One of America's greatest and strangest authors has a birthday this week; Edgar Allan Poe's brief and tragic life began January 19, 1809. In his forty years on this Earth he lived in extreme poverty, battled debilitating addiction, mourned the deaths of virtually every woman he ever loved, and, however improbably, penned immortal verses, invented the detective story, gave new resonance to the literary terms "macabre" and "bizarre," and left an indelible mark on world literature. Should you wish to celebrate this author's enduring legacy, I would encourage you to seek out The Library of America edition of his Poetry and Tales or the Penguin Classics edition of The Portable Edgar Allan Poe. Both collections contain exciting, suspenseful stories that have thrilled readers for over one-hundred-and-fifty years. For an overview of the author's troubled life, I recommend the biography The Haunted Palace: A Life of Edgar Allan Poe.