Fun Facts Friday: Mary Mapes Dodge
Latest Posts / January 26, 2018

As an editor for St. Nicholas Magazine, Mrs. Mapes was in charge of it becoming one of the most successful children magazines in the late 1800s. She was able to get Robert Louis Stephenson, Mark Twain, Louisa May Alcott, among others to contribute.

Fun Facts Friday: Alexander Woollcott
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / January 19, 2018

Alexander Woollcott (19 January, 1887 – 23 January, 1943) was a critic and commentator, as well as a member of the Algonquin Round Table.  The Algonquin Round Table was a group of writers and actors from New York City which met for lunch at the Algonquin Hotel from 1919 until 1929 or so and inspired each other creatively. 1)      The author was born in Colts Neck Township, NJ to a father who drifted through several jobs spending a long time away from his family. 2)      He attended high school in Philadelphia, PA. 3)      At college Mr. Woollcott founded a drama group, and was the editor of the student literary magazine. 4)      In 1909 Mr. Woollcott joined the New York Times as a cub reporter. 5)      A day after World War I was declared, Mr. Woollcott volunteered as a private to the medical corps. The intelligence section of the American Expeditionary Forces chose, by now, Sgt. Woollcott to be among the other six or so men who will create the Stars and Stripes. 6)      As the chief reporter, Mr. Woollcott did not just write propaganda, but also the horrors of the Great War. 7)      After the war, Mr. Woollcott returned to the Times, then to the New York Herald…

Spotlight feature: Al Shabah: An Assassin’s Story
Guest Posts , Latest Posts / January 17, 2018

Spotlight feature: Al Shabah: An Assassin’s Story takes readers into the heart and heat of the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990). The story starts with a ten year old Paul as Bassam, a terrorist known as “Yellow Eyes”, overtakes Paul’s small hometown in the Bekaa Valley, killing his brother and sister in front of him. This forces Paul to take an oath: To grow up and find the yellow-eyed shooter—a man who soon becomes the charismatic leader of a jihadist group destroying his home country. As Paul watches Bassam recruit and head his own group of fighters and suicide bombers, Paul is forced into military action as a teenager.  Paul fights for the Lebanese Forces to protect the innocent families caught up in a war disguised as a fight for religion, but is actually about gaining control and greed for a few selected powerful figures in the Middle East. Realizing that the foot soldiers are expendable fodder for poorly trained military leaders, Paul joins counter-terrorist operations to fight against Bassam, training in Israel with the Mossad and Kidon. Paul and Bassam cross paths as Paul is sent out on dangerous missions, only to come face-to-face in a final showdown—a showdown only one will survive. “The…

Fun Facts Friday: Jack London
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / January 12, 2018

Jack London (12 January, 1876 – 22 November 1916) was an American writer and journalist. Some of his most famous works are White Fang and The Call of the Wild. Books by Jack London* 1)      He was born as John Griffith London in San Francisco, to Flora Wellman, an unwedded woman of wealthy means. Flora later married John London, a disabled Civil War Veteran. 2)      Young Jack was raised by Virginia Prentiss, an ex-slave who was a major maternal figure throughout his life. 3)      After moving around and working a bunch of jobs, Jack, a prolific reader, decided that writing would be his best chance to escape the miserable future of being a factory worker. 4)      Mr. London became a very disciplined writer, producing over fifty volumes of novels, essays, and short stories. 5)      London’s stories about Polynesian and Melanesian cultures were instrumental in popularizing Hawaii as a tourist spot by breaking the taboo over leprosy. 6)      As a famous writer, Mr. London used his celebrity to endorse social causes dear to him which included women’s suffrage, socialism, and prohibition. Later he used his celebrity to endorse commercial products. 7)      As a supporter of women’s suffrage and prohibition, it is ironic that a caricature of the author…

Book Review: Call Me Zebra by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi
4 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / January 10, 2018

About: Call Me Zebra by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi is a novel from this award winning author. This is the author’s second novel. 304 pages Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Language: English ISBN-10: 0544944607 My rating for Call Me Zebra – 4 Buy Call Me Zebra from* More Books by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi Thoughts: I have no idea why I chose to read this novel, I don’t like stream of consciousness narrative mode, and I have very little interest in the troubled minds of 22 year old women. That being said, I found Call Me Zebra by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi difficult to put down. Almost like watching a train wreck happening and you can’t look away. This is a sharp, yet bizarre and demented story. The protagonist is so self-absorbed in her own journey, literature and ancestors that it’s almost laughable. She expects that any moment the rest of the world would embrace her vision of reality and the “truth”. I did enjoy the homages to some of my favorite writers, and some which I appreciate but will probably never read. The dead writers are very real to Zebra, real as any other person who spews wisdom and advice at you….

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