The Audacious Gore Vidal: Novelist, Essayist, and Provocateur

By Matt Reimann. Oct 1, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, American Literature, Literature

Gore Vidal saw himself as the last of a dying breed. Referring often to society's ineptitude, he believed he was part of a culture in decline. He had an attitude fit to rule as well, and admitted that if he hadn’t lived in Rome for so much of his life, he would have continued seeking office in the United States (Vidal ran for Congress twice, but lost both times). While he never became an elected official, his political interest and upbringing forever informed his life as a writer and intellectual.


Wallace Stevens: Corporate Executive and Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet

By Matt Reimann. Sep 30, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Pulitzer Prize

Pulitzer Prize winner, Wallace Stevens, published his first book of poetry when he was forty-four years old. He was awarded two National Book Awards for his poetry, both when he was a septuagenarian. Stevens won the 1955 Pulitzer Prize for Collected Poems, the same year of his death, at age 75. He lived one of those rare lives in which artistic and conventional success were intertwined. He graduated from Harvard Law School and after a career as a lawyer, became an executive at a Connecticut insurance company. He kept the position for the majority of his life, and readily defended his stable occupation. He once remarked to a newspaper reporter, "It gives a man character as a poet to have this daily contact with a job." 


Laura Esquivel's Recipe for Success

By Leah Dobrinska. Sep 29, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Movie Tie-Ins

Laura Esquivel is a Mexican author and screenwriter recognized for her revolutionary contributions to Latin American literature. Influenced by writers Gabriel García Márquez and Isabel Allende, Esquivel is best known for her novel Like Water for Chocolate (1989). She was born on September 30, 1950 in Mexico City to parents, Julio Esquivel, a telegraph operator, and Josephina Esquivel, the third of four children. 


Elie Wiesel: Reluctant Writer and Collectible Nobel Laureate

By Katie Behrens. Sep 28, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Nobel Prize Winners

Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel was born in Sighet, Romania in 1928, and is best known for his voice as a Holocaust survivor and advocate for peace. Wiesel’s family was separated during World War II when the German army deported their Jewish community of Sighet to Auschwitz-Birkenau. His father died just weeks before the camp was liberated by American troops in 1945. After the war, Wiesel was reunited with two of his three sisters in France; his mother and youngest sister did not survive.


The Unrealized Promise of Truman Capote, Author of In Cold Blood

By Claudia Adrien. Sep 27, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Movie Tie-Ins

Although Truman Capote is best known for his works Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1958), and In Cold Blood (1965), it was his short stories that first launched his writing career. In 1946, Capote won the prestigious O. Henry Award for his short story "Miriam." He has since become one of America's most recognized and eccentric 20th-century writers.


Picaresque Authors from Cervantes to Bellow

By Kristin Masters. Sep 26, 2014. 8:46 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, Literature, History

Likely born on September 29, 1547, Miguel de Cervantes worked as both a chamber assistant to a cardinal and as a tax collector before making his "literary break" with Don Quixote de la Mancha. The first part of the novel, published in 1605, established Cervantes as a formidable man of letters. Don Quixote is considered the first modern European novel and a stellar example of the picaresque novel. 


T. S. Eliot: Nobel Laureate and Voice of the Lost Generation

By Ellie Koczela. Sep 25, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Poetry, Nobel Prize Winners

Thomas Stearns Eliot was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1888.  A Nobel laureate, The New York Times described his writing as giving "new meaning to English-language poetry,” Due to a congenital double hernia, T. S. Eliot spent much of his childhood reading rather than running around with other children. His family eventually moved to New England where he attended Harvard. At age 22, he moved to Paris; four years later, he married Vivienne Haigh-Wood.  He later claimed, “To her, the marriage brought no happiness. To me, it brought the state of mind out of which came The Waste Land."


The PEN/Faulkner Award And Notable Winners

By Claudia Adrien. Sep 24, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Awarded Books, American Literature

The PEN/Faulkner Award is one of the highest honors given to American citizens for fiction writing. The award was initially established by William Faulkner who used his 1949 Nobel Prize winnings to create the the William Faulkner Foundation. The primary goal of the foundation was to support emerging fiction writers. Although the foundation was later dissolved, the award came under the management of PEN, the international writers' association.


The Enduring Controversy of the Warren Commission

By Kristin Masters. Sep 23, 2014. 9:03 AM.

Topics: American History, History

On September 24, 1964, the Warren Commission presented its long-awaited report. The exhaustive 888-page document outlined the Commission's investigation into the assassination of President John F Kennedy. Though the Commission's own members and even President Lyndon B Johnson professed their confidence in the Commission's findings, the report also fueled the fires of multiple conspiracy theories. 


The Great Gatsby's Rocky Road to Popularity

By Matt Reimann. Sep 22, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, American Literature

I want to write something new, something extraordinary and beautiful and simple and intricately patterned. F. Scott Fitzgerald in a letter in 1922, as he began to write the novel which became The Great Gatsby

Few authors ever produce a work that outgrows itself. One so rich in mood and aesthetic distinction that it produces a cultural impression familiar even to those who have never peered between the book's covers. Books of this pedigree often bring to life the monstrous (Frankenstein, Dracula, Moby Dick), which makes the undeniable staying power of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterwork The Great Gatsby (1925) even more peculiar. There are no beasts in this Roaring Twenties novel. Rather, Fitzgerald entrances us with his exuberant setting and a tragic love story marked by postwar trauma and the trappings of the American Dream.


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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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