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Collecting Nobel Laureates: Mommsen, Eucken, & Heyse

By Leah Dobrinska. Feb 10, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Nobel Prize Winners

Collecting the works of Nobel Prize in Literature winners is a great way to focus one’s collection. Nobel laureates are the best-of-the-best, so a collection full of their works is one way to guarantee exceptional titles. Today, we’d like to focus on information about the work of three German-language Nobel Prize in Literature winners from the early part of the twentieth century: Theodor Mommsen, Rudolf Christoph Eucken, and Paul Johann Ludwig von Heyse. For more about our previous Nobel laureate spotlights, see the end of the post.

     
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Libraries and Special Collections: Visiting Libraries in Austria

Libraries provide an extraordinary window into the world. Indeed, for collectors and book enthusiasts, few pleasures equal a visit to a well-curated library. When planning a trip, it only makes sense to include famous (or not so famous) libraries on your itinerary.

Recently, a friend of Books Tell You Why and an avid book collector did just that. While traveling to Austria, he visited the libraries of five Austrian monasteries and was kind enough to detail his experiences for us to share. Whether you plan to visit Austria or simply enjoy great libraries, we are confident you will find his notes of interest.

     
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Johann Jakob Scheuchzer, Unwitting Namesake of a Giant Salamander

By Kristin Masters. Feb 8, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book History

By the time Johann Jakob Scheuchzer published the first volume of his momentous Physica Sacra in 1731, he was already a renowned scientist. Like many scholars of his age, Scheuchzer did not limit himself to only one field. Well versed in astronomy, he depicted one of the earliest known accounts of the Perseid meteor shower in 1709. That same year, Scheuchzer also published Herbarium Diluvianum ("Herbarium of the Deluge"), an exhaustive botanical reference consulted long into the following century. A colleague of Sir Isaac Newton and other luminaries of the early modern era, Scheuchzer is unfortunately often remembered not for his expansive body of work, but for his most famous mistake. 

     
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Four Things You Probably Didn't Know About Charles Dickens

As one of the world’s first celebrity authors, much is known about Charles Dickens. He was an active public figure, one who liked walking about London, appearing in the press, and traveling and performing his works around the world. Even someone who hasn’t read Dickens will know something about his squalid childhood or his noble politics. But what about those facts and details that slip by the typical biography?

     
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Interesting Editions of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men

By Leah Dobrinska. Feb 6, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, American Literature

Legendary author John Steinbeck was a literary mastermind. He wrote prolifically throughout the 20th century, and his work and the themes he presents still resonate today. Of Mice and Men, his 1937 novella, does what all brilliant pieces of literature are wont to do. It gives us characters and situations that make us think and feel deeply. As such, the work has been subject to both high praise and a substantial amount of criticism. But it’s safe to say that Of Mice and Men will continue to be widely read, discussed, and appreciated. For a Steinbeck collector, it’s a must-have. Here, we’ve compiled several interesting editions and options for those looking to add Of Mice and Men to their shelves.

     
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Are You Ready for the 2016 California Antiquarian Book Fair?

By Andrea Koczela. Feb 5, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Book News

If you are near Pasadena next weekend (February 12th-14th), we would like to invite you to the 49th California Antiquarian Book Fair! Sign up here for your complimentary tickets, and then join us to experience some remarkable books.

     
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Robert Coover and the Great American Novel You've Never Heard Of

By Matt Reimann. Feb 4, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, American Literature

Many great artists live rather modest, obscure lives. Of course there are those individuals, the Casanovas, the Byrons, and the Goethes of the world, who write interesting books and are interesting when written about. But this is not so much the case with Robert Coover, who turns 84 today. Prolific, soft-spoken, and wise, the author taught electronic writing at Brown University for years. No, Coover has not earned the publicity of his equals, such as Cormac McCarthy, Toni Morrison, and Thomas Pynchon. But to his readers, Coover has left behind a trove of books that are as vital and boisterous as any voice in American letters today.

     
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Top Ten James A. Michener Books

By Abigail Wheetley. Feb 3, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, History

James A. Michener is well known for his historical fiction, in-depth research, and lengthy volumes. His books are strong narratives that take an intimate look at the human experience through the lens of historical events and times now past. They will also make long layovers, lazy beach weekends, and stretches of time disappear in a sea of historical fascination. These are ten of his biggest and best books of all time.      
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Playing with Time on Groundhog Day

By Matt Reimann. Feb 2, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, History

In the 1993 film Groundhog Day, the protagonist finds himself doomed to live the same day over and over again. Ever since, people have associated this Pennsylvania-German tradition with a time warp, or “time loop,” as it’s often called. Intended to mark the halfway point of winter, Groundhog Day has come to take on a second identity. So this Groundhog Day, we take time to consider the many great books that have a way of playing with time.

     
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Who Is the Real Robinson Crusoe?

By Nick Ostdick. Feb 1, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Book History

With any truly great novel, the questions are usually the same. Where did the story come from? What inspired it? Were the characters or plot based on real-life elements? But these tried-and-true questions might mean a little more when asked about Daniel Defoe’s 1719 debut novel Robinson Crusoe, a book literary scholars the world over regard as one of the first realistic fiction novels and one that helped popularize the form we still crave today.

     
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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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