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On Gratitude: Ten Quotes for a Literary Thanksgiving

By Nick Ostdick. Nov 26, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States, and that means friends and families are coming together to give thanks and express gratitude for what and whom they have in their lives. A day focused on gathering around a shared table to indulge in extravagant food and drink, one could argue Thanksgiving is the purest of all holidays where the pressures of a commerce-driven culture are set aside in favor of breaking bread, telling stories, and celebrating a communal moment of peace and good will—that is, at least until the Black Friday sales begin. 


All I Want for Christmas Is a Book: An Early Gift Guide

By Leah Dobrinska. Nov 25, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Gift Ideas

Christmas is only one month away! As you think about what sorts of gifts you’d like to give and receive this year, we’re confident books are at the top of your list. You are reading this blog, after all! And it’s true, a book makes a timeless gift—one that can be enjoyed over and over again, and for generations to come. So, we thought we’d break down some ideas for you, in an effort to make your shopping a little easier and free up some time in this busy holiday season for you to do some reading or collecting of your own. If you have serious book collectors on your list, then first, signed, or limited editions of any of these titles would make a valuable and meaningful gift. For the casual book connoisseur, perhaps a fine reading copy would fit the bill. In either case, and without further ado, we give you some gift ideas for every different kind of book-lover on your list.      

The Birth of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species

By Stephen Pappas. Nov 24, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Science

Today, we celebrate the 156th birthday of Charles Darwin's most famous work: On the Origin of Species. Darwin's depiction of evolution and natural selection was groundbreaking. And it remains one of the most important books of scientific thought in all of history. We'd like to use the anniversary of the publication of The Origin of Species to dig deeper into its author and the work itself.


Shel Silverstein: Five Lessons for Grown Ups

By Connie Diamond. Nov 23, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Children's Books

Every once in a while the literary world produces a creative genius who, despite initial impressions, defies definition. Shel Silverstein was such a genius. One can find his poetry collections artfully and prominently displayed in the children’s section of any bookstore or library and stacked on pint-sized carts in kinder classes everywhere. Read any one of them with a listening child, and watch the “light in the attic” go on as she discovers a kindred spirit who is full of dreams and fond of silly.

Little ones relish the absurdity in his poems and lean in for more, as with the fun uncle who pulls quarters from behind their ears. The simple pen and ink drawings hearken back to Silverstein’s early career as a cartoonist, and his rhythmic language to his early success as a musician and lyricist. Both of these creative endeavors shed light on his ability to use simple forms to express complex and profound lessons—lessons that children should be taught for the first time and adults should be reminded of again, and as many times as necessary. Let's explore these lessons for grown-ups with the help of excerpts from some of Silverstein's most renowned writings.


Sweet Home Chicago: A Literary Tour of the Windy City

By Nick Ostdick. Nov 22, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature

Though often referred to as the Second City, Chicago is second to none in terms of its rich cultural heritage, iconic architecture, sports fandom, and inventive takes on comfort food staples like the pizza hotdog and the red hot. But The Windy City is also home to a literary tradition rivaled by very few cities across the country, with some of America’s most renowned writers calling Chicago their home.


Mystery Writers of America at the Lilly Library

Do you have an interest in crime writing and detective novels? You’re not alone. From the novels of Agatha Christie to the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Americans love a good detective story. The Mystery Writers of America, Inc. (MWA) is, according to the association itself, the “premier organization for mystery writers, professionals allied to the crime writing field, aspiring writers, and those who are devoted to the genre.” In other words, MWA promotes crime fiction, from those who write it to the readers who support it. Where can you go to check out the myriad of documents connected to this organization? The Lilly Library Manuscript Collections at Indiana University-Bloomington holds the complete papers of the organization, from correspondence to photographs to financial documents. If you’re interested in the modern history of crime fiction, you may not need to look any further than Bloomington, Indiana.


Don DeLillo and the Power of Marginalia

By Stephen Pappas. Nov 20, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature

The act of reading is the act of exchanging ideas, but more often than not, it’s a one way export. A book is a means through which the author impresses thoughts upon his readers. The idea of a passive readership has been drilled into our heads, but there are authors who challenge this assumption. Most notably, Billy Collins, in his poem, "Marginalia," recalls a message scrawled in the corners of Catcher in the Rye, among other marginal jots. Other authors have taken up arms against the idea that a book is an immutable altar of knowledge, but few are as interesting as Don DeLillo.   


Quiz: What Type of Book Should You Collect?

By Andrea Koczela. Nov 19, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Quizzes

For the indecisive bibliophiles among us, help has arrived! We have put together a quiz to determine your ideal collecting area. Answer our six penetrating questions and discover new bookish horizons. You may even realize that you've been hunting the wrong books for years. There's only one way to find out.


The Musical and Satirical Legacy of W.S. Gilbert

By Matt Reimann. Nov 18, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Drama, Humor

As a genre of literature, few forms are as likely to be neglected as musical theatre. Musicals are meant to be seen live. Or, if you are barred from that option, you may listen to the cast recording. But who reads the libretto of a musical? It contains neither performance nor music, none of the elements we are drawn to the theatre for. It’s a common dismissal, and it's one often made unconsciously. It's one that also ignores the contribution musical theatre makes to the grand scope of literature. Among the greatest writers in this important tradition is English author, W.S. Gilbert.


Collecting Pop Up Books

By Leah Dobrinska. Nov 17, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Children's Books

For children and adults alike, the magic in turning the pages of a pop up book to see what creation awaits is second to none. Pop up books have a long and storied history, and their variety and construction make them fascinating collectibles. Truly, they have the power to transport readers to different worlds, and the intricacy of the mechanisms used for the "pop" is an art form in and of itself. Today, we want to discuss some different starting points for the pop up book collector and offer several tips and ideas for those interested in this form of collecting.


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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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