Rex Stout (1896-1975) was born in Noblesville, IN on December 1, 1896 Read Orrin's review of Fer-de-Lance: A Nero Wolfe Mystery (1934)(Grade: A)
Nikos Kazantzakis (1885-1957) was born in Iraklion, Crete on December 2, 1885. Read Orrin's review of The Last Temptation of Christ (1960)(Grade: C+)
Joseph (Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski) Conrad (1857-1924) was born in Berdichev, Poland (now Ukraine) on December 3, 1857. Read Orrin's reviews of Lord Jim (1900)(Grade: B), Heart of Darkness (1902)(Grade: A), & The Secret Agent (1920)(Grade: B)
Samuel Butler (1835-1902) was born in Nottinghamshire, ENG on December 4, 1835. Read Orrin's review of The Way of All Flesh (1903)
Rainer Maria Rilke was born in Prague on December 4, 1875. The Brothers Judd recommend Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge (1910) (Rainer Maria Rilke 1875-1926)(translated by Stephen Mitchell)
Walt Disney (1901-66) was born in Chicago, IL on December 5, 1901. Griffin Judd particularly recommends Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937).
Calvin Trillin (1935-) was born in Kansas City, MO on December 5, 1935. Brothers Judd recommends his very funny Tummy Trilogy.
Martin Van Buren (1782?1862) was born in Kinderhook, NY on December 5, 1782. He was the first non-Adams not to be reelected President.
George Armstrong Custer (1839-1876) was born in New Rumley, OH on December 5, 1839. Read Orrin's review of The Fatal Environment : The Myth of the Frontier in the Age of Industrialization, 1800-1890 (1985)(Richard Slotkin) (Grade: B-)
Gunnar Myrdal (1898-1987) was born in Gustafs, Sweden on December 6, 1898.
Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918) was born in New Brunswick, NJ on December 6, 1886. Best remembered for his poem Trees, it seems likely that he is the only poet memorialized by having a Turnpike Rest Area named in his honor.
Willa Cather (1873-1947) was born near Winchester, VA on December 7, 1873. Read Orrin's review of Death Comes to the Archbishop (1927)(Grade: C)
Richard Llewellyn (1906-1983) was born in Wales on December 8, 1906. Read Orrin's review of How Green Was My Valley (1939)(Grade: A+)
Mary Gordon (1949-) was born on Long Island, NY on December 8, 1949.
Elsie Crisler Segar (1894-?), the creator of "Popeye," was born in Chester, IL on December 8, 1894.
James Thurber (1894-1961) was born in Columbus, OH on December 8, 1894. Brothers Judd recommends the Library of America collection: James Thurber: Writings and Drawings and Thurber on Crime (James Thurber 1894-1961)(edited by Robert Lopresti) (Read Orrin's review.)
Ron Hansen was born December 8, 1947. He was raised in Omaha, Nebraska. Read Orrin's review of Mariette in Ecstasy (1991) (Ron Hansen 1947-).
Hervey Allen (1889-1949), author of the epic historical novel Anthony Adverse (1933), was born in Pittsburgh, PA on December 8, 1889.
Breaker Morant, also known as Harry Harbord Morant was born in Bridgwater, England on December 9, 1864. Read Orrin's review of Breaker Morant (1979) (directed by Bruce Beresford 1940-).
John Milton (1608-) was born in Cheapside, London on December 9, 1608. His masterpiece Paradise Lost (1667) was written after he went blind and took five years to complete.
Joel Chandler Harris (1848-1908) was born near Eatonton, GA on December 9, 1848. He wrote the terrific series of Uncle Remus stories.
Dalton Trumbo (1905-76), an unrepentant Communist justifiably blacklisted as part of the Hollywood Ten, was born in Montrose, CO on December 9, 1905. Read Orrin's review of his National Book Award winning Johnny Got His Gun (1939)(Grade: F)
Rumer Godden (1907-98) was born in Eastbourne, Sussex, ENG on December 10, 1907. Read Orrin's review of Black Narcissus (1939)(Grade: B)
Mary Norton (1903-93) was born in London, ENG on December 10, 1903. She wrote the great childrens book The Borrowers (1953)
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) was born in Amherst, MA on December 10, 1830. Brothers Judd recommends The Collected Poems
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-) in Kislovodsk, Russia on December 11, 1918. Read Orrin's review of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1963)(Grade: A+)
Thomas McGuane (1939-) was born in Wyandotte, MI on December 11, 1939. Brothers Judd recommends his collection of hunting and fishing stories
An Outside Chance
Jim Harrison (1937-) was born in Grayling, MI on December 11, 1937. Brothers Judd recommends his novel The Legends of the Fall
Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton (1926-84) was born in Montgomery, AL
on December 11, 1926. Brothers Judd recommends the album Ball N Chain
Naguib Mahfouz (1911-) was born in Cairo, Egypt on December 11, 1911. Read Orrin's review of Palace of Desire: Book II of the Cairo Trilogy (1957) (Grade: C+)
Fiorello La Guardia (1882-1947) was born in New York, NY on December 11, 1882.
Gustave Flaubert (1821-80) was born in Rouen, France on December 12, 1821. Read Orrin's review of Madame Bovary (1857)(translated by Lowell Bair) (Grade: B+)
Frank Sinatra was born in Hoboken, New Jersey on December 12, 1915.
Shirley Jackson (1919-65) was born in San Francisco, CA on December 14, 1919. Read Orrin & Guest reviews of The Lottery (1948)(Grade: A) & Orrin's reviews of The Sundial (1958) (Grade: B-) and We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962)(Grade: A+)
Betty Smith (1904-) was born in Brooklyn, NY on December 15, 1904. Brothers Judd recommends A
Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1943).
