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Bet You Missed It — Press Clippings — In the News

by | Jul 18, 2022 | 0 comments

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Carefully Selected by Your Crack Staff of News Sleuths

Column Editor:  Bruce Strauch  (The Citadel, Emeritus) 

Against the Grain V34#3

Still Going Strong at 89

Lady Antonia Fraser gave birth to six children and then sat down and wrote “Mary Queen of Scots.”  She was 36, and her life changed overnight.  She’s now finished her 30th novel.

She grew up precocious.  A history of England book she read as a child rocked her.  “It was like suddenly discovering this huge pageant behind me, and I could go and wander about in it.” Her mother had written acclaimed historical biographies, and Antonia was gripped by the fever.

In “The Case of the Married Woman,” she writes about Caroline Norton, a well-born woman and prolific writer.  In 1836, her husband accused her of adultery and took away their children plus her copyright in her work.  She was found innocent of adultery, but still lost everything.

Nonetheless, her advocacy led to the Custody of Infants Act in 1839, the first feminist legislation in English history.

See:  Emily Borrow, “Antonia Fraser,” The Wall Street Journal, April 16-17, 2022, p.C6.

Read With Elon and Become a Billionaire

J.E. Gordon, Structures: Or Why Things Don’t Fall Down;  (2) Walter Isaacson, Benjamin Franklin: An American Life;  (3) Walter Isaacson, Einstein: His Life and Universe;  (4) Nick Bostrom, Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies;  (5) Erik Conway and Naomi Oreskes, Merchants of Doubt;  (6) William Golding, Lord of the Flies;  (7) Peter Thiel, Zero to One: Notes on Startups or How to Build the Future;  (8) Isaac Asimov, The Foundation.

See:  Marguerite Ward @FORWARDIST; “Billionaire Elon Musk credits his success to these 8 books,” Feb. 21, 2022.

Obit of Note

Jack Higgins (1929-2022) sold his first novel in 1959 for $100.  Then he wrote 30 more at about the same rate.  Then he heard about a German plot to kidnap Churchill.  This became a runaway 1975 success called The Eagle Has Landed.

Higgins grew up in Belfast surrounded by sectarian violence, served in the army, taught school, and wrote on the side.  After Eagle sold 50 million copies and had a hit film with Michael Caine and Donald Sutherland, Higgins went into tax exile on the island of Jersey.  He churned out best-sellers on a diet of champagne and bacon sandwiches.

See:  “The British veteran who churned out best-selling thrillers,” The Week, April 29, 2022, p.35.

Let’s Read About Walking

Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust (2000) (walking to stir up your mind);  (2) Simon Armitage, Walking Home (2013) (walking 260 miles of the Pennine Way and giving pub poetry readings at night to make money);  (3) W.G. Sebald, The Rings of Saturn (1995) (walking in SE England while ruminating on everything imaginable);  (4) Robert Macfarlane, The Old Ways (2012) (subtle ways we’re shaped by landscape through which we move);  (5) Matsuo Basho, Narrow Road to the Interior (1998) (prose travelogue meets haiku).

See:  David Guterson, “Five Best,” The Wall Street Journal, March 12-13, 2022, p.C8.  Guterson is the famous author of “Snow Falling on Cedars” and “The Final Case.”

Origins of High-Tech Crime

As soon as there was telegraph, there were intruders tapping it.  The telegraph stock ticker of 1867 really brought out the con artists.  Wires to commercial houses were tapped and diverted to other businesses.  Bogus messages of wild price fluctuations could start a panic.

Private betting parlors would be tapped as seen in the Paul Newman movie “The Sting.”  The wire-tappers would intercept race results and signal middlemen to place bets.

See:  Brian Hochman, “The Wiretappers Who Invented a High-Tech Crime,” The Wall Street Journal, April 2-3, 2022, p.C5.  Hochman is the author of “The Listeners: A History of Wiretapping in the United States,” published by Harvard University Press.

Let’s Read Classics Derivatives

Jane Smiley, A Thousand Acres (1991) (King Lear moved to Iowa);  (2) Pat Barker, The Silence of the Girls (2018) (The Iliad from a female perspective);  (3) Jean Rys, Wide Sargasso Sea (1966) (Jane Eyre prequel);  (4) Anne Carson, Autobiography of Red (1998) (gay Herakles);  (5) Michael Cunningham, The Hours (1998) (spin-off of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway).

See:  Dinitia Smith, “Five Best,” The Wall Street Journal, May 7-8, 2002, p. C8.  Dinitia is the author of “The Prince,” a retelling of Henry James’ “The Golden Bowl.”  

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