Tag: anniversary

Gatsby Was First Published in 1925. So What Else Was Going on?

On April 10th, 1925, Scribner published a short novel by popular author F. Scott Fitzgerald which didn’t sell many copies or receive positive reviews. Today, The Great Gatsby is one of the most widely taught works of fiction in the United States.  Safe to say, the publishing climate in the 1920s was about as unpredictable as international conflict at the time — so what other bookish things were happening in 1925?

 

1. the Argosy Book store opened

 

 

New York City’s oldest independent bookstore, Argosy Book Store, opened for the first time in 1925, although it later moved from 114 East 59th Street to 116 East 59th Street. This famous bookstore still sells rare, used, and new books to customers in its elegant townhouse setting — until 6 p.m. most evenings, anyway.

 

2. American ya author robert cormier was born

 

 

Although he didn’t write his first novel until he was thirty-five , I Am the Cheese and The Chocolate War author Robert Cormier was born on January 17th, 1925, in Massachusetts. His books, later adapted into award-winning films, continues to receive flack today for its violent depictions of mental illness and abuse.

 

3. the new yorker published its first issue

 

The New Yorker magazine, a cultural vanguard for New York City and modern culture, published its first issue on February 21st, 1925 — and has hardly stopped releasing world-famous covers, cartoons, and commentary since then.

 

4. Flannery O’connor died

 

 

On March 25th, approximately a month before the publication of a book that would change the world, literature lost a legend when short-story writer and proponent of the Southern Gothic literary style Flannery O’Connor died from lupus at the age of thirty-nine.

5. T.s. eliot published the hollow men

 

 

20th Century poet T.S. Eliot officially published his haunting tribute to post-war Europe, “The Hollow Men,” on November 23rd, 1925, though there are many borrowed lines from some of Eliot’s previous works.

 

Featured Image Via Argosy Book Store.

 

‘Where the Wild Things Are’ Was First Published Today!

There are few books beloved as much as children’s picture book Where the Wild Things ArePublished originally in 1963, the book was written and drawn by American writer Maurice Sendak. Almost immediately upon its release, it found critical acclaim among the literary community, winning the Caldecott Medal in 1964 and selling 10 million copies in the United States, with those sales reaching 19 million worldwide internationally. It was voted the number one picture book in a 2012 survey. Its also been adapted numerous times, first as an animated short film in 1974, 1983 opera, and then as a big picture screen adaptation in 2009, directed by Spike Jonze, starring Max Records, Catherine Keener, and Mark Ruffalo.

 

A small boy sits next to a large monster in the film adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are

Image Via Mentalfloss

 

The story is a simple one, focusing on a young child called Max who puts on a wolf costume and terrorizes his mother. Sent to bed without supper, he imagines himself visiting an island full of monsters where the titular Wild Things make him their king. But Max grows lonely among them and returns home, finding his dinner waiting for him.

 

Celebrate the anniversary of the book’s publication by cracking it open and having another read through. Chances are you already own a copy. Its one of the most famous children’s books in the world for a good reason, after all. Happy birthday, Wild Things!

 

Featured Image Via Amazon

Today is the Twentieth Anniversary of YA Classic ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’

On this day in 1999, Stephen Chbosky‘s groundbreaking The Perks of Being a Wallflower hit bookstores across the United States. A decade before the rise of YA, this novel was among the first YA publications to tackle issues of death, sexuality, drug use, and mental illness. Though many schools have banned the novel for its candid and earnest depiction of adolescence, audiences have spent two decades loving it for the same reason. Even twenty years after its publication, The Perks of Being a Wallflower remains a relevant and progressive depiction of growing up and the intense desire for understanding and connection those teenage years can bring.

 

'Perks of Being A Wallflower' film actors

Image Via Study Breaks Magazine

 

Even in a decade of increasing LGBT+ representation, many YA novels, films, and shows still struggle to include a queer character whose sexuality is not central to the narrative—essentially, a character whose sexuality doesn’t condemn them to plot hell as their partners leave and their parents punish. In 2018 (NINE years after Perks), Love, Simon became the first teen romantic comedy film to feature a gay protagonist and then make him happy. While queer stories aren’t entirely absent from the mainstream, they have one major thing in common: creators love to wring gay tears. (The Perks of Being a Wallflower may turn on the waterworks, but this isn’t the reason why.)

