Anne Brontë

British novelist and poet Anne Brontë was born 17 January 1820. The daughter of a poor Irish clergyman in the Church of England, Anne Brontë was the youngest member of the Brontë literary family and lived most of her life with her family at the parish of Haworth on the Yorkshire moors. For a couple of years she went to a boarding school. At the age of 19 she left Haworth and worked as a governess between 1839 and 1845. After leaving her teaching position, she fulfilled her literary ambitions. She wrote a volume of poetry with her sisters (Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, 1846) and two novels. Agnes Grey, based upon her experiences as a governess, was published in 1847. Her second and last novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, which is considered to be one of the first sustained feminist novels, appeared in 1848. Anne’s life was cut short when she died of pulmonary tuberculosis at the age of 29.Mainly because the re-publication of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was prevented by Charlotte Brontë after Anne’s death on 28 May 1849, she is less known than her sisters Charlotte, author of four novels including Jane Eyre, and Emily, author of Wuthering Heights. However her novels, like those of her sisters, have become classics of English literature.

Agnes Grey is the debut novel of English author Anne Brontë, and is largely based on Anne Brontë’s own experiences as a governess for five years. Like her sister Charlotte’s novel Jane Eyre. It follows Agnes Grey, the daughter of a minister, whose family comes to financial ruin. Desperate to earn money to care for herself, she takes one of the few jobs allowed to respectable women in the early Victorian era, as a governess to the children of the wealthy. As a governess, she works in several bourgeois families including the Bloomfields and the Murrays The novel addresses what the precarious position of governess entailed and the trouble that affects a young woman who must try to rein in unruly, spoiled children for a living, and about the ability of wealth and status to destroy social values. The novel also deals with issues of oppression and abuse of women and governesses, isolation, ideas of empathy and the fair treatment of animals. After her father’s death Agnes opens a small school with her mother and finds happiness with a man who loves her for herself. By the end of the novel they have three children, Edward, Agnes and Mary.

 

Anne Brontë’s second and final novel was The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, which is considered to be one of the first sustained feminist novels and was an instant phenomenal success. The novel is framed as a letter from Gilbert Markham to his friend and brother-in-law about the events leading to his meeting his wife. It concerns A mysterious young widow named Mrs. Helen Graham who arrives at, an Elizabethan mansion named Wildfell Hall, which has been empty for many years, with her young son and servant. She lives there under an assumed name, Helen Graham in strict seclusion, and becomes a source of curiosity for the small community, gradually the reticent Mrs Graham and her young son Arthur are drawn into the social circles of the village. Initially, Gilbert Markham casually courts Eliza Millward, despite his mother’s belief that he can do better. His interest in Eliza wanes as he comes to know Mrs. Graham. In retribution, Eliza spreads (and perhaps creates) scandalous rumours about Helen.

Predictably Helen finds herself the victim of local slander soon afterwards. Refusing to believe anything scandalous about her, Gilbert Markham, a young farmer, discovers her dark secrets about her marriage to Arthur Huntingdon a handsome, witty chap who is also spoilt, selfish, and self-indulgent, whom she marries blinded by love and resolves to reform with gentle persuasion and good example. Upon the birth of their child, Huntingdon becomes increasingly jealous of their son (also called Arthur) and his claims on Helen’s attentions and affections. Meanwhile Huntingdon’s dissolute friends lead him astray by frequently engage in drunken revels at the family’s home, Grassdale, oppressing those of finer character. Both men and women are portrayed as degraded, The novel deals with her husband’s physical and moral decline through alcohol and the world of debauchery and cruelty. Not surprisingly Helen decides she’s had enough and flee’s with her son, eventually arriving at Wildfell Hall….

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The Limehouse Golem

Having enjoyed films like Crimson Peak, Suspicions of Mister Whicher, Ruby in the Smoke and Woman in Black, I would like to watch The Limehouse Golem. This film is a an adaptation of Peter Ackroyd’s macabre and atmospheric 1994 horror/murder mystery novel Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem, it stars Olivia Cooke, Bill Nighy, and Douglas Booth. It takes place in the community of Limehouse in Victorian London during A series of murders which has shaken Victorian London to the point where people believe that only a legendary creature from dark times – the mythical so-called Golem, could be responsible.

