Did you know?  Check our Rare Books Page

Incarcerated Authors: Free Minds in Shackled Bodies

By Jennifer Michelle. Dec 31, 2013. 7:38 PM.

Creative genius blooms where it’s planted. Inventors, engineers, artists, and writers use their everyday experiences and observations in their work, mimicking nature in their creation or drawing greater ideas from small occurrences. It is not a different set of experiences that leads to creative genius, but a different style of thought. In the literary world, those imprisoned for crimes related to either their writing or their personal lives have long produced critically acclaimed work.

     
Read more...


True Love, Legendary Author Style

By Kristin Masters. Dec 30, 2013. 11:45 PM.

Topics: Legendary Authors

On December 30, 1816, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollenstonecraft Godwin were wed. The two had already run away together in July, 1814, but they couldn't get married because..Percy was already married. Once his wife died, he and Mary tied the knot almost immediately. Though Shelley had been heir to a wealthy relative's estate, he'd been banished from Oxford after refusing to admit authorship of a controversial essay. Thus he and his wife spent most of their time in Europe, dodging creditors. 

     
Read more...


Happy Birthday, Nicholas Sparks!

By Andrea Koczela. Dec 29, 2013. 8:00 AM.

Nicholas Sparks, one of the fiction world’s most popular and prolific writers, was born on December 31, 1965. Author of eighteen books, Sparks has over 89 million copies in print, and his novels have been translated into over 50 languages. Eight of his books have been adapted into film.

Sparks first achieved popularity with The Notebook, his second novel. A love story inspired by his wife’s grandparents, he wrote the book in six months at the age of 28. Two years after its completion, he had found a literary agent, received a $1 million dollar advance, and become an instant New York Times bestselling author.

     
Read more...


Poet of the Empire: Rudyard Kipling

By Dawn Morgan. Dec 28, 2013. 8:30 AM.

Topics: Literature, Nobel Prize Winners

World traveler and prolific writer Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay on December 30, 1865. As a boy, he happily listened to the stories of his Indian attendant and Portuguese nanny. The author's upbringing would often manifest in his works. 

     
Read more...


Henry Miller: Author, Watercolorist, and Rebel

By Carrie Scott. Dec 24, 2013. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature

Henry Miller, American native of Manhattan, is most notable for his controversial book Tropic of Cancer published in 1934 in Paris with the financial backing and editorial assistance from lover and fellow writer Anais Nin.  When he decided to write the book, he wrote, “I start tomorrow on the Paris book: First person, uncensored, formless - f&*k everything!”  Miller called the book Tropic of Cancer because cancer symbolized disease of civilization and to start completely over from scratch.  The contents of the book were enough to have it banned from publication in the United States until 1961, when it was finally published by Grove Press.  

     
Read more...


Top Fifteen Rare Book Blog Articles of 2013

By Kristin Masters. Dec 22, 2013. 10:00 PM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting, American Literature

The year is coming to an end, and it's been quite a busy one here at blogis librorum! Thanks to everyone who has faithfully read, subscribed to, and commented on our blog this year--without you, we wouldn't have such a dynamic, engaging, and downright terrific online community for rare book lovers. 

In case you missed any of the "action," we've compiled a list of the blog articles of 2013 you visted most. Take a gander, click each title and let us know which was your favorite:

     
Read more...


The Pen is Mightier: Ten Famous Literary Brawls

By Lauren Corba. Dec 20, 2013. 4:56 PM.

From celebrity twitter fights to hijacking award shows, drama is created and spread around in every media outlet and our beloved writers are not exempt from these jealousy fueled fires. Now, let’s take a look at some of the most famous literary brawls in history.  

     
Read more...


A Christmas Carol: The Influence of Charles Dickens on Christmas Traditions

By Kristin Wood. Dec 19, 2013. 12:06 PM.

When Charles Dickens passed away in 1870, a young girl in London asked a question that demonstrated just how strongly Dickens' writings were associated with the holiday season and modern Christmas traditions. She asked, "Mr. Dickens dead? Then will Father Christmas die too?"

