Postcards From the World, Part 3

Here is probably the best Postcrossing postcard I’ve received in the past week, an illustration by Nata Blansh called “Hogwarts Is My Home.” The card came to me from Anya, an English teacher in Moscow. She says that she’s a huge fan of the Harry Potter books, and that Severus Snape is her favorite character. (But her favorite authors are American.)

Doesn’t this image make you wish you were at Hogwarts? (But seriously, doesn’t pretty much everything?)

This came from Russia in an envelope marked, “Delivered by Owl Post” and included a Harry Potter bookmark.

For more information on Postcrossing, see my earlier posts on the subject:

January 13 Writer Birthdays

1832 – Horatio Alger Jr., American author known for his “rags-to-riches” children’s books about impoverished boys who improve their situations through courage, honesty, and hard work.

1901 – A.B. Guthrie Jr., Pulitzer Prize-winning American writer best known for his novel The Way West.

1926 – Michael Bond, English author most famous for his children’s books about Paddington Bear.

1926 – Amanda Cross, pen name of bestselling American mystery writer and professor Carolyn Gold Heilbrun, who also wrote academic works on feminism under her own name.

1931 – Flora Nwapa, Nigerian novelist, poet, publisher, and activist.

1933 – Shahnon Ahmad, Malaysian novelist and satirist.

1951 – Frank Peretti, American author of Christian fiction, often involving the supernatural.

1955 – Jay McInerney, American novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter, editor, and wine columnist.

1957 – Lorrie Moore, award-winning American author known for her humorous and poignant novels and short stories.

January 12 Writer Birthdays

1628 – Charles Perrault, French author and member of the Académie française who collected pre-existing folk tales to lay the foundations for a new literary genre, the fairy tale.

1874 – Laura Adams Armer, Newbery Medal-winning American artist, author, and photographer.

1876 – Jack London, American journalist, activist, and author of adventure fiction, best known for his Alaskan gold-rush novels The Call of the Wild and White Fang.

1945 – Nancy Pearl, American author and Seattle-based librarian who was the model for the Librarian Action Figure.

1948 – William Nicholson, Oscar-nominated British screenwriter, playwright, and author of fiction and science fiction.

1949 – Haruki Murakami, bestselling Japanese writer of fiction and nonfiction, and translator of English works into Japanese.

1952 – Walter Mosley, American writer of crime fiction, known for the “Easy Rawlins” series set in Los Angeles.

1954 – Sharon Lechter, American accountant, author, businesswoman, investor, motivational speaker, philanthropist, and appointee to the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy.

1957 – Celia S. Friedman, American speculative fiction author and former costume designer.

1969 – David Mitchell, English novelist, recently well known for his 2004 novel Cloud Atlas.

1972 – Lê Thị Diễm Thúy, Vietnamese poet, novelist, and performer.

1973 – A. Lee Martinez, American fantasy and science-fiction author.

January 11 Writer Birthdays

1870 – Alice Hegan Rice, also known as Alice Caldwell Hegan, bestselling American novelist.

1887 – Aldo Leopold, American author, ecologist, philosopher, and environmentalist, best known for his bestselling book A Sand County Almanac.

1897 – Bernard DeVoto, Pulitzer Prize-winning American historian and author who specialized in the American West.

1903 – Alan Paton, South African author and anti-apartheid activist.

1905 – Manfred Bennington Lee, American mystery writer who — along with his cousin Frederic Dannay — created the character Ellery Queen, a mystery writer who helped the police solve crimes; Ellery Queen was also the pseudonym that the cousins (and, later, other writers) wrote the books under.

1917 – Marie Illarionovna Vassiltchikov, Russian princess who wrote Berlin Diaries, 1940-1945, which describe the bombing of Berlin and events leading to the attempted assassination of Adolf Hitler.

1919 – Robert C. O’Brien, Newbery Medal-winning American author and journalist who was best known for Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.

1931 – Mary Rodgers, American author of children’s books, notably Freaky Friday; she was the daughter of the composer Richard Rodgers and also wrote musicals.

1943 – Jill Churchill, Agatha Award-winning American mystery author.

1946 – Janet Campbell Hale, Native-American writer whose work explores Native American identity, poverty, and abuse, as well as the condition of women in society.

1952 – Diana Gabaldon, bestselling American author whose Outlander series contains elements of romance, historical fiction, mystery, adventure and fantasy.

1954 – Tahar Djaout, Algerian journalist, poet, and fiction writer who was assassinated in 1993 because of his support of secularism and opposition to what he considered fanaticism.

1961 – Jasper Fforde, British novelist known for his Thursday Next mystery series, who also writes alternate history and comic fantasy.

Photo Friday: Lit-Up Little Free Library

I know the Christmas season is technically over, but my son likes to leave the decorations up until his mid-January birthday, so we’re still celebrating here. And I realize I haven’t used my blog to show off my newly illuminated Little Free Library!

Are you familiar with Little Free Libraries? There are more than 90,000 of these little book boxes registered with the Little Free Library nonprofit, and more than 100 of them are right here in Alexandria, Virginia. Passersby are encouraged to stop at the Little Free Library and either donate a book or two, or take some. Or both. I’m happy to have my LFL’s patrons read a book and then keep it, give it to a friend, donate it to charity, or return it to mine or any other Little Free Library.

