Honoring the Magic Makers (Authors)
Happy Birthday to Notable Authors born in December!
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December 7, 1873
American author born in Nebraska who wrote stories of the struggles of pioneer life, including O’Pioneers and My Antonia (both are quick reads which I have enjoyed). She won the Pulitzer Prize for One of Ours.
December 12, 1821
French novelist and playwright, famous for Madame Bovary, his first published novel which was originally printed in a series of articles. Due to the shockingly naughty and immoral theme of adultery, Flaubert was brought to trial along with the printer and the manager of the series. All were acquitted and naturally the sensationalism boosted sales of the book.
December 15, 1896
American author born in Brooklyn, NY, known for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, about a poor Irish-American family struggling to make ends meet during the early 1900s. This was a book that a bunch of us read before our book club was officially formed. Everyone gave it a thumbs-up. No one can forget little Francie Nolan’s spunk and determination.
December 16, 1775
An English author know for her works of romance in the times of strict social customs. Unless you’re living under a rock, you may recognize her titles such as: Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Persuasion, or her first novel, Northanger Abbey. For a woman who wrote about romance and courtship, she herself never saw much action in the love arena. Although one man did propose to her, he was no Mr. Darcy. She took a second glance at this big, stuttering oaf and turned him down. Jane died at the age of 41 after an illness that is now speculated to have been caused by a myriad of possibilities including Addison’s disease, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, bovine tuberculosis, or a recurrent form of typhus.
December 16, 1898
An American author who wrote about growing up in the American West. His autobiographies about life in Colorado was (and still is) a wildly popular series: Little Britches, Man of the Family, The Home Ranch. My son and I enjoyed reading Little Britches together, a charming book that touts the qualities of hard work, determination, and moral standards.
December 26, 1956
American author known for his humorous books of autobiographical stories: Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, and When You Are Engulfed in Flames to name a few. I’ve only read Me Talk Pretty One Day—so far. Loved it!
December 28, 1933
American author known for True Grit, his entertaining book about a fourteen-year-old girl who hunts down her father’s murderer in the late 1800s. This brilliant, quick and easy, fast-paced, action-packed book is one of my favorites. I saw both movies made from the book, the 1969 film starring John Wayne, Glen Campbell and Kim Darby and the 2010 remake starring Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, and Hailee Steinfeld. In my opinion the winner, hands-down, is the 2010 version. Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin were wonderful, but Hailee Steinfeld stole the show. She was true to the character in the book as the fast-talking, smart-as-a-whip teenager. In 2011, she was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actress. She lost to Melissa Leo for her role in The Fighter. While I’m sure Melissa did great, I think Hailee should have won.
December 30, 1865
An English author of novels, short stories and poems, many set in British India where he was born and named after the beautiful Rudyard Lake. Kipling was a fascinating man who traveled all over the world (India, England, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Japan) and the United States (San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Yellowstone, Chicago, New York, and more). He and his wife, Carrie, settled in Vermont for years where two of his three children were born. There he wrote The Jungle Book, Captains Courageous and the poem, Gunga Din. While I have read Captains Courageous eons ago, I think it may be time to revisit him with his novel Kim or the short story The Man Who Would Be King, both of which are sitting on my bookshelf waiting for my attention.
December 31, 1965
An American author known for books of love triumphing against the odds. Sparks seems to have the Midas touch as most of his books not only became bestsellers, they also hit the big screen. You’ll probably recognize titles such as: Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, Nights in Rodanthe, Dear John, and Safe Haven. Those are just some of his books that have been turned into movies. I’ve read a couple of his novels, A Bend in the Road and The Notebook, which even my non-reading daughter enjoyed. But I think his memoir written with his brother, Micah Sparks, Three Weeks With My Brother, was probably my favorite of his books
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