Dean Koontz

American horror and science fiction author Dean Koontz was born July 9, 1945 in Everett, Pennsylvania. he was regularly beaten and abused by his alcoholic father, which influenced his later writing, as also did the courage of his physically diminutive mother in standing up to her husband” In his senior year at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, he won a fiction competition sponsored by Atlantic Monthly magazine. After graduation in 1967, he went to work as an English teacher at Mechanicsburg High School in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. In the 1960s, Koontz worked for the Appalachian Poverty Program, a federally funded initiative designed to help poor children.

During his spare time, he wrote his first novel, Star Quest, which was published in 1968. Koontz went on to write over a dozen science fiction novels. Seeing the Catholic faith as a contrast to the chaos in his family, Koontz converted in college because it gave him answers for his life, admiring its intellectual rigor and saying it permits a view of life that sees mystery and wonder in all things He says he sees Catholicism as English writer and Catholic convert G.K. Chesterton did: that it encourages a “joy about the gift of life”Koontz says that spirituality has always been part of his books, as are grace and our struggle as fallen souls

In the 1970s, Koontz began writing suspense and horror fiction, both under his own name and several pseudonyms, sometimes publishing up to eight books a year. Koontz has stated that he began using pen names after several editors convinced him that authors who switched back and forth between different genres invariably fell victim to “negative crossover” (alienating established fans and simultaneously failing to pick up any new ones). Known pseudonyms used by Koontz during his career include Deanna Dwyer, K. R. Dwyer, Aaron Wolfe, David Axton, Brian Coffey, John Hill, Leigh Nichols, Owen West, Richard Paige and Anthony North. As Brian Coffey he wrote the “Mike Tucker” trilogy [Blood Risk, Surrounded, Wall of Masks] in acknowledged tribute to the Parker novels of Richard Stark (Donald E. Westlake). Many of Koontz’s pseudonymous novels are now available under his real name. Many others remain suppressed by Koontz, who bought back the rights to ensure they could not be republished; he has, on occasion, said that he might revise some for re-publication, but only 3 have appeared – Demon Seed and Invasion were both heavily rewritten before they were republished, and Prison of Ice had certain sections bowdlerised.

After writing full-time for more than ten years, Koontz’s breakthrough novel was Whispers. The two books before that, The Key to Midnight and The Funhouse, were written under pen names. His very first bestseller was Demon Seed, the sales of which picked up after the release of the film of the same name in 1977, and sold over two million copies in one year. From 1979 on, Koontz’s books regularly became paperback bestsellers. His first hardcover bestseller, was Strangers. Since then, 12 hardcovers and 13 paperbacks written by Koontz have reached #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List. In 1997 psychologist Katherine Ramsland published an extensive biography of Koontz based on interviews with him and his family. This this often showed the conception of Koontz’s characters and plots from events in his own life Many of his novels are set in and around Orange County, California.

One of Dean Koontz’s pen names was inspired by his dog, Trixie Koontz, a golden retriever, shown in many of his book-jacket photos. Trixie originally was a service dog with Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), a charitable organization that provides service dogs for people with disabilities Trixie was a gift from CCI in gratitude of Koontz’s substantial donations, totaling $2,500,000 between 1991 and 2004. Koontz was taken with the charity while he was researching his novel Midnight, which included a black Labrador retriever, named Moose. In 2004 Koontz wrote and edited Life Is Good: Lessons in Joyful Living in her name, and in 2005 Koontz wrote a second book credited to Trixie, Christmas Is Good. Both books are written from a supposed canine perspective on the joys of life with royalties being donated to CCI. Sadly In 2007 Trixie contracted terminal cancer that created a tumor in her heart. The Koontzes had her put to sleep outside their family home on June 30. Following Trixie’s death Koontz continued writing on his website under Trixie’s names in “TOTOS”, standing for Trixie on the Other Side. Trixie was also the inspiration for The Darkest Evening of the Year, about a woman who runs a golden retriever rescue home, and who rescues a ‘special’ dog, named Nickie, who eventually saves her life. In August 2009 Koontz published “A Big Little Life,” a memoir of his life with Trixie. In October 2008 Koontz revealed that he had adopted a new dog, Anna. It eventually was learned that Anna was the grandniece of Trixie. Sadly Anna died on May 22, 2016 so Koontz then adopted a new dog, Elsa, on July 11, 2016. As of 2006 Koontz lives in Pelican Hills on the Newport Coast, California with his wife, Gerda (Cerra). In 2008 he was ranked the world’s sixth most highly paid author, tied with John Grisham, at $25 million annually.

