Thursday, December 8, 2016

'Day of Infamy' Speech

On December 7, 1941, the Empire of Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The following day 75 years ago, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered the above speech to Congress, asking for a declaration of war. The speech was titled the 'Day of Infamy Speech' or 'Infamy Speech' from the first line.

To see the history and variations of the speech, click here for the National Archives. Below is the speech as it was delivered.

Monday, December 5, 2016

5 Interesting Things About James Lee Burke

Houston born and Louisiana raised author James Lee Burke was born on December 5th, 1936. The author of 35 novels, Burke has lead an interesting life. We celebrate him and his literary achievements with a few facts.

Monday, November 28, 2016

7 Mark Twain Quotes for His Birthday

Samuel Clemons, AKA Mark Twain, was born on November 30, 1835. In honor of this great man's 181st birthday, here are a baker's half-dozen of his quotes on a variety of topics taken from Mark Twain : his words, wit, and wisdom.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Five Tips From How to Win Friends and Influence People

Today, November 24th, is the birthday of Dale Carnegie. Carnegie was the author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, published in 1936 and arguably the first self-help book. The book contains many tips on how to live your life to be more popular. Here are six lessons you can take away from the book.

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Truth About Black Friday May Shock You

While some of us will be sleeping away a turkey overdose, many Americans will be out in the world shopping this Friday. The unofficial holiday, also known as "Black Friday," is supposed to be the busiest shopping day of the year. While many legends have arisen as to how the day got its name, the truth is very much against the shoppers.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

5 Martin Scorses Films at the Library

Acclaimed film director Martin Scorses turns 74 on November 17 so we decided to look and see what of his we had in the library. A mix of narrative and nonfiction, Scorses's career covers many diverse and interesting topics. Here are a few, in no particular order:

Monday, November 14, 2016

5 Moby-Dick Facts

Moby-Dick: The Whale by Herman Melville was published 165 years ago in the United States on November 14, 1851. The book, about a sea captain obsessed with killing a white whale to the detriment of everything around him, is an American classic. Here are five facts about Moby-Dick (and yes, there is supposed to be a hyphen).

It was inspired by two whales

Much like Law & Order, Moby-Dick was ripped from the headlines. The first story was about a whale in the Pacific named Mocha-Dick that would come close to sailing vessels and at the slightest aggressive action would sink the ships. The second story came from 1820 when the ship Essex was sunk by a very aggressive and large whale, leaving the surviving crew stranded for months at sea.

It was written fairly fast

The novel was begun in 1850 and completed in 1851. Melville even rewrote the novel after talking with fellow author and friend Nathaniel Hawthorne. At over 200,000 words, that's a pretty quick pen Melville had.

The book is dedicated to Nathaniel Hawthorne

Melville and the Scarlet Letter author lived close to each other as Moby Dick was being completed. Hawthorne advised Melville on the novel, causing the massive rewrite before publication. Both authors gave each other's books glowing reviews.

The book was not a best seller

Selling only 3,175 copies in Melville's lifetime (he lived another 40 years after its publication) the novel marked the beginning of the end of Melville's writing career. He had been a successful author previous to Moby-Dick, but the white whale seemed to sink his prose and poetry alike until his death. It did not become popular until its reprint in 1891.

Starbucks Coffee is named from the book.

The creators of Starbucks originally wanted to name the coffee chain "Pequod" after the Ahab's ship, but changed their mind and named it after the ship's first mate instead.


11 Things You Might Not Know About 'Moby-Dick' - Mental Floss