Exploring British History: The Jacobites' Last Stand

By Kristin Masters. Aug 21, 2014. 2:54 PM.

Topics: History

On August 22, 1746, three men were executed for high treason at Kennington Common. They wore Highland costume. The government showed some mercy, allowing the bodies to hang for fifteen minutes (instead of the usual three) before they were desecrated. The execution of Donald MacDonald, Jack Nicholson, and Walter Ogilvie in many ways represented the demise of the Jacobite movement, which had begun many decades earlier. 


The Many Hats of Science Fiction Author Ray Bradbury

By Kristin Masters. Aug 20, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Science Fiction

We remember and celebrate Ray Bradbury as the author of Farenheit 451, Dandelion Wine, and other science-fiction classics. But Bradbury was more than an author of novels and short stories; he delved into other disciplines, from screen writing to urban planning. 


Why Annie Proulx Dislikes Literary Awards

By Matt Reimann. Aug 19, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Pulitzer Prize, American Literature

Edna Annie Proulx was born August 22nd, 1935, in Connecticut. She spent a significant portion of her early life in the rural American Northeast. As an author, she found inspiration throughout pastoral North America, including Newfoundland, New Mexico, and Wyoming. The agrarian landscape she inhabited - filled with farmers, ranches, and the general frontier spirit - thoroughly characterizes her work.


How Nabokov Wrote His Masterpiece, Lolita

By Katie Behrens. Aug 18, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature

Lolita – the simple, one-word title carries so much weight. The nickname that narrator Humbert Humbert gave to 12-year-old Dolores Haze now drips with sex, sin, and shame. The novel by Vladimir Nabokov, published during the 1950s, still causes controversy today. Although Lolita has never been formally banned in the United States, it’s the kind of book that mothers warn their teenage children about. And yet Lolita has become a classic in its own right. In the hands of a different author, the story of Humbert and Dolores could have been a racy, flash-in-the-pan fad success like today’s Fifty Shades of Grey. In the artful hands of Nabokov, Lolita stands as one of the best novels of the 20th century.


A Quick Guide to Bill Clinton and His Autobiography, My Life

By Matt Reimann. Aug 17, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, US Presidents

William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton received a $15 million dollar advance for his autobiography, My Life (2004) - perhaps the largest advance ever received for a book. By all measures, the book was a great financial success, selling 2,250,000 copies and earning Clinton $30 million dollars. Yet this achievement did not come easily; it took Clinton over two years to write the book, written in longhand in sixteen notebooks, with no help from a ghost writer.


Jonathan Franzen vs. Oprah Winfrey

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

Topics: Pulitzer Prize, American Literature

Jonathan Franzen is no stranger to the fickle nature of literary fame. His novel The Corrections earned the 2001 National Book Award and in 2002 he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. He appeared on the cover of TIME magazine with the title "Great American Novelist" after the release of his novel, Freedom. But even as literary critics praise his talent, there many who call Franzen elitist, egotistical, and arrogant.


V.S. Naipaul and Other Writers Who Hated Their Biographies

By Matt Reimann. Aug 15, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Biographies

Writers are often meticulous and private people. Thus, the creation of authorized biographies can be a contentious matter. Some authors, like Nobel Laureate V.S. Naipaul, allowed a biographer into their home and shared personal information only to find that the resulting biography presented a person foreign to themselves. Although the biographer has a greater duty to his work than to his subject, one can understand why many authors feel betrayed at the end of the process. This article will catalog a few bitter episodes between authors and their biographers including V.S. Naipaul, William S. Burroughs, and Vladimir Nabokov.


Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of The Wizard of Oz

By Leah Dobrinska. Aug 14, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, Movie Tie-Ins

August 16 marks the 75th Anniversary of the film premiere of The Wizard of Oz. Both the film and the novel on which it is based - The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum - have a timeless appeal beloved by children and adults alike.


How Julia Child Transformed American Cooking

By Ellie Koczela. Aug 13, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, Cookery

In terms of impact on American culture, Mastering the Art of French Cooking is one of the most influential books written in the last several decades. Published when the United States was immersed in TV dinners and green bean casserole, Julia Child’s first and most famous book taught Americans to view food through a lens of pleasure and art rather than convenience. Written in tandem with two French authors, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, it sold over 100,000 copies its first year. Mastering the Art is in its 47 printing, has sold over 4 million copies, and has never been out of print.


Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and the Byron Scandal

On August 24, 1869, an unsigned editorial appeared in the Buffalo Express. Written by none other than Mark Twain, the short piece defended Harriet Beecher Stowe, who had recently published a scandalous exposé on George Gordon, Lord Byron. Twain defended Stowe not once, but seven times, illustrating his intense interest in Stowe's literary career. 


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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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