Music-hall star Elizabeth Cree (Olivia Cooke) is subsequently accused of poisoning her husband John on the same night as the last Golem murders. However assigned Inspector John Kildare (Nighy) discovers evidence linking John Cree to the Golem murders, and finds himself determined to crack both cases before Elizabeth is hanged for her accused crime.

He discovers a diary of the Golem’s crimes, written by the Golem himself in a book on the art of murder, kept in the reading room of the library, Kildare suspects that the Golem must be one of the four men in the library on the date of the last entry; The only men who were in the library turn out to be Dan Leno, Karl Marx, George Gissing and John Cree. So Kildare investigates further and learns how Elizabeth went from being the daughter of an unmarried mother sewing sail-cloths at the docks to becoming a music-hall star. Kildare eventually discovers a handwritten copy of a play written by John Cree before his death on the day that Elizabeth is to be hanged, this reveals some surprising things about both John and Elizabeth Cree which shock him to the core and could point to the real killer

Alan Rickman

English actor and Director Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman sadly died of cancer on 14 January 2016 at the age of 69. Born 21 February 1946 in Acton, London. Rickman attended Derwentwater Primary School, in Acton, a school that followed the Montessori method of education. He excelled at calligraphy and watercolour painting. From Derwentwater Junior School he won a scholarship to Latymer Upper School in London, where he became involved in drama. After leaving Latymer, he attended Chelsea College of Art and Design and then the Royal College of Art. This education allowed him to work as a graphic designer for the radical newspaper the Notting Hill Herald.

After graduation, Rickman and several friends opened a graphic design studio called Graphiti, but after three years of successful business, he decided that if he was going to pursue acting professionally, it was now or never. He wrote to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) requesting an audition and was awarded a place at RADA, which he attended from 1972-74. While there, he studied Shakespeare and supported himself by working as a dresser for Nigel Hawthorne and Sir Ralph Richardson. He left after winning several prizes, including the Emile Littler Prize, the Forbes Robertson Prize and the Bancroft Gold Medal.

After graduating from RADA, Rickman worked extensively with British repertory and experimental theatre groups in productions including Chekhov’s The Seagull and Snoo Wilson’s The Grass Widow at the Royal Court Theatre, and appeared three times at the Edinburgh International Festival. In 1978, he performed with the Court Drama Group, gaining parts in Romeo and Juliet and A View from the Bridge, among other plays. While working with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) he was cast in As You Like It. He appeared in the BBC’s adaptation of Trollope’s first two Barchester novels known as The Barchester Chronicles (1982), as the Reverend Obadiah Slope. He portrayed the Vicomte de Valmont, in the 1985 Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Christopher Hampton’s adaptation of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, and received both a Tony Award nomination and a Drama Desk Award nomination for his performance.

He also played romantic leads like Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility (1995), and Jamie in Truly, Madly, Deeply (1991); numerous villains in Hollywood big budget films, like German terrorist Hans Gruber in Die Hard (1988) and the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991); the very occasional television role such as the “mad monk” Rasputin in an HBO biopic Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny (1996), for which he won a Golden Globe and an Emmy.[16] He was the “master of ceremonies” on Mike Oldfield’s album Tubular Bells II, released in 1992, on which he read off a list of instruments on the album. His role in Die Hard earned him a spot on the AFI’s 100 Years…100 Heroes & Villains as the 46th best villain in film history, His performance as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves also garnered praise. He also portrayed Severus Snape, the potions master in the Harry Potter series (2001–11).

