Good News in History, December 31

Good News in History, December 31

Happy 50th birthday to writer Nicholas Sparks, author of international bestseller The Notebook and 17 other novels. Ten of his romantic-drama novels have been adapted for films with multi-million-dollar box office grosses. After growing up in Nebraska and attending the university of Notre Dame, Sparks moved from career to career until age 27 when he was selling pharmaceuticals and wrote The Notebook… (1965)
Two years later, he was discovered by literary agent Theresa Park, who picked the manuscript out of her agency’s slush pile, liked it, and offered to represent him. The next year, Park secured a $1 million advance for The Notebook from Time Warner Book Group. The novel was published in October 1996 and made the New York Times best-seller list in its first week of release.

With the success of his first novel, he wrote several more bestsellers, and several of the books have been adapted as films: Message in a Bottle (1999), A Walk to Remember (2002), The Notebook (2004), Nights in Rodanthe (2008), Dear John (2010), The Last Song (2010), The Lucky One (2012), Safe Haven (2013), The Best of Me (2014), The Longest Ride (2015), and The Choice (2016). Learn more at his website.

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • Ellis Island opened as a new immigration depot in New York (1891)
  • The first New Year’s Eve celebration was held in New York City’s Times Square (1904)
  • The Marshall Plan expired after distributing $12 billion in foreign aid to rebuild Europe, on the Sec. of State and Nobel winner George Marshall’s birthday (1961)
  • The civil war in El Salvador ended (1991)
  • The Euro was introduced, while the European Exchange Rate Mechanism froze the value on the legacy currencies of the continent (1998)

And, on this day in 1987, Belgians and Britons who displayed heroism during the rescue operation of the March 6 Zeebrugge ferry disaster were honored:

A total of 31 people received honors for helping to save an estimated 350 passengers after the Herald of Free Enterprise capsized claiming 193 lives. One of the highest civilian awards for gallantry, the George Medal, was awarded to head waiter Michael Skippen who died trying to get passengers to safety. It also went to Andrew Parker who formed a human bridge to allow others to clamber to safety across him: “I had no thoughts of heroism at all.” (BBC)