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Czesław Miłosz's Political and Literary Legacy

By Adrienne Rivera. Jun 30, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, History

Czesław Miłosz was born in 1911 in Poland to an ethnically Lithuanian civil engineer and a Polish noble. Miłosz was raised in Lithuania, and though it caused much controversy in his life, he would never ally himself formally with either Poland or Lithuanian, saying that he was born in Poland, and was therefore technically Polish, but that he was raised with the spirit of the Lithuanian people and could not deny that part of himself. Interestingly, Miłosz's literary and political efforts would cause him to remain on the fringe, only recognized in and by his homeland later in his life.

     
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Five of the Coolest Libraries for Children in the U.S.

Libraries create access to information and are seen as institutions that promote higher learning and research. However, for the smaller scholars, libraries can simply be a place for fun. Many public libraries focus on their children’s area and make it a utopia that exposes children of all socioeconomic groups to art, literature, and a really good time. These are five wonderful libraries that create a haven for small minds yearning for activity and stimulation.

     
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Luigi Pirandello's Four Nobel Prizes

By Brian Hoey. Jun 28, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Nobel Prize Winners, Drama

While the Nobel Prize in Literature does not explicitly aim to single out the most influential writers of a given generation (per Alfred Nobel, its purpose is to reward “the most outstanding work in an ideal direction”), that it should do so seems inevitable. The most outstanding work, after all, frequently proves to be the most read and most imitated. And indeed, that the Nobel sometimes helps to define the chain of literary influence from one era to the next can be one of the most gratifying things about the list. It is by this metric that Luigi Pirandello, the masterful Italian playwright, can be considered one of the most intriguing Nobel laureates, with his writing directly and obviously influencing at least three other future Nobel winners: Samuel Beckett, Albert Camus, and Harold Pinter.    

     
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A Brief Introduction to Eric Carle

By Andrea Diamond. Jun 25, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Illustrators, Children's Books

It is the first day of preschool. You walk into a classroom filled with unfamiliar faces, clinging to your mom’s hand before it’s time to say goodbye. You take your seat on the welcome rug, carefully patting down your “first-day of school” dress as you timidly scan the brightly colored toys and trinkets that line the shelves. It doesn’t look like a scary place, but it is very different from anything you’ve known. As you absorb the new world around you, the teacher pulls out a book. You recognize the cover as one you’ve read before, and as she begins to read you slip into the comfort of a familiar story.

     
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Did Shakespeare Really Write His Plays?

By Matt Reimann. Jun 24, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Literature, History, Drama

The life of Shakespeare is shaped by two major qualities: excellence and obscurity. For this reason, his biography has been subject to much scrutiny and speculation. The central question that plagues the legacy of Shakespeare is a famous one, and gets down to the reality of the figure himself. Did Shakespeare, the great poet and dramatist, really exist as we know him?

     
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Michael and Jeff Shaara: Masters of Historical Fiction

By Brian Hoey. Jun 23, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, History

The title of Michael Shaara’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Civil War novel The Killer Angels (1974) comes from an exchange between between Union Colonel Joshua Chamberlain and his father which appears relatively early in the book. Hearing Chamberlain recite a line from Hamlet that likens man to angels, his father responds, "Well, boy, if he's an angel, he's sure a murderin' angel." The title is deeply ambivalent. The ‘killer angels’ are, notably, still called angels despite being killers, and vice versa. On some level, this ambivalence is the true appeal of Shaara’s writing. He trains his sights on one of the most divisive eras in American history and refuses to allow for the presence of men and women who are either exclusively angelic or exclusively murderous, choosing instead to foreground the sheer flawed humanity that exists on each side of the conflict. The fact that he pulls off this balancing act speaks volumes.

     
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Five Interesting Facts about Jean-Paul Sartre

By Leah Dobrinska. Jun 21, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Nobel Prize Winners

Jean-Paul Sartre lived a full life. He is widely remembered for his contributions as a philosopher, playwright, and teacher. His notable works include his philosophical magnum opus, L'Etre et le néant [Being and Nothingness] which was published in 1943, and his plays, Les Mouches [The Flies], 1943 and Huis Clos [No Exit], 1947. His ideas have a continued influence on philosophical and literary studies today. But what are some other facts about the esteemed thinker? Read on to discover five interesting factoids about Jean-Paul Sartre.

