Start The Summer Off Right With New Books From Both Stephen King And J.K. Rowling!


(PCM) The summer time is already just about upon us. For some, they look forward to the big summer blockbuster movies that will be hitting theaters. For other’s, like us, we will be hitting the beach with a book in our  hands. We are certainly in luck this summer, as two absolutely fantastic authors will be releasing new books right around the same time.

First up, is an author who really needs no introduction, as it has been announced that Stephen King will  be releasing his new book titled, “End of Watch (Scribner, fiction) on June 7th. “End of Watch” will see the return of Brady Hartsfield aka the Mr. Mercedes killer, and gumshoe Bill Hodges. This book will be the third and final one in King’s best-selling noir trilogy. The first one was the excellent book “Mr. Mercedes” followed up by “Finders Keepers”.

Harry Potter fans should be overjoyed at the announcement that  J.K. Rowling will be releasing an eighth book in the “Harry Potter” series titled, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child-Parts 1& 2 which is also co-written with John Tiffany and Jack Thorne (Arthur A. Levine Books, fiction). The new book will be hitting bookshelves on July 31.  The story will follow the boy wizard who is all grown up and has a son, Albus, who struggles with the family legacy.

We are really looking forward to reading these summer books and just think, wouldn’t it be truly amazing if these two master storytellers ever got together and created a new series together?  Hey, we can dream, right?

The post Start The Summer Off Right With New Books From Both Stephen King And J.K. Rowling! appeared first on The World Of Pop Culture.

Albert Einstein Born March 14, 1879

Albert-Einstein-quotes-famoAlbert Einstein was born in Ulm a part of Wurttenberg Germany on March 14, 1879.   He did not live there long however as soon after his birth, his parents moved to Munich,

It was in Munich that Einstein began his studies.  His for school was the Luitpold Gymnasium.  In central Europe a gymnasium is not a place to keep up your physical fitness or a class that you try to get out.  In central Europe and especially Germany a Gymnasium is an Academic High School.  So much more of the brain is used that brawn.

He did not stay in Munich however and his family moved to Italy.  Einstein however continued his education in Aurau, Switzerland.  In 1896 he entered to Swiss Federal Polytechnic School to be trained as a teacher in physics and mathematics.  He graduated in 1901. 

Einstein was unable to obtain a teaching position so he ended up working for as a technical assistant at The Swiss Patent Office.  He was not Idle during these times as he obtained his doctorate degree is 1905.

During his time at the patent office Einstein also achieved much of his remarkable work.  He did do this not as a job but in his spare time.  Einstein began to get noticed and he climbed the ladder of academia.  In 1914 he was appointed Director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Physical Institute and was a professor at The University of Berlin.  That same year he became a German citizen and remained so until 1933.

!933 there was much political unrest in Germany, and for political reasons Einstein renounced his German Citizenship and moved to the United States.  He took a position as a Professor of Theoretical Physics in Princeton.  He became a citizen of the United States in 1940, and retired from work in 1945.

Einstein’s contribution to science and especially to physics is known by most school aged children.  His name has come into American slang as when we call someone an “Einstein” meaning they seem to have more intelligence than we may have given them credit for.  Of course we also use the name for the opposite effect we say “You’re no Einstein” meaning that the person does not have as much intelligence as he or she may be giving themselves credit for.

Some of the best works of Albert Einstein are as follows; Special Theory of Relativity, The Evolution of Physics, Investigation on Brownian Movement.  Outside the realms of Physics Einstein wrote About Zionism and Why War.

As the quote at the beginning of this article shows, Einstein saw the potential for problems with technology when the technology become more important to us than other people.  He saw the future that we now must fight before his thoughts become our reality. 

Albert Einstein died on April 18, 1955.

Albert Einstein Born March 14, 1879 was contributed by Pop Culture Fun Facts.

My Journey To Health, Books

BooksBooks are the probably the most important item that I use in my journey to health.  I have mentioned several books while working on this column since the beginning of the year, I have never talked about their importance.

When I was in first grade my teacher Sister Joan Marie was worried about how badly I was coming along in my reading skills.  She encouraged my mother to buy me comic books.  My mother took that advice and in so doing opened up to me world after world of adventure, science, history, romance, horror, mystery, discovery and the list could go on forever.

