Thursday, October 30, 2014

Crime and Punishment made Dostoyevsky famous

It is the birthday of Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821), whose book Crime and Punishment (1866), made him one of the most celebrated writers in Russia. Among his best known works are The Idiot (1869), Demons (1872), and The Brothers Karamazov (1880), all written in the last years of his life.  He wrote his first novel, Poor Folk (1846), out of financial desperation because of his gambling addiction. The book tells the story of a clerk and his relationship with an upper class woman through letters between them. Critics gave it high marks, some finding touches of parody and satire. Dostoyevsky's classic, Crime and Punishment, examines the psychology of a poor ex-student who plots to kill a dishonest pawnbroker and take her money. He reasons he can do good deeds with her cash to offset the crime.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Giraudoux wrote The Madwoman of Chaillot

It is the birthday of post-World War I French novelist and playwright Jean Giraudoux (1882), who is credited with creating an impressionistic form of drama that emphasizes dialogue and style rather than realism.  Among his best known works are the plays Siegfried (1928), Intermezzo (1933), The Trojan War Will Not Take Place (1935), Ondine (1939), and The Madwoman of Chaillot (1945). His work is known in the English-speaking countries mainly because of the translations by English playwright Christopher Fry. The Madwoman of Chaillot is a political satire about an eccentric Parisian noblewoman who naively views the world as happy and beautiful and a group of corrupt businessmen who frequent the Cafe de l'Alma. The men plan to excavate Paris to find the oil beneath its streets. They represent wealth and power and greed. One businessman exclaims, "what would you rather have in your backyard: an almond tree or an oil well?" The noble madwoman eventually realizes the evil of the developers.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Dylan Thomas wrote Under Milk Wood

It is the birthday of Welsh writer Dylan Thomas (1914), whose 1954 radio drama Under Milk Wood was inspired early one morning when he walked about the small town where he was living and wondered about its inhabitants. That led him to write a short story, Quite Early One Morning, which was recorded for BBC Wales in 1944. Ten years later he expanded the idea and his Under Milk Wood was broadcast. Enjoy.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Happy birthday, playwright Moss Hart

It is the birthday of playwright Moss Hart (1904), who is best remembered for teaming with George S Kaufman for a string of hit Broadway plays, including You Can't Take It With You (1936), which won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1937. It tells the story of a warm, wacky family's impending marriage to an young man from a stiff, cold and distant wealthy family. It is set during the Depression. The two also wrote The Man Who Came to Dinner (1939), which is about a caustic man who injures himself on a ice and must remain in a wealthy Midwestern family's home for six weeks, much to their consternation. It is based on the playwrights' friend, Alexander Woollcott, who was a commentator for The New Yorker magazine.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Rare Book Moment: Little treasure boxes

No. 18: Michael Slicker discusses little treasure boxes and what you might find in them. Michael Slicker's Rare Book Moment is recorded at Lighthouse Books, ABAA in St. Petersburg, Florida. Music by Jack Payne: Back to Those Happy Days Lighthouse Books, ABAA specializes in antiquarian books, serving St. Petersburg, Tampa, the Tampa Bay area and all of Florida. In addition to rare books, Lighthouse Books, ABAA also offers expert antiquarian book appraisals.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mickey Mantle, one of baseball's greatest

It is the birthday of baseball legend Mickey Mantle (1931), one of the greatest players of all time. He was the finest switch hitter in the game. He hit a record 18 home runs in the World Series. His other records included 40 RBIs, 42 runs, 43 walks, 26 extra-base hits, and 123 total bases. In 1956, he won the Triple Crown, with record home runs, runs batted in, and batting average. He played center field and first base for the New York Yankees for 18 seasons, ending in 1968.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Pulitzer Prize winner H.L. Davis, of Oregon, was known as the Northwest's Mark Twain

It is the birthday of writer H.L. Davis (1894), who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1936 for his epic novel Honey in the Horn (1935), a coming of age tale about an orphaned youth in Oregon's homesteading days. Davis is the only Oregon-born writer to receive a Pulitzer Prize. He has been called the Northwest's Mark Twain. Among his books are Harp of a Thousand Strings (1941), Proud Riders and Other Poems (1942), Beulah Land (1949), Winds of Morning (1952), Team Bells Woke Me and Other Stories (1953), The Distant Music (1957), Kettle of Fire (1957), and The Selected Poems of H.L. Davis (1978).