     
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Why It's Time to Appreciate Lillian Hellman Again

By Matt Reimann. Jun 20, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Drama

In 1939, Lillian Hellman was riding in a taxi with the star of one of her plays. The atmosphere in the car was tense. The actress, Tallulah Bankhead, wanted to put on a performance for the benefit of Finland, which had been invaded by the USSR earlier in the year. Hellman refused to allow her play to be performed for the cause, citing her lack of esteem for what she believed was a pro-Nazi republic. Bankhead, frustrated by Hellman’s stubbornness, told the playwright she would never act in one of her plays again. Hellman then responded by striking the actress across the jaw with her purse.

     
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Reading with Dad on Father's Day

By Connie Diamond. Jun 19, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature

The cover art of Reading with Dad by Richard Jorgensen depicts a worn leather chair. On it sits an open book, and beneath it, two pairs of shoes—one large and one small. The chair is not unlike the ones found in our home library. The small shoes are not unlike the lace-up Keds that have littered our house over the years in a rainbow of colors and in various stages of disrepair.  The larger shoes are very much like those whose footprints my daughters try to follow. They are Dad shoes.

If one is to believe the predominant image presented in television commercials and sitcoms, then Dad is a hapless side-kick. While Mom deftly goes about the business of parenting, Dad forgets schedules, dishes out junk food for breakfast, and secures diapers with duct tape.  As humorous as the hapless dad image may be, in real life, the role of dad is a complex and important one. The wonderful dads I know strike the right balance between protecting and empowering, between providing necessities and promoting self-sufficiency, and between accepting and expecting. While managing all of this, good dads also work to build relationship and to pass on their wisdom and their passions to their children. This is a tall order and seems to call for a Swiss Army Knife worth of tools. One of the best tools in that arsenal is reading.

     
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The Profound Magical Realism of Chris Van Allsburg

By Abigail Wheetley. Jun 18, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Illustrators, Children's Books

Chris Van Allsburg begins writing his fantasy children’s picture books with a single question “What if…?” and answers it with a string of beautiful and inspiring tales of the extreme. We have some “What ifs…?” of our own. What if a young man with a vague interest in art was denied admission to the University of Michigan because he lacked a portfolio? What if the warmth of that sculptor’s studio kept him away from the inviting apartment with pencils and paper?  What if a future Caldecott winner had not married a woman who taught children and hadn’t been encouraged to become a children’s illustrator? What if a Chris Van Allsburg had never come into our collective cultural awareness?

     
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John Hersey and the Power of Seeing People

By Leah Dobrinska. Jun 17, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, History

American author and journalist John Hersey is best known for his journalistic triumph, Hiroshima, which was published in The New Yorker in 1946 and described the effects of the atomic bomb through the lens of six survivors. Poignant and understated, Hiroshima continues to resonate with readers to this day, and its publication can be considered the journalism event of the 20th century. It has inspired a whole generation of journalists to write in a way that evokes feelings, emotions, and images which will stick with their audiences. But how did Hersey end up writing a war piece such as Hiroshima, and where did he go from there?

     
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Why You Shouldn't Miss Out On Amy Clampitt's Poetry

By Matt Reimann. Jun 15, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry

Although Amy Clampitt began writing poems at the early age of nine, her literary career began more than three decades later. And not until her 60s did she complete her first full-length volume, The Kingfisher, published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1983. Within a small span of 15 years, Clampitt became one of America’s most respected poets, earning university appointments, grants, and acclaim.

     
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The Jerzy Kosinski Controversy

By Adrienne Rivera. Jun 14, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Awarded Books, History

Jerzy Kosinski was born in Poland not long after Hitler's rise to power. After years spent denying his Jewish faith, Kosinski immigrated to the United States (by forging documents of Communist support vowing he'd return to his homeland). He was quickly successful in the U.S. He graduated from Columbia University, received a Guggenheim Fellowship, and taught at universities like Yale and Princeton. His books appeared on the New York Times Best Seller list, and he won several awards. For all intents and purposes, he was on the fast track to fame and fortune. Somewhere along the way, though, he hit some bumps in the road.

     
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The Significance of Anne Frank's Private Humanity

By Abigail Wheetley. Jun 12, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: History

To consider the lives lost, the futures thrown into fires, the endless suffering, and the human cost of the atrocity now called “The Holocaust” is more than the human mind could ever process or confront. Instead, we have one representative for those six million. One small voice who illustrates a daily life cut short, who explains the views and the growth of a mind not allowed to see adulthood, one who comes forward to speak for those who are no longer among us. Her name is Anne, and she kept a diary. This is the story of that book.

     
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Five Interesting Facts About William Styron

By Leah Dobrinska. Jun 11, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Pulitzer Prize, American Literature

William Styron was born on May 11, 1925. An acclaimed American novelist and essayist well known for his works Sophie’s Choice (1979) and The Confessions of Nat Turner (1967), Styron led a noteworthy life. He attended both Davidson College and Duke University, spent time abroad, and returned to the United States where he lived with his wife of over 50 years until his death in 2006. Here are five interesting facts that you may not know about William Styron.

