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Ten Quotes from Amy Tan

By Adrienne Rivera. Feb 19, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature

First generation American writer Amy Tan was born In Oakland, California on February 19, 1952 to Chinese immigrant parents. She studied at San Jose State University where she received both her BA and Masters degree. She pursued a doctoral degree at UC Berkley but eventually dropped out. Before breaking out as a writer, she worked a variety of jobs, including switchboard operator, pizza chef, and bartender. In 1989, Tan published her first novel, The Joy Luck Club, and she became an immediate and massive success. Her book was adapted into a hit film in 1993. Like much of her body of work, this first novel was partially inspired by her real life experiences: the interaction between a Chinese mother and her American daughter and the burden of family tragedy.

     
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Six Books About Love (From Authors Who Aren't Your Typical Romance Writers)

By Kristin Masters. Feb 14, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature

Valentine's Day is upon us, and while modern day readers often associate authors like Nicholas Sparks and Nora Roberts with romance, these writers aren't the only ones to deliver tales of love and passion. Here's a look at a few authors who aren't your typical romance writers, but who have written delightful, poignant love stories. 

     
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Five Legendary Authors Who Wrote Through Their Experiences with Cancer

By Brian Hoey. Feb 4, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature

“Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify as citizens of that other place.”

These are the opening lines of Susan Sontag’s seminal exploration of cancer’s mythology in modern life, Illness as Metaphor (1978). The book’s most enduring impact has been to shed light on the victim-blaming nature of many of the narratives that surround the disease, but her opening bout of lyricism reminds us of a much more obvious truth: that cancer and other illnesses don’t just touch, but envelope our lives, whether through our own experiences or the experiences of loved ones. For World Cancer Day, let’s take a look at some of the authors whose experiences with cancer have yielded important works of literature. 

     
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Isabel Allende: The Interesting Life of a "Raging Feminist"

By Ellie Koczela. Jan 24, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Awarded Books, Literature

“She sowed in my mind the idea that reality is not only what we see on the surface; it has a magical dimension as well and, if we so desire, it is legitimate to enhance it and color it to make our journey through life less trying.” ~Isabel Allende, Eva Luna

Isabel Allende once said she “didn’t want a happy life but an interesting one.” Raised in Peru, Chile, Lebanon, and Bolivia, and eventually forced into exile when her cousin, Salvador Allende, was deposed as President of Chile, it is safe to say that she is achieving her goal. 

     
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A Brief History of Bram Stoker and His Horror Classic, Dracula

By Lauren Corba. Oct 31, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Horror, Literature

In the history of the horror novel, some works have come alive in popular imagination. One of these is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818); almost everyone is familiar with the plot regardless of whether they've read the book. Bram Stoker’s Dracula is similarly ubiquitous. Although Stoker did not invent the vampire legend, his classic work has defined and popularized the myth across continents and generations.

We all know who Dracula is, but what about Stoker? Who was the man who made "vampire" a household name?

     
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Harold Pinter: Playwright, Actor, Cricketeer, Nobel Prize Winner

This month, we celebrate Harold Pinter, whose varied career spanned over fifty years. Born on October 10, 1930, the Nobel laureate was more than a legendary writer. He was also a political activist, actor, director, and cricketeer.      
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Happy Birthday, Oscar Wilde!

By Adrienne Rivera. Oct 16, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Literature, Drama

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wilde was born on October 16, 1854 and today marks the 164th anniversary of his birth. The writer was schooled first in his native Dublin, then later at Oxford where he began to subscribe to the fledgling school of thought known as aestheticism, a philosophy he would adhere to for the rest of his life. He became a sort of aestheticism poster boy, writing in a variety of genres, from poetry and novels to plays and journalism. Wilde even spent some time lecturing in the United States on the subject as well as the tangentially-related topic of interior decorating, a turn which might seem odd at the outset but actually jives quite well with Wilde's notable, larger-than-life persona.

     
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Seven Women Authors Who Used Male Pseudonyms

By Adrienne Rivera. Oct 9, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature

It's no secret that writers often publish under pseudonyms. Sometimes it's to preserve a personal identity separate from their literary persona. Other times it is to create a distinct brand from one genre to another, like Nora Roberts publishing romance novels under one name and her murder mysteries as J.D. Robb. Stephen King did it when he released his novel under the name Richard Bachman to prove that his success wasn't a fluke and that he could succeed whether or not he used his famous name. Anne Rice has published under her own name, as A.N. Roquelaure, and as Anne Rampling after suffering some backlash over some of her early novels not being initially well received. Daniel Handler wrote his famous Series of Unfortunate Events as Lemony Snickett in order to insert the narrator as a character.

Historically, many women have chosen to use pseudonyms. Due to sexism in the publishing industry, they hoped that a male or gender neutral name could help them succeed in a male-dominated field and world. Some of the most important books in all of literature were written by women who felt they could not publish under their own names. The following seven women writers have each published work under a male or ambiguous name.

     
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The Controversial, Visionary Authorship of Susan Sontag

By Kristin Masters. Sep 27, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Literature

Born Susan Rosenblatt on January 16, 1933 in New York City, Susan Sontag would grow up to be not only an author, but also a critic, scholar, and activist. She began and ended her writing career with fiction; in between she traveled to war zones and contemplated the changing face of art.

     
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Lesser Known Facts About The Publication of Harry Potter

By Leah Dobrinska. Sep 1, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature, Movie Tie-Ins

Two decades ago, “the boy who lived” soared across the ocean and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone made its way into the hands of American readers for the first time. Now, twenty years later, almost everyone knows the stories, and the beloved characters from the Harry Potter series feel like old friends. Many of us know the history of J.K. Rowlings’ writing process, and how she went from single mother, struggling to make ends meet, to literary superstar. Most readers of the Harry Potter Generation can identify the books by their cover art, even by their color schemes. But what are some of the lesser known facts about the Harry Potter series, particularly the first and subsequent U.S. editions in comparison to their U.K. counterparts? In honor of the twentieth publication anniversary of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, here are some pieces of Harry Potter trivia that’ll help you ace even the most challenging “History of Magic” exam.

     
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