Category: list

Famous Authors and Their Pets

There’s nothing cozier than curling up with a good book and your furry companion. People have always had a special relationship with their pets; they offer us friendship and unconditional love, after all. Both classic and modern authors have had beloved pets that inspired their works and provided them with companionship. Here are a few.

 

1. STEPHEN KING’S CORGI MOLLY, THE THING OF EVIL

Image via Toronto Star

Renowned horror writer Stephen King loves his Pembroke Welsh corgi, Molly, who he refers to as “The Thing of Evil.” On Twitter, he likes to chronicle all the devious things she likes to do, such as enjoying (tearing up) boxes of tissues and raisin bran, relaxing after committing atrocious deeds, and hunting down the Purple Dinosaur of Decency (pictured above).

 

2. CHESTER HIMES’ SIAMESE CAT GRIOT

Image via LitHub

Crime fiction author Chester Himes, the creator of the Harlem Detective series, has had many cats. Griot, a blue point Siamese, was his favorite. Griot, Himes explained, was “named after the magicians in the courts of West African kings.” Himes would take Griot with him everywhere. If he didn’t, he would come home to find Griot had destroyed everything.

3. FLANNERY O’CONNOR’S PEACOCKS

Image via PBS

Author and essayist Flannery O’Connor, known for the thrilling and chilling short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” loved birds, peacocks especially. On her estate in Georgia, she raised over 100 peafowls, who she referred to in essays as “Kings of the Birds.”  She kept ducks, emu, ostriches, and possibly toucans as well.

 

4. LORD BYRON’S actual, literal bear

Image via The Paris Review

If there’s one thing you could always count on Romantic poet Lord Byron, it’s to be flamboyantly petty. Lord Byron attended Trinity College in the early 1800’s and hoped to bring his dog Boatswain with him. When he was told that his beloved dog could not come with him, Lord Byron purchased a tamed bear and tried to bring it to school with him instead. He wrote to his friend Elizabeth Prigot, “I have got a new friend, the finest in the world, a tame bear. When I brought him here, they asked me what to do with him, and my reply was, ‘he should sit for a fellowship.'”

5. GEORGE R.R. MARTIN’S TORTOISES GAMERA AND MORLA

Image via GRRM’s Twitter

Fantasy writer George R.R. Martin has always loved turtles. As a child, they were the only pet he was allowed to keep. They lived in a castle, and Martin would pretend that they were kings and knights, fighting in battles. He cites this as where he got his inspiration for Game of Thrones, and their deaths inspired the more gruesome moments in the series. He currently has two tortoises, Morla and her “younger brother” Gamera.

 

6. KURT VONNEGUT’S DOG PUMPKIN

Image Via NYT

Pumpkin was a little shaggy dog and Sci-fi writer Kurt Vonnegut’s near-constant companion. On his affection for Pumpkin and dogs in general, Vonnegut had this to say, “I cannot distinguish between the love I have for people and the love I have for dogs.”

 

7. Charles Dickens’s Raven Grip

Image via Brain Pickings

Grip was the pet Raven of famed English author Charles Dickens. Grip apparently had a very extensive vocabulary for a bird, and Dickens wrote him into one of his lesser known works, Barnaby Rudge. When Edgar Allen Poe, still only a critic at the time, read it and was inspired by the fictional Grip to write his poem “The Raven.” Grip ate a paintchip in 1841, and passed away a few months later. A brokenhearted Charles Dickens had the bird taxidermied, and Grip now resides in the Philidelphia Free Library.

 

8. The Hemingway cats

Image via The Humane Society of Broward County

No list of author pets would be complete without mentioning Ernest Hemingway’s cats. Hemingway was gifted a little six-toed kitten named Snow White. Soon after, he began to adopt more cats, which led to even more kittens being born, around half of them having the same genetic mutation as Snow White. Now the descendants of these cats roam Hemingway’s house turned museum in Key West, Florida.

 

Take a little time to appreciate your own pet today. You never know, they might just inspire the next great work!

Featured image via Florida weekly

 

11 of the Best ‘The Great Gatsby’ Quotes

If you want a refresher from when you read the novel in high school or need some inspiration to reread this classic, here are some of the best quotes from The Great Gatsby to celebrate the 96th anniversary of its publishing.

