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Władysław Reymont's Unlikely Journey to the Nobel Prize

By Matt Reimann. May 2, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Nobel Prize Winners

Before he won the Nobel Prize in 1924, Władysław Reymont lived like a vagabond. Trained to be a tailor, Reymont never worked a day in his trade. Instead, he preferred the company of traveling performers and dreamed of making it in show business. Life on stage took its toll, however, and Reymont returned home penniless and took up jobs he little enjoyed. He kept at his doomed theatrical dreams for a bit longer, that is, before he left them behind to become one of the greatest writers Poland has ever known.

     
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Four Examples of May Day in Literature

By Nick Ostdick. May 1, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Literature, Book History, History

For many bibliophiles, the month of May means the beginning of summerlonger days, warmer weather, and the unofficial start of “beach read” season. But May 1 packs a much more significant historical and cultural punch, the essence of which many authors have tried to capture in their stories and novels during the last 100 years.

     
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Where Eternity Clips Time: The Transcendentalism of Annie Dillard

By Brian Hoey. Apr 30, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature

When one reads Henry David Thoreau’s Walden (1854)which finds Thoreau hosting frequent visitors in a cabin beside a tourist-infested lakeit’s easy to imagine that the author might not be well-suited to real, honest-to-goodness solitude. When one reads Annie Dillard, by contrast, it’s hard to imagine her enjoying anything but solitude. While Dillardwho gained significant acclaim as a writer of fiction and creative non-fiction pursuant to the publication of such works as The Writing Life (1989) and Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (1974)essentially reprises Thoreau’s mission of transcendent solitude in nature with the latter book of nonfiction, her unique and fiery prose imbues all that she sees with fleeting snatches of the divine. This ability has gained her a surprising epithet (‘One of the foremost horror writers of the 20th century’) and, less surprisingly, a devoted readership.

     
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5 Contemporary Poets You Should Be Reading Right Now

By Nick Ostdick. Apr 29, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Pulitzer Prize, Latin American Authors

“If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry...Is there any other way?”

That’s Emily Dickinson in the late 1870s talking about how she defines that inexplicable moment when a poem moves youwhen a piece of poetry elicits an emotional, non-rational, sometimes transcendent response as you subconsciously identify with an image, a moment, a phrase, a scene. It’s an experience that’s often difficult to intellectualize and describe, and sadly, one that many casual readers can’t easily access as poetry is pushed more and more to the fringes of contemporary publishing, relegating it to near niche status.

     
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Revisiting the Good (and Bad) Aspects of Go Set a Watchman's Release

In February, the New York Post discovered Harper Lee had been keeping a Manhattan apartment for ten years. She renewed the lease on the enviable, $900-per-month Upper East Side dwelling just a few months prior to her death. Her neighbors remembered her fondly, noting her love of Sunday crosswords. The local butcher too recalled her kind requests for select cuts of meat. Lee had not visited the apartment since her stroke in 2007, but it is remarkable how this secret had been preserved until the very end. Especially when one considers the public appetite for all things Harper Lee.

     
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The Legacy of Ludwig Bemelmans

By Adrienne Rivera. Apr 27, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Illustrators, Children's Books

For many small children outside of Europe, their first ideas of Paris come from a children's book, and for them, the heart of the city is a vine-covered old house full of little girls in yellow dresses, the smallest and most important being Madeline. The man behind the first seven Madeline books (the series has since been picked up by his grandson) was Ludwig Bemelmans. Though he published over forty-six books in his lifetime and posthumously, it is for Madeline that he is most fondly remembered.

     
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The Bond Dossier: Casino Royale

By Nick Ostdick. Apr 26, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: James Bond

When Ian Fleming retreated to his Jamaican home nicknamed Goldeneye to decompress just prior to his wedding, nobodyincluding Fleming himselfhad any idea this brief holiday in the sun would be the beginning of one of the most beloved spy novel and movie franchises the world over.

While not quite a larkFleming had discussed with friends his desire to someday write a spy novel based in some sense on his own experiences as an intelligence officer during World War IIFleming’s ascension from unknown, aspiring author to the heights of the spy novel genre seems almost as fanciful and outlandish as the exploits of his protagonist, British spy James Bond.

     
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Top Five Poets Who Wrote for Children

Writing poetry and writing for children have something very important in common: both endeavors are much more difficult than they look. The brief form, the broad appeal, and the creation of language that is as pleasing to the ear of a child as it is to the ear of a publisher: these are the challenges of the poet who writes for the young and the young at heart. This is a list of those who have made the effort and come forth triumphant and, perhaps, who also inspired future poets and writers.

     
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Six Cool Facts About the Library of Congress

By Abigail Wheetley. Apr 24, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Libraries & Special Collections, History

We all know that it’s big, important, and crucial to our culture. After that, the details get vague. The truth is that the Library of Congress has a fascinating history, as well as a pretty cool present, and we’d like you to be as informed about the library as those that use it are about the world we live in. Read on to find out how the Library of Congress became the library of the people, and how it literally rose from the ashes and became an institutional gem in our nation’s history.

     
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Could William Shakespeare Have Been Catholic?

By Leah Dobrinska. Apr 23, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Book News

The answer to our title question today is, yes. He could have been. Do we know for certain? No, of course not. However, that will not stop us from using the anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, as well as the celebration of the 400th anniversary of his death, to dive into some of the speculation surrounding the Bard’s religion. Numerous researches and scholars have put forth arguments for why they believe Shakespeare was Catholic. Here’s a roundup of some of the most interesting evidence (with conclusions of our own as to why any of this matters).

     
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