MarvinParanoidAndroid-rich_7652During his career Rickman has also played comedic roles, sending up classically trained British actors who take on “lesser roles” as the character Sir Alexander Dane/Dr. Lazarus in the science fiction parody Galaxy Quest (1999), portraying the angel Metatron, the voice of God, in Dogma (also 1999), appearing as Emma Thompson’s foolish husband Harry in Love Actually (2003), providing the voice of Marvin the Paranoid Android in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005), and the egotistical, Nobel Prize-winning father in Nobel Son (2007). He was nominated for an Emmy for his work as Dr. Alfred Blalock in HBO’s Something the Lord Made (2004) and also starred in the films Snow Cake (2006), with Sigourney Weaver and Carrie-Anne Moss, and Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. He also appeared as the evil Judge Turpin in the critically acclaimed Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) directed by Tim Burton, alongside Harry Potter co-stars Helena Bonham Carter and Timothy Spall. Rickman also appeared as Absolem the Caterpillar in Burton’s film Alice in Wonderland (2010).

He performed onstage in Noël Coward’s romantic comedy Private Lives, and In 1998 He appeared in Antony and Cleopatra as Mark Antony with Dame Helen Mirren as Cleopatra, in the Royal National Theatre’s production at the Olivier Theatre in London. Rickman also appeared in Victoria Wood with All The Trimmings (2000), a Christmas special with Victoria Wood, playing an aged colonel in the battle of Waterloo who is forced to break off his engagement to Honeysuckle Weeks’ character. Alongside Harry Potter co-star Imelda Staunton.

Rickman also directed The Winter Guest at London’s Almeida Theatre in 1995 and the film version of the same play, released in 1997, starring Emma Thompson and Phyllida Law. He compiled the play My Name Is Rachel Corrie, and directed the premiere at the Royal Court Theatre, London in 2005 for which he won the Theatre Goers’ Choice Awards for Best Director. In 2009, Rickman was awarded the James Joyce Award by University College Dublin’s Literary and Historical Society. In October and November 2010, Rickman starred in the eponymous role in Henrik Ibsen’s John Gabriel Borkman at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin alongside Lindsay Duncan and Fiona Shaw.

In 2011, Rickman again appeared as Severus Snape in the final installment in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 and earned his first award nominations for his role as Snape at the 2011 Alliance of Women Film Journalists Awards, 2011 Saturn Awards, 2011 Scream Awards and 2011 St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Awards in the Best Supporting Actor category. On 21 November 2011, Rickman opened in Seminar, by Theresa Rebeck, at the John Golden Theatre on Broadway. Rickman, won the Broadway.com Audience Choice Award for Favorite Actor in a Play and was nominated for a Drama League Award.Rickman starred with Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz in a remake of 1966’s Gambit by Michael Hoffman. In 2013, he played Hilly Kristal, the founder of the famous East Village punk-rock club CBGB, in the CBGB film with Rupert Grint. He leaves behind a large number of great films and will be sadly missed.

Lewis Carroll

Author, mathematician, Logician, Anglican Deacon and Photographer Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson) sadly died 14 January 1897. He was born 27 January 1832, and is best remembered for writing Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice Through the Looking-Glass, “The Hunting of the Snark” and “Jabberwocky”. From a young age, Dodgson wrote poetry and short stories, which he contributed to the family magazine Mischmasch and also sent them to various magazines. Between 1854 and 1856, his work appeared in The Comic Times and The Train, the Whitby Gazette and the Oxford Critic. Most of this output was humorous, sometimes satirical, he also wrote puppet plays Such as La Guida di Bragia.

In 1856 he published A romantic poem called “Solitude” in The Train as “Lewis Carroll”. This pseudonym was a play on his real name; Lewis was the anglicised form of Ludovicus, which was the Latin for Lutwidge, and Carroll an Irish surname similar to the Latin name Carolus, from which comes the name Charles. In 1856, a new dean, Henry Liddell, arrived at Christ Church, bringing with him his young family, all of whom would figure largely in Dodgson’s life and, over the following years, greatly influence his writing career. Dodgson became close friends with Liddell’s wife, Lorina, and their children, particularly the three sisters: Lorina, Edith and Alice Liddell. He was for many years widely assumed to have derived his own “Alice” from Alice Liddell. This was given some apparent substance by the fact the acrostic poem at the end of Through the Looking Glass spells out her name and also that there are many superficial references to her hidden in the text of both books. It has been noted that Dodgson himself repeatedly denied in later life that his “little heroine” was based on any real child, and frequently dedicated his works to girls of his acquaintance, adding their names in acrostic poems at the beginning of the text. Gertrude Chataway’s name appears in this form at the beginning of The Hunting of the Snark and it is not suggested that this means any of the characters in the narrative are based on her.

