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Thursday, December 3, 2015

January Marks The Births & Deaths Of Great Writers


January 2016 is filled with anniversaries for the births or deaths of great writers.  Here’s a look at some to celebrate:

January 1 – J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, born 1919
January 3 – J.R.R. Tolkein, The Hobbit, born 1892
January 6 – E.L. Doctorow, Ragtime, born 1931
January 8 – Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, born 1942
January 9 – Marco Polo, The Travels of Marco Polo, died 1324
January 11 – Thomas Hardy, Tess Of The d’Urbevilles, died 1928
January 14 – Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass, died 1898
January 16 – Mary Karr, The Liars’ Club, born 1955
January 18 – Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book, died 1936
January 19 – Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven, born 1809
January 21 – George Orwell, 1984, died 1950
January 22 – Lord Byron, Don Juan, born 1788
January 24 – Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth, born 1862
January 25 – Lewis Caroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, born 1832
January 28 – WB Yeats, The Tower, died 1939
January 29 – Robert Frost, North of Boston, died 1963
January 30 – Sidney Sheldon, The Other Side of Midnight, died 2007

The source of my information is A Reader’s Book of Days by Tom Nissley.  The eight-time jeopardy champion, who owns a bookstore, penned the book for WW Norton.  Not only does he note the births and deaths of significant writers for an entire calendar year, he sprinkles in nearly 2,000 stories regarding key dates in literary history.

You begin to realize, as you thumb through the 448-page book, that every single day has ten or more writers of note with a history tied to it.  Over the years thousands of great writers have left their mark on us.  With the mass publishing of today, we’ll no doubt soon double and triple the number of big books, great writers, and important literary moments in time.

After a while you realize there’s little significance in any specific calendar day.  Every single day connects to moments and people in time that are worth noting, remembering, and discussing.  We don’t need for a certain date to roll around to discuss an author or a specific book, but we tend to look at birthdays and anniversaries as a springboard to discussing things.

Calendars have changed over the years and perhaps one day they will change again.  Maybe the way we record time will change as well.  But for now, when we hear something happened on February 26 (Victor Hugo of Les Miserables was born in 1802), we instantly relate and attach other things of significance to that date.  But Hugo could’ve been born on any date, and what’s important is not a date, but the person and more importantly, his or her works.  

What lives beyond you matters more than any date, but if knowing Walt Whitman celebrated May 31 as his birthday helps you appreciate his works, then so be it.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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