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45th Anniversary of Pablo Neruda’s Nobel Prize

By Audrey Golden. Dec 8, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Nobel Prize Winners, Latin American Authors

Pablo Neruda wasn’t born with the name by which so many readers across the globe have come to know his work. Rather, he was born Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto in the small Chilean town of Parral, Chile. This December marks the 45th anniversary of Neruda winning the Nobel Prize in Literature. In 1971, Neruda traveled back to Stockholm—he had visited on previous occasions and had met the founder of Sweden’s first poetry journal, FIB:S lyrikklub, Stig Carlson—to accept the Nobel Prize. Yet his winning this award wasn’t entirely a surprise. To be sure, scholars and fans of his work had been making efforts for years to encourage the Nobel Committee to recognize the poet’s achievements. On this anniversary of Neruda winning the Nobel Prize, we’d like to think a bit more about why Neruda was selected for the award, as well as some of the reasons that the Nobel Committee didn’t honor him earlier in his lifetime.

     
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Willa Cather and Pioneer Novels

By Andrea Diamond. Dec 7, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, American Literature

As a hardened millennial, I am well-versed in the first-world problems of modern life. I've been reduced to drinking lattés made with soy milk when my preferred dairy-substitute of almond milk is unavailable. I have made the arduous journey into the gas station when the pay at the pump feature is out of order. I’ve accidentally put clothes that are labeled “lay flat to dry” in the dryer and been left with a pile of sweaters that look like they belong to a Chihuahua. Faced with such difficulties in 2016, I am hard pressed to imagine what daily life must have been like on the frontier for early Americans. Other than the narrative provided from my American Girl Doll, Kirsten, and the first-hand experience of dying from dysentery while playing the board game “Oregon Trail,” I do not have much information on the pioneer life―but I love to learn. If you’re like me, a dry history book probably isn’t your favorite genre to curl up with at the end of the day. Instead, consider reading one of these seven pioneer novels by Willa Cather to get a glimpse of life before Netflix.

     
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Children's Books: A Gift Giving Guide

By Connie Diamond. Dec 6, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, Rare Book Gift Ideas

I wonder if the art of gift giving, like that of conversation and letter writing, is becoming lost. Like the latter two, gift giving requires time and attention. Our spans of these seem to be becoming shorter in this fast-paced digital age. Maybe that’s why the allure of the gift card is so strong. For the giver, it’s easy, doesn’t have to be wrapped, and one size fits all. But what if you want to personalize a gift—have it made to order—bespoke?  A children’s book may be the perfect choice.

     
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Vladimir Nabokov’s Recently Published Letters to His Wife

By Audrey Golden. Dec 3, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Literary travel

If you’re interested in twentieth-century literature in any way at all, you’ve probably encountered some of the fiction of Vladimir Nabokov. The Russian immigrant novelist was born in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1899, and he immigrated with his family to Britain after the Russian Revolution. He moved to the United States in 1939, just two years before the U.S. would enter World War II, and he remained here with his wife, Véra, until 1959. Most American readers are familiar with the novelist’s perhaps most famous—or infamous, depending upon the speaker—work, Lolita. Yet we’d like to introduce you to a recently published book of Nabokov’s letters to his wife, simply entitled Letters to Véra (2015). The edited collection contains correspondence from the writer over the course of decades, along with photographs and small drawings that accompanied Nabokov’s letters to Véra.      
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The Bond Dossier: Thunderball

By Nick Ostdick. Dec 2, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, James Bond

There are some books where the story behind the story is just as interestingif not more sothan the story itself. 007 creator and novelist Ian Fleming had largely avoided this scenario in the publication of his first seven Bond novels; however, Fleming’s eighth 007 novel, Thunderball, found Fleming and his protagonist in some of the most high-stakes peril yetthough Bond’s struggles against international crime syndicates pales slightly in comparison to Fleming’s entanglements with copyright lawyers.

Whatever the case, Thunderball marked several turning points for both Fleming and James Bond. While the novel was one of the most well-received and commercially successful Bond novels to date, the composition of the novel was fraught with roadblocks and speed bumps, which is perhaps part of what drove Fleming’s creative process and allowed him to unfold one of his more spine-tingling plots.

     
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Your 2016 Holiday Gift Guide

By Leah Dobrinska. Dec 1, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Book Gift Ideas

Books make the best gifts. It’s true. A perfectly selected title is a thoughtful, timeless gift. While giftees may grow out of other items or move on from current fads, books remain—perched on the nearest bookshelf, nightstand, or coffee table, ready to inspire and teach.

For our holiday gift guide this year, we’ve broken down books into simple categories to make it easy to pick out a title for everyone on your list. No extra dialogue. No fluff. Just you and the books that’ll make the best gifts for everyone on your list. Some of these titles were picked for being classics with staying-power while others were chosen for their modern-day relevance, so be sure to follow the links provided for more information on each book and author. Happy book hunting and happy holidays!

     
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Lies, Damned Lies, & Quotations: The Quotable Mark Twain

By Brian Hoey. Nov 30, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Mark Twain

The humorous story is told gravely; the teller does his best to conceal the fact that he even dimly suspects that there is anything funny about it. —Mark Twain, How to Tell a Story (1897)

At the beginning of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), Mark Twain presents a notice that recalls the book curses of old: “Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot. BY ORDER OF THE AUTHOR.” Looking at this quote today, one might think that it is meant to apply not just to his most famous work, but to his whole corpus and public persona alike. After all, Twain has been alternately canonized and deputized not just by enthusiasts of American Literature but by whole swaths of the populace, from humorists to skeptics to golf-haters, with the result being a profusion of quotations erroneously attributed to the great novelist. In honor of his 181st birthday, let’s dwell a while on some quotations that actually do belong to Mark Twain.

     
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The Many Joys of Gardening Books

By Matt Reimann. Nov 29, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Science

“If you have a garden and a library,” said the Roman philosopher Cicero, “you have everything you need.” These are wise conditions under which to live a life: With books to connect you to humanity, and plants to connect you to nature. And as reading is a lifetime joyone at which we get better with agegardening is the same. To cultivate a garden for food or for beauty is a skill one can employ into the farthest reaches of old age. And, it is our luck that we may turn to our library, and peer through the pages of a gardening book, to bolster this passion.

     
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Visiting Literary Homes in Moscow, Russia

By Audrey Golden. Nov 26, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Literary travel

If you’re planning a trip to Moscow, Russia and are interested in visiting authors’ homes, you’re in great luck. We only had a handful of days to spend exploring the many literary haunts and homes of some of Russia’s greatest writers, so we packed in as much as we could. While visitors to Russia often think of St. Petersburg as the place to go to visit the homes of Fyodor Dostoevsky and Vladimir Nabokov, we can’t recommend a trip to Moscow enough. In addition to the magnificence of Red Square and St. Basil’s Cathedral, where else in the world can you pack in visits to the former addresses of six of the world’s greatest writers?

     
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7 Videos to Take You Inside the Craft of Paper Making

By Matt Reimann. Nov 25, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Fine Press, Book Making

No matter how far the digital age encroaches, nothing will ever replace the joys of paper. The pleasures of underlining words with pen or of feeling the page in your hand are hard to beat. Some even argue memory-retention is better when one reads on paper than on the screen. From Ancient Egypt, to Han Dynasty China, to Gutenberg’s Europe, paper has long been a treasured object. Here are seven videos to renew your admiration for the incredible craft of papermaking.

     
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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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