 

'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' Ezra Miller's character acts in Rocky Horror

Characters participate in The Rocky Horror Picture Show* in Perks’ film adaptation
*The Rocky Horror Picture Show is gay culture

Image Via Pinterest

 

Today (when we ought to be more aware than ever before), many feel that YA novels struggle to responsibly depict mental illness. In 2017, Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why ignited a controversy around its possible glorification of suicide. The novel tells the story of mentally ill teen Hannah, who, before her tragic suicide, records thirteen tapes meant for thirteen separate people—each of whom, she claims, is a direct cause of her untimely death. Critics lambasted Asher (who now stands accused of sexual assault) for framing the story in a manner suggesting that suicide is the only thing that can give Hannah a voice. Critics also feel that the show (and by extension, the book) fixates on the dramatic act of suicide rather than the constant reality of mental illnesses—a reality which is as much dramatic acting out as it is acting like nothing at all.

 

"And in this moment I swear we are infinite"

Image Via Pinterest

 

In contrast, The Perks of Being a Wallflower presents a raw depiction of mental illness from a more clinical—and simultaneously more hopeful—perspective. Charlie’s derealization episodes and flashbacks make sense from both a narrative and psychological standpoint, and his PTSD is a feature of the story rather than its emotional core.

Though the epilogue contains references to sexual abuse, this isn’t how the book (or Charlie’s story) ends. Instead, the book’s most iconic line comes after readers come to understand all that Charlie has been through. He’s not alone but with his friends, a mentally ill person who reads as more person than illness. The novel concludes hopefully: “and in that moment, I swear we were infinite.”

 

Featured Image Via Study Break Magazine
"A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens"

A Christmas Carol Turns 175 Years Old

 

 

On December 19th, 1843, a Novella, A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas or more commonly known as A Christmas Carol was published. Written by Charles Dickens and illustrated by John Leech, the famous yuletide tale this year marks its 175th anniversary.

 

This classic Christmas tale recounts the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a rich and successful but miserly old man. On the Christmas Eve, his clerk, Bob Cratchit, shivers because Scrooge refuses to spend money on coals for a fire. Scrooge’s nephew pays him a visit and invites him to an annual Christmas party he and his family are hosting, and Scrooge bitterly declines. Two gentleman drop in later that day to ask Scrooge for a contribution to their charity. Scrooge angrily refuses their request and denounces any and all Christmas cheer. Later that night as he is sitting by a warm and cozy fire in his house, he is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and three other spirits: The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. All through the night, these spirits haunt Ebenezer Scrooge, and show him the error of his ways. After that night, Scooge is transformed into a kinder, gentler man.

 

ghost of Christmas past

Image via Independent.uk.co 

 

In the middle of the 19th century, Dickens was witnessed the abject poverty of working class children in England, and was  outraged by the amount of children working in appalling conditions in factories, workhouses and as chimney sweeps. The suffering he witnessed was then reinforced when he visited the Field Lane Ragged School, one of several of London’s industrial schools/orphanages where the children were half-starved and uneducated.

 

In a fundraising speech on October 5th, 1843, Dickens urged workers and employers to join him in fighting against the child labor. He then realized in the days after that an effective way to reach a wide audience and spread his message about poverty and injustice was to write a deep and meaningful Christmas narrative rather than writing pamphlets and essays.

 

The Novel was a best-seller in both England and the United States, but because there were no international copyright laws in those times yet, Dickens didn’t make any money when he sold the American editions. In 1867, Dickens arrived at New York and on December 9, 1867 he was able to read A Christmas Carol at a public reading – which in fact was sold out.

 

jim carrey

Image via movieposters2.com

 

Ever since, this classic Christmas tale has been adapted into different versions of entertainment from films to plays to a children’s movie. The first film adaptation was in 1901. Jim Carey voiced the scrooge in the 2009 animated version of A Christmas Carol and is played on kids channels every year around Christmas time. There were rumors that parents used the ghosts of Christmas past as a way to scare their kids into behaving all year.

