Novelist John Griffith London (1876-1916) was born on this day in San Francisco, California. As a child, he survived his poverty with a library card and passion for reading.
"I read everything," he said. "I read mornings, afternoons, and nights. I read in bed. I read at table. I read as I walked to and from school, and I read at recess while the other boys were playing."
London wrote at least 1,000 words daily for 17 years, finishing over 50 books. His words celebrated competitive individualism. He sold nearly everything he wrote, becoming the most popular writer of his day and earning nearly a million dollars in his lifetime.
His classics included: The Call of the Wild (1903), in which a pet dog become the leader of a wild sledge pack; The Sea-Wolf (1903), the adventures of strong Captain Wolf Larsen; and White Fang (1906), about a wild dog that becomes close to a human.
"The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time," he said, coloring his tales with philosophy and power.
A sailor and adventurer, London traveled to Alaska's Klondike during the gold rush of 1897. He also visited Hawaii often and learned how to surf like a native. He was an advocate for breaking the taboo over leprosy and his writing helped transform the islands into a popular tourist spot.
"With Hawaii it seems always to be love at first sight," he wrote. "Those for whom the islands were made are swept off their feet the first moments of meeting, embrace, and are embraced."
Go after it.