Saturday, March 2, 2013

“Children’s reading and children’s thinking are the rock-bottom base upon which this country will rise. Or not rise. In these days of tension and confusion, writers are beginning to realize that books for children have a greater potential for good or evil than any other form of literature on earth.”
― Dr. Seuss

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss! Today is also Texas Independence day, a state holiday.

Some of the writers born on March 2nd include:

George Sandys (1578),Camille Desmoulins (1760), Evgeny Baratynsky (1800), János Arany (1817), Multatuli (Eduard Douwes Dekker) (1820), Sholom Aleichem (1859), John Jay Chapman (1862), Victor Houteff (1885), Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904), Geoffrey Grigson (1905), Godfried Bomans (1913), David Goodis (1917), Orrin Keepnews (1923), Tom Wolfe (1931), Lawrence Payton (1938), John Irving (1942), Luc Plamondon (1942), Peter Straub (1943), Mark Evanier (1952), GX Jupitter-Larsen (1959), Morioka Hiroyuki (1962), Michael Salinger (1962), and Deuce (1986).

Sir Thomas Bodley was born on this day in 1545, He was an English diplomat and scholar. Bodley’s greatest achievement was the re-founding of the library at Oxford. In 1470, the library had been presented to the university as a gift from Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, the youngest son of Henry IV. However, during the Reformation of the 1550s, the library had been stripped and abandoned, remaining virtually untouched until the return of Bodley in 1598. The library was later named the Bodleian Library in his honor. He determined, he said, “to take his farewell of state employments and to set up his staff at the library door in Oxford.” In 1598 his offer to restore the old library was accepted by the university. Bodley began his book collection effort in 1600, using the site of the former library above the Divinity School, which was in near ruin. Although Bodley lived over 400 years ago, modern libraries benefit from some of his ideas and practices. One important idea that Bodley implemented was the creation of a “Benefactors‘ Book” in 1602, which was bound and put on display in the library in 1604. Although not a completely original idea (as encouragement in 1412 the university chaplain was ordered to say mass for benefactors), Bodley recognized that having the contributor‘s name on permanent display was also inspiring.

The American musician Jon Bon Jovi is celebrating his 51st birthday today. During his career, he has released two solo albums and eleven studio albums with his band, which to date have sold over 130 million albums worldwide making them one of the world’s best-selling music artists. Besides his music career, Jon Bon Jovi started an acting career in the 1990s, starring roles in several movies include Moonlight and Valentino and U-571 and also made appearances on TV series including Sex and the City and Ally McBeal.

Also celebrating a birthday today is Daniel Craig who turns 45 today. The English actor is best known for playing British secret agent James Bond since 2006. His early on screen appearances were in the films Elizabeth, The Power of One and A Kid in King Arthur’s Court, and on Sharpe’s Eagle and Zorro in television. Craig achieved international fame when chosen as the sixth actor to play the role of James Bond, replacing Pierce Brosnan. Though he was initially greeted with scepticism, his debut in Casino Royale was highly acclaimed and earned him a BAFTA award nomination, with the film becoming the highest-grossing in the series at the time. Quantum of Solace followed two years later. His third Bond film, Skyfall, premiered in 2012 and is now the highest-grossing film in the series.

Today we remember the English novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, literary critic and painter who published as D.H. Lawrence. He passed away on this day in 1930. His collected works represent an extended reflection upon the dehumanising effects of modernity and industrialisation. In them, Lawrence confronts issues relating to emotional health and vitality, spontaneity, and instinct. Lawrence’s opinions earned him many enemies and he endured official persecution, censorship, and misrepresentation of his creative work throughout the second half of his life, much of which he spent in a voluntary exile which he called his “savage pilgrimage.” At the time of his death, his public reputation was that of a pornographer who had wasted his considerable talents. E. M. Forster, in an obituary notice, challenged this widely held view, describing him as, “The greatest imaginative novelist of our generation.” Lawrence is now valued by many as a visionary thinker and significant representative of modernism in English literature.

On this day in 1717, The Loves of Mars and Venus was the first ballet performed in England.