Many of Dean Koontz’s novels have been adapted for film and Television including Odd Thomas, starring Anton Yelchin, Frankenstein; starring Adam Goldberg, Parker Posey, Michael Madsen, Vincent Perez, and Thomas Kretschmann, Black River; starring Jay Mohr, and Stephen Tobolowsky, Sole Survivor; starring Billy Zane, John C. McGinley, and Gloria Reuben, Watchers Reborn; starring Mark Hamill, Phantoms (1998); starring Peter O’Toole, Ben Affleck, Rose McGowan, and Joanna Going. Mr. Murder; starring Stephen Baldwin, Thomas Haden Church, and James Coburn. Intensity; starring John C. McGinley, Molly Parker, and Piper Laurie. Hideaway; starring Jeff Goldblum, Christine Lahti, Jeremy Sisto, and Alicia Silverstone. Watchers 3; starring Wings Hauser. Servants of Twilight starring Bruce Greenwood. The Face of Fear starring Pam Dawber and Lee Horsley. Watchers II; starring Marc Singer and Tracy Scoggins. Whispers; starring Victoria Tennant, Chris Sarandon, and Jean LeClere. The Passengers starring Jean-Louis Trintignant (French film adaptation of Koontz’s novel Shattered) and Demon Seed; starring Julie Christie, Fritz Weaver, and Robert Vaughn as the voice of Proteus.

Dame Barbara Cartland DBE CstJ

Prolific Best -selling Romantic Author Dame Barbara Cartland, DBE, CStJ was born 9 July 1901 in Edgbaston, Birmingham. She attended The Alice Ottley School, Malvern Girls’ College, and Abbey House, an educational institution in Hampshire, Cartland soon became successful as a society reporter and writer of romantic fiction. Cartland admitted she was inspired in her early work by the novels of Edwardian author Elinor Glyn, whom she idolized and eventually befriended.

She worked as a gossip columnist for the TheDaily Express before publishing her first novel, Jigsaw in 1922, a risqué society thriller that became a bestseller. She also began writing and producing somewhat racy plays, one of which, Blood Money (1926), was banned by the Lord Chamberlain’s Office. In the 1920s and 1930s Cartland was a prominent young hostess in London society, noted for her beauty, energetic charm and daring parties. Her fashion sense also had a part and she was one of the first clients of designer Norman Hartnell, remaining a client until he died in 1979. He made her presentation and wedding dresses; the latter was made to her own design against Hartnell’s wishes and she admitted it was a failure.

In 1950, Cartland was accused of plagiarism by author Georgette Heyer, after a reader drew her attention to the apparent borrowing of Heyer’s character names, character traits, dialogue and plot points in Cartland’s early historical romances. In particular, A Hazard of Hearts (1949), which replicated characters (including names) from Heyer’s Friday’s Child and The Knave of Hearts (1950) which, Heyer alleged, “the conception, the principal characters, and many of the incidents, derive directly from an early book of my own, entitled These Old Shades, first published in 1926. For minor situations and other characters she has drawn upon four of my other novels.” Heyer completed a detailed analysis of the alleged plagiarisms for her solicitors, but the case never came to court.

Aside from writing numerous romantic novels, Cartland also wrote under her married name of Barbara McCorquodale. Cartland saw herself as a self-appointed “expert” on romance and although her first novels were considered sensational, her social views gradually became more conservative. This drew some ridicule in her later years, as Cartland’s later titles were comparatively tame with virginal heroines and few, if any, suggestive situations. Almost all of Cartland’s later books were historical in theme. Despite their tame story lines, Barbara Cartland’s later novels were highly successful. By 1983 she rated the longest entry in the British Who’s Who (though most of that article was a list of her books), and was named the top-selling author in the world by the Guinness World Records. In the mid-1990s, by which time she had sold over a billion books, Vogue called her “the true Queen of Romance”. She became a mainstay of the popular media in her trademark pink dresses and plumed hats, discoursing on matters of love, marriage, politics, religion, health, and fashion. She was publicly opposed to the removal of prayer from state schools and spoke against infidelity and divorce, although she admitted to being acquainted with both of these moral failings.

Cartland also took an interest in the early gliding movement. Although aerotowing for launching gliders first occurred in Germany, she thought of long-distance tows in 1931 and did a 200-mile (360 km) tow in a two-seater glider. The idea led to troop-carrying gliders. In 1984, she was awarded the Bishop Wright Air Industry Award for this contribution. She regularly attended Brooklands aerodrome and motor-racing circuit during the 1920s and ’30s, and the Brooklands Museum has preserved a sitting-room from that era and named it after her.

Dame Barbara Cartland sadly died 21 May 2000 however she holds the Guinness World Record for the most novels written in a single year after having written 23 novels in 1976. Cartland released An Album of Love Songs in 1983 which featured Cartland performing a series of popular standards with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, including “I’ll Follow My Secret Heart” and “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square. She wrote more than 700 books, as well as plays, music, verse, drama, magazine articles and operetta Her 723 novels have been translated into 36 different languages, and she reportedly sold more than 750 million copies. Other sources estimate her book sales at more than 2 billion copies. She specialised in 19th-century Victorian era pure romance. Her novels all featured portrait style artwork, particularly the cover art. As head of Cartland Promotions she also became one of London’s most prominent society figures and one of Britain’s most popular media personalities.

