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Beyond Horror: Spooky Books That Are Actually About Halloween

By Matt Reimann. Oct 31, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Horror, Children's Books

As Halloween descends upon us, the spooky and the festive-minded among us have their hopes set on a good read. There is a long tradition of horror literature to which countless authors have contributed, but the library becomes far smaller when it comes to the treatment of Halloween itself. Writing a fearsome story is one thing; depicting and contributing to the culture of the autumn celebration is another. Here, we consider some of the important books to extend the tradition of Halloween writing.

     
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Ten of the Best Quotes from Evelyn Waugh

By Andrea Diamond. Oct 28, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature

My sophomore year of college, I took an English class that delved into literature with central themes of faith, hope, and love. One of the first books we cracked open was Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder, a coming of age story that takes place in 1945 England. I had never read any of Waugh’s work before, but was immediately transfixed by his beautiful writing and unique perspective. The assigned reading was a rare breed of homeworkthe kind that gave me no desire to procrastinate, but rather left me struggling not to work ahead. I would forget about dinner, skip movies with friends, and hide in the comfort of my dorm room with beautiful words of Waugh. If you don’t don’t have any of his books at hand, here are ten of the best Evelyn Waugh quotes to get you started.

     
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A Brief History of Papermaking

By Brian Hoey. Oct 27, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book History, Book Making

We associate paper so strongly with writing that it's easy to forget its other uses. By the same token, we don't often think about the fact that paper was, at one time, an invention. The fact remains, however, that paper was once at the cutting edge of modern technology. Indeed, the material which was used not just for books but for packaging, cleaning, decoration, and a host of other applications has taken a fascinating journey through history to arrive at its current state of ubiquity.

     
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Women Writing War Literature

By Audrey Golden. Oct 26, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, History

Which novels and works of poetry might fall into the broad category of war literature? Should we look only to fiction that depicts combat and its aftermath? Or is this category of literature sufficiently wide-ranging that it can also comprise texts written during and about wartime more generally? Regardless of how you answer these questions, you might realize that the novels and short-story collections commonly classified as literature about war have one thing in common: they’re often written by male writers. Yet not all works of this genre—not by a long shot—are written by male writers. Why has this been a category so dominated by men when many women are in fact writing novels, short stories, poetry collections, and dramatic works that could and should be discussed as important texts of war literature?

     
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Primacy and Rare Book Collecting: The Value of Being First

As the old saying goes: ‘It pays to be first.’

In the world of rare book collecting, this is also a well-known fact. First editions. First printing. First drafts of manuscripts. These are usually the kinds of 'firsts' book collectors are on the look-out for when evaluating a book’s worth and value, and it’s these elements that factor largely into how much rare books fetch at auction and how sought-after they become.

However, the concept of primacy, or being recognized as the first incarnation of something within the literary canon, goes well beyond the simple notion of first editions or first printings. First mentions of a character, a setting, a theory, an idea, or even the first location where a book was printed all factor into the primacy of a book and are important elements book collectors and evaluators must weigh when determining a book’s worth and value.

     
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Index of Influence: Archiving Pablo Neruda’s Poetry and Politics

By Audrey Golden. Oct 24, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry

This December will mark the 45th anniversary of Pablo Neruda’s acceptance of the Nobel Prize in Literature. To honor the poet’s global reach through his leftist politics, an exhibition of Neruda works and objects from 40 different countries will be on display in the Sinclair Galleries at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. At a moment in which individual involvement in global politics appears both necessary and impossible, Neruda’s works remind us of the power of language to resist tyranny and oppression, and to imagine a world in which human equality and dignity thrive. The exhibit is entitled, Index of Influence: Archiving Pablo Neruda’s Poetry and Politics.

     
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The Varied Works of Doris Lessing

By Adrienne Rivera. Oct 22, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Nobel Prize Winners

Doris Lessing is widely considered to be one of Britain's most notable writers. She penned over fifty books of varying genres, including novels, short story collections, books of poetry, a comic, plays, and even a short series of books on cats. Throughout her impressive and long career, Lessing earned the W.H. Gibson Literary Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the David Cohen Prize, the S.T. Dupont Golden PEN Award, among others. In 2007 she became the eleventh woman and the oldest recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. She declined damehood in 1992 but accepted appointment as a Companion of Honor in 1999.

     
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VLOG: Six Videos on the Art of Woodcut Printing

By Matt Reimann. Oct 21, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Fine Press, Book Making

Let’s face it: no matter how much we love reading, everyone likes to look at a good picture. Printers and publishers have long known this, and have struggled for suitable ways to include images alongside set type. The key was to make the illustration copyable, and for that function, bookmakers depended on engravings. And for centuries, woodcuts were king. Today, we’re bombarded with printed images on magazines, billboards, and elsewhere, but unfortunately, none bear the aura of intimate craftsmanship like engravings do.

