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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-)


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)


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)


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)


William Kennedy (1928-) was born in Albany, NY on January 16, 1928. Read Orrin's review of Ironweed (1983).


Susan Sontag was born in New York, NY on January 16, 1933. Read Orrin's review of Where the Stress Falls (2001).


Gavin Bryars (1943-) was born in Goole, ENG on January 16, 1943. Read Orrin's review of Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet (1993) (Gavin Bryars 1943-)


Robert W. Service (1874-1958) was born in England on January 16, 1874.


Diane Fossey (1932-85) was born in Fairfax, CA on January 16, 1932. Brothers Judd recommends Woman in the Mists: The Story of Dian Fossey and the Mountain Gorillas of Africa (Farley Mowat)


Norman Podhoretz was born in Brooklyn, NY on January 16, 1930. Brothers Judd recommends My Love Affair With America: The Cautionary Tale of a Cheerful Conservative (2000) (Norman Podhoretz 1930-)


Marilyn Horne (1934-) was born in Bradford, PA on January 16, 1934


Jerome Herman "Dizzy" Dean (1911-74) was born in Lucas, AR on January 16, 1911.


Frank Conroy (1936-) was born in New York, NY on January 15, 1936.


Ernest J. Gaines (1933-) was born in Pointe Coupee Parish, LA on January 15, 1933. Read Orrin's review of A Lesson Before Dying (1993)(Grade: A)


The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-68) was born in Atlanta, GA on January 15, 1929. He was named one of the Brothers Judd 10 Greatest Cultural figures of the 20th Century. Read Orrin's review of Dreamer: A Novel (1998)(Charles R. Johnson 1948-) (Grade: C)


Jean Baptiste Poquelin Moliere (1622-) was baptised on January 15, 1622.


Osip Mandelstam (1891-1938) was born in Warsaw, Poland on January 15, 1891.


Anchee Min (1957-) was born in Shanghai, China on January 14, 1957. Brothers Judd has reviewed several of her books.


John Dos Passos (1896-1970) was born in Chicago, IL on January 14, 1896. Read Orrin's review of The USA Trilogy (1930-36)(Grade: C)


Yukio Mishima [Kimitake Hiraoka] (1925-1970) was born in Tokyo, Japan on January 14, 1925. Read Orrin's review of The Sailor who Fell from the Grace with the Sea (1963)(Grade: C)


Horatio Alger (1834-99) was born in Revere, MA on January 13, 1834. Read Orrin's review of Ragged Dick or, Street Life in New York (1868)(Grade: B)


Albert Lamorisse was born in Paris, France on January 13, 1922. The Brothers Judd recommend his film, The Red Balloon [Le Ballon Rouge] (1956) (directed by Albert Lamorisse 1922-70)


Jay McInerney (1955-) was born on January 13, 1955. Read Orrin's reviews of Bright Lights, Big City (1984)(Grade: A) and Ransom (1985)(Grade: B-)


John Singer Sargent (1856-) was born in Florence, Italy on January 12, 1856.


Walter Mosley (1952-1925) was born in Los Angeles, CA on January 12, 1952. Read Orrin's review of Workin' on the Chain Gang: Shaking off the Dead Hand of History (2000).


Edmund Burke (1729-97) was born in Dublin, IRE on January 12, 1729. Read Orrin's review of Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)(Grade: A+)


Jack London (1876-1916) was born in San Francisco, CA on January 12, 1876. Read Orrin's reviews of The Call of the Wild (1903) (Grade: A) and The Sea Wolf (1904)(Grade: A-)


Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804) was born on the island of Nevis, British West Indies on January 11, 1757. Read Orrin's review of Alexander Hamilton, American (1999)


Alan Paton (1903-88) was born in Pietermartizburg, South Africa on January 11, 1903.


William James (1842-1910) was born in New York, NY on January 11, 1842. Read Orrin's review of The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902).


Aldo Leopold (1887-) was born in Burlington, IA on January 11, 1887


Ethan Allen (1738-1789) was born in Litchfield, CT on January 10, 1738.


Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962) was born in Pittsburgh, PA on January 10, 1887.


Karel Capek (1890-1938) was born on January 9, 1890. Read Orrin's review of Tales from Two Pockets (1932)(Grade: B+)


Richard Milhous Nixon (1913-94) was born in Yorba Linda, CA on January 9, 1913. Brothers Judd recommends the excellent Roger Morris biography: Richard Milhous Nixon: The Rise of an American Politician


John Dunning (1942-) was born in Brooklyn, NY on January 9, 1942. Read Orrin's review of Booked to Die (1992)


Wilkie Collins (1824-99) was born in London, ENG on January 8, 1824. He penned one of the seminal mysteries in The Moonstone


Elvis Presley (1935-77), one of the Brothers Judd 10 Greatest Cultural Figures of the 20th Century, was born in Tupelo, MS on January 8, 1935. Read Orrin's review of Last Train to Memphis : The Rise of Elvis Presley (1994) (Peter Guralnick) (Grade: A)


Stephen Hawking (1942-) was born in Oxfordshire, ENG on January 8, 1942. Brothers Judd recommends his bestselling A Brief History of Time: From Big Bang to Black Holes (1988)


Zora Neale Hurston (1903-60) was born in Eatonville, FL on January 7, 1903. Read Orrin's review of Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)(Grade: B)


William Peter Blatty (1928-) was born in New York, NY on January 7, 1928. Read Orrin's review of The Exorcist (1971)(Grade: A+)


Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) was born in Galesburg, IL on January 6, 1878. He won the 1939 Pulitzer Prize for his biography of Abraham Lincoln but was first and foremost a poet; seven books of Sandburg's poems are available through a Univ. of Md. site


E.L. [Edgar Lawrence] Doctorow (1931-) was born in New York City, NY on January 6, 1931. Read Orrin's reviews of Welcome to Hard Times (1960)(Grade: C+) &Ragtime (1975)(Grade: A) & Billy Bathgate (1989)(Grade: C)


Wright Morris (1910-98) was born in Central City, NE on January 6, 1910.


Joan of Arc (1412-31) was born in Domrémy, France on January 6, 1412


Robert Duvall(1931-) was born in San Diego, CA on January 5, 1931. Brothers Judd particularly recommends his less well known star turn in Tender Mercies (1983) The Apostle (1997) (directed by Robert Duvall 1931-)


Umberto Eco (1932-) was born in Allessandria, Italy on January 5, 1932. Brothers Judd recommends his medieval mystery The Name of the Rose (1981)


Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727) was born in Woolsthorpe, ENG on January 4, 1643.


Jakob (Ludwig Karl) Grimm (1785-1863) was born in Hanau, GER on January 4, 1785. There's an interesting Red Riding Hood site online.


J.R.R. [John Ronald Reuel ] Tolkein (1892-1973) was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa on January 3, 1892. Read Orrin's review ofThe Lord of the Rings [The Hobbit (1937), The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King (1948)](J.R.R. [John Ronald Reuel] Tolkien 1892-1973) (Grade: A+)


Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) was born on January 2, 1920. Read Orrin's review of The Foundation Trilogy (Grade: A-)


J. Edgar Hoover (1895-1972) was born in Washington, DC on January 1, 1895.


E.M. [Edward Morgan] Forster (1879-1970) was born in London, ENG on January 1, 1879. Read Orrin's reviews of A Passage to India (1924)(Grade: B) and Aspects of the Novel (1927)(Grade: A-)


Shelby Steele (1946-) was born on January 1, 1946. Read Orrin's review of The Content of Our Character: A New Vision of Race in America (1990)


J.D. [Jerome David] Salinger (1919-) was born in New York, NY on January 1, 1919. Read Orrin's reviews of The Catcher in the Rye (1951)(Grade: A+) and Franny and Zooey (1961)(Grade: A+)


Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 B.C.-43 BC) was born at Arpinum on January 3, 106 B.C.


J. Edgar Hoover (1895-1972) was born in Washington, DC on January 1, 1895.