A great opportunity to celebrate books and their authors: writers who were born or died this coming week. Read, borrow or buy books, and build your own library. Do not fear the Eccelsiastes: "As regards anything besides these, my son, take a warning: To the making of many books there is no end, and much devotion to them is wearisome to the flesh." Not true! Books will make you stronger.
Born this week:
Maxim Gorky, Russia
"Everybody, my friend, everybody lives for something better to come. That's why we want to be considerate of every man— Who knows what's in him, why he was born and what he can do?"
Paul Heyse, Germany
A Nobel literary judge said about Heyse: "Germany has not had a greater literary genius since Goethe."
Gilberto Freire, Brasil
Remembered mostly for his sociological trilogy The Masters and the Slaves
Louis Boon, Belgium
One of the best known Flemish writers of the XXth century.
Boris Polevoy, Russia
Wrote about the WWII, including the atrocities of Auschwitz.
Christa Wolf, Germany
One of the best known writers from East Germany.
John Updike, USA
"The refusal to rest content, the willingness to risk excess on behalf of one's obsessions, is what distinguishes artists from entertainers, and what makes some artists adventurers on behalf of us all."
Minna Canth, Finland
"Christianity has been buried inside the walls of churches and secured with the shackles of dogmatism. Let it be liberated to come into the midst of us and teach us freedom, equality and love."
Philip Roth, USA
"I write fiction and I’m told it’s autobiography, I write autobiography and I’m told it’s fiction, so since I’m so dim and they’re so smart, let them decide what it is or it isn’t."
Henrik Ibsen, Norway
"Now this very contentedness in the possession of a dead liberty is a characteristic of the so-called state; and it is worthless."
Died this week:
Tarjei Vesaas, Norway
"Almost nothing need be said when you have eyes."
Selma Lagerlof, Sweden
"religion must be a science which can be proven. It is no longer a question of belief, but of knowing. Further, we acquire knowledge of the spiritual world through steady, conscious, systematic thinking."
Marcus Aurelius, Rome
"Say to yourself in the early morning: I shall meet today inquisitive, ungrateful, violent, treacherous, envious, uncharitable men. All these things have come upon them through ignorance of real good and ill."
Laurence Sterne, UK
"Only the brave know how to forgive...A coward never forgave; it is not in his nature."
Edgar Rice Burroughs, USA
"I have often been asked how I came to write. The best answer is that I needed the money. When I started I was 35 and had failed in every enterprise I had ever attempted."
Arthur C. Clarke, UK
"I can never look now at the Milky Way without wondering from which of those banked clouds of stars the emissaries are coming."
Brendan Behan, Ireland
"An author's first duty is to let down his country."