10 Facts About the Tin Man of Oz


1.  Although the movie The Wizard of Oz refers to him as the Tin Man, his official name (in the Oz book series) is the Tin Woodman. (Names are important, people!)

2.  Oh, and the Tin Woodman’s “real” name is Nick Chopper. More


10 Facts About “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”


1.  It was written – or almost written – by Charles Dickens.  (The book was left uncompleted at the time of Dickens’ death.)

2.  Because it was unfinished, it’s not known who killed the title character – or, indeed, even if the title character has been killed or has merely disappeared.  (Whatever the case, he’s actually a pretty annoying guy.) More

10 Facts About Author Shirley Jackson


1.  Jackson, who was probably born Dec. 14, 1916 (some sources say 1919) and died August 8, 1965, is of course best known for her chilling short story “The Lottery.”

2.  Her six completed novels include the horror classic The Haunting of Hill House, as well as the rather sinister We Have Always Lived in the Castle and the end-of-the-world The Sundial.  (The first two are fairly easy to find; the last is worth searching out.) More

10 Facts About Author Dawn Powell


1.  This American author was born  November 28, 1896 and died November 14, 1965.  (If you’ve never read her, I advise you to do so.)

2.  Her dozen or so novels can mostly be divided into two categories: the wickedly satirical New York-set ones and the Ohio-set ones, which can have as much bite as the New York ones but seem to come from a more scarred inner place in the writer.  (I would start with A Time to Be Born as an introduction to Powell.) More

10 Facts About Thursday Next


1.  Thursday Next is the unlikely-monikered heroine of a series of novels by British writer Jasper Fforde.  (That double “f” is not a typo – for once.)

2.  The novels are set on an alternate Earth in which time travel is very much possible, cloning has brought back extinct species, Wales is a communist nation, and, most surprising of all, books and literary figures are as popular as movies and movie stars in our world.  As a result, Thursday’s occupation is Literary Detective, working for the government on book-related crimes.  (Dream job with my name on it.)


10 Facts About the Land of Oz


1. L. (for “Lyman”) Frank Baum first took readers to the marvelous land of Oz in 1900, via The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  (And I am quite thankful that he did so.)

2.  Oz is divided into 5 major regions: The Emerald City in the center and the lands of the Winkies (to the west),  the Munchkins (to the east), the Quadlings (to the south) and the Gillikins (to the north).


10 Facts About Author Roald Dahl


1.  Best known as the author of the children’s classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Dahl’s work usually had a dark undercurrent to it and tended to avoid the sentimental in favor of the odd, the melancholy or the grotesque (as well as the humorous).

Patricia Neal, Roald Dahl

2.  Although his fame today is primarily based on his children’s work, he wrote many pieces (novels, poems, short stories, memoirs, screenplays) for adult audiences. Among those screenplays is the James Bond flick, You Only Live Twice; his child-oriented screenplays include that for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.


10 Facts About Writer Robert Aickman (Who?)


1.  Born June 27, 1914, this English author died February 26, 1981.

2.  In addition to being a writer, he was a committed conservationist and helped found the Inland Waterways Association, which seeks to preserve England’s old canals.


10 Facts About the Telephone Book


1.  The first phone book was published in 1878.  (The same year as Anna Karenina – really, the similarities are astoubnding!)

2.  It was only one page long and listed 50 businesses in New Haven, CT.  (New York is so jealous that New Haven was ahead of them on this one.)


10 Facts About Hercule Poirot


1.  He’s not French, he’s Belgian.  (You don’t know how long it took for that to sink into my head when I was growing up.)  (If I have indeed actually grown up by now.  It’s open for debate.)

2.  M. Poirot has appeared in more than 30 novels, more than 50 short stories and one play.  By Agatha Christie, that is; God only knows how many works of fan fiction have featured him.