Friday, October 17, 2014

You had to have a lot of fortitude to watch French absurdist Albert Camus' 3.5-hour play

It is the birthday of French absurdist writer Albert Camus (1913), who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. Among his books are The Outsider (1942), The Plague (1947), The Fall (1956), A Happy Death (1971), and The First Man (1995). In 1959, Camus undertook a formidable project to adapt Fyodor Dostoyevsky's book The Possessed for the stage. The play took stamina to watch. It lasted 3½ hours, had 33 actors and 26 set changes. It cost millions to produce. It ran for 180 performances.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Noah Webster, who gave us the American dictionary, wanted women to be wimmen

It is the birthday of lexicographer Noah Webster (1758), who is best known for compiling the first American dictionary and the blue-back speller textbook, both of which advanced the American spelling of words in the English language. Webster also created his own translation of the Bible in 1833. Webster wrote the speller (1783) as part of a three-volume textbook called A Grammatical Institute of the English Language, which also included a grammar book (1784) and a reader (1785). He was motivated by a belief that the fledgling American nation should have a language and culture that was uniquely American, and to that end he changed the common English spelling of words and included some uniquely American words. Webster, the spelling reformer, managed to get many of his alternative spellings into general usage but not all of them. Colour became color, gaol became jail, centre became center, publick became public but Americans rejected soop for soup, sley for sleigh, tung for tongue, and wimmen for women.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

John Kenneth Galbraith wrote dozens of books, including The Affluent Society

It is the birthday of intellectual John Kenneth Galbraith (1908), the best known economist in the world during his lifetime. He was a liberal Democrat who served in the administrations of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson. He wrote dozens of books on economics as well as novels. Among the most popular were the trilogy, American Capitalism (1952), The Affluent Society (1958), and The New Industrial State (1967). Conservative publisher Henry Luce once reportedly told President Kennedy, “I taught Galbraith how to write — and have regretted it ever since.” Galbraith died in 2006 at the age of 97.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Quaker William Penn founded Philadelphia and advocated for religious and civil freedom

It is the birthday of English philosopher and real estate tycoon William Penn (1644), who not only founded the American colony the Province of Pennsylvania, but also advocated for civil rights and religious freedom. He successfully (after much coaxing) convinced hundreds of Quakers, Huguenots, Mennonites, Amish, Catholics, Lutherans, and Jews from all over Europe to  move to his 45,000 square miles of land in the New World. He planned the city of Philadelphia and laid out the framework for an ethical society. He steadfastly refused to exploit the settlers or the native Lenape tribe. He was a pacifist Quaker who was imprisoned in England for his religious beliefs. While in prison he wrote No Cross, No Crown (1669), now a classic in Christian literature. Penn also made a case for a European Union, centuries before the radical notion of cooperation between countries in Europe finally took hold.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Conrad Richter won a Pulitzer for The Town, part of his trilogy on the American frontier

It is the birthday of writer Conrad Richter (1890) whose book The Town (1950) won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1951. The book was part of his The Awakening Land trilogy, a series that included The Sea of Grass (1936) and The Light in the Forest (1953). The series tells the stories of pioneers settling in the Ohio Valley and Pennsylvania after the American Revolution. His portraits of frontier America are regarded as among the most accurate ever published. All were adapted for film. Richter also founded a youth magazine and wrote for pulp magazines in the 1930s.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

"Your prose makes Raymond Chandler look clumsy," Elmore Leonard was once told

It is the birthday of writer Elmore Leonard (1925), whose career has spanned more than half a century. One of the most popular and prolific modern day writers, he is best known today for his thrillers and crime fiction, among them bestsellers such as Mr. Majestyk (1974), Get Shorty (1990), Rum Punch (1992), and Out of Sight (1996). Leonard is acclaimed for his ear for dialogue and his gritty realism. Leonard counts Ernest Hemingway among his influences, though he said Hemingway didn't have a sense of humor. British novelist Martin Amis once told Leonard, "Your prose makes Raymond Chandler look clumsy."

Friday, October 10, 2014

Harold Pinter won Nobel Prize for Literature for his plays, including The Birthday Party

Photo by Martin Rosenbaum
It is the birthday of English playwright Harold Pinter (1930), who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2008 for his work, including The Birthday Party (1957), The Homecoming (1964), and Betrayal (1978). Pinter also wrote screenplays for The Servant (1963), The Go-Between (1970), The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981), The Trial (1983), and Sleuth (2007).

