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Interview with Mónica Montes at the Library of David Alfaro Siqueiros

In May, we had the opportunity to visit the Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros, the former studio of the famous Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros, located in Mexico City. In addition its continuing function as a gallery space, the Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros also contains the archives and personal library of the painter. We were thrilled to get a chance to visit the muralist’s preserved library and to examine some of the books contained within it. We also had the opportunity to speak with Mónica Montes, one of the primary archivists at the space. She agreed to an interview with us about Siqueiros’s library, and we are excited to share her knowledge, thoughts, and insights. 

     
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Polite Society and the Novel: Finding Heirs to Jane Austen & Edith Wharton

By Brian Hoey. Sep 27, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature

In Nancy Armstrong’s Desire and Domestic Fiction (1987), the literary critic discusses the role of writing in reproducing cultural norms and mores. By reading novels, citizens internalize the rules of polite society; they learn how they ought to act. While Armstrong’s argument does implicate novelists themselves in whatever happens to be wrong with a given society, she also establishes the novel as a potential space for resistance. That is, while books reproduce their current cultures, they also shape them. Perhaps this is why some of the most incisive critics of polite society over the centuries have by writers. Case in point: Jane Austen, Edith Wharton, Louis Auchincloss. In fact, it’s not just writers, but a very specific type of novelist.

     
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Read More Poetry: The Rudyard Kipling Edition

By Leah Dobrinska. Sep 24, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry

We’ve often argued that the world needs to read more poetry. After all, without poetry we wouldn’t consider how “Good fences make good neighbors” (Robert Frost), or ponder how “Success is counted sweetest/ By those who ne’er succeed./ To comprehend a nectar/ Requires sorest need.” (Emily Dickinson), or to remember to “Talk less/Smile more/ Don’t let them know what you’re against or what you’re for.” (Lin Manuel Miranda).

Truly, the list of great poetic works is a lengthy one, and one that is still being added to. Today, we’d like to spotlight some of the best quotes from Rudyard Kipling’s poems. Kipling, a world renowned English poet, novelist, and short story writer, won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1907. We’ve noted before how he was an icon in his day, but also how his work continues to be talked about today. Let’s keep the conversation going.

     
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Learning About the International Prize for Arabic Fiction

By Audrey Golden. Sep 23, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Literary travel

For those who don’t have the ability to read Arabic literature before its translation, information about the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) might not have made its way to you yet. However, in the past several years, we have been incredibly excited about the books that have won this prize and that have been translated into English for western readers. While we wish we could read many of these texts in their original language, for now, we’re thrilled to see that writers from Iraq, Jordan, and other regions of the Middle East are receiving international recognition for their glorious works of fiction.

     
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Seven of the Best Reads for Autumn

By Andrea Diamond. Sep 22, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature

Autumn: the glowing Midwest season of colorful leaves, fresh air, and crockpot dinners. Swimsuits are exchanged for sweatshirts, kindling is collected for the fire pit, and baristas across the country race outside to write “Pumpkin spice latte” on their sidewalk café menus in scrolling orange calligraphy. Should you find yourself with some quiet time between the football games and hayrides, consider settling in with one of these great Autumn reads.

 

     
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Stephen King: Modern Literature's Master Craftsman

By Adrienne Rivera. Sep 21, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Horror, Literature, Movie Tie-Ins

It is no exaggeration to say that Stephen King is likely one of the most well-known writers working and publishing today. Few other contemporary writers (save possibly fellow speculating fiction master J.K. Rowling) have written books and created creatures and worlds that have captivated such a large worldwide audience. Words and phrases from his novels have seeped into the pop culture, inspiring film, television, and even graphic novel adaptations.

Since publishing his first novel, Carrie, in 1974 (though he had already been publishing short stories in magazines for many years), King has managed to hook millions of readers with his numerous bestsellers. He's won accolades not just for the horror novels which he is most often associated, but also for his short stories, nonfiction, suspense novels, and fantasy novels. His work has earned him such awards as the National Medal of Arts, the Bram Stoker Award, a Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, among others. While most people can probably name a few books by Stephen King, here are some other interesting facts about the horror master.

     
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Why Donald Hall Only Gets Wiser with Age

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

Topics: Poetry, Pulitzer Prize

A few years ago, writer and poet Donald Hall was awarded the National Medal of Arts for his lifetime of work. Aside from the respectful tribute, some in the media gawked at just how old the octogenarian writer looked. He came to the platform with bushy eyebrows, an unkempt beard, and stood in a few unflattering snapshots beside President Obama. He was subject to such ridicule as the nickname “yeti,” as well as a “photo caption contest” in the comments below. All this for a former poet laureate of the United States.

     
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Five Interesting Facts About Ken Kesey

By Audrey Golden. Sep 17, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature

If you’ve heard of Ken Kesey but don’t know a lot about his life, chances are you’ve read his novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962). Just a few years ago, the novel celebrated its 50th anniversary, more than 10 years after its author passed away. As an article* in NPR explained of the book, it “would make its author a literary celebrity, inspire a movie that won the Best Picture Oscar, and help change the way we think about mental health institutions.” The novel depicted a group of patients in an Oregon mental health hospital. The narrative arose out of Kesey’s own experiences as a nurse’s aide in a hospital psychiatric ward in Northern California.

Yet there’s a lot more to know about Kesey than simply his role in creating one of the most widely read novels of the second half of the twentieth century. Since today is the anniversary of his birthday, we wanted to provide you with some more information about the famous novelist. Read on to discover five interesting facts about Ken Kesey.

     
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Why Adults Shouldn't be Embarrassed to Read YA Literature

By Brian Hoey. Sep 16, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Mark Twain

In a Slate article in 2014*, Ruth Graham argued that adults who read young adult fiction should feel embarrassed. For her, YA meant simplistic story-telling, straightforward characters, and satisfying, unambiguous endings—all things that readers should, for her, outgrown before graduating to the moral, thematic, and structural ambiguity of adult literary fiction. Those who stick with YA ostensibly miss out on these things, as well as all the other benefits that adult literary fiction offers. These claims are not uncommon, and many readers who associate young adult fiction with the likes of Twilight (2005) are inclined toward a certain sort of knee-jerk agreement; but are they borne out by the history of YA literature?

     
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Collecting Signed Books with Movie Tie-Ins

By Audrey Golden. Sep 15, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Literature, Movie Tie-Ins

Books inscribed by their authors are exciting additions to any collection. Yet signed books with movie tie-ins can be particularly interesting when they have connections to award-winning films. If you’re lucky, you might find a signed copy of a novel adapted for the cinema by the original author. And in some cases, you might even find a book that’s signed by one of the actors or actresses who brought characters from works of written fiction to the screen. For example, you might seek out a signed first edition of Charles Portis’s True Grit (1968), which has been adapted into two famous films starring John Wayne and Jeff Bridges, respectively. There are far too many novels with interesting film tie-ins for us to mention in just one article, but we’d like to highlight just a few for you to consider adding to your collection.

     
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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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