Did you know?  Check our Rare Books Page

The Stories of American Immigrants

By Andrea Diamond. Aug 31, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, History

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" ~ The New Colossus

These words have greeted thousands upon thousands of immigrants throughout the course of history, immigrants who often brought no more than the clothes on their backs, a few suitcases, and a story waiting to be told.

     
Read more...


The Top Five Children's Books By Virginia Lee Burton

By Connie Diamond. Aug 30, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Caldecott Medal, Children's Books

Virginia Lee Burton won critical acclaim and the heartfelt approval of generations of readers, young and old. How did she accomplish this? She did it by first securing the endorsement of her own two children. Her young sons, Ari and Michael, like all children in Burton’s estimation, were “very frank critics.” By gauging their responses, she would adjust her stories and her illustrations to make sure that she not only captured but also maintained their attention. 

     
Read more...


Libraries & Special Collections: Fantastic French Libraries

By Adrienne Rivera. Aug 27, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Libraries & Special Collections

France has always been an important site in terms of history, culture, religion, and philosophy. As a result, it is home to some of the oldest and most beautiful libraries in the world. These libraries house collections impressive both due to their size and their age. Let's take a look at some of France's most important libraries.

     
Read more...


Everything You Need to Know About Two Ponds Press

By Leah Dobrinska. Aug 26, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Fine Press

Two Ponds Press has a vision: to celebrate and reinvent the fine art press. The Press succeeds in doing just that by working with artists from all over the world to create new and exciting pieces of fine printing. The works are something to behold, and the Press is currently in the process of crafting books that include poetry, children’s lit, culinary art, photography, and much more. Read on for a brief introduction to the works of Two Ponds Press and more about the process and people behind them.

     
Read more...


Kingsley and Martin Amis' Family Rivalry

By Matt Reimann. Aug 25, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Modern First Editions

There’s hardly a more memorable father-son duo in modern literature than Kingsley and Martin Amis. “Duo,” though, may not be the most accurate term. The pair never worked together, nor did they agree as far as art was concerned. In fact, each man was distinct in temperament and personality, writing novels unique to his own aims and tastes. Differ as they may, both have offered a powerful portraits of their times, with rich narrative voices to bring their visions to life.

     
Read more...


Reading Borges into Dickens

By Brian Hoey. Aug 24, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature, Charles Dickens

Walter Benjamin, in his 1940 ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’ discusses the way in which historical narratives constantly reshuffle themselves. Because we can’t see into the future, he says, history always leads to the precise moment of the present, and must change with each new historical moment in order to seem coherent. As it is with history, so too is it with the literary canon. Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick (1851) was transmuted from a rare flop by a popular author to one of the most important works in English only when it became clear that novels of the 20th century were deeply indebted to it. By the same token, Shakespeare’s Hamlet (1603) can be seen to have a significant Oedipus Complex, but only after Sigmund Freud’s exegesis on the topic was it possible to recognize it as such. Though perhaps more subtle, it is in this way that Argentine short story impresario Jorge Luis Borges can be seen to have reshaped the way we read Charles Dickens.

     
Read more...


Seven Perfect Summer Reads by Nelson DeMille

By Andrea Diamond. Aug 23, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Mystery, Suspense & Crime

As summer slowly comes to an end, lazy afternoons feel stickier than usual. The air is still, the trees are quiet, and humidity hangs over the front porch like a blanket. On days like these, I find a box fan and a suspenseful novel help pick up the pace. For a quick and captivating read, consider one (or many!) of these seven Nelson DeMille novels.

     
Read more...


The Brontë Society's Bicentennial Brawl

By Adrienne Rivera. Aug 20, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature

Literary societies have been around for hundreds of years. Cornell's Browning Society dates back to 1877. The society, dedicated to the study and promotion of Robert Browning's poetry, led to more widespread popularity of the poet to the point that he acknowledged the society's critical role in his career. Similar societies sprang up, inspired by the Browning group, and today many groups exist for a variety of writers. Some groups focus mostly as social clubs in which hobbyists gather with other like-minded fans to discuss the objects of their literary affection, while others are more scholarly, focusing on discussion, research, and in some cases publication and preservation of texts and estates. The Brontë Society is more like the latter.

     
Read more...


