John Collier (1901-80) was born in London, ENG on May 3, 1901. Read Orrin's review of Fancies and Goodnights (1951).
Bing Crosby was born in Tacoma, WA on May 2, 1903. In addition to selling 300 million records, he won a Best Actor Oscar for Going My Way.
The King James Bible was published on May 2, 1611. Perhaps only Shakespeare has had a greater influence on the English language.
Happy Birthday to Sue Herzog (May 1)
Ignazio Silone [Secondo Tranquilli] (1900-78) was born in Pescina, Italy on May 1, 1900. Read Orrin's review of Fontamara (1933)
Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, (1769-1852) was born on May 1, 1769. He is best remembered for winning the Peninsular campaign & defeating Napoleonat Waterloo. We recommend Christopher Hibbert's excellent one-volume biography Wellington: A Personal History and Alan Schom's delightfully harsh Napoleon Bonaparte: A Life.
Joseph Heller (1923-2000) was born in Brooklyn, NY on May 1, 1923. Read Orrin's review of Catch-22(Grade: A)
Annie Dillard (1945-) was born in Pittsburgh, PA on April 30, 1945. Read Orrin's review of Pilgrim at Tinker's Creek (1974)(Grade: A)
Willie Nelson was born in Abbott, TX on April 30, 1933. Try one of his Greatest Hits collections.
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington (1899-1974), son of a White House butler, was born in Washington, DC on April 29, 1899. Dryfoos recommends his Blanton Era recordings and the Ellington bio Beyond Category: The Life and Genius of Duke Ellington by John Edward Hasse.
Harper Lee (1926-) was born in Monroeville, AL on April 28, 1926. Her great novel, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960), is the most flagrant ommission from the Modern Library Top 100. (read Orrin's review, Grade: A+)
James Monroe (1758-1831), 5th President of the United States, was born in Westmoreland
County, VA on April 28, 1758. He is best known for the Monroe Doctrine, which was actually a product of his Secretary of State, John
Quincy Adams. Monroe died on the 4th of July, one of three founding fathers to do so.
Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885) was born in Point Pleasant, OH on April 27, 1822. His Memoirs, written while he was dying, in order to save his family from debt, are one of the only real literary achievements penned by a president. Read Orrin's review of Ulysses S. Grant: Soldier & President (1997)(Geoffrey Perret)(Grade: A+)
Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) was born in Surrey, England on April 27, 1737. His masterpiece is The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
Frederick Law Olmstead (1822-1903) was born in Hartford, CT on April 26, 1822. Read Orrin's review of A Clearing in the Distance: Frederick Law Olmsted and America in the Nineteenth Century (1999)(Witold Rybczynski) (Grade:
Daniel Defoe (1660-1731) was born in London, ENG on April 26, 1660. Read Orrin's review of The Life & Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1719) (Grade: A)
Anita Loos (1893-1981) was born in Sissons, CA on April 26, 1893. Read Orrin's review of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1925)
Bernard Malamud (1914 - 1986) was born in Brooklyn, NY on April 26, 1914. Read Orrin's review of The Fixer (1966)
Fitzgerald (1918-1996), First Lady of Song, was born in Newport News, VA on April 25, 1918. Dryfoos recommends her Louis Armstrong collaborations.
Mark McCormick reminds us: National Arbor Day is April 24. Connecticut (state tree - white oak) celebrates on April 30. New Hampshire (state tree - paper birch) is more generic, marking Arbor Day on the last Friday of April. Arbor Day varies by state so it coincides with a region's tree planting season.
Anthony Trollope (1815-1882), one of the three Great English novelists of the 19th Century (along with Austen & Dickens), was born on April 24, 1815. The Palliser novels are especially good, try Phineas Finn.
Sue Grafton (1940-), the best of the women Private Eye novelists, was born in Louisville, KY on April 24, 1940. Read Orrin's review of 'A' is for Alibi (1982)(Sue Grafton 1940-) (Grade: A)
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is assumed to have been born on April 23, 1564. Read Orrin's review of The Tragedy of Julius Caesar (1599)(William Shakespeare 1564-1616) (Grade: A+)
James Buchanan (1791-1868), who is easily one of the worst Presidents of the Unnited States, was born in Cove Gap, PA on April 23, 1791.
