May 7 & 8 in book history

This post is part of a series.

Today we are celebrating my birthday, and tomorrow, Husband’s. I thought I would turn to Tom Nissley’s A Reader’s Book of Days to see what exciting things have happened on these two auspicious dates.

reader's book of daysFor myself on May 7 I am mostly disappointed (in my ignorance, I suppose). Born on this date were Gene Wolfe (The Book of the New Sun) and Peter Carey (Oscar and Lucinda). I vaguely remember a movie adaptation of the second, I think. Died on this date were Sir James George Frazer (The Golden Bough) and Clement Greenberg (“Avant-Garde and Kitsch”). These are all mysterious to me. In events there are mentions of Camus, Faulkner (bleh), Herman Wouk, and Ginsberg.

Tomorrow, May 8, Husband’s day, does slightly better. Thomas Pynchon (Gravity’s Rainbow, etc.) shares his birthday, and we lost both Flaubert (the book offers Sentimental Education for him, but I would say Madame Bovary!) and just recently & sadly, Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen). There is also a Hunger Games reference & others, but most importantly – and again sadly – May 8 was the day on which Ed Ricketts was hit by a train and received injuries that would end his life. Ricketts was John Steinbeck’s co-author for Sea of Cortez, which waits on my shelf for me to find time for it; and he inspired the character of Doc in Cannery Row, a book that moved me deeply in Mrs. Smith’s high school English class.

Hm, sad things for these birthdays. Sorry about the downers, friends. Have some birthday cake!

4 Responses

  1. Have a great Birthday you and your husband. I must get a copy of Tom Nissley’s book.

  2. when you read Sea of Cortez, make sure you read the version you really want to….this one includes the eulogy to Ricketts
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Log_from_the_Sea_of_Cortez

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