Just in time for the 2019 holiday season, we had an electrician bring a line out from the house so we could plug in and light up the Little Free Library. The lights might not remain all year around, but in any season, the library is always filled with plenty of books! My Little Free Library, #9136, was chartered more than six years ago at my old house, about four blocks away from here. We reinstalled it at our new house when we moved here in 2019.

January 10 Writer Birthdays

1860 – Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts, Canadian poet and prose writer who is known as the Father of Canadian Poetry and also published works on Canadian exploration and natural history; one of the first Canadian authors to be recognized worldwide, he was also a tireless promoter of Canadian literature.

1883 – Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy (nicknamed the Comrade Count), Russian (and Soviet) writer who wrote in many genres but specialized in science fiction and historical novels and who also investigated atrocities committed by Nazi soldiers during the German occupation of the Stavropol region; he was related on his father’s side to the better known writer Leo Tolstoy, and on his mother’s side to writer Ivan Turgenev.

1887 – Robinson Jeffers, American poet known for his work about the California coast; he is considered an icon of the environmental movement.

1892 – Dumas Malone, Pulitzer Prize-winning American historian, best known for his six-volume biography of Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson and His Time.

1915 – Cynthia Freeman, pseudonym of American author Bea Feinberg, who wrote multigenerational sagas about Jewish families.

1928 – Philip Levine, Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet whose work centers on the Detroit area.

1936 – Stephen Ambrose, American historian, biographer, and professor whose most popular work was the bestselling Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West.

1937 – Daniel Walker Howe, Pulitzer Prize-winning American historian.

1947 – George Alec Effinger, Nebula and Hugo Award-winning American author of science fiction novels, short stories, and comics.

1950 – Suchitra Bhattacharya, Indian novelist whose work explored contemporary social issues and the changing urban milieu of the Bengali middle class.

1955 – James Alan Gardner, award-winning Canadian science-fiction author of novels and short stories who is also a technical writer and an educator.

1955 – Yasmina Khadra (Green Jasmine) pen name for successful Algerian novelist Mohammed Moulessehoul; an officer in the Algerian army, he adopted a woman’s pseudonym to avoid military censorship.

1959 – Fran Walsh, New Zealand screenwriter best known for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and The Lovely Bones.

1961 – Steve Hamilton, American writer of detective fiction, notably the Alex McKnight series.

January 9 Writer Birthdays

1728 – Thomas Warton, critic and poet who became British Poet Laureate.

1790 – Per Daniel Amadeus Atterbom, Swedish romantic poet.

1811 – Gilbert Abbott à Beckett, English writer and humorist whose family claimed descent from Thomas Becket.

1829 – Thomas William Robertson, English playwright.

1832 – Félix-Gabriel Marchand, journalist, author, and politician who was Premier of Quebec.

1856 – Anton Aškerc, ethnic Slovene poet and Roman Catholic priest who worked in Austria, best known for his epic poems.

1856 – Lizette Woodworth Reese, American writer, poet, and teacher.

1857 – Henry B Fuller, American novelist and short-story writer.

1859 – Carrie Chapman Catt, American writer and activist who was a leader in the women’s suffrage movement and founder of the League of Women Voters.

1859 – Frederik Pijper, Dutch vicar, editor, critic, and church historian.

1873 – Hayyim Nahman Bialik, influential Estonian-born Jewish poet who was one of the pioneers of modern Hebrew poetry; Israel’s national poet.

1876 – Hans Bethge, German poet and editor who also wrote diaries, travelogues, short stories, essays, and plays; he is best known for poetic translations of Chinese classics.

1881 – Giovanni Papini, Italian journalist, essayist, literary critic, poet, and novelist.

1881 – Lascelles Abercrombie, English poet and literary critic

1890 – Karel Capek, Czech writer, playwright, dramatist, essayist, publisher, literary reviewer, photographer, and art critic, best known for his science fiction; he is credited with coining the word “robot.”

1890 – Kurt Tucholsky, German journalist and writer.

1891 – August Gailit, Estonian writer of poetry and novels; he co-founded a literary group whose erotic poems were considered scandalous; his novels sometimes dealt with political and social issues.

1897 – Karl Löwith, German philosopher.

1908 – Simone de Beauvoir (Simone Lucie Ernestine Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir), influential French feminist author, essayist, existentialist philosopher, political activist, and social theorist.

1920 – Hakim Mohammed Said, Pakistani scholar, medical researcher, author, and governor of Sindh Province.

1921 – Lister Sinclair, Canadian broadcaster and playwright

1925 – Abdelhamid Benhadugah, Arab writer who wrote more than fifteen novels in Arabic as well as short stories and plays; he has been described as one of the most important Algerian writers in Arabic of his time.

1928 – Judith Krantz, bestselling American author of romance novels.

1929 – Heiner Müller, German dramatist, poet, writer, essayist, and theatre director.

1929 – Brian Friel, Irish dramatist often called the “Irish Chekhov.”