Kenneth Grahame

Scottish Writer Kenneth Grahame sadly passed away 6 July 1932. He is best known for writing The Wind in the Willows and the Reluctant Dragon; both books were later adapted for film and Television. Kenneth Grahame was born on 8 March (1859) in Edinburgh, Scotland. When he was a little more than a year old, his father, an advocate, received an appointment as sheriff-substitute in Argyllshire at Inveraray on Loch Fyne. Kenneth loved the sea and was happy there, but when he was 5, his mother died from complications of childbirth, and his father, who had a drinking problem, gave over care of Kenneth, his brother Willie, his sister Helen and the new baby Roland to Granny Ingles, the children’s grandmother, in Cookham Dean in the village of Cookham in Berkshire. There the children lived in a spacious, if dilapidated, home, “The Mount”, on spacious grounds in idyllic surroundings, and were introduced to the riverside and boating by their uncle, David Ingles, curate at Cookham Dean church. This delightful ambiance, particularly Quarry Wood and the River Thames, is believed, to have inspired the setting for The Wind in the Willows.

He was an outstanding pupil at St Edward’s School in Oxford. During his early years at St. Edwards, a sports regimen had not been established and the boys had freedom to explore the old city with its quaint shops, historic buildings, and cobblestone streets, St Giles’ Fair, the idyllic upper reaches of the River Thames, and the nearby countryside.Grahame wanted to attend Oxford University, but was not allowed to do so by his guardian on grounds of cost. Instead he was sent to work at the Bank of England in 1879, and rose through the ranks until retiring as its Secretary in 1908 due to ill health, which may have been precipitated by a strange, possibly political, shooting incident at the bank in 1903. Grahame was shot at three times, all of them missed. While still a young man in his 20s, Grahame began to publish light stories in London periodicals such as the St. James Gazette. Some of these stories were collected and published as Pagan Papers in 1893, and, two years later, The Golden Age. These were followed by Dream Days in 1898, which contains The Reluctant Dragon.Grahame married Elspeth Thomson in 1899; they had only one child, a boy named Alastair (whose nickname was “Mouse”) born blind in one eye and plagued by health problems throughout his short life.

On Grahame’s retirement, they returned to Cookham where he had lived as a child, and lived at “Mayfield”, now Herries Preparatory School, whewhere he had been brought up and spent his time by the River Thames doing much as the animal characters in his book do—namely, as one of the most famous phrases from the book says, “simply messing about in boats”—and wrote down the bed-time stories he had been telling his son Alistair. Tragically Alastair eventually committed suicide on a railway track while an undergraduate at Oxford University, two days before his 20th birthday on 7 May 1920. Out of respect for Kenneth Grahame, Alastair’s demise was recorded as an accidental death. Kenneth Grahame died in Pangbourne, Berkshire, on 6 July 1932. He is buried in Holywell Cemetery, Oxford. Grahame’s cousin Anthony Hope, also a successful author, wrote his epitaph, which reads: “To the beautiful memory of Kenneth Grahame, husband of Elspeth and father of Alastair, who passed the river on the 6th of July, 1932, leaving childhood and literature through him the more blest for all time”

The Wind in the Willows focuses on the adventures of four anthropomorphous animal characters in a pastoral version of England. It is notable for its mixture of mysticism, adventure, morality, and camaraderie and celebrated for its evocation of the nature of the Thames valley. The story starts during Spring, when Mole, decides to do a bit of spring cleaning but gets bored so he sets out to enjoy the sunshine and take in the air above ground instead. He ends up at the river, which he has never seen before and meets Ratty (a water Vole), who at this time of year spends all his days in, on and close by the river. Rat takes Mole for a ride in his rowing boat. They get along well and spend many more days boating, with Rat teaching Mole the ways of the river. One summer day shortly thereafter, Rat and Mole find themselves near the grand Toad Hall and pay a visit to their incorrigible friend Toad.

Toad is rich (having inherited wealth from his father): jovial, friendly and kind-hearted but aimless and conceited, he regularly becomes obsessed with current fads, only to abandon them as quickly as he took them up. Having only recently given up boating, Toad’s current craze is his horse-drawn caravan. In fact, he is about to go on a trip, and persuades the reluctant Rat and willing Mole to join him. The following day (after Toad has already tired of the realities of camp life and sleeps-in to avoid chores), a passing motor car scares the horse, causing the caravan to overturn into a ditch. Rat threatens to have the law on the motor car drivers, Toad however now decides he now wants a Motor Car. The three animals journey to the nearest police station to make a complaint against the reckless drivers and then to a blacksmith to retrieve and mend the caravan. However Toad makes no effort to help mend the caravan and decides to order himself a motor car instead.

Mole wants to meet the respected but elusive Badger, who lives deep in the Wild Wood, but Rat -knowing that Badger does not appreciate visits – refuses to take him, telling Mole to be patient and wait and Badger will pay them a visit himself. Nevertheless, on a snowy winter’s day, whilst the seasonally somnolent Ratty dozes unaware, Mole impulsively goes to the Wild Wood to explore, hoping to meet Badger. He gets lost in the woods, sees many “evil faces” among the wood’s less-welcoming denizens, succumbs to fright and panic and hides, trying to stay warm, amongst the sheltering roots of a tree. Rat, upon awakening and finding Mole gone, guesses his mission from the direction of Mole’s tracks and, equipping himself with a pistol and a stout stick, goes in search, finding him as snow begins to fall in earnest.

