Happy Birthday to Me and These Famous Birthdays

Happy Birthday to me and my shared famous birthdays with Robert Penn Warren and Anthony Trollop – Two Monster writers!. I first read Robert Penn Warren in a community college class and fell in love with his drama, charm, and lively Southern characters. Anthony Trollop is simply a wordsmith. He used to wake up and write for two hours each morning before working at the post office. Maybe that’s the ritual that I need to develop to be able to punch out more dark fiction. He’s not for everyone (me included) but we share a birthday so he’s cool with me 🙌.

Happy Birthday to all you lovely Taurus people born on this day!

Happy National Bookmobile Day!

Happy National Bookmobile Day by Mind on Fire Books
Happy National Bookmobile Day by Mind on Fire Books

Celebrate National Bookmobile Day! Every day, bookmobiles help transform the communities they serve, providing everything from access to books, magazines and videos to job search assistance and much more.

For book lovers, bookmobiles are oddly romantic. They seem like dream-machines, very real automobiles rolling through our lives in an almost impossible fashion.

A Brief History of the Bookmobile

The bookmobile or mobile library is a vehicle designed for use as a library. They have been known by many names throughout history including traveling library, library wagon, book wagon, book truck, library-on-wheels, and book
auto service. Bookmobiles expand the reach of traditional libraries by transporting books to potential readers, providing library services to people in otherwise-underserved locations (such as remote areas) and/or circumstances (such as residents of retirement homes). Bookmobile services and materials (such as Internet access, large print books, and audiobooks), may be customized for the locations and populations served. Bookmobiles have been based on various means of conveyance, including bicycles, carts, motor vehicles, trains, watercraft, and wagons, as well as camels, donkeys, elephants, horses, and mules.

(If you are enjoying this article, perhaps you would like “How Reading Makes us Better People”)

The first American bookmobile was actually a wagon. Mary Titcomb, a Maryland librarian, recognized that having books was only one part of the library’s job: the other part was making the books accessible. The Washington County Library Wagon took books around the county, making scheduled stops in addition to impromptu dispersals.

Happy National Bookmobile Day by Mind on Fire Books
Happy National Bookmobile Day by Mind on Fire Books

The idea of bringing books to patrons caught on in the U.S.,  spurred by a widely distributed population and the desire for civic improvement. The Everett County Public Library has what is believed to be the oldest operating bookmobile, manufactured in 1924, and since fully restored.

As libraries have become the community’s digital gathering place, bookmobiles have also been transformed into movable internet hubs. El Paso County’s bookmobile was one of the early examples of this shift, with onboard workstations and satellite internet service.

Today our nation celebrates National Bookmobile Day. For more than 100 years, bookmobiles have delivered information, technology and resources for life-long learning to Americans of all walks of life. Each year, it is celebrated on the Wednesday of National Library Week. Which is your favorite?

Elvis Presley’s Reading List

It turns out that Elvis Presley’s reading list that was very into spiritual readings, Taoism, esoteric philosophies and learning about the different values in different cultures. When Elvis died in his Graceland bathroom thirty years ago today, he is said to have been reading a book about the Holy Shroud of Turin – normally identified as A Scientific Search For The Face Of Jesus (1972) by Frank O. Adams, which argues that the Turin Shroud really is Our Lord’s Shroud. It has since become eagerly sought after by Elvis fans. Less impressive is the other book he was allegedly reading – Sex and Psychic Energy. Hmmmm, we better move quickly along.

These titles represent some of the books mentioned in his 1989 book If I Can Dream: Elvis’ Own Story (now out-of-print). We cannot be sure that Elvis Presley read all of these books, but they concern subjects he was deeply interested in and felt were important to his daily life.

Elvis Presley’s Reading List

The Impersonal Life [written anonymously] is described as Elvis’ favorite book next to the Bible and the one whose “teaching, practice and discipline transformed his life.” 

Elvis made his first recording in 1953. Elvis Presley’s Reading list was written for Mind on Fire Books

Aquarian Gospel of Jesus The Christ by Levi H. Dowling

Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda

Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind by Richard Maurice Bucke

Esoteric Healing by Alice A. Bailey

First and Last Freedom by Jiddu Krishnamurti

The Huna Code in Religions by Max Freedom Long

On Elvis’s bedside table in 1960 was The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and How to Live 365 Days a Year by Dr. John A. Schindler. He often read medical texts and was so well-versed in The Physician’s Desk Reference that he more than held his own when talking to medical professionals about prescription drugs.

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Elvis Presley’s Book Collection

The king also had an eclectic taste. Elvis Presley’s reading list purchases in 1963 include the following unique collection: Antique Guns, Eyewitness History of World War II, First 100 Days of the Kennedy Administration, Guns, Joke Dictionary, Jokes for the John, World Atlas, Our Fifty States, East of Eden, Strange People, and

The Impersonal Life by Anonymous

The Infinite Way by Joel S. Goldsmith

Isis Unveiled (2 Volume Set) by H.P. Blavatsky

Leaves of Morya’s Garden, Book 1: The Call 1924 by Agni Yoga Society 

Leaves of Morya’s Garden, Book 2: Illumination 1925 by Agni Yoga Society 

Elvis Presley’s reading list was eccentric

Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East (6-Volume Set) by Baird T. Spalding

The Masters and the Path by C. W. Leadbeater

Meetings With Remarkable Men: All And Everything, 2nd Series by G.I. Gurdjieff

The Mystical Christ by Manly Palmer Hall 

What do you think was on Elvis Presley’s reading list?

