Richard Wright and His "Native Son"

By Anne Cullison. Sep 1, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Literature

Great American writer, Richard Wright, was best known for his novels Black Boy and Native Son. Wright was born on September 4, 1908 in Natchez, Mississippi. He was the grandson of slaves, and the son of a sharecropper. His father left the family when Wright was only five years old, leaving him in the sole care of his mother.


Six Classic Novels Censored in the United States

By Kristin Masters. Aug 31, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Book History

As August draws to a close, we begin anticipating Banned Book Week - a time for celebrating the First Amendment and our freedom to read. Throughout history, people have recognized the transformative power of literature; governments, religious institutions, and even school districts have sought to contain that power by banning controversial books and —in some cases even ordering their destruction.


Famous Figures in the History of Book Binding

By Kristin Masters. Aug 30, 2014. 9:09 AM.

Topics: Book Binding, Book History, Fine Bindings

From the scroll to the codex to the modern volume, the form of the book has evolved considerably over the centuries. And alongside that, our methods for keeping the pages together have also changed considerably. Today we enjoy a thriving world of designer and art bindings, collectible in their own right. We can thank figures like William Caxton, Jean Grolier, and Samule Mearne for bringing innovation and beauty to the craft of bookbinding.


Edgar Rice Burroughs, Controversial Author in Every Era

For the entire first half of the twentieth century, Edgar Rice Burroughs was the most widely read American author. As per a 1963 statistic of Life Magazine, Burroughs' paperback books were runaway best-sellers; over ten million copies sold within just one year of their release, accounting for a full thirtieth of US annual paperback sales. While Burroughs' beloved tales are certainly popular for their fantastic plots and classic characters, interest in the books has been spurred by controversy. 


Mary Shelley: From a Scandalous Affair to the Creation of a Monster

By Lauren Corba. Aug 28, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Horror, Legendary Authors, Literature

Mistress of the Gothic novel, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley—née Godwin—was born August 30, 1797 in London, England. Her parents were famous intellectuals: writer and philosopher, William Godwin, and women’s rights activist, Mary Wollstonecraft. Sadly, complications from childbirth led to Wollstonecraft's death just days following Mary's birth.


Tasha Tudor, Classic Children's Illustrator

By Lauren Corba. Aug 27, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Illustrators, Caldecott Medal

Twentieth-century woman, Tasha Tudor, lived her life as though she occupied a nineteenth-century world. Indeed, this Caldecott winner believed herself the reincarnation of a sailor’s wife from the 1800s. Her passion for the Victorian Era was a natural outpouring of this earlier existence--real or imaginary. Her appreciation for Victorian classics resonates in her illustrations and fosters a similar enthusiasm in all who enjoy her work.


Robertson Davies, Would-Be Nobel Laureate

By Andrea Koczela. Aug 26, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature

Some have speculated that if Robertson Davies had been British, he might have won the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature. But Davies was Canadian and for better or worse, the award went to Toni Morrison. Davies was one of Canada’s most important and talented writers—the author of over thirty works of fiction as well as a multitude of plays and essays. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 1986, Davies won the Stephen Leacock Medal in 1955, the Lorne Pierce Medal in 1961, the Governor-General’s Award in 1972, and 23 honorary degrees. During his life, he was a successful playwright, journalist, professor, and writer as well as the first Canadian inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.


Theodore Dreiser, Pioneer of Naturalism

By Lauren Corba. Aug 25, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Literature

American novelist Theodore Dreiser popularized naturalism in the United States during the early 1900s. Although the movement was begun by French writer Émile Zola, it was largely through the perseverance of Dreiser that it became a force in America. Emphasizing realism and accuracy in art, naturalism went beyond these qualities to reveal how humans are shaped by their circumstances and environment. Renowned literary critic Irving Howe described Dreiser as, "one of the very few American giants we have had."


The Inflammatory Martin Amis: An Accomplished Author with a Sharp Tongue

By Anne Cullison. Aug 24, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature

English novelist, Martin Louis Amis was born on August 25, 1949. Works such as his bestselling novel Money and his memoir Experience, have brought Amis both critical acclaim and awards. However, his life and works have not been without controversy.


A. S. Byatt, Acclaimed Writer and Grieving Mother

By Ellie Koczela. Aug 23, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Awarded Books, Literature

Possession is A. S. Byatt’s most widely read novel; it won the Man Booker Prize in 2009 and made Byatt famous. This doesn’t surprise the British author who claims, “I knew people would like it. It's the only one I've written to be liked, and I did it partly to show off. I thought, Why not pull out the stops, why do this painstaking observation . . . why not write about the 19th century! I actually paced it for the first time with the reader's attention span in mind. There is very little life in 'Possession': it's all art."


About this blog

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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