Thursday, October 31, 2013
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
It is the birthday of explorer Christopher Columbus (1451), who is credited with opening up the Americas to European colonization. Here is a short video from Biography about him.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
It is the birthday of actress/singer Fanny Brice (1891), who is remembered as a star of Broadway, film and radio, where her comedy series The Baby Snooks Show began in 1944, though she had performed the character in vaudeville since 1912 and on the radio for Flo Zigfield in the 1930s. Barbra Streisand portrayed Brice in the 1964 Broadway show Funny Girl. Biographies about Brice include Funny Woman (1992) and Fanny Brice: The Original Funny Girl (1993). Here she is performing a song from the film Everybody Sing (1938). Below is a recording of The Baby Snooks Show.
Monday, October 28, 2013
It is the birthday of English writer Evelyn Waugh (1903), who is remembered for the satires Decline and Fall (1928) and A Handful of Dust (1934) and the novel Brideshead Revisited (1945), an examination of the phenomenon of God's grace. He was known as the nastiest-tempered man in England, a label that seems entirely appropriate in this 1953 BBC interview.
Friday, October 25, 2013
Here's the 16th edition of Michael Slicker's Rare Book Moment, in which Mike offers advice for anyone building a book collection. Enjoy!
Thursday, October 24, 2013
It is the birthday of English Romantic poet John Keats (1795), whose immense talent places him as a peer of the most beloved English poets, Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Keats died of TB in Rome at age 25. Here is a reading of Keats' famous Ode to a Grecian Urn by English book editor Hedley Grenfell-Banks.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
It is the birthday of British writer Doris Lessing (1919), who is remembered for her five-novel sequence Children of Violence (1952-1969) and her five-novel sci-fi sequence Canopus in Argos: Archives (1979-1983). Her first book, The Grass is Singing (1950) deals with race relations in South Africa. In 2007, when she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature at the age of 88, she was a bit blasé about all the fuss.
Monday, October 21, 2013
It is the birthday of English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772), who wrote his famous Kubla Khan (1816) after waking up from an opium-induced dream. Scholars say Coleridge was influenced by material he had been reading about the Chinese emperor and by William Bartram's Travels (1791), in which Bartram describes Florida's Blue Sink, Manatee Spring and Salt Springs Run. It is not clear what influenced folk singer David Olney to record this recitation of Kubla Khan and put it on YouTube but it's worth watching. Enjoy!
Friday, October 18, 2013
Here is the 15th edition of Michael Slicker's Rare Book Moment, in which Mike discusses Shakespeare's many reprints and how to tell the good ones. Enjoy!
Thursday, October 17, 2013
It is the birthday of English composer Herbert Howells (1892), who is best known for his music for the Anglican church. In 1935, Howells' son died from polio when he was nine years old, and Howells grieved for him the rest of his life. Howells was asked to write a composition for a memorial service for John F. Kennedy. The result, Take Him, Earth, for Cherishing (1963) links the loss of the American President with Howell's loss of his son.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
It is the birthday of writer Mario Puzo (1920), whose best known work is The Godfather (1969), the sweeping saga of a New York crime family. It was the basis of the 1972 film on which Puzo collaborated with director Francis Ford Coppola. Puzo won Oscars for Best Adapted Screenplay for Godfather movies in 1972 and 1974. In this video, Puzo and Coppola discuss the making of the movie from Puzo's work.
Monday, October 14, 2013
Saturday, October 12, 2013
Friday, October 11, 2013
It is the birthday of popular crime fiction writer Elmore Leonard (1925), who is remembered for such works as Hombre (1961), Mr. Majestyk (1974), Get Shorty (1990), Rum Punch (1992), and Out of Sight (1998). Leonard died in August. Here is an interview with him on writing at the 2008 F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference at Montgomery College in Maryland.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
It is the 200th birthday of Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi (1813), who is remembered for the music found in his famous operas like Rigoletto (1851), La Traviata (1853), Aida (1871), and Otello (1887). He is considered one of the most important composers of the 19th century. Here is a selection of amazing pieces by Verdi. Enjoy!
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Here is the latest installment of Michael Slicker's Rare Book Moment. In this one, Mike talks about the origin of various terms used in the book trade. Enjoy!