Saturday, March 30, 2013

I Spy...Nellie Bly (and other people!)

Recently, I checked out 3 biographies of people from the library.  I'm getting into those (along with of my usual fare of children's fiction).  So far, I've read about Cynthia Rylant, Vera Wang, Frances Cleveland (President Grover Cleveland's wife), Michelle Kwan, J.K. Rowling, Beverly Cleary, and Katharine Wright (the sister of the Wright brothers).  When I went to the library, I checked out books on Nellie Bly, Lois Lowry, and Julia Child (note how these people are all women). 

The one who impressed me the most was Nellie Bly.  She lived during the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, and she was one of the first investigative journalists.  At the time, they 1) were called "stunt" journalists, and 2) women were not usually journalists, much less "stunt" ones.  Bly broke both barriers. 

 Her career was started with a Pittsburgh paper, but she soon jumped to the prestigious New York World, which was run by famous journalist Joseph Pulitzer.  There, she jumpstarted into stunt journalism by pretending to be insane and eventually entering this mental institution to find out how patients there were being treated.  She became very popular after her stunt was revealed.  Her most famous stunt was going around the world in 72 days.  Around the World in 80 Days, the classic by Jules Verne, was a very popular book then, and people attempted to go around the world like that (because there weren't any airplanes; you had to rely on local transportation). 
 It was interesting to see Bly's life pictured out.  I hadn't heard of her before I'd seen her biography, so it was cool to learn something new about someone I hadn't known existed before.  By the way, the book is Nelly Bly: Daredevil Reporter by Charles Freden (in case some government authority looks at this and thinks it isn't properly cited). 

The second book I read was Julia Child: Chef, by Dennis Abrams.  Julia Child was this American woman who introduced Americans to true French cooking.  I like to eat (hence all the Food posts) and I like to cook (although not as much as eating).  Child loved eating, too, and went to the Le Cordon Bleu (this famous cooking school) in France after WWII.  She then published a cookbook (about the size of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) on true French cooking and her career took off.  She starred in a lot of cooking shows, and one interesting thing I learned is that they had to film the episodes in her first show in one take.  If she made a mistake, they couldn't do it over.  Now I'm going to beg my dad to let me watch Julie and Julia, which is about this lady who decided to go through every single one of Julia Child's recipes in the cookbook (there were 700+ pages in the that means there must have been something like 500 recipes or so).  It was interesting, but I'd go with Nellie Bly if you want true entertainment.

The last, and (in my opinion) least interesting book was about Lois Lowry.  Lois Lowry wrote Number the Stars and The Giver series.  Lois Lowry, by Susanna Daniels, outlines her life, but to me, her life, while interesting, was boring.  I know, most people's lives are considered "normal," but I was expecting a little more push and drag to it, more excitement.  But one interesting fact I got from it: Lowry actually took the pictures for the covers of Number the Stars and The Giver.  Isn't that cool?

She took those pictures!  BTW, I got the pictures from Wikipedia (it's a helpful site if you want general information). 

Tonight is Saturday night, the night before Easter.  Tomorrow is Easter Sunday.  Remember the reason for the season: Easter is not about cute bunnies or eggs (I should look up the origins for those; what relevance do they have to Jesus?).  It's about Jesus, who died and rose again on our behalf.  Tomorrow He rose.  In my opinion, Easter is even a bigger holiday than Christmas.  It's when we were completely set free from sin and death.

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