Readersforum's Blog

April 25, 2013

The Birth of O. Henry

O. Henry    (1862 - 1910)

O. Henry
(1862 – 1910)

On this day in 1898 William S. Porter — the drug store clerk, cowboy, fugitive, bank teller, cartoonist and future “O. Henry” — began a five-year prison sentence for embezzlement. Porter had published several stories prior to his prison term, but the fourteen written behind bars represented a new style and quality, and began his rise to fame.

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July 14, 2012

Billy the Kid, by Ondaatje, O. Henry…

Billy the Kid

On this day in 1881 Billy the Kid was killed by his nemesis, Pat Garrett, at Fort Sumner, New Mexico. Near midnight, the Kid returned from an errand of love or hunger to find someone in his hideout; to his hushed “Quien es? Quien es?,” Billy received a fatal shot above the heart. This was also the starting pistol for a fiction marathon which shows no signs of being over. . . .

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June 5, 2012

An O. Henry Ending

Filed under: Today in Literature — Tags: , , , , — Bookblurb @ 6:18 pm

O. Henry (1862 – 1910)

On this day in 1910, O. Henry died in New York City at the age of forty-seven. His death from alcoholism-related illnesses was the farthest thing from a surprise ending, but his last months and hours were in other ways characteristic of the fiction: the down-on-his-luck hero, the small-detail-revealing-all style, the polished-perfect irony.

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December 31, 2011

Examining The Newspaper Column As Literature

By Errol Louis

It’s only a matter of time before the newspaper column takes its rightful place as a recognized and respected form of literature, every bit as vital as its more celebrated cousins, the short story and the novel.

The recognition should have happened a long time ago. An impressive list of literary masters honed their craft writing newspaper columns, including Ernest Hemingway, Langston Hughes, O. Henry, Mark Twain and Damon Runyon. Generations of students have pored over Hughes’s poetry, Twain’s novels and O. Henry’s short stories, unaware that the authors also tackled the issues of the day – death, war, sports, crime, politics – in thoughtful, delightful columns that often hold up remarkably well decades later.

Here is the start of “Chicago Gang War,” that a young columnist named Ernest Hemingway penned for the Toronto Star in 1921:

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August 12, 2011

Who made comedian Andy Borowitz’s list of ’50 Funniest’ writers?

Andy Borowitz

By Bob Minzesheimer, USA TODAY

Let the arguments begin, says Andy Borowitz, in his first interview about his book, The 50 Funniest American Writers: An Anthology of Humor From Mark Twain to The Onion, (Library of America, $27.95, Oct. 13).

Who made it? Garrison Keillor, Larry Wilmore and Anita Loos. (full list below).

Who didn’t? Tina Fey, Chris Rock and Jon Stewart.

“Anytime you do a best-of list, people get mad, except for the people on the list,” says Borowitz, of the satirical website, BorowitzReport.com “Lists are lightening rods. That’s the fun of it. And the most personal thing of all is deciding what’s funny.”

The list includes the usual suspects: O. Henry, H.L. Mencken, Dorothy Parker and Woody Allen, as well as more modern humorists including David Sedaris, Dave Barry and Sloane Crosley.

But what about the omissions?

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July 14, 2011

Billy the Kid, by Ondaatje, O. Henry…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 5:45 am

Billy the Kid

On this day in 1881 Billy the Kid was killed by his nemesis, Pat Garrett, at Fort Sumner, New Mexico. Near midnight, the Kid returned from an errand of love or hunger to find someone in his hideout; to his hushed “Quien es? Quien es?,” Billy received a fatal shot above the heart. This was also the starting pistol for a fiction marathon which shows no signs of being over. . . .

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