Bookish News

Happy Birthday, Beverly Cleary!

Thursday, April 12th, 2018

Beloved children's author Beverly Cleary is celebrating her 102nd birthday today!

Best known for her Henry Huggins series and Ramona Quimby series, Cleary has published dozens of books and has won the Newbery Medal, the National Book Award, and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award.  As a young child, she developed a love of books from her mother, who was a volunteer librarian, but Cleary initially struggled with reading. 

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Anita Shreve (1946-2018)

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

Bestselling author Anita Shreve has passed away at the age of 71.

Best known for novels with twisty, un-put-down-able plots, Shreve began her career as an English teacher and then took up journalism, publishing short stories on the side.  Her first novel, Eden Close, was published in 1989, but it wasn't until 1997's The Weight of Water that Shreve became a household name for readers.  The Weight of Water was adapted into a major motion picture starring Sean Penn and Elizabeth Hurley, the first of several adaptations based on her works.

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Happy Birthday, James Patterson!

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

James Patterson, photo credit Sue Solie PattersonHappy birthday to James Patterson, creator of the Alex Cross thrillers, The Women's Murder Club books, and the I Funny series for young readers, among many others.

Patterson spent his career working in advertising, serving as CEO of ad agency J. Walter Thompson's North American company.  As a lifelong booklover, he began experimenting with writing a novel in his spare time.  The result, The Thomas Berryman Number, was rejected by more than 30 publishers before it was finally released in 1976.  It won the Edgar Award for best first novel.

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Stephen Hawking (1942-2018)

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

Stephen Hawking, visionary scientist and author of A Brief History of Time, has died at the age of 76.

Hawking was only 22, studying for his PhD in cosmology at Cambridge, when he was diagnosed with ALS (also known as motor neurone disease), which was beginning to slowly paralyze him.  He was given only two years to live, and despite initially suffering from depression at the altered course his life would take, Hawking's brilliance was unaffected.

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Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Friday, March 2nd, 2018

Theodore Seuss Geisel, better known by his pen name, Dr. Seuss, was born on today's date in 1904.  He is, of course, most famous for his work as a children's author and illustrator, creating classic characters such as The Cat in the Hat, the Grinch, Horton the Elephant, and many others. 

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Happy Birthday, Alice Walker!

Friday, February 9th, 2018

Happy 74th birthday to award-winning writer Alice Walker, best known for her novel The Color Purple.

Alice Walker grew up in a large family (she was the youngest of eight children) in Georgia.  Her parents were sharecroppers, and with Jim Crow laws still prevalent, education for black children like Walker and her siblings was discouraged.  Her mother, however, was adamant that her daughter would continue her studies.  By the time she was four, Walker had already been enrolled in...

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Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018)

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

Courtesy Flickr user K. Kendall (https://www.flickr.com/photos/kkendall/8356005183)Visonary science fiction and fantasy author Ursula K. Le Guin has died.

Born Ursula Kroeber in Berkeley, California, Le Guin loved fantasy and sci-fi as a child, though the latter fell out of her favor when she began to find the frequent themes of militaristic conquest overly repetitive and distasteful. 

Her studies in graduate school at Columbia University centered on Romance Literature of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and her own (never published) first attempts at novel writing were set in a more realistic world.

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Happy Birthday, Haruki Murakami!

Friday, January 12th, 2018

Happy birthday to international bestselling author Haruki Murakami, known for such works as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Kafka on the Shore, and, most recently, Men Without Women.

Born in Kyoto, Japan, in 1949, Murakami initially had no aspirations to become a writer.  He studied drama at Waseda University in Tokyo, but after graduation, he and his wife opened a successful coffee house and jazz bar, and, as he told interviewer John Wesley Harding in an interview for BOMB magazine, "I didn’t write anything. I was just one of those ordinary people. I was running a jazz club, and I didn’t create anything at all."

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