Tag: author

Celebrate Shel Silverstein’s Birthday!

Shel Silverstein is possibly one of the most famous children’s authors in literature, famed thanks to being the author of the world renowned The Giving Tree and Where the Sidewalk Ends.

 

 

A musician and poet in addition to being a children’s author, Silverstein established himself as a composer in Chicago where he was born. He wrote some notable songs you may have heard of, including A Boy Named Sue (which was popularized by Johnny Cash) and One’s on the Way for Loretta Lynn. Silverstein began his career by enlisting in the army in 1950 and served in both Korea and Japan. He became a cartoonist for the Stars & Stripes, learning to draw for the magazine.

 

Image via Encyclopedia Britannica

 

Afterwards, he continued his work as an illustrator and found acclaim when he began drawing for Playboy magazine. He doodled short cartoons for the magazine, his work appearing in every issue from 1957 to the mid 70s, where he found great popularity with the readership. While working for Playboy, he began exploring other areas of his imagination, writing songs, poems, along with self-publishing his own original cartoons. He also recorded his first album during this period, in 1959, which was entitled Hairy Jazz.

 

Image via Wikipedia

 

In 1963, Shel Silverstein was approached by Ursula Nordstrom, who convinced him to try and write material for children. He did so on short notice, producing The Lion Who Shot Back, A Giraffe and a Halfand The Giving Tree in rapid succession. The third title became Silverstein’s most popular work, as its themes were ambiguous in intent and left an open question of what it meant, which made publishers initially balk. Although criticized by some for a bleak or hash worldview, The Giving Tree was nonetheless translated into 30 languages and has been a mainstay of the best children’s books of all time.

 

Image via Wikipedia

 

Shel Silverstein went onto write two more children’s books in the 1970s, Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the AtticHe passed in 1999, right at the turn of the millennium. His legacy will live on for producing some of the most thoughtful children’s books of all time and showcasing that children’s literature can be truly thought provoking while also being fun to read.

Go on and introduce your own kids to his work to celebrate his birthday!

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Scholastic

6 Reasons You Should Read Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows Duology

After finishing Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology, it bumped The Lunar Chronicles right out of the top-spot as my favorite book series (sorry Marissa Meyer, but you’re always in my heart). This high-fantasy heist series is a striking read. I can’t get enough of the characters, the narrative, the world. Despite having read it a few years ago, to this day it’s left me with the biggest book-hangover of my life. Here are the top six reasons why you need to read this duology too.

 

 

6. You don’t have to read her first series to understand it

Grisha Trilogy

Image via Goodreads

 

While technically a sequel series to Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy, you definitely don’t have to be well-versed in the world to dive right into these books. I personally didn’t read any of the original series and was still able to fall head-first into everything Six of Crows had to offer. It’s completely different than the first series with all new characters. And while I’m told there are a few minor cameos by characters from the Grisha Trilogy, this duology works brilliantly as a standalone.

 

5. It doesn’t play into YA fiction tropes

YA love triangle

Image via WordPress

 

Spoiler alert: there are no lost princesses in this duology! No love triangles, no “I’m not like other girls” girls, and absolutely no Chosen Ones. Even though this is a fantasy novel (and a high fantasy one at that), it strays greatly from the YA conventions of the fantasy genre. With those elements gone, it makes way for a truly unpredictable narrative. With the absence of these stylistic tropes, this series makes way for different aspects of YA to be explored. Not to mention without the comforting predictability of the high fantasy story structure, you’re constantly on your toes while you’re reading.

 

 

4. It delves into real-world issues

 

World Vs. Money

Image via Investopedia

 

Ketterdam is where the duology is primarily set and it’s a nation that is so dedicated to capitalism that it’s a religion to them. Bardugo uses these books to explore the dangers of a country that values money above all else. As a consequence of this world, we see characters as members of gangs, having to be prostitutes, and being plagued by illness and addiction. Bardugo paints a grimy world—one that requires her teenage-aged protagonists to grow up faster than most and she writes the psyche of each character so incredibly well.

 

3. The writing is extraordinary

 

Image result for six of crows quotes

Image via WordPress

 

Bardugo’s one of those authors whose writing just hits you. She balances the serious with the loving and the heartbreaking. And despite how grim the subject matter might seem, the duology still manages to be uplifting, relatable and hilarious. Not to mention quotable as hell. Careful, though. You might end up with a Six of Crows quote as your Twitter bio.