Attempting to find their way home, Rat and Mole quite literally stumble across Badger’s home, and, warmly welcomes Rat and Mole to his large and cosy underground home and hastens to give them hot food and dry clothes. Badger learns from his visitors that Toad has crashed six cars, has been hospitalised three times, and has spent a fortune on fines. So they decide to protect Toad from himself. Upon the arrival of spring, Badger visits Mole and Rat to do something about Toad’s self-destructive obsession. The three of them go to visit Toad, and Badger tries to make him see sense eventually putting Toad under house arrest, with themselves as the guards, until Toad changes his mind. Feigning illness, Toad manages to escape, steals a car, drives recklessly, accidentally crashes and gets arrested by the police and sent to prison for twenty-years.

During Toad’s absence Badger and Mole look after Toad Hall in the hope that Toad may return. Meanwhile in prison, Toad gains the sympathy of the Jailer’s Daughter who helps him to escape disguised as a washerwoman and he comes across a horse-drawn barge, whose Owner offers him a lift in exchange for Toad’s services as a “washer woman”. However This does not go well and Toad finds himself tossed into the canal although he manages to steal the barge horse, which he then sells to a gypsy, Before flagging down a passing car, which happens to be the very one which he stole earlier. The car owners, not recognizing Toad disguised as a washerwoman, permit him to drive their car.

Unfortunately Once behind the wheel, Toad gets road rage and drives recklessly before declaring his true identity to the outraged passengers who try to stop him. This causes an accident, and Toad flees once more. Pursued by police, he runs accidentally into a river, which carries him by sheer chance to the house of the Water Rat. Toad now hears from Rat that Toad Hall has been taken over by weasels, stoats and ferrets from the Wild Wood, who have driven out its former custodians, Mole and Badger. So Badger formulates a plan to drive the unsuspecting weasels out while they are holding a party in honour of their leader, and reclaim Toad Hall.

Hilary Mantel

English novelist Dame Hilary Mary Mantel, DBE, FRSL née Thompson was born 6 July 1952 in Glossop Derbyshire. She grew up in the mill village of Hadfield. She attended St Charles local Roman Catholic primary school. Her parents separated and she did not see her father after age eleven. The family minus her father, but with Jack Mantel (1932-1995) who by now had moved in with them, relocated to Romiley, Cheshire, and Jack became her unofficial stepfather. She took her de-facto stepfather’s surname legally. She has explored her family background, the mainspring of much of her fiction, in her memoir, Giving Up the Ghost (2003). She attended Harrytown Convent in Romiley, Cheshire. In 1970, she began her studies at the London School of Economics to read law but transferred to the University of Sheffield and graduated as Bachelor of Jurisprudence in 1973.

After university, Mantel worked in the social work department of a geriatric hospital and then as a sales assistant in a department store. In 1972, she married Gerald McEwen, a geologist. In 1974, she began writing a novel about the French Revolution, which was later published as A Place of Greater Safety. In 1977, Mantel moved to Botswana with her husband. Later, they spent four years in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. She published a memoir of this time, Someone to Disturb, in the London Review of Books. McEwen gave up geology to manage his wife’s business affairs.They divorced, but remarried a couple of years later.

Her first novel, Every Day is Mother’s Day, was published in 1985, and its sequel, Vacant Possession, a year later. After returning to England, she became the film critic of The Spectator and a reviewer for a number of papers and magazines in Britain and the United States. Her novel Eight Months on Ghazzah Street (1988), which drew on her first-hand experience in Saudi Arabia, uses a threatening clash of values between the neighbours in a city apartment block to explore the tensions between Muslim culture and the liberal West. Her Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize-winning novel Fludd is set in 1956 in a fictitious northern village called Fetherhoughton, centring on a Roman Catholic church and a convent. A mysterious stranger brings about transformations in the lives of those around him.

Her second novel, A Place of Greater Safety (1992) won the Sunday Express Book of the Year award, for which her two previous books had been shortlisted. A long and historically accurate novel, it traces the career of three French revolutionaries, Danton, Robespierre and Camille Desmoulins, from childhood to their early deaths during the Reign of Terror of 1794. Her third novel, A Change of Climate (1994), set in rural Norfolk, explores the lives of Ralph and Anna Eldred, as they raise their four children and devote their lives to charity. It includes chapters about their early married life as missionaries in South Africa, when they were imprisoned and deported to Bechuanaland, and the tragedy that occurred there. Her fourth novel, An Experiment in Love (1996), won the Hawthornden Prize, takes place over two university terms in 1970. It follows the progress of three girls – two friends and one enemy – as they leave home and attend university in London. Margaret Thatcher makes a cameo appearance in this novel, which explores women’s appetites and ambitions, and suggests how they are often thwarted. Though Mantel has used material from her own life, it is not an autobiographical novel.

Her next book, The Giant, O’Brien (1998), is set in the 1780s, and is based on the true story of Charles O’Brien or Byrne, who came to London to earn money by displaying himself as a freak. His bones hang today in the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons. The novel treats O’Brien and his antagonist, the Scots surgeon John Hunter, less as characters in history than as mythic protagonists in a dark and violent fairytale, necessary casualties of the Age of Enlightenment. She adapted the book for BBC Radio 4, in a play starring Alex Norton (as Hunter) and Frances Tomelty.