     
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Buying Rare and Antiquarian Books in Mexico City

By Audrey Golden. Oct 20, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Literary travel

Before traveling to Mexico City, we thought Buenos Aires had more used and antiquarian bookstores than anywhere else in the world. While that might still feel true while walking the streets of the Argentinian capital city—it seems like there’s a used bookstore on just about every corner—we were nearly just as giddy to discover the sheer number of shops in this capital city.

Similar to in Buenos Aires, there’s a map of bookstores selling old and rare books that covers four major regions of the city (“Mapa de librerías de Viejo de la Ciudad de México”). It’s published by the Social Sciences and Humanities division of the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana. Like any rare or antiquarian book collectors, discovering such a map was enough to make our day (and indeed, the remainder of our time in Mexico City). With a total of 62 bookstores to visit—and that’s just the list of shops mentioned on the map—we recommend planning at least a few days for book shopping in this Latin American city warmly referred to by its residents simply as CDMX.

     
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Visiting the Nadine Gordimer Papers at the Lilly Library

Are you interested in doing more than just reading the works of Nadine Gordimer? If you’re ever visiting Bloomington, Indiana, you might consider scheduling a visit at the Lilly Library to explore the materials contained in The Nadine Gordimer Papers. As most lovers of Gordimer’s fiction and South African literature in general know, the Nobel Prize-winning author was born in Springs, South Africa to Jewish immigrant parents in 1923. She wrote fiction for much of her life, with her first short story published in the Children’s Sunday Express when she was 15 years old. The New Yorker published one of her short stories for the first time in 1951, introducing world readers to Gordimer’s work. Now, researchers at the Lilly Library at Indiana University can have access to Gordimer’s correspondence, lectures, speeches, notes, and drafts from 1934 to 2001.

     
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An Introduction to The Golden Cockerel Press

By Leah Dobrinska. Oct 18, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Fine Press

Our love affair with fine press is no secret. And we’re in good company. Countless collectors and bibliophiles have discovered the art of fine press printing and savor the chance to compile libraries filled with these creative masterpieces. (If you’re new to fine press and would like to know more, start here!) The history of fine press is an interesting one, and we often focus on currently functioning fine presses. For example, we recently spotlighted a modern fine press printer, Two Ponds Press, which touts works like The Brownsville Boys and a Margaret Wise Brown original. Today, we’d like to look to a fine press publisher who thrived during the early part of the 20th century: The Golden Cockerel Press. Read on for interesting information about the history of this great press, some notable publications, and some necessary collector’s points.

     
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The Playful Madness of Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum

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

Topics: Legendary Authors, Umberto Eco

On February 19 of this year, world literature lost one of its most wise and respected members: Umberto Eco. A recent passing, one wonders if his reputation will go the way of many “greats” with penchants for humor and madness. Canonical reverence, as it does with Moby Dick, Ulysses, and others, often obscures the joyous play and zaniness of the object it praises. Eco, a literary trickster if there ever was one, would be disheartened to see his memory so distorted.

     
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The Ten Best Moments From Winnie-The-Pooh

By Connie Diamond. Oct 14, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books

There is, written in the annals of fictional history, an account of a “bear with very little brain.” He resides in The Hundred Acre Wood. This wood can be difficult to find, but once you discover it, it is clearly mapped. One can mark the very spots where some of the sweetest moments between a honey of a bear and his rag-tag team of friends take place. This is one reader's list of the top ten moments from Winnie-the-Pooh.

     
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Congratulations to the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature Winner, Bob Dylan

By Leah Dobrinska. Oct 13, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Nobel Prize Winners

The 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature winner was announced today at 1:00p.m. local time in Sweden. The winner is American musician Bob Dylan "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition".

Born in Duluth, Minnesota, Dylan spent much of his life in New York. He is best known for the music he created in the 1960s and the significant influence it had on popular culture. He explored themes of social condition, politics, and religion, and his songs like "The Times They Are a-Changin'" (1963) and "Blowin' in the Wind" (1959) earned him national renown. Along with being a prolific musician, Dylan is also an actor, screenwriter, and artist. He published an autobiography in 2004 titled Chronicles which details his life in New York. Congratulations to Bob Dylan!

     
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Five Underrated Children's Books

By Andrea Diamond. Oct 12, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books

The bookshelves at my parents' house are filled to the brim. If you were to stop by, you would see fat books, thin books, paperbacks, and hard covers, every genre from historical fiction to poetry present and accounted for. They are lovely to look at and enjoyable to read, but I’ll let you in on a little secret…you won’t find any of our best books sitting in plain sight. If you really want a treat, direct your attention to the small cupboard in the corner. Behind it’s unassuming doors, you will find the books of our childhood. Paperbacks with torn pages and worn covers, but with the stories inside just as lively as they ever were. On behalf of the magic cupboard, here are five underrated children’s books that look forward to a visit.