Carroll’s friendship with the Liddell family was an important part of his life in the late 1850s and he took the children on rowing trips accompanied by an adult friend.to nearby Nuneham Courtenay or Godstow.it was on one such expedition, on 4 July 1862, that Dodgson invented the outline for Alice in Wonderland after Alice Liddell persuaded him to write it down, Dodgson presented her with a handwritten, illustrated manuscript entitled Alice’s Adventures Under Ground in November 1864 Before this, the family of friend and mentor George MacDonald read Dodgson’s incomplete manuscript, and the enthusiasm of the MacDonald children encouraged Dodgson to seek publication. In 1863, he had taken the unfinished manuscript to Macmillan the publisher, who liked it immediately. After the possible alternative titles Alice Among the Fairies and Alice’s Golden Hour were rejected, the work was finally published as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1865 under the Lewis Carroll pen-name, which Dodgson had first used some nine years earlier. The illustrations this time were by Sir John Tenniel; Dodgson evidently thought that a published book would need the skills of a professional artist.

The overwhelming commercial success of the first Alice book changed Dodgson’s life in many ways. The fame of his alter ego “Lewis Carroll” soon spread around the world. He was inundated with fan mail and with sometimes unwanted attention. Indeed, according to one popular story, Queen Victoria herself enjoyed Alice In Wonderland so much that she suggested he dedicate his next book to her, and was accordingly presented with his next work, a scholarly mathematical volume entitled An Elementary Treatise on Determinants. Dodgson himself vehemently denied this story, commenting “…It is utterly false in every particular: nothing even resembling it has occurred”; and it is unlikely for other reasons: as T.B. Strong comments in aTimes article, “It would have been clean contrary to all his practice to identify [the] author of Alice with the author of his mathematical works”. He also began earning quite substantial sums of money but continued with his seemingly disliked post at Christ Church. Late in 1871, a sequel – Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There – was published. It is somewhat darker and the mood possibly reflects the changes in Dodgson’s life. His father had recently died (1868), plunging him into a depression that lasted some years. In 1876, Dodgson produced his last great work, The Hunting of the Snark, a fantastical “nonsense” poem, exploring the adventures of a bizarre crew of tradesmen, and one beaver, who set off to find the eponymous creature. The painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti reputedly became convinced the poem was about him. In 1895, Carroll published a two-volume tale of the eponymous fairy siblings. Carroll entwines two plots, set in two alternate worlds, one the fairytale kingdom of Elfland, the other a realm called Outland, which satirizes English society, and more specifically, the world of academia.

In 1856, Dodgson took up photography, first under the influence of his uncle Skeffington Lutwidge, and later his Oxford friend Reginald Southey and soon became a well-known gentleman-photographer. Dodgson also made many studies of men, women, male children and landscapes; his subjects also include skeletons, dolls, dogs, statues and paintings, and trees. His pictures of children were taken with a parent in attendance and many of the pictures were taken in the Liddell garden, because natural sunlight was required for good exposures, Unfortunately this led to great controversy and unsavory rumors concerning his relationship with Alice and Lorina Liddell and he parted company with them under dubious circumstances. He found photography to be a useful entrée into higher social circles. During the most productive part of his career, he made portraits of notable sitters such as John Everett Millais, Ellen Terry, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Julia Margaret Cameron, Michael Faraday, Lord Salisbury, andAlfred, Lord Tennyson. Dodgson abruptly ceased photography in 1880. Over 24 years, he had completely mastered the medium, set up his own studio on the roof of Tom Quad, and created around 3,000 images. Fewer than 1,000 have survived time and deliberate destruction. He reported that he stopped taking photographs because keeping his studio working was difficult (he used the wet collodion process) and commercial photographers (who used the dry-plate process) took pictures more quickly.