1931 – Algirdas Jonas Budrys, Prussian author of science fiction.

1933 – Sonia Garmers, Antillean author of novels, stories, children’s books, and cookbooks.

1933 – Wilbur Smith, Zambian-born novelist specializing in historical fiction about Southern Africa, seen from the viewpoints of both black and white families

1936 – Anne Rivers Siddons, American writer of bestselling fiction, mostly set in the southern United States.

1937 – Klaus Schlesinger, German novelist and journalist.

1943 – Robert Drewe, Australian novelist, short-story writer, and nonfiction writer.

1954 – Thorvald Steen, Norwegian novelist, playwright, poet, children’s author, short story writer, and essayist.

January 8 Writer Birthdays

1589 – Ivan (Dživo) Franov Gundulić (nickname Mačica), the most celebrated Croatian Baroque poet from the Republic of Ragusa (now southern Croatia).

1601 – Baltasar Gracián y Morales, Spanish Jesuit and baroque prose writer whose proto-existentialist writings were lauded by Nietzsche and Schopenhauer.

1824 – Wilkie Collins, Victorian-era English novelist and lifelong friend of Charles Dickens.

1881 – Linnie Marsh Wolfe, American librarian who won the Pulitzer Prize for her biography of John Muir.

1897 – Dennis Wheatley, English author of thrillers and occult fiction, whose Gregory Sallust series was an inspiration for Ian Fleming’s James Bond.

1909 – Ashapoorna Devi (also known as Ashapurna Debi or Asha Purna Devi), prominent Bengali novelist and poet.

1917 – Peter Taylor, Pulitzer Prize-winning American author of literary fiction set in the southern United States.

1934 – Alexandra Ripley, American writer best known as the author of Scarlett, a sequel to Gone With The Wind.

1941 – Boris Vallejo, Peruvian-American painter known for his fantasy cover artwork.

1942 – Stephen Hawking, British theoretical physicist, cosmologist, professor, and author whose popular works included the bestseller A Brief History of Time.

1944 – Terry Brooks, bestselling American writer of epic fantasy and film novelizations.

1945 – Nancy Bond, Newbery Honor-winning American children’s author.

1951 – Karen Tei Yamashita, Japanese-American writer and professor who has won the American Book Award.

Postcards From the World, Part 2

Here are my favorites of the Postcrossing postcards I’ve received in the past few days. (Never heard of Postcrossing? It’s an international postcard exchange site; for details, see my earliest Postcrossing post at this link and also a more recent Postcrossing post at this link.)

First, I received the first card below on January 4. This one came from Las Vegas, Nevada (Postcrossing members can specify that they’d like to receive cards from their own country as well as from more exotic locales) and commemorates the 150th anniversary of the invention of the postcard. The back says, “Postcard 150th Anniversary. Created as a simple way to send a quick message, the humble postcard was introduced in 1869 and continues to fill mailboxes around the world telling of adventures lived and places visited.”

This postcard arrived from Sylvia in Las Vegas, Nevada, with Postcrossing ID#US6440870. Silvia says she actually spends quite a bit of time here in Alexandria!

The second card arrived the following day, January 5, from Vilnius, Lithuania, and came with a puffy dinosaur sticker on the back. The illustrator is children’s book artist Sigute Ach, also Lithuanian. I love the delicate colors and patterns and the whimsical creatures.

This postcard, #LT701058, came from 20-year-old Lukrecija, an animal lover and university student majoring in microbiology in Lithuania.

January 7 Writer Birthdays

1873 – Charles Péguy, important French poet, essayist, and editor.

1891 – Zora Neale Hurston, American author, anthropologist, and filmmaker of the Harlem Renaissance, best known for her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.

1914 – Dorothy Lavinia Brown (also known as “Dr. D.”), African-American surgeon, legislator, and educator who wrote essays, an autobiography, and inspirational guides; she was the first female surgeon of African-American ancestry in the Southeastern United States and the first African-American woman to serve in the Tennessee General Assembly, where she fought for women’s rights, reproductive choice, and the rights of people of color.

1916 – Paul Keres, Estonian chess grandmaster, and renowned chess writer.

1928 – William Peter Blatty, American writer most well known for the novel (and screenplay) The Exorcist.

1936 – Edward Hunter Davies, British author, journalist, biographer, and broadcaster who wrote the only authorized biography of the Beatles.

1946 – Michael Roizen, American anesthesiologist and internist, known for his Real Age books and the YOU series.

1948 – Shobhaa Dé, Indian novelist and columnist who depicts socialites and sex in her books; she has been called the “Jackie Collins of India.”

1951 – Minfong Ho, award-winning Burmese-born Chinese-American writer of novels for adults, teens, and children, and picture books; her fiction deals with the lives of people living in poverty in Southeast Asian, always set against the backdrop of real events, such as the 1970s student movement in Thailand and the collapse of the Khmer Rouge regime.

1957 – Nicholson Baker, American author of fiction, nonfiction, essays, and erotica; he has also written about and edited Wikipedia.

1977 – Sofi Oksanen, award-winning bestselling Finnish contemporary novelist and playwright.