 

 

2. The diversity is on point

 

Image result for six of crows characters

Image via We Heart It

 

Much needed discussions in the YA community about diversity are finally being had. And as a tough critic on the lack of book characters of color and how they’re treated when they are there, I can actually give these series a stamp of approval. Not only are the characters racially diverse, but Bardugo is also inclusive in other ways. There’s a character that is plus sized, characters with both physical and mental disabilities, and LGBT+ representation. And when I say LGBT+ representation, I don’t just mean That One Gay Character in the main friend group and his under-developed boyfriend. I’m talking MULTIPLE queer characters of varying identities that are fleshed out. Not only is this diversity baked into the narrative, but it’s also not tokenized or stereotyped. Bardugo strikes a nice balance between writing her diversity so obscurely that nobody knows they are until she retroactively tells us in interviews (looking at you J.K. Rowling) and making that diversity the sole trait of those characters. She’s able to write diverse characters as people and that’s what we want when we ask for representation.

 

1. It’s going to be a TV series

 

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Image via Vox

 

This is your chance to be the “I saw it first” friend. As of January of this year, Netflix has ordered an eight episode series of Shadow & Bone and Six of Crows. While there’s no details on how yet, the show will be combining both of Bardugo’s book series to make the show. Get a jump on the narrative by reading the Six of Crows duology. Not only will you be ahead of the curve for what is sure to be a highly talked about adaptation, but it’ll also be fun watching the world and character you know come to life onscreen.

 

Featured image via Affinity Magazine

Happy Birthday Leo Tolstoy, Author of ‘War And Peace’!

Happy birthday to one of the most acclaimed classic writers of the world: Leo Tolstoy. The Russian writer wrote numerous novels that have become literary mainstays, such as Anna Karenina, The Death of Ivan Ilyichand War And PeaceSurely you’ve heard of at least one of them, although you may not have actually read them.

 

 

Tolstoy was born in Tula Province, Russia in 1828. In the 1860s, he wrote his most famous novel, which we’ve already mentioned: War And Peace. Initially published serially, later collected into a single volume, spanning the period of 1805 to 1820. Since its publication, it has been regarded as Tolstoy’s finest achievement and a huge high mark of literature in general.

 

Image via Amazon

 

Tolstoy continued to write fiction throughout the 1880s and 1890s, until his death in 1910. But War And Peace remains his most famous achievement, understandably so. He spent the better of the 1860s toiling over his epic masterpiece. Portions of it were first published in The Russian Messenger, where it was first titled “The Year of 1805.” More chapters were released, until Tolstoy eventually finished in 1868. Both critics and the public were buzzing about the novel’s historical accounts of the Napoleonic Wars, combined with its thoughtful development of realistic yet fictional characters. The novel also uniquely incorporated three long essays satirizing the laws of history. Among the ideas that Tolstoy extols in War and Peace is the belief that the quality and meaning of one’s life is mainly derived from his day-to-day activities.

 

Image via Wikipedia

 

After War And Peace, Tolstoy followed it with Anna Karenina, where the first line is among his most famous quotes. It said:

 

 

‘All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.’

 

This book was published in installments from 1873 to 1877. The royalties earned from both novels made Tolstoy rich, contributing to his growing status as a beloved author. However, after Anna Karenina, Tolstoy grew depressed and suffered a spiritual crisis. He attempted to find answers in the Russian Orthodox Church but they did not have any answers that satisfied him. He wound up developing his own system of beliefs and expressed them in further books he wrote in the 1880s. However, this cost him to be ousted from the Church and watched by the secret police. This perhaps contributed to his dwindling popularity, with the exception of The Death of Ivan Illyich, which found acclaim and popularity.

Despite this, Tolstoy established himself as a moral and spiritual leader, influencing the likes of Ghandi among others. Also during his later years, Tolstoy reaped the rewards of international acclaim. Yet he still struggled to reconcile his spiritual beliefs with the tensions they created in his home life. His wife not only disagreed with his teachings, she disapproved of his disciples, who regularly visited Tolstoy at the family estate. Their troubled marriage took on an air of notoriety in the press. Anxious to escape his wife’s growing resentment, in October 1910, Tolstoy, his daughter, Aleksandra, and his physician, Dr. Dushan P. Makovitski, embarked on a pilgrimage. Valuing their privacy, they traveled incognito, hoping to dodge the press, to no avail.

