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Saying Goodbye to Seamus Heaney - Poet Extraordinaire

By Kristin Masters. Aug 31, 2013. 10:23 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Nobel Prize Winners

"I have always thought of poems as stepping stones in one's own sense of oneself. Every now and again, you write a poem that gives you self-respect and steadies your going a little bit farther out in the stream. At the same time, you have to conjure the next stepping stone because the stream, we hope, keeps flowing."

-Seamus Heaney (All Things Considered, 2008)



Famous Literary Hoaxes (Part One)

By Kristin Masters. Aug 26, 2013. 10:01 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book History

Literary critics frequently argue that literature is full of frauds; there are plenty of authors, after all, whose work offers little substance or artistry. But the world of letters also has its share of true frauds: cheats, liars, and forgers. In some cases, these individuals were merely mischievous pranksters, but in others they hoped to profit from their malevolent handiwork. Here's a look at some of the biggest literary hoaxes of all time.


A Tribute to Legendary Author Ray Bradbury

Today we celebrate Ray Bradbury, born August 22, 1920. The author has bequeathed us an incredible opus that includes modern classics like Fahrenheit 451, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and The Martian Chronicles. Here's a look at Bradbury's legacy, in words and pictures. 


Remembering Elmore Leonard

By Kristin Masters. Aug 20, 2013. 12:31 PM.

Topics: American Literature, Movie Tie-Ins

Today Elmore Leonard passed away at his home, surrounded by his family. The American author had recently suffered a stroke. Leonard was an incredibly prolific author who occupied the worlds of popular culture and literature. 


How to Identify First Editions: St. Martin's Press

By Kristin Masters. Aug 19, 2013. 10:27 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Modern First Editions

Headquartered in New York City's iconic Flatiron building, St. Martin's Press is one of the largest publishers of English-language books in the world. The publishing house puts out approximately 700 titles per year under multiple imprints.

Macmillen Publishers of UK founded St. Martin's in 1952, naming it for St. Martin's Lane in London. The house was privately owned until the late 1990's, when it was sold to Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC.


VS Naipaul: A Controversial Nobel Laureate

Naipaul has said that "half a writer's work is the discovery of his subject matter. And a problem for me was that my life had been varied, full of upheavals and moves." Yet Naipaul found his authorial voice relatively early; after two failed attempts at writing a novel, Naipaul found inspiration in his childhood neighbor from Port of Spain.


Legendary Authors in Academia

Most great authors hold other jobs during their journeys to literary acclaim: Edgar Rice Burroughs sold pencils; JD Salinger was entertainment director on a luxury liner; and Ken Kesey volunteered for CIA psych tests. But what about after legendary authors have earned prestige and recognition? Many of them have turned up on the faculty at illustrious universities. 


Izaak Walton's Legacy in Fishing Literature

By Kristin Masters. Aug 9, 2013. 9:25 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Rare Books, Fine Press, Fishing

August 9 is the day we celebrate the birthday of legendary biographer, poet, and fisherman Izaak Walton. A friend of such illustrious figures as John Donne and Charles Cotton, Walton approached the art of fishing with a new sensibility in The Compleat Angler. His work was immensely popular--and it utterly changed the course of fishing literature. Multiple authors have followed in Walton's footsteps, creating a body of literature about fishing that is rich, diverse, and engaging.


Neil Armstrong, Astronaut and Author

By Kristin Masters. Aug 5, 2013. 2:15 PM.

Topics: Biographies, Science, Book News

On August 5, 1930, Neil Alden Armstrong was born near Wapakoneta, Ohio. The future astronaut would be the first man to walk on the moon, and go on to become an author. Check out these ten things you probably didn't know about Armstrong.


Happy Birthday, James Baldwin!

By Kristin Masters. Aug 2, 2013. 4:30 PM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, American Literature, Book News

August 2nd marks the birthday of novelist James Baldwin. He remains one of the most important African-American writers of all time, up in the ranks of Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, and Stephen Wright. His essays and memoirs masterfully combine autobiography and the issues of race that plagued his America. He is remembered for his impeccable prose style, his fearlessness of content, and his stature as a cultural figure,just as well as a literary one. In the words of author Michael Ondaatje, “If Van Gogh was our 19th-century artist-saint, James Baldwin is our 20th-century one.”


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