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Madeleine L'Engle, the Unwittingly Controversial Children's Literature Author

By Anne Cullison. Nov 29, 2013. 6:00 PM.

Topics: Children's Books

Madeleine L’Engle was born on November 29th 1918 in New York City. Her prolific output of over sixty books, journals, and anthologies has transcended the genres in which they were written, as well as generations. While she is widely regarded as an author of children’s books, L'Engle exhibited a tremendous literary range, writing fiction for adults, books of poetry, plays, and religious meditations, as well as memoirs of her family. Almost all of her works were deeply personal, rooted in her life and beliefs.


CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, and a Friendship That Spurred Exceptional Literature

By Carrie Scott. Nov 29, 2013. 7:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, J. R. R. Tolkien

C.S. Lewis is one of the most important Christian intellectual and influential writers of the twentieth century; it's unlikely anyone would argue with that. Lewis has inspired generations of fiercely loyal readers and collectors. His books are staples not only in fantasy and children’s literature, but also in theology. Certainly, Lewis distinguished himself as a classic in world literature.


Louisa May Alcott: More Than 'Little Women'

By Jennifer Michelle. Nov 28, 2013. 4:00 PM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, American Literature

Louisa May Alcott (29 November 1832 – 6 March 1888) was an American writer, feminist, abolitionist, and Civil War nurse. Her name is attached most often to her novel Little Women, but her work encompassed thrillers, adult novels, and theatrical plays, and she wrote many of her early novels under the pseudonyms Flora Fairfield and AM Barnard.


William Blake, Madman or Genius?

If, in the words of James Barron Hope, “Tis after death that we measure men,” William Blake is fortunate indeed. Now a paragon of the Romantic Age whose poems and engravings are among the most famous of his time, Blake’s contemporaries dismissed his work and largely considered him insane. William Wordsworth wrote, “There was no doubt that this poor man was mad” and John Ruskin called him “diseased and wild.” Although his work was not understood during his lifetime, Blake has become one of the most important poets, engravers, and artists of the Romantic Age.


It's Your Birthday, Charles Schulz!

By Lauren Corba. Nov 26, 2013. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Illustrators

On November 26, 1922, Charles Schulz was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was raised in a humble family and read the comic pages every Sunday with his father, growing fond of the Mickey Mouse and Popeye strips. He knew from a young age that drawing cartoons is what he wanted to spend his life doing, and in 1937, his drawing of his family dog, Spike was published in the Ripley’s Believe it or Not newspaper.


Frances Hodgson Burnett, Legend of Children's Literature

By Dawn Morgan. Nov 24, 2013. 8:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books

Prolific British-American playwright and children's author Frances Eliza Hodgson was born on November 24, 1849. A writer from a young age to lift her once-wealthy family from poverty, she went on the publish twenty novels, many of which became plays, and numerous short stories.


George Eliot, Lady of Warwickshire

By Lauren Corba. Nov 22, 2013. 8:30 AM.

Topics: Literature

This month, we celebrate the life of the acclaimed Victorian novelist, journalist, and translator. She is the author of seven novels drawing insight into rural England and psychological analysis in modern literature.


Isaac Bashevis Singer: A Champion for Compassion and Language

By Kristin Wood. Nov 21, 2013. 10:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Science Fiction

Literature can serve many purposes for its audience, but one of its most valuable gifts is its ability to open a reader's eyes to a new world or a new perspective. Not only did Isaac Bashevis Singer write stories of deep emotion and entertainment, he helped his American readers explore subcultures that had long been ignored, if not despised. As a leader in the Yiddish literary movement, Singer's stories often centered upon Jews, but he also created characters and stories that dealt with homosexuality and transgender issues. His works won him the Nobel Prize in 1978, along with two National Book Awards.


Don DeLillo, Progenitor of a New Era in American Literature

By Anne Cullison. Nov 20, 2013. 7:00 AM.

Topics: Awarded Books, American Literature

Born in New York City on November 20th, 1936, Don DeLillo has become an acclaimed author whose postmodernist works portray an America which has become consumed by materialism and dumbed down by a culture of meaningless interactions. He grew up in a working-class Italian American family in the Bronx. His was a childhood filled with family and wholesome entertainments. He described it as one in which he was “always out in the street. As a little boy I whiled away most of my time pretending to be a baseball announcer on the radio. I could think up games for hours at a time. There were eleven of us in a small house, but the close quarters were never a problem. I didn’t know any other way.”


The National Book Awards: A History of Quality American Literature

By Kristin Wood. Nov 19, 2013. 4:00 PM.

Topics: Awarded Books, American Literature

The literary landscape of America shifted on March 16th, 1950. On this day, the first National Book Awards were presented in New York City at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Although notable authors were already recognized before this day through the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize, the National Book Awards set themselves apart by focusing on literature alone and awarding prizes chosen exclusively by writers. Their mission is to "celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of great writing in America."


Small but Mighty Miniature Books

Good things do often come in small packages.  Miniature books are quite literally books that are very small.  Miniature books are typically like any other book inside, but printed on a smaller scale- usually with all of the same text and illustrations that a traditional book would contain, just much smaller.  Although the current definition of a miniature book is anything measuring less than three inches in width or length, their history is anything but small.   


