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This tag is associated with 16 posts

Babies celebrate as experts urge parents to read aloud to kids, starting at birth


“Yippee!” said one bookseller when she heard the news. She continued,”This is our big chance to dump our inventory of kids’ books.” Giving a thumbs-up sign to an assistant, she said, “Get all the junk onto the selling floor and prepare to sell, sell, sell!” Couples who really want to jump the gun are reportedly … Continue reading

English teaching in Australia fails the test


When Alice in Wonderland cried “curiouser and curiouser” she could have been describing what passes for English teaching in the national curriculum and official classroom resources. As Justine Ferrari reports, (High-school classes go for pop culture, Monday) students are now expected to “create an artwork from trash, play the logo quiz, study car and perfume … Continue reading

December 16 1775 Jane Austen born


On December 16th 1775, English novelist Jane Austen was born, the seventh of eight children of a clergyman in a country village in Hampshire, England. Jane was very close to her older sister, Cassandra, who remained her faithful editor and critic throughout her life. The girls had five years of formal schooling, then studied with … Continue reading

October 19 1931 Novelist John le Carre is born


On October 19th 1931, David Cornwell, later known as spy novelist John le Carre, was born in Poole, England. Le Carre’s father was a charming, dishonest con man who ran up millions of dollars in debt, snookered friends and family on phantom deals, and spent time in jail for embezzlement. Charismatic and delightful company, Ron … Continue reading

September 15 1890 Agatha Christie is born


On September 15th 1890, Mary Clarissa Agatha Miller, later known as Agatha Christie, was born in Torquay, Devon, England. Raised and educated at Ashfield, her parents’ comfortable home, Christie began making up stories as a child. Her mother and her older sister Madge also made up stories: Madge told especially thrilling tales about a fictional, … Continue reading

September 13 1916 Children’s author Roald Dahl is born


On September 13th 1916, Roald Dahl, author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) and James and the Giant Peach (1961), was born in South Wales. Dahl’s childhood was filled with tragedy. His father and sister died when Dahl was three, and he was later brutally abused at his boarding school. After high school, he … Continue reading

August 20 1918 Valley of the Dolls author Jacqueline Susann born


On August 20th 1918, Jacqueline Susann, the author of Valley of the Dolls, the 1966 mega-hit novel about the showbiz lives of three women (reportedly modelled in part after Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly), was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Like her characters in Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann moved to New York … Continue reading

July 12 1389 Geoffrey Chaucer named chief clerk by Richard II


On July 12th 1389, King Richard II appointed Geoffrey Chaucer to the position of chief clerk of the king’s works in Westminster. Geoffrey Chaucer was born in London sometime around 1343, the middle-class son of a wine merchant. He served as a page in an aristocratic household during his teens and was associated with the … Continue reading

June 22 1964 Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown born


On June 22nd 1964, Dan Brown, author of the international blockbuster “The Da Vinci Code” as well as other best-selling thrillers, was born in New Hampshire. Brown’s extensively researched novels are known for involving symbols, conspiracies and secret societies. Brown was raised in New Hampshire, where his father taught math at Phillips Exeter Academy and … Continue reading

June 10 1881 Tolstoy disguises himself as a peasant and leaves on a pilgrimage


On June 10th 1881, Count Leo Tolstoy sets off on a pilgrimage to a monastery disguised as a peasant. Tolstoy had already produced his two greatest masterpieces War and Peace (1865-1869) and Anna Karenina (1875-1877). The Russian nobleman was engaged in a spiritual struggle and felt torn between his responsibility as a wealthy landlord to … Continue reading

June 6 1949 George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four is published


On June 6th 1949, George Orwell’s novel of a dystopian future, Nineteen Eighty-four, was published. The novel’s all-seeing leader, known as “Big Brother,” became a universal symbol for intrusive government and oppressive bureaucracy. George Orwell was the nom de plume of Eric Blair, who was born in India. The son of a British civil servant, … Continue reading

May 30 1593 Christopher Marlowe killed in tavern brawl


On May 30th 1593, playwright Christopher Marlowe, 29, was killed in a brawl over a bar tab. Marlowe, born two months before William Shakespeare, was the son of a Canterbury shoemaker. A bright student, he won scholarships to prestigious schools and earned his B.A. from Cambridge in 1584. He was nearly denied his master’s degree … Continue reading

April 23 1564 and 1616 Birth and Death of William Shakespeare


On April 23rd 1564,  the great English dramatist and poet William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-on-Avon, and on April 23rd 1616, he died. It is impossible to be certain the exact day on which he was born, but church records show that he was baptised on April 26, and three days was a customary amount … Continue reading

March 22 1947 Novelist James Patterson Born


On March 22nd 1947, one of the world’s top-selling novelists, James Patterson, was born. Best known for his thrillers, Patterson, the creator of the Alex Cross detective series and the Women’s Murder Club series, among others, has written books in a variety of genres, from historical fiction to young adult. His novels have sold an … Continue reading

March 20 1852 Uncle Tom’s Cabin Published


On March 20th 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, was published. Within three months, the novel had sold 300,000 copies and was so widely read that when President Abraham Lincoln met Stowe in 1862, he reportedly said, “so you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.” … Continue reading

King of Torts by John Grisham


The King of Torts is typical of the perception most people have of John Grisham. It portrays two lawyers, one honest and one corrupt. The twist in this tale of litigation and intrigue is that the main character is both lawyers. Clay Carter is a burnt out public defender, an honest man who has failed … Continue reading

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