Dodgson also worked in mathematics, in the fields of geometry, linear and matrix algebra,mathematical logic and recreational mathematics, producing nearly a dozen books under his real name. Dodgson also developed new ideas in linear algebra (e.g. the first printed proof of the Kronecker-Capelli theorem),probability, and the study of elections (e.g.,Dodgson’s method) and committees; some of this work was not published until well after his death. He worked as the Mathematical Lecturer at Christ Church, an occupation that gave him some financial security. His mathematical work attracted renewed interest in the late 20th century. Martin Gardner’s book on logic machines and diagrams, and William Warren Bartley’s posthumous publication of the second part of Carroll’s symbolic logic book have sparked a reevaluation of Carroll’s contributions to symbolic logic. Robbins’ and Rumsey’s investigation of Dodgson condensation, a method of evaluating determinants, led them to the Alternating Sign Matrix conjecture, now a theorem. The discovery in the 1990s of additional ciphers that Carroll had constructed, in addition to his “Memoria Technica”, showed that he had employed sophisticated mathematical ideas to their creation

Dodgson invented many things including the Wonderland Postage-Stamp Case in 1889. This was a cloth-backed folder with twelve slots, two marked for inserting the then most commonly used penny stamp, and one each for the other current denominations to one shilling. The folder was then put into a slip case decorated with a picture of Alice on the front and the Cheshire Cat on the back. All could be conveniently carried in a pocket or purse. When issued it also included a copy of Carroll’s pamphletted lecture, Eight or Nine Wise Words About Letter-Writing. Another invention is a writing tablet called the nyctograph for use at night that allowed for note-taking in the dark; thus eliminating the trouble of getting out of bed and striking a light when one wakes with an idea. The device consisted of a gridded card with sixteen squares and system of symbols representing an alphabet of Dodgson’s design, using letter shapes similar to the Graffiti writing system on a Palm device.

Among the games he devised outside of logic there are a number of word games, including an early version of Scrabble, “doublet” a form of brain-teaser which involves changing one word into another by altering one letter at a time, each successive change always resulting in a genuine word. For instance, CAT is transformed into DOG by the following steps: CAT, COT, DOT, DOG. Other items he invented include a rule for finding the day of the week for any date; a means for justifying right margins on a typewriter; a steering device for a velociam (a type of tricycle); new systems of parliamentary representation; more nearly fair elimination rules for tennis tournaments; a new sort of postal money order; rules for reckoning postage; rules for a win in betting; rules for dividing a number by various divisors; a cardboard scale for the college common room he worked in later in life, which, held next to a glass, ensured the right amount of liqueur for the price paid; a double-sided adhesive strip for things like the fastening of envelopes or mounting things in books; a device for helping a bedridden invalid to read from a book placed sideways; and at least two ciphers for cryptography.

Dodgson continued to teach at Christ Church until 1881, and remained in residence there until his death. The two volumes of his last novel, Sylvie and Bruno, were published in 1889 and 1893. He also travelled to Russia in 1867 as an ecclesiastical together with the Reverend Henry Liddon. He recounts the travel in his “Russian Journal”, published in 1935. On his way to Russia and back he also saw different cities in Belgium, Germany, the partitioned Poland, and France. He died at his sisters’ home, “The Chestnuts” in Guildford, of pneumonia following influenza, two weeks before turning 66. He is buried in Guildford at the Mount Cemetery.

The Stand by Stephen King

The Stand is a post-apocalyptic horror/fantasy novel by American author Stephen King. It concerns the accidental release of a strain of influenza modified for biological warfare from a top-secret government laboratory in rural California. A guard escapes the lab and begins traveling across the country to his family home in East Texas, unintentionally spreading the virus along the way. he crashes his car into a gas station in the town of Arnette, where Stu Redman (Gary Sinise) and some friends have gathered. As the man lays dying, he warns Redman that he had been pursued by a “Dark Man.” The next day, the U.S. military arrives to quarantine the town.

