It’s not enough to be nice in life. You’ve got to have nerve.
Happy birthday, Georgia O’Keeffe. The celebrated modernist painter (born November 15, 1887) studied at the Art Institute of Chicago; taught art in Texas and South Carolina; lived with her husband, the photographer Alfred Stieglitz, in New York; spent time in Bermuda and Hawaii; and finally settled in New Mexico. Her autobiography, Georgia O’Keeffe, and published letters reveal the story of her extraordinary life.
A great speech is literature.
Peggy Noonan (born September 7, 1950) is the author of bestselling books on American history, politics, and culture, including What I Saw at the Revolution, When Character Was King, and The Time of Our Lives. She was a special assistant and speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan (Simply Speaking and On Speaking Well offer her tips and tricks), and she’s been a longtime columnist for The Wall Street Journal.
The reading of a fine book is an uninterrupted dialogue in which the book speaks and our soul replies.
André Maurois (born July 26, 1885) is remembered for his eloquent biographies of literary giants, including Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, Victor Hugo, George Sand, Honoré de Balzac, and Marcel Proust. The French writer (real name Émile Salomon Wilhelm Herzog) had a colorful life himself: He served in both world wars and was elected to the prestigious Académie Française.
Reading was a joy, a desperately needed escape — I didn’t read to learn, I was reading to read.
Happy birthday, Christian Bauman! In between serving in the United States Army and writing two successful novels about soldiers, he made a living as a a folk singer. For several years, he toured North America as a solo act and as part of the group Camp Hoboken.
I believe in the magic and authority of words.
In the early 1930s, popular French poet René Char (born June 14, 1907) rubbed elbows with Pablo Picasso and Albert Camus, but when World War II brought German soldiers to his country, he put down his pen and said goodbye to his friends. Char joined the French resistance in 1940, leading troops and commanding a parachute drop zone under the nom de guerre Captain Alexandre.
We all have a Monster within; the difference is in degree, not in kind.
Happy birthday, Douglas Preston! The bestselling novelist comes pretty close to being a real-life Indiana Jones. A former instructor at Princeton University, he’s been on adventures all over the world. One of the most impressive? A journey into an ancient Egyptian burial chamber that had not been explored for over 3,000 years.
Maybe who we are isn’t so much about what we do, but rather what we’re capable of when we least expect it.
Happy birthday, Jodi Picoult! Today she’s known for bestsellers including My Sister’s Keeper and Nineteen Minutes, but Picoult has been writing since the age of five. Her first attempt was a short story entitled The Lobster Which Misunderstood.
Tell me what you pay attention to and I will tell you who you are.
~José Ortega y Gasset
How many philosophers can say they have a fruit named after them? Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset (born May 9, 1883) can! German grape breeder Hans Brieider was so impressed with Ortega y Gasset’s work, he named a grape variety Ortega in the philosopher’s honor.
There are some works so luminous…so powerful that they give us strength, and force us to new undertakings. A book can play this role.
Hervé Le Tellier
Happy birthday, Hervé Le Tellier! The French writer and linguist became a notable name in his home country after the publication of Les amnésiques n’ont rien vécu d’inoubliable, a collection of 1,000 short sentences that all began with “Je sense que…” (“I think that…”).
Flawed, imperfect creatures! That’s what we both are, oga! That’s what we ALL are!
Happy birthday, Nnedi Okorafor! In high school, she was a star tennis player, but surgery to correct her scoliosis derailed her hopes of becoming a pro athlete. During her lengthy recovery, she picked up writing as a replacement hobby. Today she’s an award-winning author of several adult and children’s books.