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Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Sherman Alexie

By Audrey Golden. Mar 26, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, American Literature, First Editions

Sherman Alexie has been a prolific writer of fiction and poetry for more than twenty years. His works have won numerous awards and have been translated for non-English speaking readers across the world. You may know him as a famous Native American author, but what else should you know about Sherman Alexie? In addition to the fact that he has recently published works of both fiction and poetry (don’t miss Blasphemy or What I’ve Stolen, What I’ve Earned), here are some more facts you may not have known about Sherman Alexie.


Small Publishers - Champions of Classic, Strange, and Fine Press Books

By Ben Keefe. Mar 25, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Fine Press, Book Making, Printmaking

Think of your favorite bookstore. Most likely there’s a section in the store labeled “New Releases.” Here you can find titles from authors that any casual reader will recognize: James Patterson, Stephen King, Janet Evanovich. These books are produced and promoted by their publishing companies which are, especially in the case of those three, very recognizable. However, there is a sea of smaller publishers whose books are worthy of the same limelight. These lesser-known companies produce beautifully bound books, forgotten gems and off-the-beaten-path novels. Here is a selection of small publishers that care passionately about books and often express that love in unique and interesting ways.


Tennessee Williams and the Catastrophe of Success

By Neely Simpson. Mar 24, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, theater

The Glass Menagerie narrowly avoided complete disaster when it premiered in Chicago in 1944 with the inebriated Laurette Taylor in the crucial role of overbearing matriarch, Amanda Wingfield. Taylor was found drunk in the alley behind the theater an hour and a half before the opening curtain. Somehow, despite needing to vomit in a bucket backstage between scenes, she managed to pull off a performance still considered legendary. It was this performance on which hung the destiny of one of America's greatest playwrights: Tennessee Williams.


Flannery O’Connor and the Civil Rights South

By Audrey Golden. Mar 23, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, American Literature, Biographies

By all accounts, Flannery O’Connor didn’t have much of an activist voice in the American Civil Rights Movement despite her role as a prominent Southern novelist and short-story writer. How, then, might we read her works in a 21st-century context? Should we believe the gossip—that she didn’t have much good to say about broadening the country’s conception of equality—even though she appeared to be in favor of integration in her fiction? Many scholars have debated O’Connor’s position with regard to the racial justice, but how should we ultimately remember the author who died just a month after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 went into effect?


Libraries and Special Collections: An Interview with Cristina Favretto

By Andrea Koczela. Mar 22, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Libraries, Interviews

Cristina Favretto has served as a special collections librarian at a number of institutions throughout her career. She is currently the Head of Special Collections at the University of Miami; her previous positions include: Director of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture at Duke University, Curator of Rare Books at UCLA, and Head of Special Collections at San Diego State University. Cristina's goal as a librarian is to build excellent, meaningful collections that are open and significant to the public. She has generously shared her collecting experiences with us in the following interview:


LGBT Activism in the San Francisco Poetry Scene

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

Topics: American History, Poetry, Book History

San Francisco has a long history of activism, and in many ways the city has served as a literal and metaphorical center of postwar LGBT rights struggles. Yet the Bay Area also has an important reputation as the heart of modern and contemporary poetry. Kenneth Rexroth is credited with starting the San Francisco Renaissance in the 1940s, and he famously organized one of the first modern poetry festivals at the Lucien Labaudt Gallery in San Francisco around the same time. Shortly thereafter, Lawrence Ferlinghetti moved to the city and opened City Lights Bookstore in 1953. The now-famous shop went on to publish—and continues to do so—some of the most famous works of contemporary American literature.


From Homer to Borges: A List of Blind Writers

By Matt Reimann. Mar 20, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors

If there’s one thing an author might fear losing, it’s her eyesight. How can a writer continue to work having lost the faculty to see the sliding of the pen or the movement of letters across the screen? Reading, too, becomes a struggle, forcing the author to depend on books being read aloud or to learn a tactile writing system like Braille. For some legendary authors like James Joyce, loss of sight is a terrible obstacle, while for others it’s a changing force, one that ultimately becomes integral to the work and creativity of the author.


A Recent History of Children's Literature in America

By Katie Behrens. Mar 19, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, Book History

The genre of children’s literature really must be considered a recent invention, for it's only in the past 300 years that childhood has been set apart as an influential time in human development. For most of human history, children were treated as small adults. Like a snowball rolling downhill, children's literature started slowly and built itself into the multi-million dollar market we know today.


James Joyce on Henrik Ibsen: When Genius Recognizes Genius

By Brian Hoey. Mar 18, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, theater

In 1901, a young James Joyce was rapidly approaching the end of his studies at Trinity College, Dublin. A quick glance at the legendary author’s corpus, and it is easy enough to discern what he must have studied at school. Traces of St Augustine can be identified throughout his beloved bildungsroman A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), just as a familiarity with Homeric epics must have been a necessity for his great undertaking, Ulysses (1922). These pieces were no doubt common to the reading lists of many of that era’s scholars. Where Joyce’s education may have departed slightly from the norm, however, was in his decision to study the Dano-Norwegian language. While Dano-Norwegian might not have the pedigree of Latin or Greek, or the immediately associated classics of most romance languages, it had one significant draw for the young James Joyce: Henrik Ibsen.


Exploring Philip Roth's Memorable Protagonists

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

Topics: American Literature, Movie Tie-Ins

The best stories have memorable protagonists. Over the course of his illustrious career, Philip Roth has fashioned numerous standouts. Roth said in a 2014 interview republished in the New York Times that his “focus has never been on masculine power rampant and triumphant but rather on the antithesis: masculine power impaired…[His] intention is to present [his] fictional men not as they should be but vexed as men are.”  A look at some of the great Rothian main characters reveals that perhaps it’s the characters’ realistic struggles and less-than-picture-perfect lifestyles that make them as memorable as they have become.


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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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