Category Archives: Books

December 28

How to Read a Book

You might have some welcome time on your hands in the holiday season, so why not dig into a new book! But do you really know how to read a book? Mortimer J. Adler (1902 – 2001) was born in New York City on the 28th of December 1902 to Jewish immigrants. Adler co-founded the […]

December 27

Darwin’s Beagle Journals

Here is something for those explorers planning a new year full of exciting travels! On the 27th of December 1831, Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882) embarked on his first journey aboard the HMS Beagle, during which he began to formulate the theory of evolution. The trip lasted almost 5 years taking him from Plymouth to […]

December 19

Emily Brontë: Female Talent vs Biased Male Criticism

On the 19th of December 1848, Emily Brontë, aged only thirty, died in her home in Haworth, Yorkshire, England. The young author of the famous novel Wuthering Heights died of tuberculosis. In a letter from the 21st of December 1848, her sister, Charlotte, wrote: “Emily suffers no more from pain or weakness now… Yesterday we […]

December 15

Nero: Poet, Hedonist and Sadist

On the 15th of December 37 AD, Nero, the famous Roman Emperor (54-68 AD), was born in Antium, Italy. He was a controversial figure known for his explosive violence, homoeroticism, love of poetry and bad acting. This puzzling mélange of character traits has spawned numerous anecdotes and stories about Nero’s life. They present him as […]

October 21

Was Don Quixote Kafka’s Alter Ego?

On the 21st of October 1917 Franz Kafka wrote a brief parable The Truth about Sancho Panza. Its original title “Die Wahrheit über Sancho Pansa” was given by Max Brod, who later published the text in the volume “Beim Bau der chinesischen Mauer”.  The parable is composed of only two sentences, yet its meaning is […]

October 12

History in Nursery Rhymes: Three Blind Mice

On the 12th of October 1609, the popular children’s nursery rhyme Three Blind Mice was published in London. A version of this rhyme, together with music, was published in Deuteromelia (1609); the editor was Thomas Ravenscroft (c.1582-1635), still a teenager at the time of its publication. London life in the 1600s was hard for everyone. The capital […]

September 26

Marcel Proust and his Mother: A Unique Bond

On the 26th of September 1905, Jeanne Clémence Weil, mother of writer Marcel Proust, died in Ile de France, Paris. Madame Proust, as she was to be known, seeing as Marcel never got married, was born Jewish on both sides of her family. Her genealogy actually shows that Marcel Proust and Karl Marx were distant cousins, albeit seven […]