     
Read more...


Heinrich Böll and the Literature of Rubble

By Kristin Wood. Dec 19, 2013. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Nobel Prize Winners

For a look at Germany in the aftermath of World War II, the works of Heinrich Böll shed a light that can only be given by an insider. Although he and his family opposed the rise of Hitler and the ideals of the Nazi Party, Böll was deeply patriotic and especially attached to his hometown of Cologne. His writing often vilifies government and church officials, while lifting up the common man. Novels by Böll have been translated into over 30 different languages, and he was awarded both the Nobel Prize for Literature and the Georg Büchner Prize.

     
Read more...


Planet of the Apes: A "Pleasant Fantasy" Becomes a Cult Classic

By Kristin Masters. Dec 18, 2013. 5:38 PM.

Topics: Movie Tie-Ins

This week has been action packed for sci-fi fans: Friday saw the opening of Peter Jackson's second installment of The Hobbit, based on JRR Tolkien's famous novel. And tomorrow the trailer of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will be unveiled. When the first Planet of the Apes adaptation was produced back in the 1960's, author Pierre Boulle had thought the book unsuitable for adaptation. 

     
Read more...


Favorite Christmas Books by Legendary Authors

The holidays are fast approaching, and the spirit of the season can be seen everywhere! This time of year, we often turn to favorite books like Clement Clarke Moore's beloved The Night Before Christmas or Hilary Knight's whimsical Christmas Nutshell Library. If you collect Christmas books or books by legendary authors, you may also want to add these tomes to your personal library. Though relatively unknown, these three books delightfully capture the Christmas spirit with all the style and panache one would expect from Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, or JRR Tolkien.  

     
Read more...


John Kennedy Toole's Brilliant but Short Career

By Andrea Koczela. Dec 15, 2013. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature

“When a true genius appears in the world,
You may know him by this sign, that the dunces
Are all in confederacy against him.”
—Jonathan Swift, “Thoughts on Various Subjects, Moral and Diverting”
     
Read more...


Shirley Jackson, Mistress of Horror

By Carrie Scott. Dec 14, 2013. 6:30 PM.

Topics: Horror, American Literature

“A pretty sight, a lady with a book.” So says Shirley Jackson in We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Frankly, we couldn't agree more. Jackson is known for being one of the most prolific horror writers in America, influencing big-name authors such as Stephen King and Neil Gaiman.

     
Read more...


Arthur C Clarke, Author-Scientist

By Lauren Corba. Dec 14, 2013. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Science Fiction

"The first climax (…) brought tears to my eyes. There has been nothing like it for years: partly for the actual writing– 'She has left her toys behind but ours go hence with us,' or 'The island rose to meet the dawn,' but partly (still more, in fact) because here we meet a modern author who understands that there may be things that have a higher claim than the survival or happiness of humanity: a man who could almost understand “He that hateth not father and mother” and certainly would understand the situation in Aeneid III between those who go on to Latium and those who stay in Sicily." -C.S. Lewis (on Childhood's End

     
Read more...


The Vyne Ring: Fit for a Hobbit? 

By Dawn Morgan. Dec 13, 2013. 4:57 PM.

Topics: J. R. R. Tolkien, Book News

A large gold ring found by a farmer plowing his field in England in 1789 may have been the inspiration for the classic children's fantasy novel, The Hobbit, written by JRR Tolkien and published in 1937. The book was so popular his published asked for a sequel, which of course was The Lord of the Rings. The Hobbit is the story of Bilbo Baggins, a friendly homebody who must go on an epic journey that ends in (spoiler!) Bilbo's heroism and coming of age.

     
Read more...


Celebrating Jane Austen: A Lifetime in Six Novels

By Jennifer Michelle. Dec 13, 2013. 12:50 PM.