In 2003, Mantel published her memoir, Giving Up the Ghost, which won the MIND ‘Book of the Year’ award. That same year she brought out a collection of short stories, Learning To Talk. All the stories deal with childhood and, taken together, the books show how the events of a life are mediated as fiction. Her 2005 novel, Beyond Black, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. Set in the years around the second millennium, it features a professional medium, Alison Hart, whose calm and jolly exterior conceals grotesque psychic damage. She trails around with her a troupe of ‘fiends’, who are invisible but always on the verge of becoming flesh.

In 2009 Mantel Published the novel Wolf Hall, about Henry VIII’s minister Thomas Cromwell.Set in England in the period from 1500 to 1535, Wolf Hall (which is named after the Seymour family seat of Wolfhall or Wulfhall near Burbage, just outside of Marlborough, Wiltshire, is a fictionalized biography which follows the exploits of Thomas Cromwell, who rises from humble beginnings as the son of a brutal blacksmith in the slums of Putney to become a mercenary, merchant and member of Parliament finally becoming the right-hand man of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, adviser to the King, After surviving Wolsey’s fall from grace Cromwell eventually takes his place as the most powerful of Henry’s ministers, during this time he oversaw Henry’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon and subsequent marriage to Anne Boleyn, was present during the religious upheavals of the Protestant reformation, the English church’s break with Rome and the dissolution of the monasteries. The story exposes the political machinations of Henry’s court and the vicious realities of the court of Henry VIII, Cromwell’s manipulation of the king and the court and how he re-shaped English politics and the balance of power. The story has more betrayals, affairs, alliances and scheming than a soap opera and also shows the nation on the brink of disaster and the very real threat of civil war looming large because the ageing king has no male heir.

The book won that year’s Man Booker Prize and Mantel was presented with a trophy and a £50,000 cash prize during an evening ceremony at the London Guildhall, by a panel of judges, led by the broadcaster James Naughtie, and On receiving the prize, Mantel said that she would spend the prize money on “sex and drugs and rock’ n’ roll”. The sequel to Wolf Hall, called Bring Up the Bodies, was published in May 2012 to wide acclaim. It won the 2012 Costa Book of the Year and the 2012 Man Booker Prize; Mantel thus became the first British writer and the first woman to win the Man Booker Prize more than once. following in the footsteps of J. M. Coetzee, Peter Carey and J. G. Farrell (who posthumously won the Lost Man Booker Prize). The third novel of the Thomas Cromwell trilogy, is called The Mirror and the Light. Mantel is also working on a short non-fiction book called The Woman Who Died of Robespierre, about the Polish playwright Stanisława Wolf Hall was also made into a Television series starring Bernard Hill (Theoden) as the Duke of Norfolk. Mantel also writes reviews and essays, mainly for The Guardian, the London Review of Books and the New York Review of Books. The Culture Show programme on BBC Two also profiled Mantel In 2011.

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis carroll

English author Lewis Carroll ( Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) told Alice Liddell and her sisters a story that would eventually form the basis for his book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland In a rowing boat on the River Thames from Oxford to Godstow, On July 4 1862.. which was subsequently published 4 July 1865. The journey began at Folly Bridge near Oxford and ended five miles away in the village Godstow. During the trip Dodgson told the girls a story that featured a bored little girl named Alice who goes looking for an adventure. The girls loved it, and Alice Liddell asked Dodgson to write it down for her. He began writing the manuscript of the story the next day, although that earliest version no longer exists. The girls and Dodgson took another boat trip a month later when he elaborated the plot to the story of Alice, and in November he began working on the manuscript in earnest. It tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures. The tale plays with logic, giving the story lasting popularity with adults as well as with children.It is considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre. Its narrative course and structure, characters and imagery have been enormously influential in both popular culture and literature, especially in the fantasy genre.

The novel starts with Alice feeling bored and drowsy while sitting on the riverbank with her elder sister who is reading a book with no pictures or conversations. She then notices a talking, clothed White Rabbit with a pocket watch run past. She follows it down a rabbit hole when suddenly she falls a long way to a curious hall with many locked doors of all sizes. She finds a small key to a door too small for her to fit through, but through it she sees an attractive garden. She then discovers a bottle on a table labelled “DRINK ME,” the contents of which cause her to shrink too small to reach the key which she has left on the table. She eats a cake with “EAT ME” written on it in currants.

After eating the cake Alice grows alarmingly and her head hits the ceiling. Alice starts crying and her tears flood the hallway. After shrinking down again Alice swims through her own tears and meets a Mouse, who is swimming as well and tries unsuccessfully to talk to him. The sea of tears becomes crowded with other animals and birds that have been swept away by the rising waters. Alice and the other animals reach the bank and a Dodo decides that the best thing to dry them off would be a Caucus-Race, which consists of everyone running in a circle with no clear winner. Then The White Rabbit appears and Mistaking her for his maidservant, Mary Ann, orders Alice to go into the house and retrieve some gloves but once inside she starts growing. The horrified Rabbit orders his gardener, Bill the Lizard, to climb on the roof and go down the chimney. Outside, Alice hears the voices of animals who hurl pebbles at her, which turn into little cakes and after eating them, Alice shrinks again.

