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Posts Tagged ‘J.K. Rowling

Top of the Pops…

After an author has been dead for some time, it becomes increasingly difficult for his publishers to get a new book out of him each year.
– Robert Benchley

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From the always-amusing Mental Floss, a current read on The All-Time Best-Selling Books.  The top spots are held by volumes either instructional or devotional:

1. The Bible (6.7 billion copies)

2. Quotations from Chairman Mao, Mao Tse-Tung (900 million)

3. The Qur’an (800 million)

4. Xinhua Zidian (400 million — a Chinese dictionary, first published in 1953)

5. The Book of Common Prayer, Thomas Cranmer

6. Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan

7. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, John Foxe

8. The Book of Mormon, Joseph J. Smith, Jr.

But two works of fiction round out the Top Ten:

9. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J.K. Rowling (107 million — UK title was …and the Philosopher’s Stone)

10. And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie (100 million)

Read the full list (and find links to top lists of videos, games, and albums) at  The All-Time Best-Selling Books… dive more deeply into the rankings at Wikipedia— which observes:  “This is an incomplete list, which may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness.”  To put it politely:  note, e.g., that Tale of Two Cities and Tolkein’s work probably belong in MF’s Top Ten… Still, it’s fun…

“Classic.” A book which people praise and don’t read.
– Mark Twain

As we turn the page, we might recall that it was on this date in 1593 that poet and playwright (Shakespeare’s nearest rival) Christopher Marlowe was killed in a tavern brawl.  Marlowe reputedly supplemented his income as a spy; in any case, he ran afoul of Queen Elizabeth’s government when, earlier in the month, his roommate, playwright Thomas Kyd was grilled by authorities.  Kyd  insisted that the “heretical” papers found in his room belonged to Marlowe, who was subsequently arrested, but was able to use his connections to arrange bail.  While out Marlowe became involved in a fight– ostensibly over a tavern bill, but believed by many to have been a set-up– and was stabbed to death.

The 1585 portrait discovered at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, in 1953, believed to be of the 21-year-old Christopher Marlowe.  The inscribed motto is “QVOD ME NVTRIT ME DESTRVIT,” “that which nourishes me destroys me.”  Indeed.  (source)

 

We might note too that (as the Library of Congress recalls) it was on this date in 1868 that Commander in Chief John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic issued General Order Number 11 designating May 30 as a day “for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

The first national celebration of the holiday took place on that day at Arlington National Cemetery, where both Confederate and Union soldiers were buried. Originally known as Decoration Day, at the turn of the century it was designated “Memorial Day.”

The Annals of Symbology, Vol. 27: “Simple Substitution- Rowling Rampant” (Naughtiness Alert- NSFC)…

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Further to the “Plato Code” discovered by Manchester University professor Jay Kennedy to be hidden in the works of Plato (as described in “Special Edition: Too Weird…“), internet scholar “JonJonB” reports (on ICQ):

Purely in the interests of science, I have replaced the word “wand” with “wang” in the first Harry Potter Book…

Some of his results:

“Why aren’t you supposed to do magic?” asked Harry.
[Hagrid:] “Oh, well — I was at Hogwarts meself but I — er — got expelled, ter tell yeh the truth. In me third year. They snapped me wang in half an’ everything.

“Oh, move over,” Hermione snarled. She grabbed Harry’s wang, tapped the lock, and whispered, “Alohomora!”

Harry took the wang. He felt a sudden warmth in his fingers. He raised the wang above his head, brought it swishing down through the dusty air and a stream of red and gold sparks shot from the end like a firework, throwing dancing spots of light on to the walls.

“Get – off – me!” Harry gasped. For a few seconds they struggled, Harry pulling at his uncles sausage-like fingers with his left hand, his right maintaining a firm grip on his raised wang.

Readers will find other compelling evidence– and indeed have the opportunity to search for long-suspected but as-yet-discovered references to Plato in Rowling’s text– at Quote Database.  And readers see/can hear The Pointer Sisters sing this post’s theme song, Willie Dixon’s “Wang Dang Doodle” here.

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As we remember that we promised ourselves to reread Ulysses, we might recall that it was on this date in 1910 that 20,000 people in Reno, Nevada saw Jack Johnson–  boxing’s first African-American heavyweight champ– successfully defend his title against James J. Jeffries.  Jeffries, a prior champ, had retired in 1904 undefeated (Johnson had won the title from Tommy Burns, who received it by default).

In 1910, Jeffries announced “I feel obligated to the sporting public at least to make an effort to reclaim the heavyweight championship for the white race. . . . I should step into the ring again and demonstrate that a white man is king of them all.”  In the event, Johnson proved stronger and more nimble than Jeffries. In the 15th round, after Jeffries had been knocked down twice for the first time in his career, his people called it quits to prevent Johnson from knocking him out.

Johnson’s victory over Jeffries had dashed white dreams of finding a “great white hope” to defeat him.  The result triggered race riots that evening — the Fourth of July — all across the United States, from Texas and Colorado  to New York and Washington, D.C.  Indeed, many “riots” were simply Blacks celebrating in the streets.  In some cities, like Chicago, the police didn’t disturb the celebrations.  But in others, the police and angry white citizens tried to subdue the revelers. In all, “riots” occurred in more than 25 states and 50 cities. About 23 Blacks and two Whites died in the riots, and hundreds more were injured.  Police interrupted several attempted lynchings.

The fight

It was, of course, also on this date– in 1776– that the United States Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress.

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