Comic books back in the 1960s had gotten a bad name mainly because of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s unrelenting scare tactics to rid the world of the communist threat in the 1950s.  Slowly the industry would regain its good reputation, but not in suburbs of Philadelphia in 1967.  Letting comic books into the house was almost equal to pornography, but a nun had made the recommendation, my parents had no choice.  And I thank the good sister to this day.

It took a long time for my reading level to get where it should be, but by the eighth grade I was moving a long quite nicely and I had a collection of comic books to prove it.  For me, though, comic books would be a stepping stone to a world that I would begin to find more and more fascinating.

Comic books would regularly refer to classic literature.  There were many references to Shakespeare, Lewis Carol, Charles Dickens, Herman Melville, Jules Verne, and Mark Twain.  There were even some comic books that told some the great novels in such a way that a kid could understand them.

It was while reading the quotes from various classics that I began to get interested in where those quotes came from. So I began to read.  I read all kinds of things.  I found delight in Barrie’s original Peter Pan.  I tried to understand Hamlet and Lewis Carroll and many others.  Before he was really popular, I got lost in Roald Dahl’s Chocolate Factory, and wanted to run away and live in a tree with the hero of My Side of the Mountain.  I was hooked and it never left me.

Because, of the writings of John Eldredge, amongst others, I found that fictional stories can have great truths in them.  And so I saw the deeper lessons of The Wizard of Oz and The Lord of the Rings.  I found many hidden truths in, perhaps my favorite book of all time, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.  I went so far as to write my final project for my psychology degree on using fiction in therapy.  A Christmas Carol figured prominently in my paper.

In fact I want to take a moment here to say thank you to my favorite and my best English teacher as well as one of my home room teachers, Mr. David O’Connell.  I do credit him for much of my delight in reading because when he taught on a book he taught with passion.  I may never have learned much about diagramming a sentence, but I did learn that books could take you anywhere.  I also learned being passionate about reading didn’t make you different.  Mr. O’Connell was the football coach, and he had his feet firmly planted in two worlds, sports and literature, I never thought the two could be united, but he did it.

So books help me find my way through some of the hardest paths that this journey toward health has put me on.  I can draw on Dorothy and Frodo and many others to gain the belief that that hard things can be done.  In looking at a story I can see myself in it and I identify with it and the story becomes part of who I am.  I also find that in helping others I can draw references from story after story to help shed light on their paths.  It is wonderful what a good story can do to transform ourselves and others.  In the film version of Shadowlands one of the characters states that “We read to find we are not alone.”  This is a great truth.

I was going to go through a couple of books that hit the mark in helping me and how and why, but I have changed my mind.  Instead I am going to list books that I feel should be read and let them teach you the lessons that they have for you.  NOTE.  It is cheating to watch a film version of anything except those books that are plays.  One does not simply read Shakespeare, one must experience him onstage or screen as his work is only complete when it is performed.

Here is the list, A Christmas Carol, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Hamlet, Alice in Wonderland, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Secret Garden, The Shell Seekers, The Harry Potter series, The Berlgariad, The Wind in the Willows, Sherlock Holmes, My Side of the Mountain, Peter Pan, Tom Sawyer, The Stories of Damon Runion, Anna and the King of Siam, Little Women, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Once and Future King, All Things Bright and Beautiful, And The There were None, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, The Stories of Hans Christian Anderson, The Phantom Tollbooth, 101 Dalmatians, John Son of Thunder, Greek and Norse Mythology and perhaps the most important book of all, if you believe in God or not, The Bible, yes the whole thing.  Most of our society is based on it’s pages it is worth the time to read.

I think that is enough to get you started.  If you have a book that I have not mentioned that has influenced your life, of if you have a story about reading something I have mentioned, please leave a comment here or on the Facebook page that you found the link to this column on.  I would love to know what you are reading and, or what, has helped mold or shape you.

The post My Journey To Health, Books also appeared on PCM Lifestyle.