The townspeople are taken to a CDC facility in Vermont. All but Stu succumb to the superflu, which kills 99.4% of the world’s population in two weeks. The scattered survivors include would-be rock star Larry Underwood (Adam Storke); deaf mute Nick Andros (Rob Lowe); Frannie Goldsmith (Molly Ringwald); her teenaged neighbor Harold Lauder (Corin Nemec); imprisoned criminal Lloyd Henreid (Miguel Ferrer); and “Trashcan Man” (Matt Frewer), a mentally ill arsonist and scavenger.The survivors soon begin having visions, either from kindly Mother Abagail (Ruby Dee) or from the demonic Randall Flagg (Jamey Sheridan). The two sets of survivors travel to either Nebraska to meet Abagail, or to Las Vegas to join Flagg.

Lloyd is freed from prison by Flagg, Trashcan Man, a pyromaniac, destroys fuel tanks across the Midwest. Larry escapes New York City with a mysterious woman named Nadine Cross (Laura San Giacomo). However she leaves Larry to join Flagg. After escaping the CDC facility. The survivors Stu Frannie, Harold, and Glen Bateman (Ray Walston are also joined by various other immune survivors. As the group travels toward Nebraska, Harold, Stu and Frannie fall out. Meanwhile, Nick makes his way across the Midwest, eventually meeting Tom Cullen (Bill Fagerbakke), a mentally challenged man. The two men also encounter Julie Lawry (Shawnee Smith), before reaching Abagail’s farm in Hemingford Home, Nebraska. Abagail warns that a great conflict is imminent and they must all travel on to Boulder, Colorado. There, the survivors form a new community called the Boulder Free Zone, where they begin restoring civilization.

Meanwhile Flagg sets up an autocratic regime in Las Vegas, with the intent of defeating the Boulder survivors using salvaged nuclear weapons and Harold join forces with Flagg. Three Boulder survivors decide to infiltrate Las Vegas: Tom, Dayna Jurgens (Kellie Overbey), and Judge Farris (Ossie Davis). Meanwhile Harold and Nadine plant a bomb in Frannie and Stu’s home, planning to detonate it during a meeting of the Free Zone council. Luckily Abagail warns the council members and most of them escape the explosion, but Nick is killed. Abagail tells Stu, Larry, Glen, Frannie and fellow council member Ralph Brentner that they must travel to Las Vegas. Meanwhile Flagg captures Nadine. Upon returning to Las Vegas, Flagg also finds Dayna and Farris and Tom leaves Las Vegas. Elsewhere Stu, Larry, Glen, and Ralph leave Boulder to confront Flagg, Lloyd, Trashcan Man and his followers in Las Vegas.

Michael Bond (Paddington Bear)

Most famous for writing the “Paddington Bear” stories, the English author Michael Bond CBE  was born 13 January 1926 In Newbury and raised in Reading, Berkshire, where his visits to Reading Station to watch the Cornish Riviera Express go steaming through started a love of trains. He was educated at Presentation College, in Reading, Berkshire. He left education aged fourteen, despite his parents’ wishes for him to go to university.

During World War II he worked in a solicitor’s office for a year and then as an engineer’s assistant for the BBC. In February 1943, Michael Bond survived an air raid in Reading. The building in which he was working collapsed under him, killing 41 people and injuring many more. Shortly afterwards he volunteered for aircrew service in the Royal Air Force as a 17-year-old but he was discharged after suffering from acute air sickness. He then served in the Middlesex Regiment of the British Army until 1947.

