birthdays •
1898 – Fredric Warburg, publisher and author (d. 1981) the British publisher who backed George Orwell’s Animal Farm when other publishing houses rejected it,
1907 – American sci-fi and fantasy author (d. 2000)
1909 – James Agee, American writer (d. 1955)
1937 – Gail Sheehy, American writer

calendar •
1582 – William Shakespeare marries Anne Hathaway
1726 – Jonathan Swift gleefully writes to Alexander Pope about initial reactions to the newly published Gulliver’s Travels, including that of an Irish Bishop who called the satire “full of improbable lies.”
1965 – Ken Kesey hosts the first “acid test” at the home of Ken “Intrepid Traveler” Babbs. Kesey and Babbs were classmates in the Stanford creative writing program, taught by Wallace Stegner and others – also in the program were Robert Stone, Wendell Berry, and Larry McMurtry.
1970 – Fearing that he will not be allowed to return home Alexander Solzhenitsyn writes that he cannot go to Stockholm to receive the Nobel Prize.

something old • 1657 the Rough Guide to Europe: James Fraser’s 3 year extensive travel diary of 17th century Scotland, England, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium and Holland, recently rediscovered by Aberdeen University will finally be published. (via Philobiblios)

something new • Margaret Atwood comments on Richard Powers Echo Maker for the New York Times Review of Books.

snip snip • apparently the Google plagiarism detectives are on the case, Winston Churchill was a closet science fiction fan who borrowed the lines for one of his most famous speeches from HG Wells, says new research.

folks for fairer fairs • A small but growing number of schools want Scholastic Books consumerism out of school book fairs. Parents and educators say Scholastic carries too many books and other items featuring cartoon and movie characters that are thin on literary merit and novelty pencils, calendars, posters and other paraphernalia are more about turning children into consumers than it is about encouraging them to read. I can see that.

obit of note • William Diehl at 81, author of Primal Fear

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