“To Kill A Mockingbird” Author Harper Lee Dead At Age 89


(PCM) It is with great sadness that we have learned that Harper Lee, author of the famed novel “To Kill A Mockingbird” has passed away at the age of 89. The novel earned the Alabama native author numerous accolades over the years and became one of the most well-known and loved stories of the 20th century. To date, “To Kill A Mockingbird” has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide and has become a staple in American classic literature. It has also been translated in 18 different languages.

In a statement, Lee oldest nephew Hank Conner says “This is a sad day for our family. America and the world knew Harper Lee as one of the last century’s most beloved authors. We knew her as Nelle Harper Lee, a loving member of our family, a devoted friend to the many good people who touched her life, and a generous soul in our community and our state. We will miss her dearly.”

“To Kill A Mockingbird” earned Lee the Pulitzer Prize for literature in 1961 and up until July of 2015 it was the only novel that Lee would publish. She rediscovered a manuscript for “Go Set A Watchmen” which is essentially a sequel to “To Kill a Mockingbird,” although it was finished earlier and it was finally released in July 2015 much to the delight of fans.

After the initial release of “To Kill A Mockingbird”, Lee chose to live her life out of the spotlight, almost to the point of being a recluse, turning down multiple interview requests and leading a very private life at her home in Monroeville, Alabama.  She never married and little is known about the later years of her life.

“To Kill A Mockingbird” was adapted into a screenplay in 1962 and the film version of the story starred actor Gregory Peck, who would go on to win the Academy Award for his portrayal of “To Kill A Mockingbird” protagonist Atticus Finch. Lee became very good friends with Peck and his family during the filming and called the adaptation “one of the best translations from book to film ever made”.

Lee claims that she never expected “To Kill A Mockingbird” to receive the kind of praise it has over the years and was amazed when “Go Set A Watchman” quickly became a best-seller as well, selling over 1 million copies the week it was released.  Our sincere condolences go out to the family and friends of Harper Lee during this difficult time!

The post “To Kill A Mockingbird” Author Harper Lee Dead At Age 89 first appeared on Movie News & Reviews.

Mardi Gras

Alexandria-Mardi-Gras-ChildMardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday.  It refers to the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday when many Christians begin to fast for the 40 days leading up to Easter Sunday.

The feast of The Epiphany or The Three Kings closes the Christmas season and opens up a season of carnival.  In some countries these carnivals are ongoing with parades dances, feasts and other forms of merry making.  The last day of Carnival is Mardi Gras where feasting goes into full swing.  In England Mardi Gras is known as Shrove Tuesday, shrove means to confess.

Mardi Gras has always been a time of excess.  Rich and fattening foods have always been consumed, but in recent years it has become more of a party than the beginning of a religious time of self denial.  Here in America it has become a huge celebration in The City of New Orleans, where for several days of drinking eating and even lewd behavior is seen on the streets.  The Christian aspects have all but faded in these environments.

One tradition that was moved from one holiday to another is the king’s cake.  Originally this cake was made for the Feast of the Epiphany.  The cake is usually made with puff pastry with an almond filling.  A small plastic baby doll or coin or a ring is placed in the cake before baking.  The person finds the ring, doll or coin is made king of the feast.  

The kings cake was undercoated for The Epiphany but for Mardi Gras, the cake is usually decorated with colored icing or sugars.

In many places the food star of the day is the donut.  Specific types of filled donuts are made for the day and consumed.  These types are generally only made for that day, and so are a special treat, much like The Candy Cane at Christmas.  Some really great co-workers may show up with a dozen assorted to mark the day.

Mardi Gras in the past was celebrated with much more formality.  In her book The Story Of The Trapp Family Singers Maria Von Trapp speaks of Mardi Gras before the second world war as a time of formal dinner and balls.  There would also be masquerades, but these too would be formal and at midnight everything would stop, the music, the dancing, the feasting would all end as the clock struck twelve.  The people would then gather and pray the Our Father and go home.  The party was finished and the fasting begun.

Mardi Gras was contributed by Pop Culture Fun Facts.

Charles Dickens Born February 7, 1812

charles_dickens_wiki_commonCharles John Hoffman Dickens was born February 7, 1812 in Portsmouth England.  He was the son of a naval clerk and his wife and he was the second of eight children not all of whom survived.

