James Alan McPherson, First African American to win a Pulitzer Prize

By Claudia Adrien. Sep 14, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Pulitzer Prize, American Literature

In 1978, author James Alan McPherson became the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize. He won the award for his work Elbow Room, a compilation of short stories in which McPherson explored the haunting realities of race relations between blacks and whites.


A Brief History of the Mystery Novel

By Kristin Masters. Sep 13, 2014. 9:01 AM.

Topics: Literature, Mystery, Suspense & Crime

Take a guess: Who is the world's most translated author? One might assume that it's a literary titan, perhaps Shakespeare or Charles Dickens. But according to Index Translationium, UNESCO's database of book translations, the honor goes to none other than Agatha Christie, whose books have been translated into 103 languages.


Make Way for Ducklings... and Robert McCloskey

Caldecott Award-winning illustrator, John Robert McCloskey, was born September 15, 1914 in Hamilton, Ohio.  At an early age he exhibited a love for music - learning the piano, drums, harmonica, and oboe. Later, he developed a unique interest in mechanics and electrical devises. However, all else was forgotten when he began to draw pictures for his school paper.


Roald Dahl: Beloved Children's Author and Spy

By Katie Behrens. Sep 11, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Children's Books, James Bond

Roald Dahl is known throughout the world as a beloved author of children’s books. What is less well known is that he also spent several years as a British spy during World War II. 

When England declared war on Germany in 1939, Dahl enlisted in the Royal Air Force (RAF). On one of his first missions, he crash landed his plane in enemy territory and was rescued by a British patrol. Dahl soldiered on for a few more months, but when it became clear that his injuries were interfering with his ability to fly, he was sent back to England to recover.


Who is Michael Ondaatje, Author of the English Patient?

By Anne Cullison. Sep 10, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Awarded Books, Literature, Movie Tie-Ins

Born on September 12, 1943, Phillip Michael Ondaatje is best known for his novel, The English Patient. Winner of the 1992 Man Booker Prize and multiple Academy Awards, the book established Ondaatje as one of Canada’s most important contemporary writers and one of the country’s biggest cultural exports.


Should O Henry Get a Presidential Pardon?

By Kristin Masters. Sep 9, 2014. 10:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, History

Plenty of famous authors have written masterpieces from behind bars: Miguel de Cervantes began Don Quixote while doing time for tax irregularities in Algiers, while Fyodor Dostoyevsky narrowly missed his date with a firing squad, allowing him to write Notes from the Underground.


The Short, Controversial Life of D. H. Lawrence

By Anne Cullison. Sep 8, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature

D. H. Lawrence, born September 11, 1885, is widely regarded as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. He was a novelist, poet, and painter. Although he published a dozen novels and many short story collections, no single work brought him more fame or infamy than his book Lady Chatterley’s Lover.


Leo Tolstoy: From Troubled Marriage to Contradictory Worldview

By Ellie Koczela. Sep 7, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature

Three facts:

  • Leo Tolstoy was born on September 9th, 1828 in the Tula region of Russia.
  • He was a prolific writer of political and social philosophy, plays, essays, novels, and short stories.
  • His novel War and Peace is widely considered one of the greatest books ever written.

Beyond these basic statements, however, there is almost nothing simple that can be said about the classic novelist. Tolstoy as a subject is almost as complicated as the novels he wrote.


Download Free Guides about Rare Book Collecting

By Andrea Koczela. Sep 6, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, First Edition Identification

Over the last several weeks, the staff at Books Tell You Why have been working hard to create the guides and ebooks requested by you, our readers. When you ask for something, we listen. Through your feedback, we've learned that readers want more than blog posts about rare books and collecting. They want high-quality, in-depth ebooks that they can download and peruse at their leisure. We are happy to announce that we've produced several such guides and they are available to any of our readers free of charge. More are on the way. Don't see what you're looking for? Let us know. Many of our best ideas have come from readers like you.


10 Surprising Facts About Jennifer Egan: Proust, Steve Jobs & Twitter

By Katie Behrens. Sep 5, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Pulitzer Prize, American Literature

Jennifer Egan is a journalist and writer whose fame exploded with the publication of her unconventional work of fiction, A Visit from the Goon Squad, in 2010. The book was awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award and the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2011. A Visit from the Goon Squad evades easy description. Is it a novel? Is it a collection of short stories? Each chapter follows a different character, branching out through time and space, in a messy yet elegant story that keeps readers hooked. Therefore, it only seems fitting to profile Egan and her work in the fractured style of a good, old fashioned, numbered list.


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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