Harry Houdini: From Vaudeville Performer to World-Class Magician

By Claudia Adrien. Oct 29, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, Mystery, Suspense & Crime

The feats of Harry Houdini amaze us even today. In his Chinese Water Torture trick, Houdini was suspended upside down in a locked glass-and-steel cabinet overflowing with water. In another stunt, he strapped himself into a straitjacket and then, suspended by his ankles, would escape before a crowd of onlookers. Sometimes he dislocated his shoulders in the process. Even now, nearly a century after his death, Harry Houdini remains the world's most well-known magician.


Top 10 Reads for Halloween

By Andrea Koczela. Oct 28, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Horror, Mystery, Suspense & Crime

It's that time of year again. Darkness falls earlier each night, bare tree branches creak in the sky, and the chill of winter creeps ever closer. As autumn chases away the vestiges of summer, Halloween and its ghosts and ghouls come out to play. So grab a cup of cider and enter into the season by reading our top ten creepy blog posts:


How James Boswell Revolutionized Copyright Law

By Kristin Masters. Oct 27, 2014. 7:09 PM.

Topics: Literature, Biographies

Born on October 29, 1740 James Boswell is best remembered for his momentous Life of Johnson. Often regarded as the most important biography written in the English language, Boswell's masterpiece is certainly an incredible contribution to the world of literature and books. But during his own lifetime, Boswell was much better known for another contribution: his role in the establishment of new copyright law for the United Kingdom.


A "Marriage of True Minds": Famous Author Pen Pals

By Katie Behrens. Oct 26, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature

On October 26, 1900, writer Henry James (The Portrait of a Lady) responded to a short note from Edith Wharton wishing him luck on a new play. This began a lifelong correspondence and friendship between a fledgling author and her literary idol. Later in life, Wharton reflected on her friendship with James that “the real marriage of true minds is for any two people to possess a sense of humour or irony pitched in exactly the same key.” We celebrate this meeting of artistic minds today with famous author pen pals.


A Brief History of the Pop-Up Book

By Lauren Corba. Oct 25, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, Book History, Book Making

Books contain tremendous power. They captivate our minds, change the way we look at the world, and transport us to faraway lands. It seems hardly possible to make books any richer than they already are. However, through the beauty of illustrations and the mechanics of pop-up books, readers of all ages can find an even greater appreciation for literature.


How Pat Conroy's Writing Destroyed and Healed His Family

By Leah Dobrinska. Oct 24, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Literature, Movie Tie-Ins

Pat Conroy, best known for his novel The Prince of Tides, was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1945. His father was a Marine Corps fighter pilot, his mother loved books, and the two raised their children in a strict military home. Still, his childhood was tumultuous: the family moved nearly every year to different military bases throughout the South. Life at home was filled with aggression, tension, and hostility, due in most part to Conroy’s father. His childhood and educational experiences provided the fodder for some of his most famous works.


Anne Tyler: The Pulitzer Prize, Bare Feet, and Index Cards

By Matt Reimann. Oct 23, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Pulitzer Prize, American Literature, Literature

While Pulitzer Prize winner Anne Tyler has been writing books since the 60s, she has only recently emerged in the public eye. She long preferred keeping a low profile, granting few interviews and minimal photographs. Her reclusiveness, and the consequent curiousity of her readers, was reminiscent of J.D. Salinger. But a more accurate comparison would be to author John Updike, a companion in subject and in some ways, sensibility. Both are American writers who have rendered with care the lives of their average, but striking, characters.


Case Studies in Collecting: Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven

By Kristin Masters. Oct 22, 2014. 9:26 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, American Literature, Mark Twain

"I'd rather travel with that old portly, hearty, silly, boisterous, good-natured sailor...than with any other man I've ever come across." 
- Mark Twain, of Captain Edgar "Ned" Wakeman


Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, met Captain Edgar "Ned" Wakeman in 1866 aboard the Americas, after already having heard much about him. Twain found Wakeman a most amicable traveling companion, and the celebrated sea captain would live on in a number of Twain's books, most notably Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven


Five Books That Brought Michael Crichton Fame and Fortune

By Claudia Adrien. Oct 21, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Movie Tie-Ins, Science Fiction

Michael Crichton was one of America's most popular science fiction writers, known not only for his books but also for many successful film adaptations. His novels have sold more than 200 million copies worldwide and the movies have grossed billions in revenue. Beyond working as a novelist, Crichton was also a physician, director, and screenwriter. Here we highlight five of Crichton's bestselling novels.


Doris Lessing and the Power of Life-Long Learning

By Leah Dobrinska. Oct 20, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Nobel Prize Winners

Nobel laureate, Doris Lessing, is one of the great literary minds of the twenty-first century. Lessing's genius is undeniable: her writing merges staggering quantity with incredible quality. Perhaps what makes Doris Lessing such an interesting study, though, is the unique way in which she garnered the insights, lessons, and beliefs which seep into her writing.


About this blog

How can I identify a first edition? Where do I learn about caring for books? How should I start collecting? Hear from librarians about amazing collections, learn about historic bindings or printing techniques, get to know other collectors. Whether you are just starting or looking for expert advice, chances are, you'll find something of interest on blogis librorum.

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