Bond began writing in 1945 while stationed with the army in Cairo, and sold his first short story to the magazine London Opinion. In 1958, after producing a number of plays and short stories and while working as a BBC television cameraman (where he worked on Blue Peter for a time), his first book, A Bear Called Paddington, was published. This was the start of Bond’s series of books recounting the tales of Paddington Bear, a bear from “darkest Peru”, whose Aunt Lucy sends him to the United Kingdom, carrying a jar of marmalade. In the first book the Brown family find the bear at Paddington Station, and adopt him, naming the bear after the railway station. By 1965, Bond was able to give up his BBC job to work full-time as a writer. Paddington’s adventures have sold over 35 million books, have been published in nearly twenty countries, in over forty languages, and have inspired pop bands, race horses, plays, hot air balloons, a movie and television series. Bond stated in 2007 that he did not plan to continue the adventures of Paddington Bear in further volumes, However, in April 2014 a new book Love From Paddington, was published. A film, Paddington (2014), based on the books, was also made, in which Bond had a credited cameo as the Kindly Gentleman.

Bond also wrote another series of children’s books, the adventures of a guinea pig named Olga da Polga, named after the Bond family’s pet, as well as the animated BBC television series The Herbs (1968). Bond also wrote culinary mystery stories for adults, featuring Monsieur Pamplemousse and his faithful bloodhound, Pommes Frites. Bond also wrote a Reflection on the Passing of the Years shortly after his 90th birthday. The piece was read by David Attenborough, who also turned 90 in 2016, at the national service of thanksgiving to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday at St Paul’s Cathedral in June 2016.

More than 35 million Paddington books have sold around the world and the characters have also featured in film and on television. Bond was made a CBE in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours. His first book was published in 1958, and his last in 2015, a span of nearly 60 years. In 1997 Bondwas made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to literature in 1997, and Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours. On 6 July 2007 the University of Reading awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Letters. Sadly Michael Bond died 27 June 2017 however his Paddington Bear books remains popular.

Dame Agatha Christie DBE

British crime novelist Dame Agatha Christie, DBE sadly passed away on 12th January 1976. She was born 15th September 1890 to a wealthy upper middle-class family in Torquay, Devon, Christie served in a hospital during the First World War before settling into married life with her first child in London. Although initially unsuccessful at getting her work published, in 1920, The Bodley Head press published her novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles, featuring the character of Poirot. This launched her literary career. She also wrote short stories, and plays and romances under the name Mary Westmacott, but she is best remembered for her 66 detective novels and more than 15 short story collections, most of which revolve around the investigations of such characters as Hercule Poirot, Miss Jane Marple and Tommy and Tuppence.

Among her best known novels are: And then there were none, Final Cases, Poirot and the Regatta, Mystery, The Thirteen Problems, Crooked House, The Murder at the Vicarage/Body in the Library/The Moving Finger, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Five Little pigs, Murder on the Orient Express, Towards Zero, Death on the Nile, A Murder is Announced, Problem at Pollensa Bay, Sleeping Murder, 4.50 From Paddington, Pocket Full of Rye, Endless Night, The Clocks, The ABC Murders, Ordeal By Innocence, Appointment with Death, Cat Among the Pigeons, Endless Night, Evil Under the Sun, Why Didn’t they ask Evans, Towards Zero and Passenger to Frankfurt.

In 1971, she was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II in the Queens Honours at Buckingham Palace and In 1955, Christie was the first recipient of the Mystery Writers of America’s highest honour, the Grand Master Award, and in the same year Witness for the Prosecution was given an Edgar Award by the MWA for Best Play. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time. Her novels have sold roughly four billion copies, and her estate claims that her works rank third, after those of William Shakespeare and the Bible, as the world’s most widely published books. And Then There Were None is Christie’s best-selling novel with 100 million sales to date, making it the world’s best-selling mystery ever, and one of the best-selling books of all time, she is also the most translated individual author, and her books have been translated into at least 103 languages. Due to their enduring popularity Many of Christie’s books and short stories have also been filmed, adapted for television, radio, stage, video games and comics. Christie’s stage play The Mousetrap also holds the record for the longest initial run: having opened at the Ambassadors Theatre in London on 25 November 1952 and was still running in 2012 after more than 24,600 performances.