 

 

a christmas carol play

Image via whitelight.ltd.uk

 

The novella was adapted to the stage almost immediately after publication and had been adapted to other forms of media, including opera, ballet, a Broadway musical, and a BBC mime production. Almost every year, Broadway casts the play in December and it usually sells out pretty quickly along with the Trans Siberian Orchestra.

 

Featured Image Via Pulsd

helen keller

21 Helen Keller Quotes to Get You Through the Day

Children are taught the story of a young girl who learned to communicate with the world despite being both deaf and blind, but they hear little of the woman that she became. The fact that Helen Keller managed to find her voice is, arguably, far less remarkable than what she chose to do with it. Yesterday was her 138th birthday, so let her remind you of everything that she was.

 


An Optimist

 

“I want to say to those who are trying to learn to speak and those who are teaching them: Be of good cheer. Do not think of to-day’s failures, but of the success that may come to-morrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere, and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles — a delight in climbing rugged paths, which you would perhaps never know if you did not sometime slip backward — if the road was always smooth and pleasant. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost. Sometime, somewhere, somehow we shall find that which we seek. We shall speak, yes, and sing, too, as God intended we should speak and sing.”

 

 

“Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world. So long as you can sweeten another’s pain, life is not in vain.”

 

 

“I demand that the world be good, and lo, it obeys. I proclaim the world good, and facts range themselves to prove my proclamation overwhelmingly true.”

 

 


A Socialist

 

“If the capitalist class had the sense it is reputed to have, it would know that violence is the worst weapon that can be used against men who have nothing to lose and the world to gain.”

 

“Our democracy is but a name. We vote? What does that mean? It means that we choose between two bodies of real, though not avowed, autocrats. We choose between Tweedledum and Tweedledee.… You ask for votes for women. What good can votes do when ten-elevenths of the land of Great Britain belongs to 200,000 and only one-eleventh to the rest of the 40,000,000? Have your men with their millions of votes freed themselves from this injustice?”

 

“Capitalism will inevitably find itself face to face with a starving multitude of unemployed workers demanding food or destruction of the social order that has starved them and robbed them of their jobs.”

 


An Author

 

“I don’t want to live in a hand-me-down world of others’ experiences. I want to write about me, my discoveries, my fears, my feelings, about me.”

 

 

“If I write what my soul thinks it will be visible, and the words will be its body.”

 

 

“Trying to write is very much like trying to put a Chinese puzzle together. We have a pattern in mind which we wish to work out in words; but the words will not fit the spaces, or, if they do, they will not match the design.”

 


A Philosopher

 

 

“A happy life consists not in the absence, but in the mastery of hardships.”

 

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” 

 

“A bend in the road is not the end of the road…Unless you fail to make the turn.” 

 


 

An Activist

 

“Strike against war, for without you no battles can be fought. Strike against manufacturing shrapnel and gas bombs and all other tools of murder. Strike against preparedness that means death and misery to millions of human beings. Be not dumb, obedient slaves in an army of destruction. Be heroes in an army of construction.”

 

“The highest result of education is tolerance. Long ago men fought and died for their faith; but it took ages to teach them the other kind of courage, — the courage to recognize the faiths of their brethren and their rights of conscience. Tolerance is the first principle of community; it is the spirit which conserves the best that all men think.”

 

“Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all — the apathy of human beings.” 

 


A Scholar

 

“True teaching cannot be learned from text-books any more than a surgeon can acquire his skill by reading about surgery.”

 

“Literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourses of my book friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness.”

 

“Have you ever been at sea in a dense fog, when it seemed as if a tangible white darkness shut you in, and the great ship, tense and anxious, groped her way toward the shore with plummet and sounding-line, and you waited with beating heart for something to happen?
I was like that ship before my education began, only I was without compass or sounding-line, and had no way of knowing how near the harbor was.”

 


A Philanthropist

 

“Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world. So long as you can sweeten another’s pain, life is not in vain.”

 

“No one has a right to consume happiness without producing it.”

 

“I regard philanthropy as a tragic apology for wrong conditions under which human beings live.”

 

 

Feature Image Via Flickr