Did you know?  Check your Collector's Resources

The Persistent Voice of Mikhail Sholokhov

By Andrea Diamond. May 24, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Nobel Prize Winners

“Good things take time” is an old adage that has been issued to almost everyone at one point or another in their lifetime. It flows from the mouths of professors as they warn their students not to wait until the night before to start their 15-page research paper, from coaches of disgruntled beginner athletes, and from parents attempting to convince their child to be more diligent in practicing their piano notes. With the boom of technology and the drive for convenience, it seems being patient grows more difficult with each passing day. Waiting for the Wi-Fi connection at a local coffee shop feels like eternity, and we suffer extreme indignation when the pizza delivery man takes more than 30 minutes to arrive. While the art of efficiency and the drive for productivity is not without its benefits in the world today, it is often best ignored by the creative mind. Good bookslike many things in lifetake time. In the case of Nobel Prize winner Mikhail Sholokhov, it took fourteen years.

     
Read more...


Arnold Lobel: The Anatomy of a Fable

By Connie Diamond. May 22, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, Literature

The genesis of the fable is unclear, but its legacy is far-reaching. The name "Aesop" is synonymous with fables, although the stories themselves and their corresponding lessons had been handed down for generations before he recorded them several hundred years B.C. They made their first appearance in printed English in 1484. It is safe to say, then, that fables are an integral part of our collective literary and cultural history. Their lessons are universal and timeless. Who among us has not been exhorted to heed the lesson of the Hare and the Tortoise and remember that “slow and steady wins the race,” or to mistrust appearances and beware of “the wolf in sheep’s clothing.” These morals were just one component of the fable formula, and they happened to be the component that Arnold Lobel disliked.

     
Read more...


Home On the Range: Five Writers from the American Southwest

By Nick Ostdick. May 21, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, American Southwest

Deserts. The Mojave. The Sonoran. The Chihuahuan. Vast, barren, dusty landscapes with skies that seem to stretch forever, and towering, jagged rock formations cut from the scorched earth. Cacti. Heat. Sun. In other words, tough country, both in terms of its topography and culture and politics.

Conflict between American settlers and Native American Indians looms large in the history of this place, as does the often tortured relationship its inhabitants experience between calling this region home and striving to get out. But as we’ve seen time and time again with this series, great conflict often breeds great beauty, and writers from the American Southwest are no stranger to conflictboth in terms of the region’s geography and politicsand, as it turns out, the wealth of artistic expression born from it, particularly in the literary arts.

     
Read more...


Collecting Books with Woodcuts

Since the eighth century in Japan, woodcuts have been used for printing textiles and paper, and later for creating illustrations in books. According to an article* from the Metropolitan Museum of Art's website, “woodcuts are produced by inking a raised surface against which a piece of paper is pressed, either manually or by running it through a press, to create an image on the paper.”

Beginning in the fifteenth century, woodcuts served as illustrations in printed books, and many scholars attribute the first successful black-and-white woodcuts as book illustrations to Albrecht Dürer. By the mid-sixteenth century, woodcuts were replaced largely by engravings as a method for illustrating books. Still, numerous artists and writers have revived this method. If you’re thinking about collecting books with woodcuts, where should you start?

     
Read more...


The Bond Dossier: Live and Let Die

By Nick Ostdick. May 18, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book History, James Bond, Dust Jackets

The saying goes that an artist has his or her entire life to create their first major work, but only a few years to finish their second. It’s an adage often used to rationalize a drop-off in quality or ambition between an artist’s first two major pieces, which is an all too common occurrence. But Ian Fleming is perhaps the shining exception to this rule.

Fleming’s second James Bond novel, Live and Let Die, was published April 5, 1954 and was completed just a few months before the release of the debut Bond novel, Casino Royale—in fact, some Bond scholars contend portions of Live and Let Die were actually composed before Casino Royale was written. Live and Let Die defied the expectations of diminishing returns in following up such a massive success with great critical acclaim in both the U.K. and U.S., coupled with brisk sales in Great Britain and throughout Europe.

     
Read more...


John Patrick: Workaholic of the Stage and Screen

By Matt Reimann. May 17, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Pulitzer Prize, American Literature, Drama

One evening, John Patrick revved his chainsaw on the president of a power company’s lawn. The playwright wanted to run an extra power line to his new farm in New York state. Having received nothing but a string of empty promises, Patrick decided to take matters into his own hands. So he threatened to cut down the executive’s elm tree unless his concerns were properly addressed. The playwright knew a little about getting what he wanted—he had a Pulitzer Prize, after all.

     
Read more...


Collecting the Legendary L. Frank Baum

By Leah Dobrinska. May 15, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Book Collecting

L. Frank Baum created one of the most enduring settings in all of literature—Oz—not to mention some of our most beloved characters. What’s more, his collected works established a brand of American fairy tale that had never before been seen and has since been the inspiration and influence for countless other writers as well as for children of all ages who are looking to find their place and purpose in the world. L. Frank Baum was a master, and it’s not surprising that his works are some of the most sought-after by book collectors. What follows is a brief discussion of collecting points and ideas for the L. Frank Baum collector.

     
Read more...


The Magic of Artemis Fowl and Eoin Colfer

By Adrienne Rivera. May 14, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Movie Tie-Ins, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Villains

Author Eoin Colfer, best known for his Artemis Fowl series, was born in Wexford, Ireland in 1965. His parents instilled in him a love of reading at a young age. He developed an interest in writing in elementary school. Inspired by a history lesson, he began writing adventure stories featuring vikings. Colfer studied education at the University of Dublin and followed in his parents' footsteps to become a school teacher. He spent several years teaching abroad. His first book, Benny and Omar, was inspired by his time in Tunisia and published in 1998.

     
Read more...


Happy Limerick Day: A Brief History of the Limerick

By Nick Ostdick. May 12, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Poetry, Literature

On May 12 each year, the international poetry community stops to recognize a quirky, off-kilter poetic form: the limerick. Celebrated on the birthday of English artist, illustrator, and poet Edward Lear (1812-1888), the holiday pays tribute to the five-line, rhyming form and to Lear himself, who helped popularize the form throughout his career.

     
Read more...


The Triumphant Artistic Vision of Camilo José Cela

By Abigail Wheetley. May 11, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Nobel Prize Winners, Spanish Literature

There are writers who write for the masses, those who write for fame, and those who write for the sake of art. There are others, like Camilo José Cela, who write with a voice to inform, excite, and evoke true response from others, all while still remaining true to himself. It is this virtue, this quest, that allowed the award-winning author to shape his nation’s literary heritage and earned him a spot in the canon of great writers.

     
Read more...


 

Get our communications?

* required information

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.

Get blog notifications per email:

Book Glossary
Get your free Guide to Book Care
Get your Restoration Guide!
Get your free Book Inventory Software