Alice then encounters a blue Caterpillar on a mushroom smoking a hookah, who tells Alice that one side of the mushroom will make her taller while the other side will make her shorter. She breaks off two pieces from the mushroom. One side makes her shrink smaller than ever, while the other causes her to grow alarmingly. eventually Alice brings herself back to her normal height and discovers a small estate and uses the mushroom to reach a more appropriate height. She sees a Fish-Footman deliver an invitation to the Duchess, who lives at the estate a meets The Duchess’s Cook who is throwing dishes and making a soup that has too much pepper, which causes Alice, the Duchess, and her baby to sneeze violently. Alice is then given the baby by the Duchess which turns into a pig. The Duchess’s Cheshire Cat then directs her to the March Hare’s house.

Here Alice becomes a guest at a “mad” tea party along with the March Hare, the Hatter, and a very tired Dormouse who falls asleep frequently, only to be violently woken up moments later by the March Hare and the Hatter. The characters give Alice many riddles and stories. Eventually though Alice tires of all the inane riddles and leaves claiming that it was the stupidest tea party that she had ever been to. Upon leaving the Tea-Party Alice enters the Queen of Hearts garden and encounters three living playing cards painting the white roses on a rose tree red because The Queen of Hearts hates white roses. A procession of more cards, kings and queens and even the White Rabbit enters the garden. Alice then meets the King and Queen, who is fond of saying “Off with his head!” For the slightest transgression. Alice is invited to play a game of croquet with the Queen and the rest of her subjects but the game quickly descends into chaos. Live flamingos are used as mallets and hedgehogs as balls. The Queen is then prompted by the Cheshire Cat to release the Duchess from prison.

The Duchess is then brought to the croquet ground at Alice’s request, and The Queen of Hearts dismisses her on the threat of execution and introduces Alice to the Gryphon, who takes her to the Mock Turtle and the Gryphon then suggests they play a game. So The Mock Turtle and the Gryphon dance to the Lobster Quadrille, and then the Gryphon drags Alice away for an impending trial where the Knave of Hearts is accused of stealing the Queen’s tarts. The jury is composed of various animals, including Bill the Lizard, the White Rabbit is the court’s trumpeter, and the judge is the King of Hearts. During the proceedings, Alice finds to her alarms that she is steadily growing larger. Others Attending the trial include the Hatter, and the Duchess’s cook. Alice is then called upon to give evidence as a witness. Sadly though her increasing size causes problems and The King and Queen order Alice to be gone, citing Rule 42 (“All persons more than a mile high to leave the court”). However Alice disputes their judgement and refuses to leave until the Queen of Hearts eventually shouts “Off With Her Head!”

Franz Kafka

German novellist and short story writer Franz Kafka was born 3 July 1883 into a middle-class, German-speaking Jewish family in Prague, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He trained as a lawyer and, after completing his legal education, obtained employment with an insurance company. He began to write short stories in his spare time. For the rest of his life, he complained about the little time he had to devote to what he came to regard as his calling and regretted having to devote so much attention to his Brotberuf (“day job”, literally “bread job”). Kafka preferred to communicate by letter and wrote hundreds of letters to family and close female friends, including his father, his fiancée Felice Bauer, and his youngest sister Ottla. He had a complicated and troubled relationship with his father that had a major effect on his writing. He also suffered conflict over being Jewish, feeling that it had little to do with him, although critics argue that it influenced his writing.

Only a few of Kafka’s works were published during his lifetime: the story collections betrachtung (Contemplation and Ein Landarzt (A Country Doctor), and individual stories (such as “Die Verwandlung”) in literary magazines. He prepared the story collection Ein Hungerkünstler (A Hunger Artist) for print, but it was not published until after his death. Kafka’s unfinished works, including his novels Der Process, Das Schloss and Amerika (also known as Der Verschollene, The Man Who Disappeared), were published posthumously, mostly by his friend Max Brod, who ignored Kafka’s wish to have the manuscripts destroyed. Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre are among the writers influenced by Kafka’s work; the term Kafkaesque has entered the English language to describe surreal situations like those in his writing. Kafka sadly passed away on 3 June 1924 but his literature had a big impact on literature and film making.

Metamorphosis concerns Gregor Samsa, a traveling salesman, who wakes up to find himself transformed into a giant insect (the most common translation of the German description ungeheuer Ungeziefer, literally “monstrous vermin”). Gregor’s mother becomes concerned when Gregor fails to go to work. His sister, Grete, to whom he is very close, begs him to open the door But he discovers that he can’t get out of bed. Then his office manager, the chief clerk, has shown up to check on him. Unaware of Gregor’s predicament The clerk warns him of the consequences of missing work. Nobody understands a word Gregor says and they conclude that he is seriously ill. Finally, Gregor manages to unlock and open the door with his mouth. He apologizes to the office manager for the delay. Horrified by Gregor’s appearance, his mother faints, and the manager bolts out of the apartment. Gregor tries to catch up with him, but his father drives him back into the bedroom with a shoe and a rolled magazine. Gregor injures himself squeezing back through the doorway, then exhausted, falls asleep.