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

Sacred Science of Numbers by Corinne Heline

The following lists a few other books Elvis was interested in, but all of them are out of print:

Cheiro’s Book of Numbers by Cheiro

The Gospel According to Thomas by Raghavan Iyer

New Mansions for New Men by Dane Rudyar

We have a plethora of articles pertaining to famous writers, philosophers and musicians that you can easily access for FREE here.

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Author of the wonderful book, “Call of the Wild”

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Author of the wonderful book Call of the Wild, Jack London, was born on this day, 1876, in #California. #JackLondon was an American #author best known for the adventure novels #WhiteFang and The Call of the Wild. Jack London grew up working-class. He carved out his own hardscrabble life as a teen. He rode trains, pirated oysters, shoveled coal, worked on a sealing ship on the Pacific and found employment in a cannery. In his free time he hunkered down at libraries, soaking up novels and travel books.

The Father of Robotics and His Acurate Predictions for 2014

The Lit World would not be the same without having been blessed with the writings and creativity of Mr. Isaac Asimov, thank you for your contribution to the Scifi community. Isaac Asimov was an American writer and professor of biochemistry at Boston University.  Asimov was a prolific writer who wrote or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards.

Asimov coined the term “robotics”

Karel ÄŚapek, a Czech writer, gave us robot when he used the word in a play in 1921. Derived from a Slavic term for a slave, the word described man-like machines that worked on a factory assembly line. But in 1941, in his own short story called “Liar!,” Asimov became the first person to use the word robotics, referring to the technology that robots possess. The next year, he wrote another short story, called “Runaround,” in which he introduced his three Laws of Robotics. These laws explain that a robot cannot hurt a human, must obey humans, and must protect themselves, so long as it doesn’t conflict with the first two laws.

He Fell in Love with Science Fiction at his First Job

When he was 9 years old, Asimov began working at the family candy stores. His father expected his son to work long hours, and Asimov consistently rose early and went to bed late to help run the shops. Even while employed at other part-time jobs—including one at a fabric company and as a typist for a college professor—he worked in the family business in some capacity, only leaving in his early twenties. In addition to candy, the stores sold magazines, and young Isaac devoured the science fiction stories he read in their pages and fell in love with the genre.

In 1964 Isaac Asimov accurately predicted how technology would look in 2014

Environment and lighting

“Men will continue to withdraw from nature in order to create an environment that will suit them better. By 2014, electroluminescent panels will be in common use. Ceilings and walls will glow softly, and in a variety of colours that will change at the touch of a push button,” wrote Asimov.

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Robots

“Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence. The IBM exhibit at the present fair has no robots but it is dedicated to computers, which are shown in all their amazing complexity, notably in the task of translating Russian into English. If machines are that smart today, what may not be in the works 50 years hence? It will be such computers, much miniaturised, that will serve as the ‘brains’ of robots.”

Food

“Gadgetry will continue to relieve mankind of tedious jobs. Kitchen units will be devised that will prepare ‘automeals’, heating water and converting it to coffee; toasting bread; frying, poaching or scrambling eggs, grilling bacon, and so on. Breakfasts will be ‘ordered’ the night before to be ready by a specified hour the next morning. Complete lunches and dinners, with the food semiprepared, will be stored in the freezer until ready for processing.”

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The Colonisation of Space

Asimov makes mention of Moon colonies, which he seems to presume would have been in existence by now. Obviously that’s the not the case, but his predictions relating to human exploration of Mars are very close to the mark. “By 2014, only unmanned ships will have landed on Mars, though a manned expedition will be in the works and in the 2014 Futurama will show a model of an elaborate Martian colony,” he writes.

We have indeed sent unmanned spacecraft to the Red Planet, but manned missions and colonization efforts are still, as yet, much talked-about but unrealized.

Consumer Technology and Communication

“The appliances of 2014 will have no electric cords, of course, for they will be powered by long-lived batteries,” Asimov mused.

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A little side note: Did you know that…

In the ’50s, Asimov wrote a series of six science fiction novels for children using the pseudonym Paul French. The books, collectively called the Lucky Starr series, follow David “Lucky” Starr and his adventures around the solar system. Because the publisher, Doubleday, was hoping to turn the series into a TV show, Asimov used a pen name just in case the television adaptation was terrible—he didn’t want to be attached to something cringeworthy, but he also hated that people began to think he was using the pseudonym in order to protect his reputation in the science community. In the end, the TV show didn’t happen, and some of the books are now credited to both French and Asimov.

HIS TRUE CAUSE OF DEATH WASN’T REVEALED UNTIL 2002.

Although the family considered telling the world Asimov had AIDS, his doctors dissuaded him—the general public was still fearful of HIV and very little was understood about it. His HIV status remained a secret until 2002, a decade after his death, when Janet disclosed it in It’s Been A Good Life, a posthumous collection of letters and other writings that she edited. “I argued with the doctors privately about this secrecy, but they prevailed, even after Isaac died,” Janet further explained in a letter to Locus Magazine (a science fiction and fantasy publication). “The doctors are dead now, and … Isaac’s daughter and I agreed to go public [about] the HIV.”

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photo for mind on fire books

In 1977, Asimov had a heart attack. Six years later, in December 1983, he had a triple bypass surgery, during which he received a blood transfusion. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to doctors, the blood they gave him was infected with HIV. Asimov contracted the virus, and it developed fully into AIDS. He died of heart and kidney failure, caused by AIDS, on April 6, 1992.

Below is our very own Asimov Collection.

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