The Bibliophile's Adventurers Club

Exemplars of bookish delight

Tag: authors (page 1 of 10)

Life through the lens

“For her life, any life, she had to believe, was nothing but the continuity of its love.”

Eurdora Welty, The Optimist’s Daughter

Eudora Welty was born April 13, 1909 in Jackson Mississippi. Most of us know her by her stories of the American South–stories that garnered several O. Henry Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (to name a few).

But she was also a photographer. As you might imagine, her photos tell stories all their own–and they are altogether lovely.

If you’ve not had a chance to see life through Welty’s eyes, you simply must do so. You’ll find them in the following books: One time, One Place or Eudora Welty: Photographs. In the meantime, here’s an introduction, courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine . . .

A word from Dr. Seuss

DrSeuss

March 2, 1904 a baby boy was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. His name: Theodor Seuss Geisel. He would grow up to be our very own Dr. Seuss. We, of course, know him most for his children’s stories. And they took off with something of a dare. You see, William Ellsworth Spaulding, the director of the education division at Houghton Mifflin, gave Dr. Seuss a list of over 300 words–words he believed every first-grader should know. The mission: whittle the list by a hundred words or so, then use those words to write “. . . a book children can’t put down.” With that, The Cat in the Hat was born. Though he never had children of his own, his words and illustrations continue to entertain and inspire children the whole world through.  His words may continue to teach us, no matter our age.

With that, a few words from the man of the hour . . .

A person’s a person, no matter how small.–Dr. Seuss

You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.–Dr. Seuss

Adults are just outdated children.–Dr. Seuss

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.–Dr. Seuss

I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.–Dr. Seuss

From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.–Dr. Seuss

Step with care and great tact ,and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act.–Dr. Seuss

I’ve heard there are troubles of more than one kind; some come from ahead, and some come from behind. But I’ve brought a big bat. I’m all ready, you see; now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!–Dr. Seuss

Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened. –Dr. Seuss

Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.–Dr. Seuss

Don’t wait for inspiration

Jack_London_young

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
Jack London
 It’s a new year. That means most of us are gearing up with goals and resolutions. With all our best-laid plans, I’d say our best bet is simply to do.

Take Jack London, for instance. Most of us know him as the author of White Fang or The Call of the Wild. But that’s only part of his story.

He left school at eleven to begin collecting an odd assortment of jobs. He was a farm boy, a newspaper boy. He loaded ice onto an ice wagon, set up pins in a bowling alley, and swept the floors of a saloon. He worked in a cannery. He became an oyster pirate. He worked at sea, in a jute mill, and in a laundry. He shoveled coal for an electric railway power plant. He worked as a roustabout; he worked 30-days hard labor in prison (vagrancy, you know).

He read in his spare time.

He went back to school. He worked as a janitor, a sailor. He joined the gold rush, became a prizewinning stockbreeder. He determined to become a great author; he wrote 1,000 words every day; he met his goal. He traveled the world, lectured, and stood up for injustice. He became one of the first to endorse products—men’s suits and grape juice. He became a self-made millionaire.

He experienced all of this in his lifetime: January 12, 1876 to November 22, 1916. That’s forty years. In forty years he accomplished more than many people who live twice as long, because he did more than talk about it—or even plan or map it out. He did it.

Just for fun, we should see what we could accomplish, if we do the same . . .

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Looking to know Jack London a bit more?  Try The Wit & Wisdom of Jack London: A Collection of Quotations from His Writing and Letters

The Sandman series

sandman-series

Never let it be said that reading can’t catch you a man.  Now, whether or not you want to catch that man (quick, throw him back!) is another story altogether.

Mr. Neil Gaiman, despite being one of my all-time favourite authors, is going to be the death of me, as a large number of his books have been responsible for “rando” men in my life.  This particular instance was brought on by his classic graphic novel series The Sandman.

I recently shared with an acquaintance, a friend of a friend really, that I owned the entire Sandman series, all ten books.  When he expressed his desire to read them, I enthusiastically offered them up–my poor sacrificial lambs.  What can I say? I get excited whenever anyone wants to read, particularly when someone wants to read Gaiman.  When the acquaintance asked to borrow the books a few days later, I imagined a quick swap over a beer.  In reality, the speedy exchange into a gracious, though very unwelcome, sneak date over dinner (his).

But the books . . .

I feel as though they should inscribe the front of each of Gaiman’s book with the following: Aspiring authors, take heed.  Those who wonder how worlds are woven and created, watch the master at work.

Morpheus / Dream / the eponymous Sandman takes center stage in this series, accompanied by his Endless immortal siblings, as they manipulate and tool with humankind in the dream world.  Dreams permeate the waking world more often than we give them credit.  What would happen if you hid things, such as secrets, objects, treasures, in your dreams?  What if, as you dreamt, you could shape the waking world?  What if you could control everyone’s dreams? Within the world of Dreaming, Gaiman creates an entire kingdom of dreams for Morpheus to rule over and for dreamers to love, live, and kill.  There is, as often in dreams, evil and there is goodness, all mixed together.  And when we think about how broad, wide, and all encompassing this kingdom is, we get a little peek into Gaiman’s own head.

So it’s not necessarily a coincidence that Morpheus / Lord Dream looks a bit like @NeilHimself: a dark, lanky, brooding character with masses of unruly hair. Women fainting in his footsteps. Classic Gaiman.

Unfortunately, my fellow comic book borrower was neither dark, lanky, nor brooding and I wasn’t fainting at any point of the evening.  At the end of the book exchange, without thinking, I foolishly told my “date” to enjoy and maybe we could discuss the books when he was finished–to which he responded, “Yes, and we can go out for drinks again!”

Commence thumping forehead against wall.

A love story

“I see no one among the living as beautiful as my little wife.” -Poe in a letter to a friend-

On September 22, 1835 Edgar Allan Poe obtained a marriage license to wed Virginia Eliza Clemm. They were first cousins. The official ceremony took place the following May, at the boarding house in which they had stayed. He was twenty-seven, she thirteen (though records list her age as 21).

To most, it seems an odd union, at best.

Some argue they were more like brother and sister than husband and wife; others claim that was not at all the case.

Whatever their private life, correspondence and first hand accounts prove they were a devoted couple, from the day they married until Virginia’s death.

So here’s to Edgar Allan Poe and his Virginia–and eleven years of love and adoration, respect and inspiration . . .

800px-VirginiaValentine-A Valentine poem by Virginia Poe-
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