Theodore Weiss (1916-), poet and editor of the Quarterly
Review of Literature, was born in Reading, PA on December 15, 1916. Read his poem: An Everlasting Once
Philip K. Dick (1928-82) was born on December 16, 1928. Read Orrin's review of Blade Runner (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep) (1968)(Grade: B-)
Ludwig Van Beethoven was born December 16, 1770 in Bonn, Germany.
Jane Austen was born in 1775 in Steventon. UK on December 16, 1775.
William Safire (1929-) was born in New York, NY on December 17, 1929. Brothers Judd recommends Freedom: A Novel of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War.
Penelope (Knox) Fitzgerald, was born on December 17, 1916. Brothers Judd recommends Offshore (1979)(Penelope Fitzgerald 1916-2000).
Ford Madox Ford (Ford Herman Hueffer)(1873-1939) was born in Surrey, UK on December 17, 1873. Read Orrin's review of The Good Soldier (1915) (Grade: B-)
Steven Spielberg (1946- ) was born in Cincinnati, OH on December 18, 1946. Read Orrin's review of Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001)
Alfred Bester was born December 18, 1913. Brothers Judd recommends The Demolished Man (1953)(Alfred Bester 1913-87).
Heinrich Boll (1917-) was born in Cologne, GER on December 21, 1917. Brothers Judd recommends The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum: Or How Violence Develops and Where It Can Lead (1974)
Anthony Powell (1905-75) was born in London, ENG on December 21, 1905. Read Orrin's review of A Dance to the Music of Time (Grade: B-)
Cicily Isabel Fairfield (Rebecca West), (1892-1983) was born in London, ENG on December 21, 1892. Brothers Judd recommends her classic travelogue Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia (1941) and read Orrin's reviews of 1900 (1982)(Grade: A-) andThe Return of the Soldier (1918) (Grade: A+)
Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935)was born in Maine on December 22, 1869. Read Orrin's review of Selected
Poems of Edward Arlington Robinson (1869-1935) (Grade: C+)
Joseph Smith (1805-44), founder of the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, was born in Sharon, VT on December 23, 1805. You can check out the
Book of Mormon online and Brothers Judd recommends American Prophet: The Story of Joseph Smith (1999) (Heidi S. Swinton), the companion volume to the recent PBS film.
Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa (1896-1957) was born in Palermo, Sicily
on December 23, 1896. He is remembered for his posthumous novel The Leopard (1958).
I.F. "Isidor Feinstein" Stone (1907-89) was born in Philadelphia, PA on December 24, 1907. After 60 years trading on an independent image as a left-wing muckraker, he has been revealed in recent years as a Soviet agent. Read Orrin's review of The Trial of Socrates (1988) (Grade: B-)
Supposedly, it was on December 24, 1822 that Clement Moore (1779-1863) wrote his famous Christmas poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas," better known as "'Twas the Night Before Christmas." See Orrin's review of Author Unknown: On the Trail of Anonymous (2000)(Donald W. Foster) (Grade: A)
Juan Ramon Jimenez (1881-1958), Spanish poet and 1956 Nobel Laureate, was born in Moguer, Spain on December 24, 1881. Read Orrin's review of The Complete Perfectionist: A Poetics of Work (1997)(Juan Ramon Jimenez 1881-1958) (edited and translated by Christopher Maurer) (Grade: C+)
Fritz Leiber (1910-92) was born on December 24, 1910. Brothers Judd recommends his The Adventures of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser (Lankhmar Series)
Jimmy Buffett (1946-) was born in Pascogoula, MS on December 25, 1946.
Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957) was born in New York, NY on December 25, 1899. Brothers Judd particularly recommends The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), The Maltese Falcon (1941) and The Big Sleep (1946).
Cab Calloway (1907-94) was born in Rochester, NY on December 25, 1907. Brothers Judd recommends Are You Hep to the Jive?
William the Conqueror was crowned King of England on December 25, 1066. Read Orrin's review of The
Golden Warrior: the Story of Harold and William (1949)(Hope Muntz) (Grade: A)
Henry Miller (1891-1980) was born in New York, NY on December 26, 1891. Read Orrin's review of Tropic of Cancer (1934)(Grade: F)
Thomas Gray (1716-1771) was born in London, ENG on December 26, 1716. His greatest poem and one of the best English poems ever is Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard (1751)
Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) was born in Staunton, VA on December 28, 1856. He had the two worst traits a President of the United States can have: he was naive and he was a hater.
Earl "Fatha" Hines (1903-83) was born in Duquesne, PA on December 28, 1903. Dryfoos recommends his seminal collaboration with Louis Armstrong Hot Fives and Sevens
Charles Portis (1933-) was born in El Dorado, AR on December 28, 1933. Read Orrin's review of True Grit (1968)
Andrew Johnson (1808-1875) was born in Raleigh, NC on December 29, 1808.
William Gaddis (1922-1998), perhaps the greatest unread author of the past half century, was born in New York, NY on December 29, 1922. His masterpiece, The Recognitions, is a little forbidding--it even has an online readers guide: A READER'S
GUIDE TO WILLIAM GADDIS'S The Recognitions (Steven Moore). But Brothers Judd heartily recommends his National Book Award winning A Frolic of His Own.
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), 1907 Nobel Laureate, was born in Bombay, India on December 30, 1865. Read Orrin's reviews of Kim (1901) (Grade: A), Stories and Poems of Rudyard Kipling (Grade: A+), and The Jungle Books (1894) (Grade: A)
Happy Birthday to Michael Walter, December 31
Nicholas Sparks was born December 31, 1965 in Omaha, Nebraska. Read Orrin's review of The Notebook (1996) (Nicholas Sparks 1965-)