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Famous Friendships of Legendary Author Mark Twain

By Stephen Pappas. Nov 30, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Mark Twain

Mark Twain, the father of American Literature, captured the limelight of his age in a way that no writer has since. The stories that surround him are the stuff of myths and legends. His influence as America’s greatest “funnyman” has lasted for over a century. Twain’s relationships are just as interesting as Twain himself. From presidents to inventors, Twain brushed shoulders with many of history’s giants. Today, we explore some of Twain's many famous friendships.


A Reading Guide to Sue Miller

By Adrienne Rivera. Nov 29, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Movie Tie-Ins

Finding time to write can be difficult for anyone with a job and other commitments. Add to that the increased responsibilities that come with having children and images come to mind of single-mother J.K. Rowling writing away on dinner napkins on a train to and from work—savoring the few precious hours of alone time after she put her eldest daughter to bed, before she too had to go to sleep. That she managed to turn those stolen hours and ink-filled scraps of paper into the Harry Potter series, arguably seven of the most beloved and influential books in contemporary literature, is no small feat. She was thirty-two years old when her first book was published. For author Sue Miller, it took a little more time.


A Quick Guide to the Works of Arthur Miller

By Connie Diamond. Nov 28, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Drama

In an interview with the Paris Review, Arthur Miller spoke of his admiration for the Greek tragedies when he was young. He had had little classical background at the time, but as to their form he said, “the architecture was clear.” A quick glance at the dictionary reveals the definition of architecture is "the complex or carefully designed structure of something." Interestingly, on the day of his interview, the playwright had greeted the visiting journalist* from a ladder in an old barn that he was converting into a guesthouse. The conversation eventually moved to a one room study at a desk that Miller himself had built. In dramatic fashion, Miller seemed to be demonstrating his affinity for sound structure created by using the tools of one’s trade. When he applied this principle to his writing, the result was the creation of award winning literature across several genres.


Interesting Editions of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book

By Leah Dobrinska. Nov 27, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Dust Jackets

Numerous authors have taken their cues from the great Rudyard Kipling. Readers, too, find him to be incredibly compelling, and as we’ve said before, the man had a gift in that he was able to speak to individuals who hailed from vastly different sides of the social spectrum. And he still does so. Perhaps that’s what makes the works of Rudyard Kipling so highly sought after for the collector. Today, we hope to help the Kipling collector by detailing some of the interesting editions of one of Rudyard Kipling’s most famous works, The Jungle Book.


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.



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