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Catching Coincidences with Joseph Heller

By Lauren Corba. Apr 30, 2014. 3:12 PM.

Topics: American Literature, History

American writer Joseph Heller is notably recognized for writing Catch-22. Published in 1961, the novel takes place during the latter half of the Second World War, telling the story of John Yossarian, an Air Force captain for the United States military. Although the novel did not instantly top the bestseller’s lists, it has since gained popularity, adding the phrase “Catch-22” into the English Language.


How to Identify First Editions: Book Club Editions

By Kristin Masters. Apr 29, 2014. 8:37 PM.

Topics: Modern First Editions, Learn About Books

If you collect modern first editions, you have probably encountered Book Club editions pretty frequently. Collectors frequently ask whether Book Club editions are first editions, and whether these volumes have any additional value. Book Club editions are generally differentiated from trade editions, and some people collect specific trade editions. 


William Randolph Hearst: Front Page News for Over 150 years!

By Anne Cullison. Apr 27, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, American Literature

William Randolph Hearst was born on April 29, 1863 in San Francisco, the son of the millionaire mining engineer, gold mine owner and US Senator, George Hearst. Because he came from money, Hearst's early life was certainly not one of hardships. He went to prep school at St. Paul’s School in Concord New Hampshire, and matriculated to Harvard in 1885. He, however, never actually finished his degree as he was eventually expelled for antics such as hosting massive beer parties in Harvard Square.


The Secret Life of Harper Lee

By Andrea Koczela. Apr 26, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Awarded Books, American Literature, Literature

Nelle Harper Lee, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of To Kill a Mockingbird, was born on April 28, 1926 in the sleepy town of Monroeville Alabama. As a girl, she became friends with another future writer: Truman Capote. The two were outsiders among their peers but discovered an affinity for each other. According to Capote biographer, Gerald Clarke, “Nelle was too rough for most other girls, and Truman was too soft for most other boys.”


Milestones in Space Travel

By Kristin Wood. Apr 25, 2014. 12:44 PM.

Topics: American History, History, Science

For most of human history, the sky, the stars, and the moon were all an otherworldly mystery to those observing it from the face of the Earth. Some people believed that the celestial bodies were deities watching over them. Some thought that the stars could tell a story or form a prophecy when read correctly. Others found surprisingly accurate ways to learn about space without ever leaving the solid ground beneath their feet.


Every Man's Writer, Bernard Malamud

By Lauren Corba. Apr 24, 2014. 7:30 AM.

Topics: Pulitzer Prize, American Literature

American novelist and short story writer, Bernard Malamud was born on April 26, 1914 in New York. His parents were Russo-Jewish immigrants with very little knowledge of the English Language. Malamud had one younger brother, Eugene and the boys experienced quite a poor childhood. Escaping realities, Bernard would often read stories and watch Charlie Chaplain films, which would later influence his style of writing. Malamud always had an appreciation for teaching and the learning process. Despite his mother’s death in his early teen years, Malamud continued on through high school and graduated with a Bachelors of Arts from the City College of New York. He later received his Master’s Degree from Columbia University while teaching high-school night classes.


Robert Penn Warren, Poet, Author, Activist

By Anne Cullison. Apr 22, 2014. 6:37 PM.

Topics: Poetry, American Literature

Born April 24, 1905, Robert Penn Warren was a groundbreaking poet, author, literary critic and civil rights activist. His poetry and his prose were both well enough received to earn him the Pulitzer Prize, making him the only person to have ever won a Pulitzer Prize for both fiction and poetry. He won for fiction with what is perhaps his best known work, All the Kings Men, published in 1946.


Eleven Facts You Might Not Know About Shakespeare

By Kristin Wood. Apr 21, 2014. 10:36 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Literature, Drama

As a lover of literature, you may think you know everything there is to know about Shakespeare.  After all, no other author can really claim to have influenced language and storytelling the way he has. Even if Shakespeare’s works aren’t your favorite beach read, his writing and life demand respect from anyone who loves a good book. Since your high school English classes probably missed a few turn when reviewing his biography, here are eleven facts that may surprise you!


With Janet Evanovich, Collecting Really Counts!

By Kristin Masters. Apr 20, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Modern First Editions

Janet Evanovich was born on April 22, 1943 in New Jersey. However, she would describe herself as more of a native of LaLa Land who has spent the majority of her life looking for an outlet for her imagination.  Her childhood included singing opera on the streets or pretending to be a horse. As a young adult Evanovich expressed her imagination in the form of an Art Degree from Douglass College.  But none of these things left Evanovich feeling complete. 

So Evanovich began her writing career in her mid-thirties.  She wrote story after story and spent the better part of ten years being rejected by every publishing house she sent her stories to.  Her rather pornographic "romance" novels finally found a home at LoveLine, rescuing her from the world of temp work and panty hose.  After five years of writing romance novels and putting every sexual exploit she could imagine to paper, she was tired of the genre. Evanovich spent the next two years researching the life of law enforcement and criminals to transition to the world of the mystery author. Today she lives and works in Naples, Florida with more then twenty best sellers to her name and is successful enough that she is able to succesfully employ her husband, son, and daughter full time. 


Five Interesting Facts about Charlotte Brontë

By Andrea Koczela. Apr 19, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature

Charlotte Brontë, the oldest of the legendary Brontë sisters, is best known for her classic novel Jane Eyre. Celebrate her birthday this week by testing your knowledge about her life and works.


John Muir: Documenting and Preserving the Natural World

By Kristin Wood. Apr 18, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature

If you are a nature lover, the works and activism of John Muir should hold a special place in your heart. He was one of the first advocates of preserving stretches of wilderness in the United States, and his writing reflects and affirms this value system. Muir's legacy lives on in the conservation organization he founded, The Sierra Club, along with several natural and man-made landmarks that have been named after him.