He wrote 29 plays and 21 screenplays, and directed  27 theater productions, and received more than 50 awards throughout his professional career, including the French Legion d'Honneur and Moliere D'Honneur, The Laurence Olivier Award, the Shakespeare Prize, the European Prize for Literature, and a Tony Award for The Homecoming in 1967.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Jill Ker Conway, first woman president of Smith College, tended sheep in Australia

It is the birthday of historian and author Jill Ker Conway (1934), who lived with her family on a farm in the Australian outback and eventually became the first woman president of Smith College in Massachusetts. Her memoir, The Road from Coorain (1989), tells her story of tending sheep in the wilds of New South Wales in the 1940s. Jill Ker Conway now serves as a visiting professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has written 21 books, among them The Female Experience in 18th and 19th Century America: A Guide to the History of American Women (1982); The First Generation of American Women Graduates (1987), her doctoral thesis in American History at Harvard; True North (1994), a memoir of her life from Harvard to Smith College; and Written By Herself (1995), an anthology of the changing status of women throughout history.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Eddie Rickenbacker, famous U.S. aviator

It is the birthday of Eddie Rickenbacker (1890), one of the most celebrated aviators in American history. He became a World War I flying ace, shooting down some 26 German aircraft during the war. He also flew more combat hours than any other American pilot. Before the war, Rickenbacker earned the nickname Fast Eddie racing in the Indianapolis 500. During the 1930s, Rickenbacker established Eastern Airlines in Miami and built it into one of the leading commercial passenger carriers in the country.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Thomas Keneally wrote Schindler's Ark

It is the birthday of Australian writer Thomas Keneally (1935), who won the British Booker Prize for his novel Schindler's Ark (1982), based on the work of German industrialist Oskar Schindler saving the lives of 1,200 Jews from extermination during World War II. The book was adapted as Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List (1993), which was named best picture and received six other Oscars. Holocaust survivor Poldek Pfefferberg, who was saved by Schindler, inspired Keneally to write the book.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Happy birthday, adventurer Thor Heyerdahl

It is the birthday of Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl (1914), who sailed his raft Kon-Tiki 5,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean from Peru to the Polynesian islands to prove his theory that pre-Columbian people from South America could have settled the islands. Heyerdahl wrote a book about the 1947 adventure, and later an Academy Award-winning documentary film was made. The original raft is on display in Oslo.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Books by Caldecott winner Tasha Tudor

THIS JUST IN: We have accumulated a collection of books delightfully illustrated by the amazing Tasha Tudor, including the Mother Goose volume for which she received a Caldecott Honor in 1945. Her father was W. Starling Burgess, a noted naval architect. Her mother was the famed portrait painter Rosamund Tudor. She was originally named Starling Burgess, after her father but he was a big fan of War and Peace and elected to rename her Natasha. That was shortened to Tasha. As a child she was often introduced as Rosamund Tudor’s daughter Tasha, and people thought her last name was Tudor. She liked the sound of it and eventually had her name changed legally. To enquire about the Tasha Tudor books, please call (727) 822-3278.

Our specialties

Our specialties include Floridiana (Florida History, Florida Authors, Florida Related Ephemera), American History, Literature of the South, Military History (including, but not limited to, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Korean War), Children’s Literature, Maps, Leather Bindings and Rare & Unusual items.

We also have a wide variety of general stock, including a large Landscape/Gardening section, a great selection of Christian/Church History/Bible Study titles, Beat Literature, and much more. Please browse our extensive category list.

Appraisal service

Michael F. Slicker, is one of about 450 qualified members of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America, Inc., and its affiliate the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers.

Condition of the book, demand for it and history of comparable sales are among the factors considered in evaluating the value of a book. Other factors may apply as well.

Please contact us for more information regarding our certified appraisal services. We encourage you to visit our website, Lighthouse Books, ABAA

Florida Antiquarian Book Fair

Michael Slicker was the founding president of the Florida Antiquarian Booksellers Association and has served as chairman of its annual Florida Antiquarian Book Fair since its inception.

The 36th annual book fair is set for April 21-23, 2017 at The Coliseum in St. Petersburg.

The fair is the oldest and largest antiquarian book fair in the Southeast. Learn more about the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair and the Florida Antiquarian Booksellers Association.

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