Dorothy Parker (August 22nd, 1893 – June 7th, 1967) was an American poet, short story writer and satirist, best remembered for her wit and wisecracks.
Born in New Jersey, Parker had an unhappy childhood, leading to a long and unhappy relationship with her own father. She first became well known in 1918 when she stepped in for P. G Wodehouse writing theatre criticism for Vanity Fair. While her caustic wit was popular with readers, she was eventually terminated after her criticisms began to offend powerful theatre producers.
During the 1920s, Parker released some of her best and well known work, publishing three hundred poems and free verses. Her first volume of poetry, Enough Rope was published in 1926, selling 47,000 copies and garnering impressive reviews. She couldn’t impress everyone, however and a New York Times review dismissed her work as flapper verse.
That aside, Dorothy Parker is still remembered today for her dazzling wit, caustic poetry, and honest humour written from a female perspective showing she was way ahead of her time.
“Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.”
“That would be a good thing for them to cut on my tombstone: Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment.”
“By the time you swear you’re his,
Shivering and sighing.
And he vows his passion is,
Lady make note of this —
One of you is lying.”
“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”
“I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I’m under the table,
after four I’m under my host.”
“Tell him I was too fucking busy– or vice versa.”
“It serves me right for putting all my eggs in one bastard.”
They hail you as their morning star
Because you are the way you are.
If you return the sentiment,
They’ll try to make you different;
And once they have you, safe and sound,
They want to change you all around.
Your moods and ways they put a curse on;
They’d make of you another person.
They cannot let you go your gait;
They influence and educate.
They’d alter all that they admired.
They make me sick, they make me tired.”
“If all the girls attending [the Yale prom] were laid end to end, I wouldn’t be at all surprised.”
“When I was young and bold and strong,
The right was right, the wrong was wrong.
With plume on high and flag unfurled,
I rode away to right the world.
But now I’m old – and good and bad,
Are woven in a crazy plaid.
I sit and say the world is so,
And wise is s/he who lets it go.”
Kafka was a shy and introverted character, and an avid reader. He considered writers such as Dostoyevsky, Flaubert, and Heinrich Von Kleist to be “true blood brothers”. Kafka’s father expected him to take over the family goods business, however, after completing a degree in Law he worked for insurance companies, and started an asbestos factory with an acquaintance. He claimed to despise working just to pay bills and would much rather have spent his time writing. Illness plagued him through his adult life, with complications arising from tuberculosis keeping him from joining the military.
Her curiosity and interest in rural life bled into her quaint and sweet stories, accompanied by beautifully detailed images of anthropomorphised field mice and other hedgerow creatures. Her Brambly Hedge stories were adored by many children growing up in the 80s and 90s from her first book ‘A Spring Story’ (1980) to ‘A Year in Brambly Hedge’ (2010). Her work was made into an animation in 1996, voiced by two British treasures- Jim Broadbent and June Whitfield.
After a long illness Jill died, aged 66, on November 16th 2017. The publisher’s staff at HarperCollins were all deeply saddened at the news of Barklem’s death. “Her exquisite Brambly Hedge stories have enchanted children and many adult admirers across the world for more than 35 years. Jill was a lovely person with a rare talent to turn her astute observation of the English countryside into an enchanting miniature world,” she said. “Her enduring stories about the mice of Brambly Hedge remain as beautiful today as when she first created them and will continue to be treasured by future generations.”
Eric Blair had worked at the BBC as a producer for the “Empire Service” over 70 years ago and some suggest that it is this time at the BBC that gave him the inspiration for room 101, in his now famous novel 1984 which he penned under the more familiar name George Orwell.
An early feminist, Lessing was awarded with the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2007, described by the Swedish Academy as “that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny”. When met on the street by journalists and told she had won the prize, she responded “Oh, Christ!”. Read More
Achebe lived a fascinating life, growing up in South-Eastern Nigeria. He excelled at school and won a scholarship to study medicine but changed his studies to English Literature at University College, Ibadan. It was here he began writing stories, eventually gaining worldwide attention for his works. Read More
“He was working on it very shortly before he died,” said Bond’s daughter, Karen Jankel. “It hadn’t been illustrated, but it was there in manuscript form, and it’s lovely … He kept that magic touch right until the end. He always had to be writing, it was always his way, right through his life.” Read More
Despite being written over 200 years ago, the Jane Austen classics are still as popular as ever today. Her social commentary, wit, and love stories seem to still capture people’s imaginations.
Jane Austen fans will take great pleasure in perusing this list of goodies. It has something for everyone…