     
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The Interesting History of Copyright Law

By Matt Reimann. Jun 9, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Book History

If you like reading books, it’s probably to be taken into new narrative worlds: to explore vast, dramatic landscapes of knowledge and discovery. What you might be less interested in, however, is the legal architecture that makes that very book possible. Intellectual property laws make up a necessary system that protects the author’s creation and the publisher’s investment. It lies at the intersection between art, business, and government, and purports that it is a society’s duty to regard the preservation and health of its culture.

     
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Buying Antiquarian Books in Stockholm

If you’re planning a visit to Sweden and are a collector of rare books, you’ll have options aplenty in Stockholm. There are currently fifty-two antiquarian and rare booksellers registered with the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB), and fifteen of those shops are located in Stockholm, Sweden’s capital. Of course, antiquarian booksellers can be found throughout the country, in cities like Lund, Uppsala, and Gothenburg. We recommend starting on the snowy streets of Stockholm, and perhaps stopping into one of the city’s many coffee shops in between browsing for a boost of caffeine to aid in your book hunt.

     
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D-Day: What to Read in Remembrance of World War II

By Adrienne Rivera. Jun 6, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Movie Tie-Ins, History

On a warm, overcast night turned early morningafter weeks of air raids on German bridges, railways, and other strategic pointsAllied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy. Indeed it took weeks of deception, planning, and careful misdirection to allow Allies to attack an under-prepared German army and regain lost ground. The Invasion of Normandyalmost canceled due to cloudy weather obscuring the full moon glow crucial to the mission's successwas a turning point in World War II, allowing the Allies to push through France and edge the German army out of the country. This year, spend June 6 reading up on events that proceeded and followed this battle or about the people who were forever impacted by the war that enveloped the entire world.

     
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Uncle Tom's Cabin: The Book That Changed Everything Forever

By Abigail Wheetley. Jun 5, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, History

We like to believe that every book makes an impact and every story has meaning and relevance. In the case of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, however, the truth of that belief is overwhelming and iconic. Uncle Tom’s Cabin literally changed the way that people thought about slavery, impacted a generation, and opened eyes and heartsspecifically regarding racein a way that no other book has. The history of the publication and reception of this book is almost as fascinating as the story itself and, like the book, is worth revisiting again, and again, and again.

     
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Happy Birthday, Larry McMurtry!

By Katharina Koch. Jun 3, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Pulitzer Prize, Literature, Movie Tie-Ins

June 3 is a great opportunity to celebrate Larry McMurtry and to tell a story about our visit to his hometown of Archer City late last year. Born on this day in 1936, McMurtry is the author of thirty-two novels and just as many screenplays, in addition to a handful of memoirs and essay collections. McMurtry is most known for his novel Lonesome Dove, which won the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and was adapted into a television series winning seven Emmy Awards. Many of his novelsincluding The Evening Star, The Last Picture Show, Texasville, Terms of Endearment, and Horseman, Pass By were adapted into films that won a total of ten Academy Awards. Notably, McMurtry also co-wrote the screenplay for the Oscar-winning Brokeback Mountain .      
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Five Facts About Thomas Hardy

By Matt Reimann. Jun 2, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Literature

Thomas Hardy’s long life, spanning from 1840 to 1928, positions him between two critical points in literary history. His legacy connects the masterful British writers like Wordsworth and Eliot to the era of Modernism that culminated in the likes of Woolf and that other, more poetic Eliot. Hardy’s most significant work spans some five decades, comprising novels and poetry that today are regarded as classics of the canon.

     
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The Bond Dossier: Moonraker

By Nick Ostdick. Jun 1, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, James Bond

If there’s one overarching fear authors experience when creating novel series, it’s repetitiondrudging up the same plot twists and themes and motifs novel after novel until each story essentially becomes a parody of itself. In fact, Ian Fleming expressed that very sentiment to friends and confidants during the early stages of writing his third Bond novel, Moonraker.

But if Fleming had any anxieties about rehashing material from Casino Royale and Live and Let Die, those trepidations did not present in the final product. Moonraker, which many consider to be Fleming’s best Bond novelnoted author and close friend Noel Coward remarked as such to Fleming and in the press on several occasionsstrives for greater depth and complexity than Fleming’s previous Bond novels, investigating both the quieter aspects of Bond’s personal life and the state of British culture and identity in the early 1950s, post World War II.

     
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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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