Oct. 23, 1998

Sir Patrick Spens

by Anonymous

FRIDAY 10/23

Today's Reading: "Sir Patrick Spens" by an anonymous author.

It was on this day in 1978 that THE STORIES OF JOHN CHEEVER was published, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction the next year.

It was on this day in 1958 that the Russian poet and author BORIS PASTERNAK won the Nobel Prize in Literature for his novel DOCTOR ZHIVAGO. The announcement, though, was greeted with scorn in the USSR. The book is about Yury Zhivago, a poet and doctor whose life is disrupted by the Russian Revolution, and who dies in abject poverty. Because of its subject, no Soviet publisher would touch it, and the book came out first in Italy. A number of magazines and newspapers labeled Pasternak an anti-Communist and five days later he was kicked out of the Soviet Writer's Union. The next day Pasternak wrote the Swedish Academy and said he was voluntarily refusing the prize.

It's the birthday of novelist MICHAEL CRICHTON, born in Chicago, 1942, author of Jurassic Park, The Andromeda Strain, and other books. He began writing mysteries on weekends and evenings during medical school as a way to pay tuition, starting with A Case of Need, that became a surprise hit. Then he wrote The Andromeda Strain (1969).

MAIN STREET by Sinclair Lewis was published on this day in 1920. It was the 35-year-old Lewis' sixth novel and painted a fairly unflattering picture of small-town life.

It's the birthday of writer EMILY KIMBROUGH, 1899, Muncie, Indiana, and author of the 1942 travel memoir Our Hearts Were Young and Gay: the story of her ocean-liner trip to Europe in the 1920s, which was made into a popular movie during the war. And when encountering difficulties while traveling she would remember her grandmother: "When a small thing upset someone, my grandmother used to say, ‘Nonsense! That would never be noticed from a trotting horse.'"

It's the birthday of poet ROBERT BRIDGES, born in Kent, England, 1844. Bridges was a doctor in London but turned to writing when he was 40 years old. He spent the rest of his days in virtual seclusion, completely devoting himself to writing and studying poetry.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




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