Ornette Coleman (1930) was born in Fort Worth, TX on March 19, 1930. The great music writer Robert Palmer profiled him in this piece Ornette Coleman and the Circle with a Hole in the Middle (Robert Palmer, December 1972, Atlantic Monthly).
Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890) first Christian to sneak into Mecca & translator of the
Arabian Nights, was born in Devonshire, England, on March 19, 1821. Read Orrin's review of To Your Scattered Bodies Go (1971)(Philip Jose Farmer) (Grade: B+)
Philip Roth (1933-) was born in Newark, NJ on March 19, 1933. Read Orrin's review of American Pastoral (1997)(Philip Roth 1933-) (Grade: B+)
John Updike (1932-) was born in Shillington, Pennsylvania, on March 18, 1932. Read Orrin's review of Rabbit, Run (1960)(Grade: C)
William Gibson (1948-) was born in Conway, SC on March 17, 1948. Read Orrin's review of Neuromancer(1984) (Grade: C+)
Penelope Lively (1933-) was born in Cairo, Egypt on March 17, 1933. Read Orrin's review of her Booker Prize Winner, Moon Tiger (1987)(Grade: B-)
St. Patrick died on March 17, 493 A.D. Visit The Irish in America at PBS
March 17th, 1919 is the birthday of Nat "King" Cole (1919-1965). Although best remembered today as a pop singer from the 50's and 60's, he was, in fact, an influential jazz pianist (and later vocalist). In addition to recording with his own trio...consisting of piano, guitar and bass... which was unique in its time for not having a drummer, he also recorded with such jazz greats as Lester Young, Buddy Rich and Dexter Gordon. In the mid-50's, Cole became the first African American to have his own network TV show (on NBC), which was groundbreaking for the number of black artists who appeared as guests and for the frequent pairing of Cole with white singers and musicians. Despite good ratings, the show was cancelled after one season, leading Cole to crack "Madison Avenue must be scared of the dark." Check out "The Lester Young Trio"; and "The After Midnight Session"
James Madison, author of the Constitution and 4th President of the United States, was born in King George County, Virginia, on March 16, 1751.
March 16th is the birthday of the late, great jazz pianist, Tommy Flanagan (1930-2001). Born in Detroit, Tommy started playing professionally at 15 with other Motor City teenage stars-to-be such as Milt Jackson, Elvin Jones, Thad Jones and Kenny Burrell. By the mid-50's he was considered one of the leading bebop pianists, a position he enjoyed for the rest of his life. In the late 50's, he played on 2 of the most influential and popular albums of all time: Sonny Rollins's "Saxophone Colossus" and John Coltrane's "Giant Steps." Tommy was Ella Fitzgerald's accompanist and music director for many years, but spent the 80's and 90's as a headliner with his own trio (often with some combination of George Mraz or Peter Washington on bass and Lewis Nash or Kenny Washington on drums). His melodically sophisticated, swinging style is well-represented on his 1997 album "Sea Changes."
On March 15, 44 BC Julius Caesar forgot to "Beware the Ides of March" and was assassinated. Read Orrin's review of The Tragedy of Julius Caesar (1599)(William Shakespeare 1564-1616) (Grade: A+)
Baseball became a professional sport on March 15, 1869. The Cincinnati Red Stockings were the first pro team.
Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) was born in Waxhaw, SC on March 15, 1767. Read Orrin's review of The Battle of New Orleans: Andrew Jackson and America's First Military Victory (1999)(Robert V. Remini 1921-) (Grade: B+)
Sylvester (Sly) Stone (1944-) was born on March 15, 1944. Brothers Judd recommends Anthology by Sly and the Family Stone.
John Steinbeck's (1902-1968) great novel The
Grapes of Wrath was published on March 14, 1939. Read Orrin's review
Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany on March 14, 1879.
Adolph Ochs was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on March 12, 1858. He grew up to be a newspaperman & bought the The New York Times in 1897.
Douglas Adams (1952-) was born in Cambridge, England on March 11, 1952. Read Orrin's review of Last Chance to See (1990)(Douglas Adams (1952-) and Mark Carwardine) (Grade: A-)
Lawrence Welk bubbled forth in Strasburg, North Dakota on March 11, 1903
Bix Beiderbecke (1903-) was born in Davenport, IA on March 10, 1903. Read Orrin's review of Young Man with a Horn (1938)(Dorothy Baker) (Grade: B-)
H.W. Fowler was born March 10, 1858. Brothers Judd recommends A Dictionary of Modern English Usage (1926) (Second Edition, 1965) (H. W. Fowler 1858-1933) (revised and edited by Sir Ernest Gowers)
Composer Samuel Barber (1910-81) was born in West Chester, PA on March 9, 1910.
Amerigo Vespucci was born in Florence, Italy on March 9, 1451.
Mickey Spillane (1918-) was born in Brooklyn, NY on March 9, 1918. Read Orrin's review of I, the Jury (1947)(Mickey Spillane 1918-) (Grade: C+)
Rex (Ernest) Warner (1905-86) was born in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England on March 9, 1905. Read Orrin's review of The Aerodrome: A Love Story (1941)
March 8 is INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY, a day that's been celebrated all over the world since 1910.