Remembering Gabo: A Retrospective on Gabriel García Márquez

By Kristin Masters. Apr 17, 2014. 7:36 PM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Nobel Prize Winners


Legendary author Gabriel García Márquez passed away today in Mexico City, where he'd been recovering from infections since April 8. The Nobel Prize-winning author was considered the father of magical realism, and he never shied away from confronting the injustices of Latin American politics. García Márquez will be remembered for his unique ability to blur the lines between fiction and reality; as both a journalist and a writer of novels, he frequently reminded us that the two forms are more similar than we'd want to think.


Sebastian Faulks and Following Ian Fleming

By Lauren Corba. Apr 17, 2014. 9:30 AM.

Topics: James Bond

Sebastian Faulks was born April 20, 1953 in Donnington, Berkshire. He had a pleasant childhood, finding companionship with his brother Edward. His mother instilled a love of theatre and books in the boys at a young age; however, while his mother was fond of the classics, both Sebastian and his brother shared an appreciation for popular culture. They attended a prestigious school with traditional values, which proved to be a challenge for the boys, but Faulks welcomed the challenge.


A Laugh and a Drink with Kingsley Amis

By Kristin Wood. Apr 16, 2014. 5:51 PM.

Topics: Poetry, Literature

Kingsley Amis knew how to get a laugh out of his readers. He wrote many novels that depicted modern British life in a humorous manner, and it was these comedies that earned him his fame – but humor wasn’t his only forte. Amis dabbled in many genres, from poetry to science fiction. The Times listed him as one of the top 50 British writers in 2008.


Golf: From Banned Sport to Royal Pastime

By Kristin Masters. Apr 13, 2014. 7:33 PM.

The origins of golf can be traced all the way back to 100 BCE. The ancient Romans played a game known as paganica, where participants hit a stuffed leather ball with a bent stick. Another game similar to golf, chuíw án, was played during the Song dynasty in China, fro around 960 to 1279. The game evolved considerably over time, and the precise origins of today's game are unknown. Both the French and the Dutch have claimed credit, citing similar games as evidence: jeue de mail and kolven respectively. But both these games lack an essential element of modern golf: the hole.


Scott Turow and his Impressive List of Best Sellers

By Anne Cullison. Apr 12, 2014. 4:25 PM.

Topics: Modern First Editions

"We play music about as well as Metallica writes novels."

-Dave Barry

Why would authors like Dave Barry and Scott Turow be playing terrible music?! They're members of a band called the Rock Bottom Remainders, a musical group of bestselling authors who play to raise money for a number of literacy charities. When Turow isn't busy playing with the Rock Bottom Remainders, he's writing bestsellers or working at an international law firm. 

Born on April 12, 1949 in Chicago, Turow has written nine bestselling works of fiction and won multiple literary awards. His books have been translated into more than forty languages. The Los Angeles Times once said in a review, "No one writes better mystery suspense than Turow." It's no surprise, then, that his works are popular among collectors of modern first editions. 


Safe from Heartbleed? At Books Tell You Why you are

By Joachim Koch. Apr 12, 2014. 3:49 PM.

Lover of the Land, Seamus Heaney

By Lauren Corba. Apr 11, 2014. 4:15 PM.

Topics: Poetry, Literature, Nobel Prize Winners

Poet Seamus Heaney was born April 13, 1939 in a town located in Northern Ireland. The oldest of nine children, Heaney was raised by a father with a deep rural background of farming and herding cattle and a mother from an urban family with a history of working in textile mills. Heaney attended St. Columb’s College, a Catholic boarding school, on scholarship. While he was away, his four year old brother, Christopher was killed by a car. His young death would inspire numerous poems including “Mid-Term Break” (1966) and “The Blackbird of Glanmore” (2006).


Tom Clancy's Journey from Insurance Agent to Bestselling Author

By Anne Cullison. Apr 9, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Modern First Editions

If you love a good spy novel, chances are you have read many of Tom Clancy’s works. But Tom Clancy was not just an author, but the king of a media empire, with his name attached to video games, movies, and non-fiction books on military topics. He was even part owner of the Baltimore Orioles.

Thomas Leo Clancy was born on April 12, 1947 in Baltimore, Maryland. He was the second child of Thomas Clancy, a mailman, and Catherine Clancy. He grew up an extremely active reader and lover of history, in particular the works of naval historian Samuel Eliot Morison. Due to his religious upbringing, Clancy's parents worked very hard to ensure he was able to receive a Jesuit education, both in high school and in college. Clancy earned a degree in English Literature from Loyola College, again showing his love of the written word.


Barbara Kingsolver: The Political Role of Literature

By Kristin Wood. Apr 6, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Modern First Editions

Barbara Kingsolver is known for using her creative talent to open the eyes of her readers to global injustices, ranging from environmental to social problems. Drawing upon her own childhood experiences in the Congo, she wrote her most famous work, The Poisonwood Bible. This novel, along with every book she has published since 1993, earned a spot on the New York Times Best Seller list. Kingsolver has also published several essays and poems.


Poet and Civil Rights Activist, Maya Angelou

By Lauren Corba. Apr 3, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry

Marguerite Ann Johnson was born in St. Louis, Missouri on April 4, 1928. When she was three years old, her parents divorced, sending both Maya and her brother, Bailey, to live with their paternal grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas.  Here, she was exposed to the harsh realities that African Americans faced in the South; however, her time in Stamps introduced her to the rich Southern African-American culture and community. Her grandmother instilled profound values and resilience in the young Maya, which would pervade her writings and make her the woman she is 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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