Things that happened:
837: Halley's Comet makes its closest approach to Earth. No doubt there were a lot of people seeing it as an omen, but we're still here, so that's okay. Wish I could time travel to one of the years when it was nice and bright; the only time it appeared in my lifetime, it was a disappointment. You had to know where to look and you needed help - I found it with a strong pair of binoculars.
1912: The Titanic leaves port on its maiden voyage. Oh, dear...
1925: Publication of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby. Nuff said!
1970: Paul McCartney announces he's leaving the Beatles. Sniff!
1972: American bombers start bombing North Vietnam. Not connected with things on this blog, but you can't leave out the Vietnam war.
1972: In Shandong Province, China, discovery of tombs and guess what? Some had books in them! One was a copy of Sun Tzu's Art Of War. I have to cheer for people who wanted to take their libraries to the afterlife. I know how they feel.
1778: William Hazlitt, artist and writer of essays and criticism. He's still quoted quite a lot.
1827: Lew Wallace: Author of Ben-Hur. I've actually read this one. If you're a Christian, it's a Sunday school lesson, but I'm not, so I got to enjoy the adventure. If you ever read this, get past the first chapter, a rambling description of a place and a bunch of shepherds - it starts with the journey of the Three Kings. Once you get to Ben-Hur himself, it improves. Lew Wallace lived long enough to see his novel become a huge hit and a Broadway play. The first version of the film, which I've seen, was ten minutes long, with a cast of dozens, ending with the chariot race. It was interesting in that it was made without permission and ended up leading to some of the copyright laws we writers enjoy today(for whatever good it does in these days of free illegal downloads!). Thank you, Lew!
1880: Montague Summers, author of a classic book on the history of witchcraft that has had a lot of influence on how people have seen witches. Probably just as well he wasn't around in the days when you could burn or hang witches! Still, he also edited a lot of Restoration plays, including those of Aphra Behn, and got them performed for the first time in ages, so we owe him.
1934: Richard Peck, YA novelist. I think I may have read some of his fiction, but it has been a long time. We do have some of his books in my library. Happy 80th birthday, Richard!
1957: John M. Ford - dead, alas! - author of one of my favourite novels, The Dragon Waiting, an alternative universe version of the story of Richard III. Also, he did two Star Trek novels, one of which established a version of Klingon culture that was enthusiastically embraced by many Trek fans, including a lot of my friends, who used it in their costuming, role play and fan fiction and drove me nuts! But the book was good.
Holy Days/Feast Days
I simply must mention that today is the Feast Day of William of Ockham(1287-1347), creator of Occam's Razor, which boils down to, when there are two explanations for something, go for the simpler one.
Finally, sadly, it's the anniversary of the passing of Peter Jones, who was the Voice of The Book in Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy(2000), and of Sue Townsend(2014), author of the delightful Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole. I never read any of the sequels and the original is a bit dated now, but worth reading.
Have I missed anyone or any event you want mentioned? There are plenty out there, but only so many I can put on a blog post and easy to miss.