A Laugh and a Drink with Kingsley Amis

Posted by Kristin Wood

Apr 16, 2014 5:51:40 PM

Kingsley Amis knew how to get a laugh out of his readers. He wrote many novels that depicted modern British life in a humorous manner, and it was these comedies that earned him his fame – but humor wasn’t his only forte. Amis dabbled in many genres, from poetry to science fiction. The Times listed him as one of the top 50 British writers in 2008.

     
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Golf: From Banned Sport to Royal Pastime

Posted by Kristin Masters

Apr 13, 2014 7:33:54 PM

The origins of golf can be traced all the way back to 100 BCE. The ancient Romans played a game known as paganica, where participants hit a stuffed leather ball with a bent stick. Another game similar to golf, chuíw án, was played during the Song dynasty in China, fro around 960 to 1279. The game evolved considerably over time, and the precise origins of today's game are unknown. Both the French and the Dutch have claimed credit, citing similar games as evidence: jeue de mail and kolven respectively. But both these games lack an essential element of modern golf: the hole.

 
     
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Scott Turow and his Impressive List of Best Sellers

Posted by Anne Cullison

Apr 12, 2014 4:25:00 PM

"We play music about as well as Metallica writes novels."

-Dave Barry

Why would authors like Dave Barry and Scott Turow be playing terrible music?! They're members of a band called the Rock Bottom Remainders, a musical group of bestselling authors who play to raise money for a number of literacy charities. When Turow isn't busy playing with the Rock Bottom Remainders, he's writing bestsellers or working at an international law firm. 

Born on April 12, 1949 in Chicago, Turow has written nine bestselling works of fiction and won multiple literary awards. His books have been translated into more than forty languages. The Los Angeles Times once said in a review, "No one writes better mystery suspense than Turow." It's no surprise, then, that his works are popular among collectors of modern first editions. 

     
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Safe from Heartbleed? At Books Tell You Why you are

Posted by Joachim Koch

Apr 12, 2014 3:49:13 PM

heartbleedAs you may have heard, a major Internet security vulnerability was recently discovered in OpenSSL. OpenSSL enables SSL and TLS encryption, which governs HTTPS-the secure communications between your computer and the servers on the Internet. It is used by about two thirds of the World's web servers. Dubbed "Heartbleed," this vulnerability was the result of a programming error (or bug) in several versions of OpenSSL. 

     
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Lover of the Land, Seamus Heaney

Posted by Lauren Corba

Apr 11, 2014 4:15:00 PM

Poet Seamus Heaney was born April 13, 1939 in a town located in Northern Ireland. The oldest of nine children, Heaney was raised by a father with a deep rural background of farming and herding cattle and a mother from an urban family with a history of working in textile mills. Heaney attended St. Columb’s College, a Catholic boarding school, on scholarship. While he was away, his four year old brother, Christopher was killed by a car. His young death would inspire numerous poems including “Mid-Term Break” (1966) and “The Blackbird of Glanmore” (2006).

     
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Climbing Into Jon Krakauer, Legendary Mountaineering Author

Posted by Lauren Corba

Apr 10, 2014 9:00:00 AM

American writer and outdoorsman Jon Krakauer was born April 12, 1954.  He was raised in Corvallis, Oregon and was first acquainted with mountain climbing when he was eight years old. He attended Hampshire College in Massachusetts where he graduated in 1976 with a degree in Environmental Studies. Following his time at university, Krakauer moved around the States, living in Colorado, Alaska, and the Pacific Northwest. He worked as a commercial fisherman and a carpenter to support himself while he pursued his love for nature and rock climbing.

     
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Tom Clancy's Journey from Insurance Agent to Bestselling Author

Posted by Anne Cullison

Apr 9, 2014 9:00:00 AM

If you love a good spy novel, chances are you have read many of Tom Clancy’s works. But Tom Clancy was not just an author, but the king of a media empire, with his name attached to video games, movies, and non-fiction books on military topics. He was even part owner of the Baltimore Orioles.

Thomas Leo Clancy was born on April 12, 1947 in Baltimore, Maryland. He was the second child of Thomas Clancy, a mailman, and Catherine Clancy. He grew up an extremely active reader and lover of history, in particular the works of naval historian Samuel Eliot Morison. Due to his religious upbringing, Clancy's parents worked very hard to ensure he was able to receive a Jesuit education, both in high school and in college. Clancy earned a degree in English Literature from Loyola College, again showing his love of the written word.

     
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Barbara Kingsolver: The Political Role of Literature

Posted by Kristin Wood

Apr 6, 2014 9:00:00 AM

Barbara Kingsolver is known for using her creative talent to open the eyes of her readers to global injustices, ranging from environmental to social problems. Drawing upon her own childhood experiences in the Congo, she wrote her most famous work, The Poisonwood Bible. This novel, along with every book she has published since 1993, earned a spot on the New York Times Best Seller list. Kingsolver has also published several essays and poems.

     
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Poet and Civil Rights Activist, Maya Angelou

Posted by Lauren Corba

Apr 3, 2014 9:00:00 AM

Marguerite Ann Johnson was born in St. Louis, Missouri on April 4, 1928. When she was three years old, her parents divorced, sending both Maya and her brother, Bailey, to live with their paternal grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas.  Here, she was exposed to the harsh realities that African Americans faced in the South; however, her time in Stamps introduced her to the rich Southern African-American culture and community. Her grandmother instilled profound values and resilience in the young Maya, which would pervade her writings and make her the woman she is today.

     
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Charles Dickens' Show-Stealing Entrance to Serial Fiction

Posted by Kristin Masters

Mar 31, 2014 10:31:00 AM

On March 31, 1836, Chapman and Hall published the first installment of Charles Dickens' Pickwick Papers. The story bore little resemblance to what the publishers thought they were going to print--to the advantage of the young Dickens, who was quickly vaunted to literary fame. The Pickwick Papers was certainly not the first serial novel, but it did make an indelible mark on the publishing world. 

     
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