Eric Maria Remarque was a German soldier in World War One, called the Great War at the time. He lived through the fighting and the misery of months in the trenches through mud, disease, rats, and lice. War has been romanticized and stylized even by those who fought. At times brave men considered it a […]Read more "Novels that changed the world: All Quiet on th Western Front"
Photo of the center of the Earth, taken from my phone at 2:36 pm today. Before anything is built, an artist imagines it. In no genre is this clearer than Science Fiction. Moon landing? Imagined 150 years ago. Cell phones? Star Trek figured it out in 1964. Submarines were imagined fifty years before they were […]Read more "Novels that changed the world: Journey to the Center of the Earth, by Jules Verne"
In the 19th century, European explores pushed out into every corner of what was then still a mysterious world. In many places, the Muslim community was closed to outsiders. Non-believes were not welcome in their holy city, Mecca. Explorer, adventurer and expert swordsman, Sir Richard Burton was by any measure a bold, brave man. He […]Read more "Books that changed the World: A Thousand and One Arabian Nights"
The horror genre dates back to Dante’s Inferno in the Middle Ages. But the first modern horror novel, the one that has been copied for 200 years, was written on a dare over a weekend by a young wife who was surrounded by three famous authors. In 1816, Mary Shelley went on a retreat with […]Read more "Books that Changed the World: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley"
What is Christmas to you? Presents and carols and fireplaces and sweets and sharing good company while it storms outside your window? If you enjoy this you should thank Charles Dickens. Christmas was a minor Christian holiday until Dickens wrote, A Christmas Carol. His ghostly morality play resonated with English speaking audiences all over the […]Read more "Books that Changed the World: A Christmas Carol"
GWTW was a runaway best seller. From it came arguably the greatest movie of all time. Controversy surrounding the story has grown through the years. On the plus side, it’s a dynamic tale about one of the great fiction characters of all time, Scarlet O’Hara. She is vain, selfish and deceitful. Unyielding, courageous, and wicked […]Read more "Books that Changed America (for better or worse): Gone With the Wind"
Mark Twain’s masterpiece has always been misunderstood. When it was released in the late 1900s people confused it with a children’s book. Today some people are offended by language it contains that was common at the time. What it is about is the transcendent souls of two friends, how their understanding of good and evil […]Read more "Novels that Changed America: Huck Finn"
If we measure books by the positive impact they made, Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a transcendent book. It personalized slavery so that the reader saw slaves as people. It highlighted the abuse inflicted. It brought on an intense emotional reaction. In the 1800s, only the Bible sold more copies that Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It was […]Read more "Books Change the Heart"
My crew at Engine 33 had a few nicknames. Since four out of five of us went from 220 to 300 lbs, we were called the biggest crew in the city. Someone else called us, the fighting-est crew because we if we didn’t have anybody else to bicker with, we would do it with ourselves. […]Read more "The Big Dawgs"
Last week I lost one of my oldest friends to cancer. I have never met anyone more at peace with their legacy and their impending passing. Dave Saleh knew how to live life. And he exited it gracefully. I’ve known Dave for nearly 64 years. I passed his house every day on the way to […]Read more "Dave Saleh, tribute to a great guy"