Kenneth Grahame (1859-) was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on March 8, 1859. Read his classic
The Wind in the Willows online.
John McPhee (1931-) was born in Princeton, NJ on March 8, 1931.
Robert Frost's (1874-1963) poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" was published in The New Republic on March 7, 1923.
The Alamo fell on March 6, 1836.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning was born on March 6th, 1806. Among her poems was "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways."
Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac (1619-55) was born in Paris on March 6, 1619.
Read Orrin's review of Cyrano de Bergerac (1897)(Edmond Rostand 1868-1918) (Grade: A+)
Ring Lardner (1885-1933) was born in Niles, MI on March 6, 1885. Read Orrin's review of You Know Me, Al: A Busher's Letters (1914)(Grade: A)
In addition to being the Birthday of the Father of the Brothers Judd, March 5th is also the anniversary of the Boston Massacre in 1770. Crispus Attucks, one of the victims, became one of America's first Black heroes.
Henry II (1133-), first Plantagenet king of England, was born in France on March 5, 1133. His wife was Eleanor of Aquitaine. Brothers Judd recommends the terrific film, The Lion in Winter.
Howard Pyle (1853-) was born in Wilmington, DE on March 5, 1853.
Frank Norris (1870-) was born in Chicago, IL on March 5, 1870.
Johann Wyss was born March 4, 1782. Read Orrin's review of Swiss Family Robinson
Alan Sillitoe (1928-) was born in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire on March 4, 1928. Read Orrin's review of The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1959) (Grade: C)
Tom Wolfe (1931-) was born in Richmond, VA on March 2, 1931. Read Orrin's reviews of The Painted Word (1975) & From Bauhaus to Our House (1981)(Grade: A+), The Right Stuff (1979)(Grade: A+), Ambush at Fort Bragg (1997)
Tom Wolfe (1931-) was born in Richmond, VA on March 2, 1931. Read Orrin's reviews of The Painted Word (1975) & From Bauhaus to Our House (1981)(Grade: A+), The Right Stuff (1979)(Grade: A+), Ambush at Fort Bragg (1997) (Grade: A), A Man In Full (1998)(Grade: A-)
John Irving (1942-) was born in Exeter, NH on March 2, 1942. Read Orrin's review of A Prayer for Owen Meany (1989) (Grade: C)
Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) (1904-91) was born in Springfield, MA on March 2, 1904. Read Orrin's review of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1957) (Grade: A-)
Kurt Weill (1900-50) was born in Dessau, GER on March 2, 1900. His best known work "The Threepenny Opera" (1928) was based on John Gay's The Beggars Opera (read Orrin's review). And, of course, Bobby Darin's hit "Mack the Knife" was based on one of the songs from Threepenny.
Jim Crace (1946-) was born in Hertfordshire, England on March 1, 1946. Read Orrin's review of Quarantine (1997).
William Dean Howells (1837-1920) was born in Martins Ferry, OH on March 1, 1837. Read Orrin's review of The Rise of Silas Lapham (1885) (Grade: B+)
Ralph Waldo Ellison (1914-94) was born in Oklahoma City, OK on March 1, 1914. Read Orrin's review of Invisible Man (1952)(Grade: C)(#19 on the Modern Library Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century)
Frederic Chopin (1810-49) was born in Zelazowa Wola, Poland on March 1, 1810.
de Montaigne (1533-92), famous for his
essays, was born at Château de Montaigne, near Bordeaux, France on February 28, 1533.
Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) was born in Portland, ME on February 27, 1807.
John Steinbeck (1902-68), 1962 Nobel Laureate, was born in Salinas, CA on February 27, 1902.
Read Orrin's reviews of Of Mice and Men (1937)(Grade: A+), The Grapes of Wrath (1939)(Grade: A-)(#10 on the Modern Library Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century) and The Winter of Our Discontent (1961)(Grade: B)
James Thomas Farrell (1904-79) was born in Chicago, IL on February 27, 1912. Read Orrin's review of Studs Lonigan (1932-35) (Grade: D) (#29 on the Modern Library Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century)
Lawrence Durrell (1912-90) was born in Jullundur, India on February 27, 1912. Read Orrin's review of The Alexandria Quartet (1957-60) (Grade: F)(#70 on the Modern Library Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century)
Irwin Shaw [IRWIN GILBERT SHAMFOROFF] (1913-1984) was born in The Bronx, NY on February 27, 1913. Brothers Judd recommends The Young Lions (1948) and Rich Man, Poor Man (1970)
Victor Hugo (1802-85) was born in Besancon, France on February 26, 1802. Read Orrin's review of Les Miserables (1862)(Victor Hugo 1802-85) (Grade: A/B+)
Robert D. Novak was born February 26, 1931 in Joliet, Illinois. Brothers Judd recommends Completing the Revolution: A Vision for Victory in 2000 (2000) (Robert D. Novak 1931)