Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936) was born in Agrigento, Sicily on June 28, 1867. Read Orrin's review of Six Characters in Search of an Author (1921)(Grade: C+)
Mark Helprin (1947-) one of our greatest current novelists was born on June 28, 1947. In addition to his recommended novels Winter's
Tale (1983), A
Soldier of the Great War (1991) and Memoir from Antproof Case (1995), he wrote Bob Dole's elegant Senate resignation speech in 1996 and is a regular columnist for Forbes and the Wall Street Journal.
Eric Ambler (1909-1998), who helped create the Modern spy novel, was born in London on June 28, 1909. Among his many recommended books are Background to Danger, and A Coffin for Dimitrios (1939)
Henry VIII (1491-1547), king of England (1509-47) and one of the key, albeit unintentional, figures in the rise of Western democracy, was born on June 28, 1509. We recommend the novel The Autobiography of Henry VIII : With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers by Margaret George.
Bob Keeshan (1927-) was born in Lynbrook, NY on June 27, 1927. After creating & playing Clarabell on the Howdy Doody Show (1947-52), he went out on his own and created the beloved Captain Kangaroo (CBS, 1958-85).
McDermott (1953-) was born in Brooklyn, NY on June 27, 1953. Read Orrin's review of Charming Billy (1998)(Grade: C-)
Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973), who won the 1938 Nobel Prize in Literature, was born in Hillsboro, WV on June 26, 1892. We all read her Pulitzer Prize winner The Good Earth in school.
George (Eric Arthur Blair) Orwell (1903-1950) was born in Motohari, India on June 25, 1903. Read Orrin's reviews of Homage to Catalonia (1938) (Grade: A), Animal Farm (1946) (Grade: A+), 1984 (1949) (Grade: A+)
Nicholas Mosley (1923-) was born in London, ENG on June 25, 1923. Son of Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Fascists in the 1930's, he became an outstanding novelist. Read Orrin's review of his Whitbred Prize winning Hopeful Monsters (1990) (Grade: A)
Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?) was born on June 24, 1842 in Meigs, OH. Read Orrin's review of Civil War Stories (Grade: B)
Erich Maria Remarque (1898-1970) was born in Osnabruck, GER on June 22, 1898. Read Orrin's review of All Quiet on the Western Front (1928) (Grade: C)
H. Rider Haggard (1856-1925) was born in Norfolk, England on June 22, 1856. His book King Solomon's Mine (1885) is one of the great adventure classics of all time.
Billy Wilder (1906-) was born in Sucha, Austria on June 22, 1906. Among his classic films are The Major and the Minor, Double Indemnity, The Lost Weekend, Stalag 17, Five Graves to Cairo and Sunset Boulevard
Octavia Butler (1947-) was born in Pasadena, CA on June 22, 1947. Read Orrin's review of Kindred (1979) (Grade: A)
Dom Casmurro (1899)(Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis 1839-1908)
was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on June 21, 1839
Annette Curtis Klause (1953-) was born in Bristol, ENG on June 20, 1953. Read Orrin's review of Blood and Chocolate (1997)(Grade: A to F)
Henry Louis "Lou" Gehrig (1903-1941) was born on June 19, 1903.
Tobias Wolff (1945-) was born in Birmingham, AL on June 19, 1945. His excellent memoir, This Boy's Life (1989), describes growing up in Washington State with a brutal step-father.
John Wesley (1703-91), founder of the Methodist Church, was born in Epworth, England on June 17, 1703. He and his band of friends were derided at Oxford for their "methodism", methodical study of the Bible. After a conversion experience in 1738, he preached a message of salvation through faith in Christ alone.
John Hersey (1914-93) was born in China on June 17, 1914. Read Orrin's reviews of A Bell for Adano (1944)(Grade: B+) and Hiroshima (1946) (Grade: B)
James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938), who wrote the Black National Anthem--Lift Every Voice and Sing, was born in Jacksonville, FL on June 17, 1871. Read Orrin's review of The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (1912) (Grade: B+)
At 2:30am on the morning of June 17, 1972, five men were caught breaking in to Democratic National Committee Headquarters in the Watergate Building. Read Orrin's reviews of Silent Coup: The Removal of a President (1991)(Len Colodny, Robert Gettlin) (Grade: C+) and Leon Jaworski's
The Right and the Power (Grade: C), but also try G. Gordon Liddy's Will and All the President's Men
June 16th is Bloomsday. Joyce fans all over the world commemorate the mindnumbing meanderings of Leopold Bloom through the streets of Dublin in 1904 (read Orrin's review of Ulysses, Grade: F x Googleplex) But save yourself the trouble & read Ulysses for Dummies.
Katharine Graham (1917-2001) was born in New York, NY on June 16, 1917. Read Orrin's review of Personal History (1997) (Katharine Graham 1917-2001)
The Magna Carta was signed on June 15, 1215 by King John of England the agreement between John and several dozen English Barons that took away the King's total authority, and granted basic rights and liberties such as freedom of the church, no imprisonment without a jury trial, and the proper execution of the laws of the land.
Jerzy Kosinski (1933-91) was born in Lodz, POL on June 14, 1933. Read Orrin's review of The Painted Bird (1965)
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) was born in Dublin, IR on June 13, 1865. His poem The Second Coming seemingly predicted the course of the pre-Reagan 20th Century.
President George Herbert Walker Bush (1924-) was born on June 12, 1924 in Milton, MA. In one of the Republics low points, he lost his reelection bid in 1992, but current polls give his presidency a 70+% approval rating. The Brothers Judd recommend What It Takes, Richard Ben Cramer's extraordinary account of the 1988 presidential contenders.
Yasunari Kawabata (1899-1972) was born in Osaka, JPN on June 11, 1899. Read Orrin's review of Thousand Cranes (1949)(Grade: D)
James Salter (1925-) was born in New York, NY on June 10, 1925. Read Orrin's review of The Hunters (1956) (Grade: A)
Saul Bellow (1915-) was born in Chicago, IL on June 10, 1915. Read Orrin's reviews of Henderson the Rain King (1959)
and The Adventures of Augie March (1953) Saul Bellow (1915-)
Peter the Great (1682-1725) was born on June 9, 1682. Read Robert Massie's excellent Pulitzer Prize winning biography.
Cole Porter (1891-1964) was born in Peru, IN on June 9, 1891.
Frank Lloyd Wright(1867-1959) was born in Richland, WI on June 8, 1867. Read Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead for a fictional account of a Wrightlike genius.
Mohammed (circa 570 to 632), the Prophet of Islam, was born on June 8, 570.
Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) was born in Paris, FR on June 7, 1848. Read Orrin's review of The Moon and Sixpence (1919)(William Somerset Maugham 1874-1965) (Grade: C+)
Prince was born on June 7, 1958. His Hits package confirms his position as one of the only really significant pop music talents of the past two decades.
Happy Birthday to Zachary Barnett (June 7)