Barbara Bush was the wife of the 41st president of the United States, George H. W. Bush, and the mother of the 43rd, George W. Bush. She was the second woman in American history to marry one president and give birth to another, the first being Abigail Adams. (Her husband, John Adams, was the 2nd president of the United States; her son, John Quincy Adams, was the 6th). The “matriarch of a political dynasty” passed away on April 17 at the age of 92.
The former first lady dedicated her life to increasing literacy rates across the U.S., and her work was formally recognized by the Women’s National Book Association in 1990 with the WNBA Award. “The American Dream is about equal opportunity for everyone who works hard,” Mrs. Bush once said. “If we don’t give everyone the ability to simply read and write, then we aren’t giving everyone an equal chance to succeed.” Continue reading “Quote of the Week | Barbara Bush”
“I spy with my little eye something that is…”
Jean Marzollo, best-known for the bestselling children’s series I Spy, passed away on Tuesday, April 10 at the age of 75. Over the course of her life, she wrote more than 150 books – “some factual, some fanciful, all imparting skills and information to young — often very young — readers.” Marzollo first started working on I Spy in 1992. Using a simple rhyme scheme, she encouraged children (to parents’ delight, I’m sure) to immerse themselves in treasure-hunting expeditions for wacky, colorful objects and shapes that, incidentally, helped them develop vocabulary and word-object association skills. (I loved these books when I was little!) Continue reading “Quote of the Week | Jean Marzollo”
In February, Shakespearean purists sat a little straighter in their chairs.
Independent researcher Dennis McCarthy and English scholar June Schlueter had just announced what Michael Witmore, the director of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, called a “once-in-a-generation – or several generations – find.” Stashed away in the British Library, the pair had discovered a previously unpublished manuscript that, when scanned using the open-source plagiarism program WCopyfind, revealed extremely-likely source material for eleven of Shakespeare’s plays, including King Lear and Macbeth. Continue reading “Quote of the Week | George North, the Original Bard?”
Chances are you’ve never heard of this author or the South Australian town he comes from. The Paris Review called the man “one of the most original and brilliant writers at work today,” and The New Yorker called his third novel, The Plains, written in 1982 and reissued in 2017, a “bizarre masterpiece that can feel less like something you’ve read than something you’ve dreamed.”
Gerald Murnane, 79, has 13 books to his name, with Farrar, Straus and Giroux set to release his final novel, Border Districts, in North America tomorrow on April 3. Described as a “bittersweet farewell to the world and the word,” the work is “a hypnotic, precise, and self-lacerating ‘report’ on a life led as an avid reader, fumbling lover, ‘student of mental imagery,’ and devout believer—but a believer not in the commonplaces of religion, but rather in the luminescence of memory and its handmaiden, literature.”
Today, Murnane spends his days bartending in Goroke, Victoria, Australia, a village-esque outpost with a population of just 200. The second twist to this story? The author is rumored to be named the next Nobel Laureate in Literature. Continue reading “Quote of the Week | Gerald Murnane”
The literary world’s been buzzing over Tara Westover’s brutally-honest, family-oriented memoir, Educated, since it was published by Random House at the end of February. Westover wrote the book after completing her Ph.D. at Cambridge – an unlikely environment, perhaps, for an individual who didn’t pass the threshold of a classroom until she was 17-years-old. Born to survivalist parents in the mountains of Idaho, Westover spent most of her childhood preparing for the end of the world, stockpiling home-canned peaches and salvaging metal from her father’s junkyard. She never saw a doctor growing up and rarely interacted with other people, unless she was at church. Vogue called the memoir “Propulsive…Despite the singularity of her childhood, the questions her book poses are universal: How much of ourselves should we give to those we love? And how much must we betray them to grow up?” Continue reading “Quote of the Week | Tara Westover”