Doris Lessing: A Retrospective of a Legendary Author and Nobel Prize Winner

Yesterday Doris Lessing, author of more than 55 works of poetry, fiction, opera, and non-fiction, passed away. The Nobel laureate was known for free thinking political activism and innovative literary form. Lessing was born in Iran to British parents, and she spent much of her childhood in Zimbabwe. She made her novel debut in 1950 with The Grass Is Singing, but did not gain attention from the literary world until 1962, with The Golden Notebook. 


Chinua Achebe, Pioneer of African Literature

By Kristin Wood. Nov 16, 2013. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Nobel Prize Winners, Book News

Can any writer, in literature's past or present, be compared to William Shakespeare? While most scholars would refuse to make such a bold statement, Kwame Anthony Appiah took this daring plunge when he wrote of Chinua Achebe's first novel, "It would be impossible to say how Things Fall Apart influenced African writing. It would be like asking how Shakespeare influenced English writers or Pushkin influenced Russians."


Astrid Lindgren: Good-Natured Housewife, Accidental Revolutionary

By Jennifer Michelle. Nov 14, 2013. 9:30 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Children's Books

Astrid Lindgren (November 14, 1907 - January 28, 2002) was a friendly housewife who wrote children’s tales such as Pippi Longstocking, while also speaking out about animal welfare, children’s rights, racism, and taxation. From her humble beginnings in the Alps of Sweden, she is now the eighteent most-translated author in history, has sold 145 million copies of her work, and is the namesake of the most lucrative award offered in children’s literature worldwide.


Robert Louis Stevenson: Author, Traveler, and Composer

By Dawn Morgan. Nov 13, 2013. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature

Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson was born on November 13 1850. The Scottish writer published novels, poems, essays, and travel books. He is among the most translated writers in the world, best known for Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde


Jean Grolier, 'The Prince of Bibliophiles'

By Dawn Morgan. Nov 12, 2013. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Learn About Books

Jean Grolier de Servières, vicomte d’Aguisy was a one of the first noted private collectors of ornately bound books. He is said to have had over 3,000 volumes, most made specifically made for him. He was a patron to binders and the literary arts, and many books were dedicated to him.


And So It Goes, Happy Birthday Kurt Vonnegut

By Kristin Masters. Nov 11, 2013. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature

"Many people need desperately to receive this message: 'I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.'" 

Today we celebrate the 91st birthday of devout humanist and black humorist Kurt Vonnegut. Vonnegut was born on November 11, 1922 in Indianapolis, Indiana to Kurt Vonnegut Sr., the partner in an architectural firm, and Edith Lieber, the heiress to a brewing company. Although Vonnegut was born into a successful family, the fortune quickly took a nosedive with the start of the Prohibition era and the Great Depression. The firm went out of business, leaving his father unemployed. His mother turned to prescription medication and alcohol to cope with this turn of events.


Kay Thompson, Queen of Pizazz, Mother of Eloise

Today we celebrate the inimitable Kay Thompson, born November 9, 1909 with the unpromising name Catherine Fink. A brilliant composer, dancer, singer, and author, Thompson was above all a tremendous personality.  In the words of film critic, Rex Reed, “If you don’t know who Kay Thompson is, please turn the page. You just flunked pizazz. Legend has it that she even invented the word.”


Remembering Margaret Mitchell

By Anne Cullison. Nov 8, 2013. 3:00 PM.

Topics: American Literature

Today we celebrate the birth of noted author of Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell.  Born in Atlanta Georgia in 1900, Ms. Mitchell drew her influences from her experiences in the south. The Pulitzer Prize winner continues to influence us today. 


Albert Camus, The Stranger Among Friends

By Jennifer Michelle. Nov 7, 2013. 1:02 PM.

Topics: Legendary Authors

Today we celebrate the troubled life and complex literary contributions of French journalist, playwright, and philosopher Albert Camus (7 November 1913 - 4 January 1960).  He died during a car crash when he was just 46, but managed in his short career to define a major philosophical movement, become a household name, and earn the Nobel Prize.


A Literary Tour of Boston

By Kristin Masters. Nov 5, 2013. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Book News

In less than two weeks, Boston will be the place to be for rare and antiquarian book collectors! While the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair and the Boston Books, Print, and Ephemera Show will be the main events, the city is home to a number of literary landmarks that certainly merit spending a few extra days in and around Boston. 


Stock up for Reading Season!

By Kristin Masters. Nov 4, 2013. 5:11 PM.

Topics: Rare Books, Literature, Book News


The leaves have changed colors, and the air has turned crisp and cool. Sunsets are also coming earlier and earlier. These shorter days mean longer nights--and more time for evening reading! If you love to curl up with a good book, you'll love this list of excellent reading copies, all priced at $20 or under. Many of them are even signed by the author. 


Hilary Knight: Legendary Illustrator and Father of Eloise

By Andrea Koczela. Nov 1, 2013. 3:47 PM.

Topics: Legendary Illustrators, Children's Books

Legendary illustrator Hilary Knight famously brought to life the impish Eloise.  The son of two artists, Knight was born in Hempstead, Long Island. He lived next door to the public library for the first six years of his life and spent many hours among the books that later shaped his artistic style. Knight was particularly influenced by illustrators Edmund Dulac and E. H. Shepard. “These are probably my most favorite books of all,” he said. “They are so funny. Shepard’s pen-and-ink drawings [in Winnie the Pooh] are so simple and direct; he was a truly remarkable artist.  Dulac, on the other hand, was sheer fantasy. He was glamorous and exotic.”


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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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