Love, like fire, goes out without fuel.
Mikhail Lermontov (born October 15, 1814) was a Russian Romantic poet and author who died in a duel at 26 years old, but in his short life he proved himself a gifted thinker and was deemed the successor to the great Russian writer Alexander Pushkin. Among Lermontov’s last poems—considered masterpieces—are The Cliff, A Leaf, Argument, Meeting, and Prophet. He’s also remembered as a playwright (A Strange Man, Masquerade) and novelist (A Hero of Our Time).
I think that you’ve got to make something that pleases you and hope that other people feel the same way.
Thomas Keller (born October 14, 1955) is a Michelin three-star chef, famous for his exacting standards at restaurants like the French Laundry, Per Se, and Bouchon. He’s also the bestselling author of multiple cookbooks, including The French Laundry Cookbook, Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide, Ad Hoc at Home, Bouchon, and Bouchon Bakery—the last offering recipes for everything from French macarons and mille-feuilles to his take on Oreos and Hostess’s Ho Hos. It’s bedside reading with a glass of milk.
If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.
Elmore Leonard (born October 11, 1925) packed his popular westerns and crime thrillers with gritty details and realistic dialogue—no surprise, then, that many of his stories were made into blockbuster movies with Hollywood’s biggest stars. Think 3:10 to Yuma, Hombre, Valdez Is Coming, Get Shorty, Out of Sight, and Jackie Brown (a Quentin Tarantino adaptation of Rum Punch). Even before he was in the spotlight, though, Leonard—as a fifth grader in Detroit—wrote a play inspired by the book All Quiet on the Western Front.
Unlike baked beans, loaves of breads or Fuji apples, books once consumed, do not disappear.
John Sutherland (born October 9, 1938) has built a distinguished career as a British academic scholar specializing in Victorian fiction. He’s taught at schools like University College London and Caltech, written regular columns for The Guardian, and produced popular works on literary history (So You Think You Know Jane Austen?) in addition to titles that celebrate his lifelong passion (How to Read a Novel). His autobiography is called The Boy Who Loved Books—which simply says it all.
There are books so alive that you’re always afraid that while you weren’t reading, the book has gone and changed, has shifted like a river.
Marina Tsvetaeva (born October 8, 1892) is considered one of the most accomplished Russian poets of the 20th century—but her life was filled with sorrow and tragedy. She primarily wrote lyrical verse, and when she left the Soviet Union to live in Berlin, Prague, and Paris, her work began to reflect a growing nostalgia for her homeland (Homesick for the Motherland). Ultimately her army officer husband was arrested for espionage along with their daughter, and Tsvetaeva killed herself in 1941 after he was executed.
Creativity requires a state of grace. So many things are required for it to succeed.
Magda Szabó (born October 5, 1917) was a prominent Hungarian writer, known for her poetry, plays, and novels that attracted a wide readership even as she faced censorship under Stalin’s communist government. She received numerous literary prizes during a career that produced popular works like Abigél, Old-Fashioned Story, Mural, The Fawn, Honey-Cake for Cerberus, and the memoir Für Elise. She was married to the writer and translator Tibor Szobotka, and The Door—written in 1987—is modeled after events in her own life.