Sunday, 11 December 2011

An Advent Calendar of the Written Word (11th to 17th)

The second of three weeks featuring a note for each day of advent. No chocolates or pictures in this calendar but perhaps something of interest to the wordsmith.

11th - the 11th December is the anniversary of the birth (1918) of the Russian writer, Nobel winner and Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn who died in 2008.

12th - has to be Twelfth Night for this was my one and only appearance as a thespian (although to be accurate there were two performances) when I had the role of Malvolio forced upon me by a teacher. Should 'Happy' Richmond still be around to recall those (for me) endless weeks of torture, my loathing for you is undiminished.

13th - the 13th this month fell on a Tuesday, yet had it fallen on a Friday all manner of woes and ill fortune may have been blamed on something which can only happen a maximum of three times each year in the Gregorian calendar. However spare a thought for Spanish-speaking countries where Friday the 13th passes unnoticed as it is Tuesday the 13th, or Martres trece, which is feared. Incidentally, statistics show these unlucky 13ths (be they Fridays or Tuesdays) are likely to see a significant drop in accidents.

14th - the 14th letter in the alphabet is 'n', the sixth most common letter used in the English language but as a consonant second only to 't'. The development of the letter 'n' seems to have been from the adaptation of the Egyptian snake heiroglyph by Semitic people, their word for a snake beginning with the 'n' sound.

15th - the 15th best-selling daily newspaper in the world, with an average daily circulation of some 2,204,000 is Japan's Sankei Shimbun. However it ranks only 7th among Japan's dailies, indeed the five best-sellers in the world are all Japanese. Incidentally 15th on the United Kingdom list is the Manchester Evening News.

16th - Barbara Cartland has the longest entry in Who's Who, mostly a list of her books, the 16th of which appeared in 1937, a contemporary romance novel entitled But Never Free (aka The Adventurer). Incidentally at the time of her death there were some 160 unpublished works

17th - the 17th book of the Bible is Esther. As an English name Esther became popular in the 17th century, when it was the 17th most common name given to a baby girl.

No comments:

Post a Comment