The next morning, Gregor’s sister comes in, sees that he has not touched the milk which she left and replaces it with rotting food scraps, which Gregor happily eats. This begins a routine in which his sister feeds him and cleans up while he hides under the couch, afraid that his appearance will frighten her. Gregor spends his time listening through the wall to his family members talking about the dire financial situation they find themselves in now and that Gregor can’t provide them any help. Gregor had plans of sending Grete to the conservatory to pursue violin lessons, however his incapability of providing for his family, coupled with his speechlessness proves a bit of an impediment Gregor also learns that his mother wants to visit him, but his sister and father will not let her.

Gregor grows more comfortable with his changed body. He begins climbing the walls and ceiling for amusement. Discovering Gregor’s new pastime, Grete decides to remove some of the furniture to give Gregor more space. She and her mother begin taking furniture away. However Gregor’s mother sees him hanging on the wall and passes out. Grete angrily calls out to Gregor – the first time anyone has spoken directly to him since his transformation. Gregor runs out of the room and into the kitchen. He encounters his father, who has just returned home from work. The father throws apples at Gregor, and one of them sinks into a sensitive spot in his back and Gregor is severely injured.

One evening, the cleaning lady leaves Gregor’s door open while three boarders, whom the family has taken on for additional income, lounge about the living room. Grete has been asked to play the violin for them, and Gregor creeps out of his bedroom to listen however Gregor is seen. As Gregor’s father tries to shove the boarders back into their rooms, the three men leave without paying. Grete, eventually tires of taking care of Gregor and the burden his existence puts on each one in the family, so she tells her parents they must get rid of Gregor…

Kafka is regarded by many critics as one of the most influential authors of the 20th century. Kafka strongly influenced genres such as existentialism. His works, such as “Die Verwandlung” (“The Metamorphosis”), Der Process (The Trial), and Das Schloss (The Castle), are filled with the themes and archetypes of alienation, physical and psychological brutality, parent–child conflict, characters on a terrifying quest, labyrinths of bureaucracy, and mystical transformations.

Vladimir Nabokov

Russian-born American novelist, poet, translator and entomologist Vladimir Nabokov sadly died 2 July 1977. He was born 22 April [O.S. 10 April] 1899 in Saint Petersburg, to a wealthy and prominent family of the Russian nobility that traced its roots to the 14th-century Tatar prince Nabok Murza, who entered into the service of the Tsars, and from whom the family name is derived. His father was the liberal lawyer, statesman, and journalist Vladimir Dmitrievich Nabokov  and his mother was the heiress Yelena Ivanovna née Rukavishnikova, the granddaughter of a millionaire gold-mine owner. His father was a leader of the pre-Revolutionary liberal Constitutional Democratic Party and wrote numerous books and articles about criminal law and politics. His cousins included the composer Nicolas Nabokov. His paternal grandfather, Dmitry Nabokov (1827–1904), was Russia’s Justice Minister during the reign of Alexander II. His paternal grandmother was the Baltic German Baroness Maria von Korff. He was also related to the composer Carl Heinrich Graun . Vladimir had four younger siblings: Sergey, Olga, Elena and Kirill. Sergey was killed in a Nazi concentration camp in 1945 after publicly denouncing Hitler’s regime. Ayn Rand recalled Olga (her close friend at Stoiunina Gymnasium) as a supporter of constitutional monarchy who first awakened Rand’s interest in politics.

Nabokov spent his childhood and youth in Saint Petersburg and at the country estate Vyra near Siverskaya, south of the city. . The family spoke Russian, English, and French in their household, and Nabokov was trilingual from an early age. The first English book his mother read to him was Misunderstood (1869) by Florence Montgomery.

In 1916, Nabokov published his first book, Stikhi (“Poems”), a collection of 68 Russian poems whilst attending Tenishev school in Saint Petersburg. Nabokov also inherited the estate Rozhdestveno, next to Vyra, from his uncle Vasily Ivanovich Rukavishnikov, but lost it in the October Revolution in 1917. After this, Nabokov’s father became a secretary of the Russian Provisional Government in Saint Petersburg. After the October Revolution, the family fled St. Petersburg for Crimea, and lived at a friend’s estate until September 1918 when they moved to Livadiya, at the time part of the Ukrainian Republic; Nabokov’s father became a minister of justice in the Crimean Regional Government.

After the withdrawal of the German Army in November 1918 and the defeat of the White Army (early 1919), the Nabokovs sought exile in western Europe. They settled briefly in England and Vladimir enrolled in Trinity College of the University of Cambridge, first studying zoology, then Slavic and Romance languages. His examination results on the first part of the Tripos, taken at the end of second year, were a starred first. He sat the second part of the exam in his fourth year, just after his father’s death which was marked second-class. His final examination result was second-class, and his BA conferred in 1922. Nabokov later drew on his Cambridge experiences to write several works, including the novels Glory and The Real Life of Sebastian Knight.

