In "basin street blues" it's the "land of dreams", while Louis Armstrong recalled it as the city where "Creole babies with flashin' eyes softly whisper their tender sighs."
Although he thought "all of Dickens beautiful", the young Vincent van Gogh took special care to re-read A Christmas Carol once a year. "In my view there's no other writer who's as much a painter and draughtsman as Dickens," he told his artist friend Anthon van Rappard from The Hague in 1883.
Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab was a puritan of the highest order. Muslims everywhere, he believed, had become corrupt and their beliefs verged on polytheism. It was his duty to restore the "real" meaning of Islam.
American anthropologist Margaret Mead, whose career took off in the 1920s with the publication of a groundbreaking work on Samoan adolescence, is not, at first glance, the most zeitgeisty subject for a novel. Yet Lily King, by homing in on an intense emotional period of Mead's life and turning it into fiction, has made her newly relevant.
"Truth" and "fairness": two words you would think underpinned the British political system, regardless of who is in power. The two qualities that drove the character of Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird.
Raymond Carver, in a Paris Review interview, spoke of seeing his first short story, “Pastoral”, published in a literary magazine as “A terrific day! Maybe one of the best days ever.”
We are squeamish these days about detaching people's heads. It is true that Isis has tried to revive the tradition of the ceremonial public execution, and that their gruesome videos attract many viewers.
Russian science has an illustrious history – Mendeleev (Periodic Table), Kapitsa (nuclear physics), Tsiolkovsky (rocket pioneer), Sakharov (nuclear physicist and dissident) – but it has always laboured under some handicaps: firstly Tsarist repression then distortion for political ends by communism (the Lysenko Affair).
'This book was very motivational and I think every teenager should read it'