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Five Early Stories of The Lord of the Rings

By Katie Behrens. Jul 29, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book History, J. R. R. Tolkien

As literature endures down through the generations, the details surrounding a book’s birth into the reading world are often forgotten. Even with the immense popularity of J.R.R. Tolkien’s work today, some of these details remain buried in letters and essays. Here are five such interesting tidbits about the early years of The Lord of the Rings that you might not know.

     
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Beatrix Potter: Rebel With a Cause

By Neely Simpson. Jul 28, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Illustrators, Children's Books, Biographies

Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail, who were good little bunnies, went down the lane to gather blackberries. But Peter, who was very naughty ran straight away to Mr. McGregor's garden, and squeezed under the gate!

Like the mischievous, furry, little protagonist who propelled her into a wildly successful publishing career about as fast as he was able to get himself into trouble in Mr. McGregor's garden, Beatrix Potter had a rebellious streak a mile wide. Although she has become a household name as the author of enchanting children's stories, both her stories and her vocation ran much deeper. A constant disappointment to her parents because of her independence and refusal to adhere to the precepts of a privileged woman of Victorian society, Potter's stories are filled with spirited critters who are constantly breaking the rules laid down for them. Had Potter been the proper Victorian daughter her parents craved, she would have focused all her energies on social standing and making an advantageous marriage. Rather, determined to do something with her life, she passionately and rebelliously poured herself into pursuits in science, publishing, and conservation.

     
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The Thundering, Cocky Canon of Hilaire Belloc

By Matt Reimann. Jul 27, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, Religion

As a man of letters, Hilaire Belloc epitomizes diversity of expression. He was a poet, journalist, novelist, historian, lecturer, politician, essayist, and critic. His boisterous expression earned him the nickname “Old Thunder,” as he used books, articles, pamphlets, and podia to get his many messages across. Yet for his posterity, writing some 150 books has perhaps done more harm than good. It has left decades of readers with the question: Where does one begin with such an oeuvre? In the end, it would be foolish to neatly summarize Belloc’s various and complicated writings, but it would be even more foolish to ignore them altogether.

     
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Right When Other People Are Wrong: George Bernard Shaw's Best Quotes

By Brian Hoey. Jul 26, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Nobel Prize Winners, Drama

“All Shaw's characters are himself: mere puppets stuck up to spout Shaw.”
-Fanny’s First Play (1911), Epilogue

     
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Interview with Mark Eisner, Translator and Editor of Pablo Neruda

By Audrey Golden. Jul 25, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Interviews, Latin American Authors

In 2004, Mark Eisner's edited bilingual collection of Pablo Neruda's poems, The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems, was published by City Lights. It has gone on to receive much acclaim, and indeed is the bestselling edition of Neruda's poetry in America. Eisner is currently at work on an important documentary on the late Chilean poet, The Poet's Calling. We had the opportunity to interview him about the process of editing and translating Neruda, as well as the work he has been doing on the documentary film that's currently in production.

     
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The Apple and the Tree: Three Lesser-Known Literary Families

By Nick Ostdick. Jul 24, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature

When talking about literary families, everyone knows about the Brontës. But while the Brontës may be one of the most famous literary families, they’re certainly not the only family of wordsmiths across the literary landscape. Here are just a few examples of lesser-known clans with a proclivity for pen and paper, and who also help illustrate that age-old question: Can the ability for great storytelling be taught, or is it simply in the blood?

     
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Raymond Chandler: Making Pulp Serious

Raymond Chandler is one of those rare authors that reminds the literary establishment that genre has no bearing over a book’s quality. Chandler bridged gaps in his career. His work helped bring crime fiction to academics, and the serious novel to Hollywood studios. He considered himself an intellectual snob and loved Charles Dickens, Henry James, and Ernest Hemingway. He was a man who studied Greek and Latin, but Chandler emphasized that his own strange preferences brought him to the world of the detective story.

     
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Top Ten Children's Books to Beat the Summer Blues

By Katie Behrens. Jul 22, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books

School’s out for summer, and days are brimming with possible adventures. Every kid longs to make their summer months memorable. Whether or not there are exciting vacations or summer homes in store for the young ones in your life, these children's books will take them on some wild rides.

     
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Take a Tour of Zadie Smith’s London

By Audrey Golden. Jul 21, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Awarded Books, Literature, History

There’s only one London, right? While major urban centers throughout the world might occupy only one location on a map, many residents of global cities might argue that there’s more than one version of the place in which they live. One such spot might be Zadie Smith’s London. Most of her works of fiction take place in the London she grew up in — an area of North London that’s not typically frequented by tourists coming to see the Thames River, Buckingham Palace, or Big Ben. As such, reading Smith’s novels provides us with a different kind of tour of London that’s not circumscribed by notable landmarks but instead by fictional Londoners in the contemporary metropole.

     
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Trigger Mortis: A New (and Authentic!) James Bond Novel

By Andrea Koczela. Jul 20, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: James Bond, Book News

James Bond fans have reason to rejoice: the Fleming estate has authorized a new James Bond novel, slated for publication September 8, 2015. Set just two weeks after the conclusion of Goldfinger, the book brings back legendary character Pussy Galore. Moreover, the novel includes unpublished writing by Ian Fleming himself. 

     
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