Did you know?  Check your Collector's Resources

Czesław Miłosz's Political and Literary Legacy

By Adrienne Rivera. Jun 30, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, World War II

Czesław Miłosz was born in 1911 in Poland to an ethnically Lithuanian civil engineer and a Polish noble. Miłosz was raised in Lithuania, and though it caused much controversy in his life, he would never ally himself formally with either Poland or Lithuanian, saying that he was born in Poland, and was therefore technically Polish, but that he was raised with the spirit of the Lithuanian people and could not deny that part of himself. Interestingly, Miłosz's literary and political efforts would cause him to remain on the fringe, only recognized in and by his homeland later in his life.

     
Read more...


Five of the Coolest Libraries for Children in the U.S.

By Abigail Wheetley. Jun 29, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, Libraries

Libraries create access to information and are seen as institutions that promote higher learning and research. However, for the smaller scholars, libraries can simply be a place for fun. Many public libraries focus on their children’s area and make it a utopia that exposes children of all socioeconomic groups to art, literature, and a really good time. These are five wonderful libraries that create a haven for small minds yearning for activity and stimulation.

     
Read more...


Luigi Pirandello's Four Nobel Prizes

By Brian Hoey. Jun 28, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Nobel Prize Winners, Drama

While the Nobel Prize in Literature does not explicitly aim to single out the most influential writers of a given generation (per Alfred Nobel, its purpose is to reward “the most outstanding work in an ideal direction”), that it should do so seems inevitable. The most outstanding work, after all, frequently proves to be the most read and most imitated. And indeed, that the Nobel sometimes helps to define the chain of literary influence from one era to the next can be one of the most gratifying things about the list. It is by this metric that Luigi Pirandello, the masterful Italian playwright, can be considered one of the most intriguing Nobel laureates, with his writing directly and obviously influencing at least three other future Nobel winners: Samuel Beckett, Albert Camus, and Harold Pinter.    

     
Read more...


A Brief Introduction to Eric Carle

By Andrea Diamond. Jun 25, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Illustrators, Children's Books

It is the first day of preschool. You walk into a classroom filled with unfamiliar faces, clinging to your mom’s hand before it’s time to say goodbye. You take your seat on the welcome rug, carefully patting down your “first-day of school” dress as you timidly scan the brightly colored toys and trinkets that line the shelves. It doesn’t look like a scary place, but it is very different from anything you’ve known. As you absorb the new world around you, the teacher pulls out a book. You recognize the cover as one you’ve read before, and as she begins to read you slip into the comfort of a familiar story.

     
Read more...


Did Shakespeare Really Write His Plays?

By Matt Reimann. Jun 24, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Literature, History, Drama

The life of Shakespeare is shaped by two major qualities: excellence and obscurity. For this reason, his biography has been subject to much scrutiny and speculation. The central question that plagues the legacy of Shakespeare is a famous one, and gets down to the reality of the figure himself. Did Shakespeare, the great poet and dramatist, really exist as we know him?

     
Read more...


Michael and Jeff Shaara: Masters of Historical Fiction

By Brian Hoey. Jun 23, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, History, Civil War

The title of Michael Shaara’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Civil War novel The Killer Angels (1974) comes from an exchange between between Union Colonel Joshua Chamberlain and his father which appears relatively early in the book. Hearing Chamberlain recite a line from Hamlet that likens man to angels, his father responds, "Well, boy, if he's an angel, he's sure a murderin' angel." The title is deeply ambivalent. The ‘killer angels’ are, notably, still called angels despite being killers, and vice versa. On some level, this ambivalence is the true appeal of Shaara’s writing. He trains his sights on one of the most divisive eras in American history and refuses to allow for the presence of men and women who are either exclusively angelic or exclusively murderous, choosing instead to foreground the sheer flawed humanity that exists on each side of the conflict. The fact that he pulls off this balancing act speaks volumes.

     
Read more...


Five Interesting Facts about Jean-Paul Sartre

By Leah Dobrinska. Jun 21, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Nobel Prize Winners

Jean-Paul Sartre lived a full life. He is widely remembered for his contributions as a philosopher, playwright, and teacher. His notable works include his philosophical magnum opus, L'Etre et le néant [Being and Nothingness] which was published in 1943, and his plays, Les Mouches [The Flies], 1943 and Huis Clos [No Exit], 1947. His ideas have a continued influence on philosophical and literary studies today. But what are some other facts about the esteemed thinker? Read on to discover five interesting factoids about Jean-Paul Sartre.

     
Read more...


Why It's Time to Appreciate Lillian Hellman Again

By Matt Reimann. Jun 20, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Drama

In 1939, Lillian Hellman was riding in a taxi with the star of one of her plays. The atmosphere in the car was tense. The actress, Tallulah Bankhead, wanted to put on a performance for the benefit of Finland, which had been invaded by the USSR earlier in the year. Hellman refused to allow her play to be performed for the cause, citing her lack of esteem for what she believed was a pro-Nazi republic. Bankhead, frustrated by Hellman’s stubbornness, told the playwright she would never act in one of her plays again. Hellman then responded by striking the actress across the jaw with her purse.

     
Read more...


Reading with Dad on Father's Day

By Connie Diamond. Jun 19, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature

The cover art of Reading with Dad by Richard Jorgensen depicts a worn leather chair. On it sits an open book, and beneath it, two pairs of shoes—one large and one small. The chair is not unlike the ones found in our home library. The small shoes are not unlike the lace-up Keds that have littered our house over the years in a rainbow of colors and in various stages of disrepair.  The larger shoes are very much like those whose footprints my daughters try to follow. They are Dad shoes.

If one is to believe the predominant image presented in television commercials and sitcoms, then Dad is a hapless side-kick. While Mom deftly goes about the business of parenting, Dad forgets schedules, dishes out junk food for breakfast, and secures diapers with duct tape.  As humorous as the hapless dad image may be, in real life, the role of dad is a complex and important one. The wonderful dads I know strike the right balance between protecting and empowering, between providing necessities and promoting self-sufficiency, and between accepting and expecting. While managing all of this, good dads also work to build relationship and to pass on their wisdom and their passions to their children. This is a tall order and seems to call for a Swiss Army Knife worth of tools. One of the best tools in that arsenal is reading.

     
Read more...


The Profound Magical Realism of Chris Van Allsburg

By Abigail Wheetley. Jun 18, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, Magical Realism

Chris Van Allsburg begins writing his fantasy children’s picture books with a single question “What if…?” and answers it with a string of beautiful and inspiring tales of the extreme. We have some “What ifs…?” of our own. What if a young man with a vague interest in art was denied admission to the University of Michigan because he lacked a portfolio? What if the warmth of that sculptor’s studio kept him away from the inviting apartment with pencils and paper?  What if a future Caldecott winner had not married a woman who taught children and hadn’t been encouraged to become a children’s illustrator? What if a Chris Van Allsburg had never come into our collective cultural awareness?

     
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