Flora, Alexander and Isabelle. Picture from http://www.terradialtrove.it 6) Charles “Pa” Ingalls, the patriarch of “Little House on the Prairie” series loved to travel and moved his family many times. From Wisconsin, to Indian Territory in southeastern Kansas, then back to Wisconsin, then to southern Minnesota,…

Fun Facts Friday: 1984
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / June 10, 2011

This week George Orwell’s classic “1984” has been published all the way back in 1949. The dystopian novel with its all-seeing leader “Big Brother” because a symbol worldwide for intrusive and oppressive government bureaucracy. The story is about Winston Smith and his attempt to rebel against the totalitarian state in which he lives.

Fun Facts Friday: Gone with the Wind
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / June 3, 2011

This week marked the 75th anniversary of Margret Mitchell’s “Gone with the Wind”. Here are some fun facts about the novel. First edition cover Picture from bookpoi.com 1) Even though Margaret Mitchell is considered one of the most successful novelists of the 20th Century, she only published one book. 2) Because of Mitchell’s social connections the book was widely discussed in Atlanta before publication. 3) During one draft of the book, the heroine is called Pansy O’Hara. 4) Harold Latham of the Macmillan Company wanted to publish the novel based on a part of the book Mitchell allowed him to read. 5) By the time “Gone with the Wind” was actually published, it was the most talked about book in America. 6) The novel, released in July 1936, has sold one million copies by December of that year. 7) As of this blog post, “Gone with the Wind” has sold more than 30 million copies. 8 ) The rights for the movie were sold to David O. Selznick for $50,000 a month after publication. 9) Any references to the Klu Klux clan were taken out of the movie. 10) The last line of the book is “My dear, I don’t…

Fun Facts Friday: Dashiell Hammett
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / May 27, 2011

Today we mark the birthday of Dashiell Hammett (1894 – 1961), born Samuel Dashiell Hammett. A prolific writer who popularized the hardboiled detective fiction, Mr. Hammett wrote such classics as “The Maltese Falcon” and “The Thin Man”. 1) Hammett left school at age 13. 2) He worked for Pinkerton’s detective agency for eight years. 3) Hammett’s style of descriptive violent emotional events which were both authentic and realistic was coined “hard boiled”. 4) During World War I Hammett enlisted in the US Army, he served in the Motor Ambulance Corps. During his service Hammett contracted tuberculosis and spent the war as a patient in Cushman Hospital. At the hospital he met his nurse and future wife, Josephine Dolan. 5) Hammett and Dolan had two daughters (Mary Jane and Josephine). However the family had to be separated due to Hammett’s TB. The marriage fell apart but Hammett continued to support his wife and daughters financially. 6) Hammett enlisted in the US Army again in World War II, even though he was considered a disabled veteran of World War I. Most of the war he spent editing an Army newspaper in the Aleutian Islands. 7) Hammett was head of the Civil Rights…

Fun Facts Friday: Katherine Anne Porter
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / May 20, 2011

May 15, 1890 was the birthday of author Callie Porter, later known as Katherine Anne Porter. Ms. Porter was a very prolific writer, which unfortunately we do not hear much about these days. 1) When she was two Porter’s mother died and the family moved in with her paternal grandmother Catherine Anne Porter. Porter later changed her name to honor her loving grandmother. 2) After her grandmother died in 1901 Porter was sent to convent school in New Orleans, LA. 3) At age 16 Porter married for the first time to a 27 year old. 4) She worked as a reporter and a ballad singer. 5) Porter’s first published work, the short fiction story “María Concepcíon” (1922), received almost immediate critical acclaim. 6) Porter married again in 1925 but divorced again soon after. 7) Porter won the Guggenheim Fellowship prize for her 1930 collection “Flowering Judas and Other Stories”. 8 ) Porter lived in Europe from 1931 to 1937 where she married and divorced her third husband. 9) She married again in 1938 and settled in Baton Rouge, LA but died in Maryland in 1980. 10) Porter published 25 stories and one novel “Ship of Fools”, all critically acclaimed, as…

Fun Facts Friday: Roger Hargreaves and Mr. Men
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / May 13, 2011

This week we celebrated what would have been Roger Hargreaves 76th birthday. Mr. Hargreaves was the creator of the “Mr. Men”(official site | collector’s site) series of books which many of us grew on. In his honor I dedicate this post of Fun Facts Friday. 1) Charles Roger Hargreaves (9 May 1935 – 11 September 1988) was born at a private hospital in Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, England. 2) Roger Hargreaves always wanted to be a cartoonist and wrote his firs Mr. Men book, “Mr. Tickle, while working as a creative director for an advertising agency. 3) He had a difficult time finding a publisher, however once published the books were an instant success selling over one million copies in three years. 4) He published his first Mr. Men book in 1971, by 1976 he quit his day job. The Little Miss book series appeared in 1981. 5) Mr. Hargreaves wrote many other stories for children, including a series of 25 books called “Timbuctoo”. image from karaman.org 6) By 1983 Lillte Miss was a TV show (Mr. Men had his own TV show prior) voiced by Upstairs, Downstairs actors John Alderton, and Pauline Collins. 7) Mr. and Mrs. Hargreaves had four…

Fun Facts Friday: Scandalous Women
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / May 6, 2011

The book “Scandalous Women” (book review) by Eliz­a­beth Kerri Mahon (blog | Twit­ter) is filled with great stories and great trivia. Instead of doing my usual Fun Facts Friday I decided to do something a bit different. I will use random.org ten times and open up to that page in  “Scandalous Women”. Once there I will gleam a fun fact from that page. 1)      To celebrate her 50 years in show biz, 68 year old Josephine Baker did a retrospective revue at the Bobino in Paris (page 230). 2)      Amelia Earhart is considered to be the first modern American heroine (page 285). 3)      Lady Caroline Lamb wrote an anonymous fan letter to Lord Byron after reading an 1812 ARC of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. And you thought ARCs were a new thing (page 47). 4)      If Joan of Arc lived today she’d probably be diagnosed as a schizophrenic (page 21). 5)      Mata Hari means “the eye of the day” in Malay (page 112). 6)      Boudica, a queen of the Iceni tribe (today considered part of England), seized London from the conquering Roman Empire and burned it the town the ground (page 11). 7)      Mary Wollstonecraft who caused many scandals arguing for…

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