December 25

This Day in History

Literary

Dec 25, 1996:

Jimmy Buffett departs on a cruise that inspires A Pirate Looks at Fifty

One of only a handful of writers to top both the fiction and nonfiction bestseller lists, singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett departs with his family on a three-week cruise around the Southern Hemisphere that will inspire his book A Pirate Looks at Fifty (1998).

After achieving great popularity as a musician, Buffett released his first book, Tales from Margaritaville, in 1996. The book spent six months on the bestseller list. His next book, Where Is Joe Merchant?, about a seaplane pilot investigating the disappearance of a rock star in the Caribbean, topped the fiction lists. When he realized his book contract called for another book, but not specifically a novel, he turned to nonfiction and began a memoir about the cruise, interspersed with memories about his Catholic upbringing and his adventures as a singer. The book hit No. 1, putting him in the company of Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, William Styron, Irving Wallace, and Dr. Seuss as a writer topping both the fiction and the nonfiction lists.

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