The Ten Most Readable Newbery Medal Winners

By Katie Behrens. Dec 20, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, Newbery Award

Every year, committees of experts and librarians gather to discuss the best books published for children that year.  Out of that process, the Newbery and Caldecott Medals are awarded for excellence in writing and illustration, respectively.  Every committee is different – sometimes there are clear favorites, sometimes not – but the very act of awarding the medals marks the books as favorites and collectibles for years to come. Whether you’re searching for a special gift or hoping to learn more about the award, look no further than this list of the ten most engaging Newbery Medal winners.

     
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Ian Fleming's Banned Book and the Unexpected Gravity of James Bond

By Brian Hoey. Dec 19, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: James Bond, Banned Books, Ian Fleming

A banned book always carries with it a certain social cache. Perhaps it’s simply that people want what they can’t have, or that censored works are coveted precisely for their perceived power to affect change. But the fact remains that once a book joins the banned book list, including such revolutionary political and aesthetic statements as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) and Joseph Heller's Catch-22 (1961), the work becomes difficult to ignore.

     
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Victor Canning: Forgotten Rival of Ian Fleming

By John Higgins. Dec 18, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Mystery, Suspense & Crime

Victor Canning was a prolific writer who would surely be as famous as Ian Fleming if he had managed to write a little less. Certainly in the 1950s he was better known than Fleming in Britain and the United States. If only President Kennedy had picked up a copy of Panthers’ Moon rather than From Russia with Love, Canning might enjoy a greater legacy today.

     
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Top Ten Collectible Christmas Books

By Brian Hoey. Dec 17, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Christmas Books

With the holidays fast approaching, it can be easy to take for granted all of the Christmas cheer that seeps into daily life. From the omnipresence of Christmas lights and miniature Santas to the unabashed spinning of Bing Crosby records, one might be lulled into such a state of wintry bliss that one could forget that the true force of Christmas spirit emanates from one’s bookshelf. Here are ten of the most collectible Christmas books to enliven your holiday spirit.  

     
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J.R.R. Tolkien's Epic Quest: Writing The Lord of the Rings

By Katie Behrens. Dec 16, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Fantasy, Adventure, J. R. R. Tolkien

Despite plenty of naysayers and literary critics, the English-reading world consistently votes J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings as one of the greatest books of the 20th Century.  In 1997, a poll performed by the British bookseller Waterstones voted Tolkien’s epic fantasy as the overall winner – and that was four years before Peter Jackson’s movie adaptations hit the big screen!  Our fascination with Middle Earth, the One Ring, and hobbits seems to have no end.  Today, we salute Tolkien for his epic accomplishment: writing The Lord of the Rings.

     
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Defining Science Fiction: Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, and Isaac Asimov

By Brian Hoey. Dec 15, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Science Fiction

Defining science fiction has always been a tricky proposition. It has been suggested that, like pornography, "you know it when you see it," but that hardly seems a sufficient rule. Still less helpful is the notion that the science fiction moniker applies to any fiction dealing imaginatively with concepts borrowed from science. The fact of the matter remains that select staples of the literary cannon have displayed an interest in science from Shakespeare’s work through the likes of Thomas Pynchon. This does little to change the fact that when we speak of science fiction we hardly ever mean The Tempest (1610), and we usually don’t mean Gravity’s Rainbow (1973) either.

     
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A Collector's Guide to The Night Before Christmas

By Katharina Koch. Dec 14, 2014. 10:05 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Christmas Books

With my favorite holiday approaching, there is no better way to get in the Christmas spirit than reading and collecting The Night before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore. This essential children’s book has long been one of my favorites. When I first began collecting, I knew I wanted to focus on something that I had cherished as a child; so naturally I chose The Night before Christmas books, among a few others. Still a classic to this day, The Night before Christmas encompasses the magic of Christmas that is treasured by children and so often overlooked in the hustle and bustle of the season. 

     
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Louise Erdrich: Making Ojibwe Language and Culture Relevant to Readers

By Audrey Golden. Dec 13, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Literature

Perhaps you’ve seen Louise Erdrich’s novels on bookstore shelves or mentioned in book club circles? While Erdrich just might be one of the most prolific contemporary novelists engaging with American Indian traditions, many readers aren’t especially familiar with her personal background or the role that her fiction plays in preserving the narratives of Ojibwe culture and language. The Ojibwe, or Chippewa, remain one of the largest tribes in the United States today, yet many of us don’t know as much as we should about a culture that remains vibrant in the northern states.

     
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Aphra Behn: The First English Novelist?

By Brian Hoey. Dec 12, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature

In her seminal work of literary philosophy, A Room of One’s Own (1929), Virginia Woolf said “all women together, ought to let flowers fall on the grave of Aphra Behn.” Aphra Behn, one of the western cannons most enigmatic cases, was not widely read at the time of Woolf’s writing just as she is not widely read now. Indeed, Behn's work has been neglected since her death in the late seventeenth century. However, it was Woolf’s position that any woman who sought to be taken seriously in literature owed Behn a direct debt of gratitude.

     
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Top 10 Children's Books for the Holiday Season

By Katie Behrens. Dec 11, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, Christmas Books

Whether you’re eight years old or eighty, there’s something magical about receiving a children’s book as a holiday gift.  Whether it's a story you knew and loved as a child, or one you're passing on to a new generation, children's books stir old memories and create new. You open up the wrapping paper to find a beautiful story that transports you to a different place and time.  It is also a meaningful experience for the gift giver, wanting to pass along a character or story that they loved as a child.  And for those merely ‘young at heart’, what a joy to receive a rare copy of a book that you haven’t seen in years!

     
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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.

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