VLOG: The Art of Fine Bookbinding

By Leah Dobrinska. Aug 19, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Fine Press, Book Making

Few simple things in life are as satisfying as opening the cover and flipping through the pages of a brand new book. This is perhaps exponentially more true for those who work in the art of bookbinding by hand. Indeed, bookbinding is something to behold. Binders must be meticulous with every bit of stacking, folding, glueing, and stitching; and there is also the design aspect of the binding to consider. For those who are unfamiliar with bookbinding, we've compiled a few introductory videos to give you a taste of the beautiful work being done by fine binders.

     
Read more...


Specialist Announces Earliest Dust Jacket Dates from 1819

By Andrea Koczela. Aug 18, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book News, Dust Jackets

Even among bibliophiles, the subject of early dust jackets is an often unexplored area of knowledge. Yet early dust jackets have an important place in book history: they reflect historical attitudes towards bookbinding, publishing, and advertising. The mystery and challenge of the dust jacket is that as they were initially intended to be disposable, few early examples remain today. In fact, no one knows with any certainty when dust jackets were first produced by publishers. Early dust jacket specialist, Mark Godburn, suggests that less than one percent of the total number issued now survive and writes that there is no archival record of dust jacket use before 1870. It's not surprising, then, that title holder of "earliest dust jacket" has changed many times according to new discoveries.

     
Read more...


Eight Fascinating Facts about V.S. Naipaul

By Brian Hoey. Aug 17, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Nobel Prize Winners

Born in Trinidad in 1932, V.S. Naipaul earned a Nobel Prize in Literature “for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories." Naipaul struggled in the fledgling years of his writerly life to find a distinct voice, first in Trinidad and later during his tumultuous years at Oxford. He would show off that vaunted scrutiny in his earlier comic novels before taking the same blend of high style and high insight to a career’s worth of more tragic novels and travel writing. For the sheer power with which colonial histories are unearthed in his writing, Naipaul remains one of the most lauded writers alive. Here are some interesting facts about him.  

     
Read more...


Why We Can Stop Reading Charles Bukowski

By Matt Reimann. Aug 16, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, American Literature

Sometimes, the persona of the writer outsizes the body of writing itself. Few examples of this are clearer than that set by poet and novelist Charles Bukowski. He committed to his pages the environment he knew bestthat of lowlifes, the forgotten, and the destitute. This sort of lifewith all its modest adventures to be found in saloons, motels, booze, and sexhas captivated the adolescent mind for years. And these readers are the chief reason Bukowski is kept alive at all.

     
Read more...


William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury in Color

By Audrey Golden. Aug 13, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Book Collecting, Literature

Each year, The Folio Society publishes a number of limited editions. Each of the books, according to The Folio Society, are “strictly limited, bound to order and numbered by hand”, and they are “outstanding works of literary or historical significance.” Back in 2012, a Folio Society limited edition of William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury (1929) became available to collectors. What was so unique about this limited edition was that it reproduced the colored print pattern—in all 14 colors imagined by Faulkner—to guide the reader through the novel. Yet in the 1920s, such printing practices were nearly unheard of. In The Folio Society’s limited edition, however, readers finally could gain access to Faulkner’s original vision for The Sound and the Fury. And due to the popularity of the limited edition, The Folio Society just this year released an “exclusive colourised text version of an American literary masterpiece . . . [p]ublished the way William Faulkner wanted it to be published.”

     
Read more...


Walter Dean Myers' Impact on Young Adult Literature

By Adrienne Rivera. Aug 12, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, Newbery Award

Walter Dean Myers wrote over one hundred books for children and young adult readers. The author dedicated his life to writing books that accurately portrayed life in an urban environment, creating realistic portrayals of African American youths in stories that appeal to children of all races and backgrounds.

     
Read more...


Science Fiction Book by A.I. Written in Japan

By Audrey Golden. Aug 11, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Science Fiction, Literary travel

How unique are individual novelists? Are works of fiction the products of distinct, creative minds, or could an algorithm actually produce some of the texts we’ve all come to know and love? According to an article* in Slate, a novel co-written in Japan by A.I. (or, artificial intelligence) recently competed for a Japanese literary prize. Should we be excited or concerned about the latest development? Or, should we be more critical of attempts to use technology for cultural production?

     
Read more...


Postwar Germany in the Works of W.G. Sebald

By Audrey Golden. Aug 10, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Literary travel

Whose role is it to write postwar German fiction? Since World War II ended, numerous writers of great acclaim have come out of West Germany and the GDR, and later from reunified Germany. For instance, you might be familiar with the works of the West German novelists Heinrich Böll and Günter Grass, or with the GDR literature of Christa Wolf. While many writers of the immediate postwar period returned to the rise of Nazi Germany and its aftermath in their works, W.G. Sebald is a bit of an interesting case.