In 1920, Nabokov’s family moved to Berlin, where his father set up the émigré newspaper Rul’ (“Rudder”). Nabokov followed them to Berlin two years later, after completing his studies at Cambridge. Unfortunately Nabokov’s father was fatally shot in Berlin in 1922 by the Russian monarchist Pyotr Shabelsky-Bork as he was trying to shield the real target, Pavel Milyukov, a leader of the Constitutional Democratic Party-in-exile. Shortly after this, Nabokov’s mother and sister moved to Prague, however Nabokov stayed in Berlin, where he had become a recognised poet and writer within the émigré community and published under the nom de plume V. Sirin (a reference to the fabulous bird of Russian folklore). Nabokov also taught languages and gave tennis and boxing lessons. He stayed in Berlin for fifteen years within the lively Russian community of Berlin He knew little German and few Germans except for landladies, shopkeepers, and immigration officials at the police headquarters

In 1922, Nabokov became engaged to Svetlana Siewert; she broke off the engagement in early 1923, her parents worrying that he could not provide for her. In May 1923, he met a Russian-Jewish woman, Véra Evseyevna Slonim, at a charity ball in Berlin. They married in April 1925. Their only child, Dmitri, was born in 1934. In 1936, Véra lost her job because of the increasingly anti-Semitic environment; also in that year the assassin of Nabokov’s father was appointed second-in-command of the Russian émigré group. In 1937, he left Germany for France, where he had a short affair with Russian émigrée Irina Guadanini. His family followed him to France, making en route their last visit to Prague, then spent time in Cannes, Menton, Cap d’Antibes, and Fréjus and finally settled in Paris. Between 1926–38 Nabokov also wrote His first nine novels in Russian. In May 1940, the Nabokovs fled the advancing German troops to the United States on board the SS Champlain, with the exception of Nabokov’s brother Sergei, who died at the Neuengamme concentration camp on 9 January 1945.

The Nabokovs settled in Manhattan and Vladimir began volunteer work as an entomologist at the American Museum of Natural History. e Nabokovs resided in Wellesley, Massachusetts, during the 1941–42 academic year, Whereupon Nabokov joined the staff of Wellesley College in 1941 as resident lecturer in comparative literature and Nabokov is remembered as the founder of Wellesley’s Russian Department. In September 1942 they moved to Cambridge, where they lived until June 1948. Following a lecture tour through the United States, Nabokov returned to Wellesley for the 1944–45 academic year as a lecturer in Russian. In 1945, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. He served through the 1947–48 term as Wellesley’s one-man Russian Department, offering courses in Russian language and literature. He was also the curator of lepidoptery at Harvard University’s Museum of Comparative Zoology. In 1948 Nabokov left Wellesley to teach Russian and European literature at Cornell University, where he taught until 1959. Among his students at Cornell was future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In June 1953 Nabokov and his family went to Ashland, Oregon. There he finished Lolita and began writing the novel Pnin. He roamed the nearby mountains looking for butterflies, and wrote a poem called Lines Written in Oregon. On 1 October 1953, he and his family returned to Ithaca, New York, where he would later teach the young writer Thomas Pynchon

In 1955 Nabokov wrote Lolita while travelling on butterfly-collection trips in the western United States that he undertook every summer. Véra acted as “secretary, typist, editor, proofreader, translator and bibliographer; his agent, business manager, legal counsel and chauffeur; his research assistant, teaching assistant and professorial understudy”. Lolita became a great financial success and Nabokov returned to Europe and devoted himself to writing. His son obtained a position as an operatic bass at Reggio Emilia. On 1 October 1961, he and Véra moved to the Montreux Palace Hotel in Montreux, Switzerland; he stayed there until the end of his life. In 1962 he published Pale Fire. He also took tours to the Alps, Corsica, and Sicily to hunt butterflies and became an expert lepidopterist. Sadly In 1976 he was hospitalized with a fever doctors were unable to diagnose. He was rehospitalized in Lausanne in 1977, suffering from severe bronchial congestion. He died on 2 July in Montreux surrounded by his family His remains were cremated and buried at the Clarens cemetery in Montreux.

At the time of his death, he was working on a novel titled The Original of Laura. Véra and Dmitri which were entrusted with Nabokov’s literary executorship, In April 2008, Dmitri announced that he would publish the novel and The Original of Laura was published on 17 November 2009. Prior to this, several short excerpts of The Original of Laura were made public: German weekly Die Zeit reproduced some of Nabokov’s original index cards obtained by its reporter Malte Herwig in its 14 August 2008 issue. In the accompanying article Herwig concluded that Laura, although fragmentary, is “vintage Nabokov”. Lolita has since been ranked fourth in the list of the Modern Library 100 Best Novels in 2007 pale Fire was also ranked 53rd on the same list; and his memoir, Speak, Memory (1951), was listed eighth on publisher Random House’s list of the 20th century’s greatest nonfiction He was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction seven time

Nabokov became known as one of the leading prose stylists of the 20th century and is noted for his complex plots, clever word play, daring metaphors, and prose style capable of both parody and intense lyricism. He gained both fame and notoriety with his novel Lolita (1955), which tells of a grown man’s devouring passion for a twelve-year-old girl. This and his other novels, particularly Pale Fire (1962), won him a place among the greatest novelists of the 20th century. His longest novel, which met with a mixed response, is Ada (1969). He devoted more time to the composition of this novel than any of his others. Nabokov’s fiction is characterized by linguistic playfulness. His short story “The Vane Sisters” is famous in part for its acrostic final paragraph, in which the first letters of each word spell out a message from beyond the grave. In another of his short stories, “Signs andSymbols”, Nabokov creates a character suffering from an imaginary illness called “Referential Mania,” in which the afflicted is faced with a world of environmental objects exchanging coded messages.