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”.

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…

Fun Facts Friday: Washington – A Life
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / April 22, 2011

It was announced this week that Ron Chernow’s most excellent biography of George Washington, aptly named “Washington: A Life” (book review) won the Pulitzer Prize. I think the prize is well deserved, Mr. Chernow has the ability to bring historical figures to life and his books read like novels. Here are a few interesting facts I learned from “Washington: A Life” and from our family trip to Washington’s estate in Mt. Vernon, Virginia. 1)      In the French and Indian War, while fighting in the British Army, Washington got hit with four bullets in his coat and hat and had two horses shot from underneath him. Washington remained unscathed which started his bullet proof reputation. 2)      George Washington always regretted not having a college education. 3)      Washington’s home, Mt. Vernon may look like it’s build out of stone, but it’s actually wood with sand thrown on the white paint. 4)      George Washington loved animals. Over his life he had over 30 dogs and when the Revolutionary War was over, he retired his horse Nelson and forbade anyone from using him for farm work. 5)      Martha Washington spent half of the Revolutionary War with her husband and used her time to fixed…

Factual Friday: Libraries
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / April 15, 2011

By Matl (own work (photography)) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons This week is National Library Week (April 10 – 16, 2011) sponsored by the American Library Association (website | Twitter | Facebook). Pub­lic libraries are some of the few pub­lic build­ings the pub­lic actu­ally uses. Whether you are rich or poor, edu­cated or not and no mat­ter to which polit­i­cal party you donated to, you are always wel­come at your local library – they are the great equal­izer of our society. Probably due to that fact, libraries have been bombarded with budget cuts all over the world (but that’s OK as long as the politicians get a raise for the mass they created). National Library Week has been around since 1958 and some schools make it National Library Month. If you haven’t been to the library recently I encourage you to do so. A day at the library is a “fun day” in our house – the library provides games, the kids can play, read some books, flutz around on the kids’ computer and all for free. The librarians are always very helpful, even I, who has been in the IT industry for over 20 years, acknowledge their superiority over…

Factual Friday: The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / April 8, 2011

Even though it took me a while to get into The Hunchback of Notre Dame I was very impressed with the book (book review) and thought the last 200 pages were certainly work trudging through some of it. 1) The original title of the book is “Notre Dame de Paris” which translates into “Our Lady of Paris” – a much more fitting title in my opinion. 2) Victor Hugo made it clear that the main character in the novel is the cathedral and not any of the characters. 3) Victor Hugo was strongly against the English title. 4) Dom Claude Frollo named the abandoned child he found in the chruch “Quasimodo” because he found him on Quasimodo Sunday. 5) “Quasi modo” in Latin translates to “almost standard” but actually means “similar to”. Believe it or not this name is in line with common medieval naming conventions. The Hunchback by Brian Bustard – Purchase a Print 6) Quasimodo has fifteen bells but his favorite is named “Big Marie” 7) In the novel, Esmeralda is 14-16 years old. 8 ) Esmeralda is charged with witchcraft, among other offenses. 9) One of the subplots is Esmeralda’s search for her mother. 10) There are…

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