     
Read more...


Six Facts About Henry David Thoreau's Walden

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

Topics: Legendary Authors, American Literature

On August 9, 1854, Henry David Thoreau published his book, Walden; or, Life in the Woods. It narrateswith an ample serving of artistic interventionits author’s experiment to live divorced from society, in an effort to uncover better ways of living. “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life,” he writes in a manifesto-like paragraph of Walden, “to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”

     
Read more...


Alfred and Maud: Tennyson's Favorite Tennyson

By Brian Hoey. Aug 6, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Literature

Alfred, Lord Tennyson remains the Oxford English Dictionary’s ninth most-quoted individual, and to look at his CV is to understand why. Named Poet Laureate of Great Britain upon the death of William Wordsworth in 1850, Tennyson’s poems have left an indelible mark not just on poetry but on the English language as a whole. “Tis better to have loved and lost/Than never to have loved at all,” entered (and remained in) the lexicon by way of Tennyson’s masterpiece In Memoriam A.H.H. (1849), while “Theirs not to reason why, /Theirs but to do and die” comes to us from “The Charge of the Light Brigade” (1854), one of the author’s most enduring works. A list of said works also boasts “Break, Break, Break” (1842), Idylls of the King (1859), and “Ulysses” (1842). For all that, however, the great ode-smith’s favorite of his own works was always Maud (1855).

     
Read more...


What to Read for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games

By Matt Reimann. Aug 5, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: History

Tonight, as soon as the torch is lit at the Rio Summer Olympics, the world will have its eyes fixed on television screens across the globe. Watching the events of the Games has been an international tradition since we've had TVs in our homes. Yet what’s less common is to get into the Olympics spirit not by watching, but by reading. They may not be as immediate as a live stream broadcast of the high-dive, but good Olympics books can do you a lot of good.

     
Read more...


Collecting Rare Cookbooks

By Audrey Golden. Aug 4, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting

Are you thinking about creating a new book collection? Do you like to cook? Do you like to eat? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, you might do well to learn more about collecting rare and vintage cookbooks. As you might imagine, there are cookbooks of all sorts out there to be had. Today, we’d like to focus on two possible paths for your collection: books written and signed by famous chefs, and rare cookbooks of writers and artists.

     
Read more...


Let’s Get Some Sun: A Literary Tour of Florida

By Nick Ostdick. Aug 3, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literary travel

For many, Florida is something of a no man’s landa state whose cultural and geographic regions make for an eclectic, disparate mix of traditions and heritage, incorporating southern culture from the north and Caribbean influences from the south. It’s a state brimming with swampland and beachfront, with incongruities like the Everglades and the Keys, a combination attracting a diverse population and cross-section of people who desire for an even more diverse literature that speaks to their experience as Floridians.

     
Read more...


Holling C. Holling: Stories and Lessons

By Connie Diamond. Aug 2, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, History

Who, as a child, has not at least entertained the idea of tying a note to a balloon and sending it out into the great beyond, or scrolling a message in a bottle and tossing it into the sea? The thought of something we authored soaring over the landscape or riding the tides to eventually connect with someone far away is almost as thrilling as going on an adventure ourselves. It may be this innate desire for exploration and connection beyond our backyards—beyond our borders—that has led to the timeless popularity of the children’s books written by Holling C. Holling.

     
Read more...


Read More Poetry: The Robert Frost Edition

By Leah Dobrinska. Aug 1, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry

We’ve often argued that the world needs to read more poetry. After all, without poetry we wouldn’t hear “Quoth the Raven, ‘Nevermore’” (Edgar Allan Poe), or be heartened by the fact that “You may kill me with your hatefulness,/But still, like air, I’ll rise.” (Maya Angelou), or learn all about “Alexander Hamilton/My name is Alexander Hamilton/And there’s a million things I haven’t done/But just you wait, just you wait…” (Lin-Manuel Miranda).

Truly, the list of great poetic works is a lengthy one, and one that is still being added to. Today, we’d like to spotlight some of the best excerpts from Robert Frost’s poems. Frost, a critically acclaimed twentieth century poet, won several Pulitzer prizes for poetry as well as a Congressional Gold Medal. His poetry still resonates today, and it can and should continue to be read. Let’s start now.

     
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