Robert Penn Warren (1905-1989), America's first Poet Laureate, was born in Guthrie, KY on April 23, 1905. Warren won three Pulitzer Prizes, the first in 1947 for All
the King's Men (1946) (Grade: A+)
Halldór Laxness (1902-98) was born in Reykjavík, ICE on April 23, 1902. Read Orrin's review of Independent People (1946)(Grade: A+)
Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977) was born in St. Petersburg, Russia on April 22, 1899. Read Orrin's reviews of Lolita (1955)(Grade: A), Pale Fire (1962) (Grade: B) and Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited (1966)(Grade: A)
Henry Fielding (1707-54), one of the creators of the novel, was born in Somerset, England on April 22, 1707. Read Orrin's
review of The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews (1742) (Grade: B+)
Oppenheimer (1904-1967), Father of the Bomb, was born in New York City on April 22, 1904. His work at Los Alamos is best recounted in Richard Rhodes' The Making of the Atomic Bomb.
Mark Twain (1835-1910) died in Redding, Connecticut on April 21, 1910. Read Orrin's review of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885)(Grade: A-)
Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855) author of Jane Eyre, was born in Yorkshire, England on April 21, 1816.
Charles Dickens' great novel A Tale of Two Cities started coming out in monthly installments on April 20, 1859
Richard Hughes (1900-76) was born in Weybridge, England on April 19, 1900. Read Orrin's review of A High Wind in Jamaica (1929) (Grade: C) (#71 on the Modern Library Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century)
Lord Byron died of malaria on April 19, 1824 while helping the Greeks fight for their independence from Turkey.
The first battle of the American Revolution took place on April 19, 1775 when Minutemen and British soldiers exchanged fire at Lexington, MA.
It was on April 18, 1775 that Paul Revere, Bill Dawes and Sam Prescott, made their famous "midnight ride" to warn colonial militiamen that British troops were advancing toward Lexington and Concord. This marked the beginning of the Revolutionary War.
Clarence Seward Darrow (1857-1938) was born in Kinsman, OH on April 18, 1857. He appears in the recommended books Compulsion and Angel of Darkness.
Alexander Cartwright, who codified the rules of baseball, was born in New York City on April 17, 1820. It is widely assumed that he was divinely inspired when he established the measurement of 90 feet between bases.
Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen, Baroness Blixen-Finecke) was born on April 17, 1885, in Rungsted, Denmark. Read Orrin's review of Out of Africa (1937) (Grade: B+) or watch the excellent movie adaptation.
Thornton Wilder (1897-1975) was born in Madison, WI on April 17, 1897. (Read Orrin's review of his 1927 Pulitzer Prize Winner, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Grade: C)
Anatole France (1844-1924) was born in Paris, France on April 16, 1844.
Jackie Robinson & the Brooklyn Dodgers broke baseball's color barrier on April 15, 1947. Read Orrin's review of Jackie Robinson: A Biography (1997)(Arnold Rampersad) (Grade: B+)
Henry James (1843-1916) was born in New York City on April 15, 1843. Read Orrin's reviews of The Turn of the Screw (Grade: B), The Ambassadors (1903) & The Wings of the Dove (1902)
Happy Birthday to Mel and Chuck (April 15)
Titanic struck an iceberg on April 14, 1912. Read Walter Lord's excellent account of the sinking in A
Night to Remember.
Frank Serpico was born in on April 14, 1934. Brothers Judd recommends Serpico
(1973) (Peter Maas)
Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theater on April 14, 1865. David Herbert Donald's Lincoln
(1995) provides an outstanding one volume account of his life.
Noah Webster, a founder of Amherst College, published his American Dictionary of the English Language, the product of 35 years of work, on April 14, 1818.
Horace McCoy was born in Pegram, TN on April 14, 1897. Brothers Judd recommends They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1935) (Horace McCoy 1897-1955)
Samuel Beckett (1906-89) was born in Foxrock, County Dublin, IRE on April 13, 1906. Read Orrin's review of Waiting for Godot (1948)(Grade: F)
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was born in Shadwell, VA on April 13, 1743. Read Orrin's review of American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson (1996)(Joseph J. Ellis) (Grade: A-)