March 1, 1776, as part of the American Revolutionary War, Patriot militia units arrested the Royal Governor of Georgia James Wright and attempted to prevent capture of supply ships in the Battle of the Rice Boats.

Long-distance communication sped up with the unveiling of a semaphore machine in Paris on March 1, 1791. Semaphore is a system of conveying information by means of visual signals, using towers with pivoting shutters also known as blades or paddles. Information is encoded by the position of the mechanical elements; it is read when the shutter is in a fixed position. Semaphore lines were a precursor of the electrical telegraph. They were far faster than post riders for bringing a message over long distances, but far more expensive and less private than the electrical telegraph lines which would replace them. The distance that an optical telegraph can bridge is limited by geography and weather; thus, in practical use, most optical telegraphs used lines of relay stations to bridge longer distances.

The Bank of England issued the first one-pound and two-pound banknotes on this day in 1797.

The U.S. Congress passed the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves on March 1, 1807. This disallowed the importation of new slaves into the country.

The inaugural meeting of the Wernerian Natural History Society, a former Scottish learned society, was held in Edinburgh on March 2, 1808.

As part of the Argentine War of Independence, on March 2, 1811, a royalist fleet defeated a small flotilla of revolutionary ships in the Battle of San Nicolas on the River Plate.

Signing of the Kandyan Convention treaty by British invaders and the King of Sri Lanka occurred March 2, 1815. The Kandyan Convention was an agreement in 1815 between the British and the Chiefs of the Kandyan Kingdom, in Sri Lanka for the deposition of rule King Sri Vikrama Rajasinha. The king who was of Malayali ancestry faced powerful opposition from the Sinhalese chieftains who sought to reduce his power. A successful coup was organized by the Sinhala chieftains in which they accepted the British crown as their new king. This ended the line of the Kingdom of Kandy and King Rajasinha was taken as a prisoner. By 2 March 1815 the islands sovereignty was under that of the British Empire. This unique treaty was not signed by the deposed King but by members of his court and other dignitaries of the Kandyan Kingdom. Because the king was hiding from the British, later he was captured and banished to Velore in India.

Roberto Cofresí, one of the last successful Caribbean pirates, was defeated in combat and captured by authorities on this day in 1825.

The Texas Declaration of Independence was the formal declaration of independence of the Republic of Texas from Mexico in the Texas Revolution. It was adopted at the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos on March 2, 1836, and formally signed the following day after errors were noted in the text.

As part of the East Cape War, the Volkner Incident occurred on this day in 1865 in New Zealand. The Völkner Incident describes the murder of the missionary Carl Sylvius Völkner in New Zealand in 1865 and the consequent reaction of the Government of New Zealand in the midst of the New Zealand land wars.

On this day in 1867 the U.S. Congress passed the first Reconstruction Act. After the end of the American Civil War, as part of the on-going process of Reconstruction, the United States Congress passed four statutes known as Reconstruction Acts. (March 2, 1867, 14 Stat. 428-430, c.153; March 23, 1867, 15 Stat. 2-5, c.6, July 19, 1867, 15 Stat. 14-16, c.30; and March 11, 1868, 15 Stat. 41, c.25) The actual title of the initial legislation was “An act to provide for the more efficient government of the Rebel States” and it was passed on March 2, 1867. Fulfillment of the requirements of the Acts were necessary for the former Confederate States to be readmitted to the Union. The Acts excluded Tennessee, which had already ratified the 14th Amendment and had been readmitted to the Union. A key feature of the Acts included the creation of five military districts in the South, each commanded by a general, which would serve as the acting government for the region.

For the U.S. presidential election of 1876, the U.S. Congress declared Rutherford B. Hayes the winner of the election just two days before inauguration even though Samuel J. Tilden had won the popular vote on November 7, 1876.

On March 2, 1901, the U.S. Congress passed the Platt Amendment, limiting the autonomy of Cuba as a condition of the withdrawal of American troops.

In New York City the Martha Washington Hotel opened March second, 1903. It was the first hotel exclusively for women.

On March 2, 1917, the enactment of the Jones-Shafroth Act granted Puerto Ricans United States citizenship.