Topics: Literature

She wrote her first formal work at 18 years old and lived until 42, but Jane Austen made the literary impact of much more prolific writers in only six published novels. With universally appealing works such as Pride & Prejudice (1813) and Sense & Sensibility (1811), Austen has amassed an impressive following the world over, and her works have been adapted into plays, TV series, and modern movies as varied as the film "Pride & Prejudice" and the American comedy "Clueless." 

     
Read more...


Quality Over Quantity: Gustave Flaubert

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

Topics: Literature

Gustave Flaubert was born on December 12, 1821. He is known for his style, aesthetics, and perfectionism, and he appeals to both romantics and realists. Sometimes writing only one page per week, Flaubert took five to 25 years to complete each novel. The result was worthwhile: Flaubert is regarded as one of the best Western writers of all time.

     
Read more...


John Milton, Political Activist and Poet

By Andrea Koczela. Dec 9, 2013. 4:00 PM.

Topics: Legendary Authors

“I sung of Chaos and Eternal Night,
Taught by the heav'nly Muse to venture down
The dark descent, and up to reascend”
                -Paradise Lost

 

Today we celebrate literary giant John Milton, author of Paradise Lost. His poetry profoundly influenced English literature and in particular the works of William Wordsworth, William Blake, Alexander Pope, and John Keats. Now, over three centuries since his death, Milton remains one of the greatest of all English poets.

     
Read more...


Charles Dickens Saves Christmas

By Jennifer Michelle. Dec 6, 2013. 4:40 PM.

As a young writer, Charles Dickens was full of charm and intellect with no clear sense of what he wanted to do other than become famous. He came to write plenty and eventually attained that hazy goal, but in the process he also changed the course of history and essentially created the modern celebration of Christmas.

     
Read more...


Joan Didion, An Observant and Precautionary Journalist

By Carrie Scott. Dec 6, 2013. 9:00 AM.

December 5th marks the birthday of Joan Didion, the author and mother of four who created a style all her own by rejecting conventional journalism. Didion once said, "Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant," and Didion's works have certainly changed the lives of many a reader. 

     
Read more...


How to use a rare book blog?

By Katharina Koch. Dec 6, 2013. 12:32 AM.

We've recently had a tremendous number of individuals, collectors, readers, librarians, and teachers subscribe to our blog.. Thanks so much! We appreciate your interest and your vote of confidence that we'll continue to deliver exceptional content. But what the heck does one do with a rare books blog, anyway? You'll find it's a terrific "jumping off point" into the world of rare and antiquarian books. To that end, here's some brief thoughts on getting the most out of the blog, along with our other online resources and communications. 

     
Read more...


Consummate Third Culture Kid Joseph Conrad 

By Dawn Morgan. Dec 3, 2013. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature

Joseph Conrad, one of the first modernist writers, was born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski in Poland on December 3, 1857. Though he didn't learn English until early adulthood, Conrad would become one of the top prose writers of the English language. Many of his stories were first published in magazines before they were published as novellas or books. Yet though he wrote steadily, he was not a financial success or widely read until the last decade of his life

     
Read more...


Who Wrote "The Night Before Christmas"?

By Andrea Koczela. Dec 2, 2013. 11:58 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Children's Books, Christmas Books

“A Visit from St. Nicholas”—also known as, “Twas the Night before Christmas” and “The Night before Christmas”—has become one of the most beloved poems in the United States. Published anonymously in 1823, this poem was integral in shaping the American conception of St. Nicholas and Santa Claus. Yet despite its lighthearted content, a bitter controversy once arose over its authorship.

The poem was uncredited for 21 years. Finally, in 1844, professor Clement Clarke Moore claimed authorship of the poem, printing it in an anthology of his poetry. Moore stated that he had only acknowledged the poem at his children’s insistence, not wanting such a childish poem to detract from his scholarly reputation.

     
Read more...


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.

Get blog notifications per email:

Download the James Bond Dossier

Recent Posts

Book Glossary
Get your free Guide to Book Care

Blog Archive

> see older posts
A Guide to Historic Libraries Part I