Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for London

For this, my third year doing the challenge, I am going literary. For every letter of the alphabet I will talk about a book, an author or a character from fiction or myth that made an impression, was inspirational, or caused me to think.

Jack, that is. Jack London. It's not like I haven't written about him before. I have. I mean, I've already mentioned The Call of the Wild under D for Dogs.

I give Jack London credit for showing me the power of words. It was his words, at the end of The Call of the Wild, that made me cry for the first time. I was about ten. They still make me cry.

As an illegitimate child born in 1876, he really was a rather remarkable person. Before the age of 19, when he returned home to Oakland to go high school, he had pirated oysters, helped to capture fish poachers, gone sealing in the Pacific, and been a hobo traveling around the country. A thirty-day stint in prison was the catalyst that turned him towards education and a career in writing. He lived the stories he wrote, which is probably why when I first read them I felt like I was right there in the middle of a snow storm, or on a ship in the middle the ocean.

There have been rumors he was a womanizer, a drunk, a plagiarizer. He was none of those things. He was, like every human being, complicated and contradictory. When he died of kidney failure in 1916 at the tender age of 40, he was already one of the most widely read authors in the world. One wonders what else he might have written. Considering the short time he had, he was quite prolific.
Jack London`s cabin

This is his cabin in Dawson City, Yukon, Canada, built in 1898.
Because the cabin was of historical interest both to Canada and California, an identical cabin was built in Oakland using half of the logs from the original cabin.

Do you have a favorite Jack London story or character?

L is London  Other L influences: Lost Horizon by John Hilton the first massed produced paperback book, The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle, Lao Tsu

Happy Birthday, Stan! My sweetie.


  1. I'm ashamed to say I've never read anything by Jack London (that I can remember), but your words make me want to check him out.

    And happy birthday to your sweetie:-)

  2. Great pictures. No, I don't have a favorite Jack London character. None even come to mind. Is that terrible?

  3. I love Call of the Wild. London is a great great writer.

  4. Wow, I thought JL had committed suicide. Not true?

    I remember reading "To Build a Fire" in 8th grade English and being amazed at the power, but "hating" the story because I was so used to stories with happy endings. I could not believe he went through all that and froze to death.

  5. I loved reading London's book when I was a teen.

    Dang! I never realized he was so cute!

  6. To Build a Fire! That was a story that I read when I was high school and it never left me. When the MC spits, that spits cracks and he realizes he's going to die is one of the most captivating scenes in any story I've read. Of course, Call of the Wild was the novel I loved best. You couldn't have chosen a better literary figure for L, Bish.

    His California home (now a state park) is a beautiful place to visit. Have you seen it?

  7. "The Call of the Wild"! I remember reading that as a kid. Oh, the poor dog. Gosh London died at only 40? What a waste...

  8. I'm afraid I've never read anything by Jack London either. I must look him out.
    And happy birthday to your sweetie from me too!

  9. I love Jack London!!! He is utterly awesome, Bish! He showed me the power of words too. He and my dad. He was my dad's favorite author. You and I are so close in taste, it is unbelievable. :-)

  10. Didn't realize he'd done so much as a teen. No one wonder the stories seem so real.

  11. Great post, Bish. I loved reading about Jack London's life, but it makes me sad that he died so young. My favorite is Call of the Wild. He was an awesome writer and one of my faves, too. Happy birthday to your hubby. Have a great weekend!

  12. I've been to Jack London Square in Oakland. Your post is a neat tribute to him. Stopping by from the A - Z Challenge. Have a wonderful weekend:)

  13. I loved Call of the Wild and White Fang. I passed the love onto my children who also loved those books.

  14. wow, he was an adventurous sort wasn't he. I love some of his quotes about writing.


Your Random Thoughts are most welcome!