April 13 Writer Birthdays

953 – Al-Karaji, Persian mathematician and engineer who pioneered the theory of algebraic calculus and wrote groundbreaking works on mathematics. 1743 – Thomas Jefferson, third U.S. President and author of some of the most influential documents in American history, including the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom; he was also aContinue reading “April 13 Writer Birthdays”

Postcards From the World: Cool Stamps

Today’s featured Postcrossing postcard is one I received a few days ago from a college student in Hefei, China, about 300 miles west of Shanghai. The picture on the card (right) is cute enough, but what really blows me away is the magnificent stamps, above. The sender tells me the stamps describe “how ancient peopleContinue reading “Postcards From the World: Cool Stamps”

March 19 Writer Birthdays

1084 – Li Qingzhao, Chinese writer, poet, essayist, artist, and lyricist; she is considered one of the greatest poets in Chinese history. 1721 – Tobias Smollett, Scottish poet and author best known for his picaresque novels and for his work’s influence on Charles Dickens. 1821 – Sir Richard Francis Burton, British explorer, translator, and travelContinue reading “March 19 Writer Birthdays”

March 6 Writer Birthdays

1483 – Francesco Guicciardini, Italian writer, historian, politician, diplomat, and philosopher. 1486 – Francysk Skaryna (or Francisk Skorina), Belarusian humanist, physician, and translator who was one of the first book printers in Eastern Europe, laying the groundwork for the development of the Belarusian language. 1619 – Cyrano de Bergerac, Pen name of Hercule-Savinein de Cyrano deContinue reading “March 6 Writer Birthdays”

March 4 Writer Birthdays

1493 – Anna Bijns, Flemish writer, poet, teacher, and school administrator; she was the first author in Dutch-language literature who owed her success in part to the recently invented printing press. 1743 – Johann David Wyss, Swiss folklorist and author who is best remembered for the book Swiss Family Robinson. 1819 – Narcyza Zmichowska (alsoContinue reading “March 4 Writer Birthdays”

Pepino Returns

After dealing with several mice in the house, we were finally convinced that we had succeeded in getting rid of them. We hadn’t seen or heard a mouse in weeks. And then, on Saturday night, I walked into the kitchen to see Pepino scurrying across the floor to disappear under the refrigerator. Damn. Bob saidContinue reading “Pepino Returns”

February 3 Writer Birthdays

1612 – Samuel Butler, English poet, satirist, translator, and artist; he is best known for the satirical novel Erewhon and the semi-autobiographical Bildungsroman The Way of All Flesh, published posthumously in 1903, both of which are still in print, but he also examined subjects including Christian philosophy and Italian art, and made prose translations ofContinue reading “February 3 Writer Birthdays”

The Curious Incident of the Bug in the Night-Time

About 2 am, my son’s voice interrupted my drift into sleep. “Mom,” he called from the sofabed outside our room in our weekend rental apartment, “There’s a wasp in here.” Thus began the Curious Incident of the Bug in the Night-Time. A wasp seemed unlikely on a subfreezing night in late January, but we wokeContinue reading “The Curious Incident of the Bug in the Night-Time”

January 31 Writer Birthdays

1624 – Arnold Geulincx, controversial Belgian author and philosopher who tried to work out more detailed versions of a generally Cartesian philosophy. 1735 – J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur (born Michel Guillaume Jean de Crevecoeur), French-American essayist famous for his book Letters from an American Farmer, which drew on his experience farming in OrangeContinue reading “January 31 Writer Birthdays”

January 2 Writer Birthdays

1814 – Luise Mühlbach, pen name of Clara Mundt, German writer best known for her popular works of historical fiction. 1828 – Elizabeth Rundle Charles, prolific English writer of poems, stories, biography, and religious books, and translator of hymns. 1873 – Saint Thérèse of Lisieux – French Roman Catholic nun best known for her TheContinue reading “January 2 Writer Birthdays”