Dickens Father changed his place of employment more than once, though he kept the same job.  This eventually landed Mr. Dickens in London doing the same work but for less money.  Dickens was not very good with money and found himself in debt.  Not being able to repay the money he owed he ended up in debtors prison with all of his children except Charles who was 12 at the time.

Debtor’s prison was not a pleasant place.  And in many ways it is a good thing that they do not exist today as most of the USA population would end up in one at some point in their lives.  When you borrowed money in the 19th century you were to repay in the way it was agreed upon.  If you did not you went to debtor’s Prison until a relative or a friend paid the debt.  You could not work in the prison and many would spend the rest of their lives there if no one helped them.  Your spouse and children went with you and could come and go but you could not.

Charles at 12 did not go with his family.  He got a job in a boot blacking factory where he pasted labels on bottles of boot blacking which today we call shoe polish. The boot blacking manufacturer would be used in Dickens’s novel David Copperfield.  The debtor’s prison showed up in more than one of Dickens’s books, most notably The Pickwick Papers and Little Dorritt,

Dickens education was interrupted by his father’s time in prison.  However when his father was released, do to the help of an inheritance, Charles was able to return to school.  This did not last long and at the age of 15 in the year 1827 Charles went back to work to help support his family.  This time, however, he found a job as a court reporter and so found his way to a writing a career. 

After one year of being hired as a court reporter, Dickens reputation became well known and he found he could do freelance writing for two different papers.  Not long after this he began to write short sketches or stories about life in London.  He used the pen name Boz for these and they were collected into a book entitled Sketches By Boz in 1836.

After the publication of Sketches By Boz, Dickens married Catherine Hogarth and with her would have 10 children.

Soon after the Sketches By Boz was published Dickens was approached to do a series of stories based on the sports artwork of Robert Seymour, a popular illustrator, This would become Dickens first novel, The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club.  In those days many novels were done in serialization form, one chapter at a time in an issue of a magazine.  When the serialization was completed the novel would then be published as a whole.

With the work of The Pickwick Papers, the name the book is more commonly known as, completed Boz had become the mystery of England.  No one knew who he was and when Dickens did reveal himself he became one of the most popular celebrities of his time.

From there Dickens wrote three more immensely popular novels.  Oliver Twist, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby and The Old Curiosity Shop.  He was not only popular in England but in America as well and in 1842 he traveled to The United States to do a series of lectures.  The problem with this situation was that international copyright laws had yet to be established and so, though Dickens was hugely popular in the U.S. he saw very little money from it.  During his trip he spoke many times on the issue of Copyrights and this did not make him popular.

On his return Dickens wrote American Notes for General Circulation a mockery of American culture and ideals.  This was not received well.  He then began a new novel The Life and Adventure of Martin Chuzzlewit.  This in part also took a swipe at the U.S. and also was not very popular with readers.

Charles Dickens after two failures began to feel depressed and believed his talent had left him.  But it is always darkest before the dawn and late in the year of 1843 a miracle happened.  He had given a lecture in Manchester on the needs of the poor, a theme almost always a part of Dickens work.  When he left the lecture hall he went for a walk and began to think about ignorance and want and an idea sprang into his head.  That idea became A Christmas Carol.  The book was written in 6 weeks and was released on December 17, 1843.  The book sold out in four days.  For a full story on the publishing of A Christmas Carol click here 


After the publication of A Christmas Carol Dickens was back in full form, in the time that followed he would write David Copperfield, Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities.  He also would write what many critics call his best work, Bleak House.

Dickens however did not only write.  He did many lecture tours; he made a second trip to America and participated in amateur theatricals.  He also became very popular for doing public readings of his most popular books.

On June 9, 1870 with his last work The Mystery of Edwin Drood, unfinished, Dickens died of a stroke in his home.  He was 58.

I don’t think much needs to be said about the legacy of Charles Dickens.  His works speaks for itself and there is always a movie company or a theater or a television station working on a new script based on one of his books.  Dickens like Shakespeare touches an inner part of us.  We see life as he does, with his eyes as his prose flow out of his pen like water on to a dried out land.  He makes us see people in ways we don’t normally see them.  The poor become more worthy of our attention, those well off less so.  Dickens was a master of his craft.

Charles Dickens Born February 7, 1812 was contributed by Pop Culture Fun Facts.

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