Read more

10 Most Challenged Books of 2020

Every year, the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom releases a list of the top ten most banned or challenged books of the year. They take surveys and reports from libraries, schools, and independent media; and even then, they reported that “82-97% of book challenges remain unreported and receive no media.”

That being said, of the 273 books the ALA saw mentioned as being challenged, these are those that were the most recurrent.

 

  1. George by Alex Gino

IMAGE VIA AMAZON

George focuses on a young, born male, child who knows deep down she is a girl. When the class puts on Charlotte’s Web, George goes through challenges to try and audition for the role of Charlotte.

Despite being an overall hopeful story, this book was restricted, challenged, and banned for LBGTQIA+ content, religious standards, and not “reflecting the values of our community.”

 

2. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

IMAGE VIA AMAZON

From Amazon, “The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. This remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America, and inspires hope for an antiracist future. It takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also proves that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited.”

This novel has been banned or challenged because of public statements from both authors, a claim of limited storytelling that does not encompass the full picture, and because it “does not encompass racism against all people.”

 

 

3. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kelly

All American Boys
Image Via BPS EdTech Team

This novel centers on a 16-year old boy who is mistakenly arrested, violently at that, for shoplifting at a bodega where he was just shopping. The story follows the victim, Rashad, as well as the adopted son of the cop, Quinn, as they must grow up quickly and learn to deal with the reality of police brutality.

All American Boys was banned for a myriad of reasons, including: drug use, alcoholism, anti-police views, and because the topic was “too sensitive” for the times.

 

4. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Laurie Halse Anderson's 'Speak'
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

Speak is a novel about a freshman in high school learning to be herself and grow in the face of trauma. It is a story of healing against all odds and learning to use your voice to stand up for yourself.

This classic novel was banned or challenged because it was said to be “anti-men” and for its inclusion of sexual assault.

 

5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

IMAGE VIA AMAZON

This National Book Award winning novel follows Junior, a boy who grows up on an Indian reservation, but transfers to a public school for high school. The school is almost all white, and the only other Indian is the school’s mascot.

This was banned for profanity, sexual references, and alleged misconduct by the author.

 

6. Something Happened in Our Town (A Child’s Story of Racial Injustice) by Marianne Celano

IMAGE VIA AMAZON

This children’s story follows two families, one white and one black, as they try to understand a police shooting in their town.

This important story was banned or challenged because of what was thought to be anti-police views. Are you sensing a common theme here yet?

 

 

 

7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

IMAGE VIA AMAZON

If you’re unfamiliar, To Kill a Mockingbird focuses on the Finch family: children Scout and Jem and their father, acclaimed lawyer, Atticus. Set in the Great Depression, the children are forced into a situation of watching racism unfold in the justice system as Atticus defends a black man for a crime it is clear he did not commit.

Though this book has been a staple in high school literature classes, it was still challenged for its racial slurs, the image of the “white savior,” and for a negative portrayal of the black experience.

 

8. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Of Mice and Men book cover
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

Another classic, this novel follows two brothers, one neurodivergent, as they pursue their dreams of opening their own farm and ranch.

This book is yet another banned for racial slurs.

 

9. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

the Bluest Eye
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

The first novel by the beloved (pun-intended) author Toni Morrison, this story follows Pecola, a young girl who wishes for blue eyes so that the world will see her differently.

Contrary to the other books in this list about racial issues, this book was actually banned for sexual abuse and misconduct.

 

10. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

the hate u give book cover
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

This modern classic follows Starr, a young African American teen caught between two worlds: that of her home in the hood, and that of her primarily white private school. When one of Starr’s friends is killed in an incident of police brutality, Starr must face this divide head on and decide where her loyalties lie.

This book was, again, banned for anti-police messaging amongst profanity as well. Thomas described the ban as a “badge of honor.”

 

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Did these bans serve purpose, or are they merely trying to stifle the harsher truths of a modern country riddled with injustice?

How do you feel about banning books? Let us know!

 

Feature Article with Images from Amazon