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Tom Stoppard: Better to be Quotable Than Honest

By Brian Hoey. Jul 3, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Movie Tie-Ins, Drama

“It seems pointless to be quoted if one isn’t going to be quotable…
it’s better to be quotable than honest.”
–Tom Stoppard, 1973

Many are, no doubt, familiar with Tom Stoppard’s work without being aware of it. The prolific Czech-born British playwright’s talents extend beyond the stage to the screen and the radio. Not only will many who would otherwise avoid absurdist drama have delighted in his 1988 Oscar-winning film Shakespeare in Love, still others will have seen 1989's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade without knowing that Stoppard had a hand it.


Ten Essential Summer Reads

By Matt Reimann. Jul 2, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Gift Ideas, First Editions

It’s summer, and readers do what everyone else does when the weather’s nice — they go outside. But what book to pick? The answer isn't always straightforward. The spirit of summer may be a little more difficult to pin down than that of, say, Christmas. But we insist it's not hard to find the perfect book to enjoy on the beach, in your garden, or at a vacation home this season. Below, we’ve compiled some of our favorite summer reads to make your decision a whole lot easier.


George Sand: Radical Feminist of the 1850s

By Katie Behrens. Jul 1, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors

Like her contemporary George Eliot, George Sand was, in fact, a woman writing under a male pseudonym. During her prolific career as a writer, Sand penned novels and plays featuring rustic French landscapes and strong, feminist protagonists. In many ways ahead of her time, George Sand attacked life with a vivacity and brusqueness that made her both a disgrace to proper society and the fascination of those inside it.


What’s in a Name: Alternate Names for Three Famous Literary Characters

By Nick Ostdick. Jun 30, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Pulitzer Prize, Book History

It’s perhaps one of the most famous moments of dialogue from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in which Romeo tries to convince Juliet how little it matters what her last name is or which house she comes from: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Not to quibble with one of most revered technicians of the written word the world has ever seen, but I disagree. There’s something crucial to the sound or vibe of the right name for the right character.  


Top 10 Quotes from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince

By Andrea Koczela. Jun 29, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, Literature

To know The Little Prince is to love The Little Prince. For those of us already familiar with Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's great novella, these quotes will be a charming walk down a familiar path. For those as yet unfamiliar with this children's classic, we hope the following quotes will whet your appetite for more. Read. Enjoy. Then let us know which of your favorites we missed!


Jean Jacques Rousseau: How Hypocrisy Led to Discovery

By Matt Reimann. Jun 28, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Academy

Considered by some to be the most significant 18th century writer in French letters, Swiss philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau changed the realm of political thought and moral psychology. As an original thinker, Rousseau inevitably made enemies and aroused suspicions in his day. His writings forced him into exile and earned him numerous rivals, including Voltaire. Rousseau became so paranoid that he could no longer distinguish the real from the imagined. A man of reason can give way to the most irrational of fears: This is one of the many contradictions that punctuates Rousseau's remarkable life.


James Joyce and Company: Sylvia Beach's Literary Table

By Brian Hoey. Jun 27, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Book History

Imagining literary Paris between the wars is almost too much. Many of us delight in the knowledge that, say, James Joyce and Henrik Ibsen exchanged some letters, or that C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were fast friends. The prospect of a single time and place that contained the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, and others has the trappings of a literary meeting of the minds unrivaled by any setting in human history. If you think that you’d be almost irrecoverably star struck in such a setting, you’re in good company. In fact, you’re in the same boat as F. Scott Fitzgerald himself.


Beyond Tolkien: A Survey of Modern Fantasy

By Katie Behrens. Jun 26, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book History, Science Fiction, Fantasy

J.R.R. Tolkien is widely credited with laying the foundation for the modern fantasy genre for adults in the 1950s with his Lord of the Rings trilogy. Adult readers had found a new taste for imagination, and it's only grown stronger. Both publishers and Hollywood executives can’t seem to get enough of magic, dragons, wizards, and the like. The following authors and books have certainly helped us on our way there.


Libraries & Special Collections: The Vatican Apostolic Library

By Katie Behrens. Jun 25, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Libraries

One of the oldest and most extensive library collections in the world recently began the process of digitizing its treasures for the world to see. This library is not specifically attached to a university or college, and it's nearly 2,000 years old: the Vatican Apostolic Library in Rome. And it's not just documents of the Catholic Church you'll find there.


George Orwell's Prophetic Political Vision

By Matt Reimann. Jun 24, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: History, Science Fiction

George Orwell is still one of today’s most coveted political thinkers. Although he died 65 years ago, it’s remarkable how politicians from all ends of the spectrum work to claim his posthumous blessing. Liberal or conservative, everyone believes herself to be part of the great fight for humankind’s dignity, to which Orwell was likewise dedicated. Through the political unfurling of the last several decades — the Cold War, Vietnam, international security, etc. — many have asked: What would Orwell say? What can Orwell teach us about being a citizen today?


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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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