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Thursday, July 03, 2014

July 4 Meme - Happy Birthday, Amelia!

Today is already July 4 here in Australia, so I'm going to do a July 4 meme, in honour of my niece Amelia, a gifted artist and handcrafter, whose birthday it is today. Because this is a book blog, I prefer to keep, as much as possible, to literary related events and birthdays, but hey, you can't leave out American Independence Day, can you? I can and will leave out the usual run of battles and other killings. 

So here are some dates for you!


1054: sighting of a supernova by Chinese, Arab and maybe Native Americans, which was so bright it was seen by day for months. Its remains are now the Crab Nebula. Okay, not book related but as a lover of SF I'll always celebrate a celestial event over a battle. Mind you, I can only hope this supernova wasn't like the one in Arthur C Clarke's short story, "The Star" in which a priest asks himself if it was really necessary to wipe out a whole lovely civilisation to produce the Star of Bethlehem. 

1776: Signing of the Declaration of Independence by US. This is a compulsory mention, but it too has inspired a lot of writing, including the lovely musical 1776, which I saw when I was at high school, several times. In those days, the cost of going to see a musical was low enough that a school kid like me could get a ticket in the gods at child price with her pocket money. 

1862 -Lewis Carroll tells Alice Liddell the story that would become Alice's Adventures In Wonderland. 

Alice MS page. Public domain

1865: Alice's Adventures In Wonderland was published. If that isn't a day in literary history, what is?


1799: King Oscar I of Sweden, whom I'm going to mention because his mother was Desiree Clary, the subject of that gorgeous novel by Annemarie Selinko which I'm currently rereading. 

Oscar I: public domain

1804: Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of some truly scary fiction.
Mr Hawthorne. Public domain.

 I read The Scarlet Letter when I was in my teens. I believe he added the "w" to his name because he really didn't want to be related to John Hathorne, the only Salem Witch Trials judge who never repented. I see he also lived, at one stage, in a house formerly occupied by the Alcotts, as in the family of Louisa May, author of Little Women.

1927: The amazing playwright Neil Simon, whose comedies, such as The Odd Couple, have delighted us for a long time. Amelia's Dad, my brother Maurice, will be delighted to hear that, as he's a great fan.

Happy birthday, dearest Amelia! All those fireworks are for you.

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