Happy birthday, Michael Pollan! The American author and journalist got us all thinking about what’s for dinner—or, more accurately, what should be for dinner—in his 2006 nonfiction book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals.
The human heart will never wrinkle. Madame de Sévigné
French aristocrat Marie de Rabutin-Chantal (born February 5, 1626) is remembered for the delightfully witty and wise lettters she wrote to her daughter, Françoise-Marguerite de Sévigné. Their written correspondance spanned nearly three decades.
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Jill M Roberts
American writer Gertrude Stein (born February 3, 1874) was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but spent most of her life in France. Her most famous book, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, is a memoir of her years in Paris, written in the voice of Toklas, her life partner.
I am glad I will not be young in a future without wilderness.
February 2, 1941: On this day, American writer Aldo Leopold caught a chickadee with the band number 65287 for the fourth year in a row on his family’s farm. He let it go again—and then started writing one of his first nature essays as a tribute to the tiny creature.
The dead can survive as part of the lives of those that still live.
Happy birthday, Kenzaburō Ōe! The Nobel Prize winner owes his love of stories to his mother, who bought him The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Wonderful Adventures of Nils when he was a young boy. Ōe has said he “will carry to the grave” the impact of these books on his life.
Human beings of any age need to approve of themselves; the bad times in history come when they cannot.
Barbara W. Tuchman
Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Barbara W. Tuchman (born January 30, 1912) created her own law of historical research. Tuchman’s Law—first coined in her 1978 book, A Distant Mirror—is a psychological principle of “subjective probability” that leads chroniclers of history to depict events’ negative effects as being much more pervasive than they might actually be.
2. the point on the celestial sphere vertically above a given position or observer.
And at the zenith of his fame, how he would suddenly appear at the old village and stalk into church, brown and weather-beaten, in his black velvet doublet and trunks, his great jack-boots, his crimson sash, his belt bristling with horse pistols, his crime-rusted cutlass at his side, his slouch hat with waving plumes, his black flag unfurled, with the skull and crossbones on it, and hear with swelling ecstasy the whisperings, “It’s Tom Sawyer the Pirate!–the Black Avenger of the Spanish Main!” – Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, 1876
Hence it can hardly be wondered at that as his learning accumulated his practice dissolved, until at the very moment when he had attained the zenith of his celebrity he had also reached the nadir of his fortunes. – Arthur Conan Doyle, The Mystery of Cloomber, 1889
Zenith comes from the Middle English cenith, which in turn traces back to the Old Spanish zenit. The lineage continues to the Arabic samt meaning “road” as in samt ar-rās, “road above one’s head.”
Better a cruel truth than a comfortable delusion.
After graduating from high school, American essayist Edward Abbey (born January 29, 1927) decided to explore the American Southwest. He didn’t have a lot of money, so he traveled mostly by foot, hitchhiking and freight train hopping. The trip inspired a lifelong love of the desert country, eventually leading to his famous autobiographical work, Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness.