On This Day: May 20 | Los Angeles Public Library
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On This Day: May 20

Keith Chaffee, Librarian, Collection Development,
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In the mood for a good movie? Some toe-tapping music? A thrilling book? ON THIS DAY will lead you to new possibilities every day, tied to interesting moments from history and popular culture. Whether it’s streamable and downloadable music and film, e-books and e-audio, or physical books and DVDs, we hope you’ll find something to enjoy as you pick up a few bits of history each day.

Honore de Balzac: The Human Comedy: Selected Stories On this day in 1799, Honoré de Balzac was born. Balzac was a French novelist and playwright whose work was praised for its reality and for the complexity of its characters. Balzac was cited as an important influence by writers as diverse as Charles Dickens, Jack Kerouac, and Akira Kurosawa. His major work was La Comédie humaine (The Human Comedy), a series of 91 loosely linked novels, stories, and essays. Some of the shorter works in the series are gathered in The Human Comedy: Selected Stories, available as an e-book at OverDrive, or in print.
Sigrid Undset: Kristin Lavransdatter On this day in 1882, Sigrid Undset was born. Undset was a Norwegian novelist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928. Her early novels were set in contemporary Norway, but she is best remembered for her novels of the 1920s, which were set in the Middle Ages. Undset's Nobel was awarded principally for her medieval novels, including her best-known work, Kristin Lavransdatter, a trilogy which follows one woman from birth to death. Kristin Lavransdatter is available as an e-book at OverDrive, or in print.
Israel Kamakawiwo'ole And on this day in 1959, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole -- or "Iz," as his fans called him -- was born. Iz was a singer and ukulele player who recorded four albums in the 1990s. His recording of "What a Wonderful World/Over the Rainbow" became a staple of TV and movie soundtracks in the early 2000s, and helped to make Facing Future the best-selling Hawaiian album of all time. When he died in 1997, he was the first non-government official to be honored by having his casket lie in state at the Hawaii State Capital building. Unforgettable collects the highlights of Kamakawiwo'ole's career; it's available for streaming or download at Freegal.