He died in November in 1910, where he was buried in the family estate following his passing. He was survived by his wife and his 8 children he had with it. Today, Tolstoy is remembered as a masterpiece of a writer, with a gift for describing a character’s motives and remembering to focus on their everyday actions to describe their overall purpose.

Happy birthday, Tolstoy! Maybe crack open one of his novels and check him out today.

 

 

Featured Image Via The Guardian

3 Shockingly Savage Jane Austen Quotes

There are so many spectacular Jane Austen quotes it’s hard to choose just three, but they’re not all just deep or wise or about marriage and life (or at least, not only those things). Some of them are actually the sickest burns I’ve ever seen in my life.

 

Persuasion

 

Image via Freepik, quote via GoodReads

 

That is an incredibly metal way to talk about someone who died at sea. My god. Austen doesn’t get enough credit for totally demolishing people. These are not just cozy period pieces. Things get REAL. This is only like half the quote, too. She reads this guy straight through six feet and a coffin. He might not be good for much, but at least we got this devastating burn out of it.

 

 

Pride and Prejudice

 

Image via BuzzFeed, quote via GoodReads

 

What’s that Mr. Darcy? I don’t seem to understand you. Get rekt. Elizabeth is actually pretty polite. At least compared to Anne. I’m not sure there’s any outdoing her. Elizabeth is scathing though, and whatever she lacks in outright insults she certainly makes up for in getting her point across. There are many ways to offend.

 

 

Northanger Abbey

 

Image via Duke University Libraries, quote via GoodReads

 

Be smug, readers. I guess this isn’t THAT bold of a statement, since people who DON’T enjoy novels aren’t likely to be reading Austen, but it’s also really extreme. “Intolerably stupid?” I mean, it’s not like I’m saying she’s completely wrong. I’m just saying. Those are READERS, Jane. Something something character development. If you didn’t like Northanger Abbey I guess this is why.

 

 

Featured image via The Royal Mint 

Inspirational Quotes to Celebrate David Baldacci’s Birthday!

David Baldacci is a bestselling American novelist, who has currently published 38 novels and sold over 130 million books worldwide. His novels are generally true crime/detective stories such as Absolute PowerThe Innocent, Split Second, The Camel Cluband True Blue, but he’s also also published young adult novels! His books have been translated internationally into 45 different languages and, in addition to his popular writing, Baldacci is a devoted philanthropist who supports adult literacy across America.

Today is Baldacci’s birthday and we’re going to celebrate it by sharing these quotes straight from this acclaimed author’s writing!

Image via Amazon 

 

  1. “Why can’t people just sit and read books and be nice to each other?” – The Camel Club. 

2. “Today might not be so good. But tomorrow, you get another chance to get it right.” Absolute Power.

3. “The human spirit was the strongest medicine on earth. And sometimes all it needed was a little encouragement to pull off a miracle.” – The Forgotten.

4. “You know what kind of person it takes to run for President? Not normal. They could start out okay, but by the time they reach that level they’ve sold their soul to the devil so many times and stomped the guts out of enough people that they are definitely not like you and me, not even close.” – Absolute Power. 

Image Via Amazon

5. “As my father wrote, one’s courage, hope, and spirit can be severely tried by the happenstance of life. But as I learned on this Virginia mountain, so long as one never loses faith, it is impossible to ever truly be alone.” – Wish You Well.

6. “But if you don’t know where you want to go, I suppose any path will get you there.” – The Finisher.

7. “It’s not the beginning or the destination that counts. It’s the ride in between.” – The Christmas Train.

Image Via Amazon

8. “Because life doesn’t work that way. You can do everything perfectly. Do everything you think you’re supposed to be doing. Fulfill every expectation that other people may have. And you still won’t get the results you think you deserve. Life is crazy and maddening and often makes no sense.” – One Summer.

9. “Depending on the situation, sometimes you can know a person better in ten minutes than someone you have crossed paths with all your life.” – The Simple Truth. 

10. “Time doesn’t really heal, it just makes you not to give a crap.” – Split Second.

 

What are some of your favorite Baldacci novels? Tell us in the comments and don’t forget to wish “Happy birthday!” to this fabulous author!

Featured Image Via Wikipedia