This Week’s Author Birthdays

Henry David Thoreau (b. July 12, 1817, Concord, MA; d. May 6, 1862, Concord, MA)

That is a beard.“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” Read more quotes here.

Remember when I referenced Walden last week when we were talking about Nathaniel Hawthorne and transcendentalism? Well, this is the guy! Henry David Thoreau, super-transcendentalist (which means that he was a naturalist, proto-environmentalist and philosopher in addition to being an author and a poet), was so devoted to the idea of simple living and experiencing and observing nature that he went to live by himself in a small, rustic cabin in the woods. For two years. The cabin was on the shores of a lake called Walden Pond (I know, odd name for a lake) and during his time there he wrote quite a bit about what he saw and felt and thought and he called the resulting work Walden. For those less naturally inclined and/or more politically minded, he is also well known for writing a little essay entitled Civil Disobedience in which he explores how best to oppose a government one does not agree with. Not that anyone ever has problems with the government anymore. For more on Mr. Thoreau, click here.

Clive Cussler (b. July 15, 1931, Aurora, IL)

Is he in Africa?“My friends joke that I raised the Titanic and never left the Rockies.” More quotes to be had here.

Clive Cussler writes what he knows… or rather he lives what he has written; the books technically came first.

Cussler is a popular and prolific action-adventure writer. His Dirk Pitt and NUMA Files series revolve around danger, classic cars, archaeology and adventure on the high seas; think of a modern, maritime version of Indiana Jones. So, where does real life come in? Admittedly, the 84 year old author’s day-to-day probably has far less in the way of maniacal villains and explosions than most of his stories BUT Cussler’s fictional government agency, the National Underwater & Marine Agency (NUMA), became a reality when the author created a non-profit agency of the same name devoted “to preserving our maritime heritage through the discovery, archaeological survey and conservation of shipwreck artifacts.” To date, Cussler and his organization have discovered more than 60 underwater wreck sites. And, as for those classic cars that often feature in his writing, Mr. Cussler is an avid collector. For more information on Clive Cussler, click here.

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