     
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Four Writers Who Had Messy Political Views

By Matt Reimann. Oct 11, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature

Of course great authors are meant to be wise. We construct syllabi around their work, we give them Nobel Prizes, we call them geniuses and guardians of high culture. So how is that so many of them fall into politics that, when viewed from a slight distance of time or place, seem grotesque, and even immoral?

     
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Nine Interesting Facts about Walt Whitman

By Brian Hoey. Oct 8, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Poetry

Walt Whitman is generally considered, along with Emily Dickinson, to be one of the most important American Poets. His most famous work, Leaves of Grass (1855), which was conceived of as a sort of American epic in the tradition of Homer and Dante, remains one of the most well-known, well-loved, and enduring works of poetry in the canon. Here are nine interesting facts about Whitman and his magnum opus.

     
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Beyond Schindler's List: The Work of Thomas Keneally

By Adrienne Rivera. Oct 7, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Awarded Books, Literature, Movie Tie-Ins

So much of Australian literature is focused on what it means to be Australian and what Australia as a country represents. There are echoes of English literature throughout the Australian canon as well as frequent thematic exploration of colonialism and the country's beginnings as an English penal colony. The harsh and brutal landscape of the Australian bush is a common setting: it's unique and amazing animal life often appearing in some form or another. So, too, is the importance of Aboriginal culture often present in Australian literature. It is interesting to note, then, that one of Australia's most internationally well-known writers so often ventures away from the themes for which his country and its literature is known.

     
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Experimental Archaeology: The Legacy of Thor Heyerdahl

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

In Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers (2008), the popular sociologist outlines the role that timing played in Bill Gates’ runaway success in the world of software. He suggests that because Gates was one of very few people of his generation who had access to computers as a teenager and came of age at the appropriate moment to eventually become a software developer, he (or someone fitting his description fairly) was destined to find such a level of success. And of course the same logic can be applied elsewhere. Thor Heyerdahl, for instance, was no doubt destined for a hugely important career as an experimental archaeologist, anthropologist, and explorer of the South Pacific from the moment he gained access to what was then the world's largest private collection of books on Polynesia.

     
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How Rigoberta Menchú Tum's Autobiography Helped Win the Nobel Prize

By Audrey Golden. Oct 5, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Nobel Prize Winners

Who is Rigoberta Menchú Tum, and when and why was she awarded the Nobel Prize? Until 1992, the year in which she won the Nobel Prize, not many people outside of Latin American knew of her existence. However, after the Nobel Committee awarded her the Nobel Peace Prize, she became the “youngest person ever to be bestowed with this honor,” according to the Fundación Rigoberta Menchú Tum. But prior to winning the prize, Rigoberta Menchú’s story received international attention after she narrated her autobiography to Elizabeth Burgos, a Venezuelan anthropologist. The book became I, Rigoberta Menchú, which ended up topping bestseller lists. What was so significant about the book, and why do we remember it as a foundational work of human rights literature?

     
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Anne Rice's Top Five Novels

By Matt Reimann. Oct 4, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Horror, Book Collecting, Mystery, Suspense & Crime

With 100 million books sold, Anne Rice enjoys the sort of success available to only a few authors per generation. Rice made a name for herself with her influential spin on the gothic genre, to which she adds another title, Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis, this year. You may know her from her famous Vampire Chronicles series, though her forty-volume career encompasses far more. Below, we’ve compiled five highlights from Anne Rice’s prolific career.

     
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Join Us for the 2016 Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair

By Andrea Koczela. Oct 2, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Book News

If you are near Seattle next weekend (October 8th-9th), we would like to invite you to the Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair. Sign up here for your complimentary tickets, and then join us to experience some remarkable books.

     
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The Bond Dossier: Dr. No

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

Topics: Book Collecting, James Bond

There comes a time in any great series of books when the tides turn—when, for some reason or another, the characters, plots, themes, or messages of the books fall out of favor or have their relevancy or worth challenged, both for the writer and the reader. For Ian Fleming and his James Bond novels, that time came with Dr. No. (1958), the sixth book in the Bond series under Fleming’s watch.

In hindsight, perhaps the spiral in critical appeal—though the commercial success of Dr. No remained aligned with the Bond novels that came before—was inevitable. After all, Fleming was uncertain about Bond’s future following the completion and publication of the previous 007 adventure, From Russia with Love, so much so that he waffled on whether to kill off his titular character. In fact, early versions of the book actually saw Bond’s death scene played out in some kind of melancholic, triumphant glory.

     
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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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