The first Communist International met in Moscow on the second of March in 1919.

It was 80 years ago today when the film King Kong opened at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.

The Steel Workers Organizing Committee signed a collective bargaining agreement with U.S. Steel on March 2, 1937 which led to unionization of the United States steel industry.

Captain James Gallagher landed his B-50 Superfortress Lucky Lady II in Forth Worth, Texas on March 2, 1949 after completing the first non-stop around-the-world airplane flight in 94 hours and one minute.

The first automatic street light was installed on March 2, 1949 in New Milford, Connecticut.

Morocco gained its independence from France on the second of March in 1956.

Wilt Chamberlain set the single-game scoring record in the National Basketball Association by scoring 100 points on March 2, 1962.

The U.S. and South Vietnamese Air Force began Operation Rolling Thunder on March 2, 1965. This was a sustained bombing campaign against North Vietnam.

The first test flight of the Anglo-French Concorde was conducted in Toulouse, France on this day in 1969. That same day Soviet and Chinese forces were clashing at a border outpost on the Ussuri River.

On this day in 1970, Rhodesia declared itself a republic, breaking its last links with the British crown.

The Pioneer 10 space probe was launched on March 2, 1972 from Cape Canaveral, Florida with a mission to explore the outer planets.

Thirty five years ago today Czech Vladimir Remek became the first non-Russian or non-American to go into space when he was launched aboard Soyuz 28.

It was thirty years ago today that Compact Disc players and discs were released for the first time in the United States and other markets. They had been available only in Japan before this.

Twelve European Community nations agreed on March 2, 1989 to ban the production of all chloroflourocarbons (CFCs) by the end of the century.

Nelson Mandella was elected deputy President of the African National Congress on March 2, 1990.

The Battle at Rumaila Oil Field on March 2, 1991 brought the 1991 Gulf War to an end.

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, San Marino, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan joined the United Nations on March 2, 1992.

The 1993 Storm of the Century began to form over the North Atlantic Ocean twenty years ago today.

Researchers at Fermilab announced on March 2, 1994 the discovery of the top quark. The top quark, also known as the t quark (symbol: t) or truth quark, is an elementary particle and a fundamental constituent of matter. Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a US Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in highenergy particle physics.

Data sent from the Galileo spacecraft on March 2, 1998 indicated that Jupiter‘s moon Europa has a liquid ocean under a thick crust of ice.

Operation Anaconda, part of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan began eleven years ago today and ended on March 19 after killing 500 Taliban and al Qaeda fighters, with 11 Western troop fatalities.

Al-Qaeda carried out the Ashoura Massacre in Iraq on this day in 2004, killing 170 and wounding over 500.

March second and third of last year there was a tornado outbreak which occurred over a large section of the Southern United States and into the Ohio Valley region, resulting in 40 tornadorelated fatalities.

the lovely bones

Today we bring you The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.  This novel was made into a film in 2010.  We have new copies in stock of this novel.  Goodreads.com gives the following description:

The Lovely Bones is the story of a family devastated by a gruesome murder — a murder recounted by the teenage victim. Upsetting, you say? Remarkably, first-time novelist Alice Sebold takes this difficult material and delivers a compelling and accomplished exploration of a fractured family’s need for peace and closure.

The details of the crime are laid out in the first few pages: from her vantage point in heaven, Susie Salmon describes how she was confronted by the murderer one December afternoon on her way home from school. Lured into an underground hiding place, she was raped and killed. But what the reader knows, her family does not. Anxiously, we keep vigil with Susie, aching for her grieving family, desperate for the killer to be found and punished.

Sebold creates a heaven that’s calm and comforting, a place whose residents can have whatever they enjoyed when they were alive — and then some. But Susie isn’t ready to release her hold on life just yet, and she intensely watches her family and friends as they struggle to cope with a reality in which she is no longer a part. To her great credit, Sebold has shaped one of the most loving and sympathetic fathers in contemporary literature.

lin yutang

Disclaimer: Much of the information in this blog is taken directly from Wikipedia and Amazon.   Images have been taken from various sources around the World Wide Web.

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