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The Woman Behind Gone With the Wind

By Adrienne Rivera. Jun 30, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Awarded Books, Movie Tie-Ins

Though Margaret Mitchell had only one book published in her lifetime, it remains one of the most popular books of all time. Gone With the Wind won the National Book Award as well as the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1937. The story of Scarlett O'Hara's life in the aftermath of the Civil War, the changing nature of Atlanta, and her tumultuous relationship with Rhett Butler has intrigued generations of readers and movie fans. It's film adaptation, too, has endured as a classic and was a major influence on films for years after its release. Starring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable, the film won the Academy Award for Best Film in 1939, as well as twelve other awards, and is still considered a triumph today. Likewise, the book is still widely read and has never been out of print. So, what inspired Mitchell to pen a tale with such staying power?


Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Author of "The Little Prince"

By Brian Hoey. Jun 29, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books

The Little Prince (1943) is one of the most popular children's books (or books of any kind, really) of all time. Combined, its child-centric worldview and its surprisingly subtle psychological and philosophical observations have led to decades of adoration and constant re-rereading from children and adults alikeall of this is quite remarkable given the fact that the book's author, French aviator and writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, was neither a children’s book author nor an illustrator of any standing. In fact, Saint-Exupéry began writing the book only at the suggestion of his publisher’s wife, who believed that the project might calm his nerves. After all, the man had hardly led a tranquil life.


Collecting Books on Nordic Design

By Audrey Golden. Jun 28, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Book History, Learn About Books

Are you interested in Scandinavian design, or aesthetic forms that emerged from the Nordic countries, after World War II? Then you might be interested in learning more about collecting related design books. When we talk about Scandinavian design, we’re largely including Finland, too, although it’s not technically part of Scandinavia. Rather, it’s one of the Nordic countries, of which the Scandinavian nations of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark are also a part. However, when the popularity of design from the Nordic countries reached the United States in the 1950s, the common description was “Design in Scandinavia.” This depiction comes from a traveling exhibit of the same name that featured Scandinavian arts and crafts, as well as industrial design. We’d like to talk a bit more about the exhibit, and introduce you to some interesting and rare books you might seek out for your collection.


The Brilliance of Lucille Clifton

By Matt Reimann. Jun 27, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, American Literature

When Lucille Clifton died in 2010, it was as if the entire American poetry community went into mourning. Here was a woman whose brief, wise, and unmistakable verse had entranced and inspired countless readers. Her distinct style and voice surprised the world with its uniqueness, and one sensed there would never be another like her again.


Lawrence Block, Writer of 150 Mysteries

By Matt Reimann. Jun 24, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Mystery, Suspense & Crime

Crime writers have the strangest muses. For best-selling author Lawrence Block, it’s 1970s New York, with all of its grime, noise—and yes—crime. Today, Block still lives in the West Village, now replete with upscale shops and multimillion-dollar townhouses, but the gritty city of yesteryear is still sharp in his spirit, having already provided a compelling backdrop for many of his 150 mystery novels.


A Collector's Guide to Andrew Lang

By Matt Reimann. Jun 23, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Children's Books

To collect Andrew Lang is to be something of a masochist. What else can be said about a man who left his name on over 175 books? Reflecting his encompassing tastes, Lang’s final output ranges from scholarship to poetry, fiction, collaborations, compilations, translations, and beyond. One does not need to be a completist to collect Andrew Lang (if such a goal is even possible), but it does help to have an idea of the author’s rich and vast oeuvre before diving in.


Writers With Day Jobs: Anne Morrow Lindbergh

By Brian Hoey. Jun 22, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Awarded Books

It’s not uncommon for writers to have day jobs entirely unrelated to writing. Wallace Stevens famously retained a job as an insurance executive throughout his illustrious career as a poet, reportedly dictating poems to his assistant during his lunch hour. William Carlos Williams, whose contributions to modernist verse can hardly be overstated, was a practicing doctor. Neither of these two, however, can touch the writer with perhaps the most impressive non-writing occupation: Anne Morrow Lindbergh, aviator.


Collecting Advance Reading Copies

By Matt Reimann. Jun 21, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting

Book collectors go crazy for first editions. But by the time a book is ready for the public market, it has been printed hundreds, perhaps thousands of times in the form of what is often called an “advance review copy.” These are primarily given to people in the media industry so they have time to review, reference, promote, or provide blurbs for the book ahead of its public release. These copies are the intermediary version between the author’s manuscript and the final, finished book, which is then printed and sold to the public.


Vorticism: The Movement That Tried (and Failed) to Lead the Modern World

By Matt Reimann. Jun 20, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: History, Art

The beginning of any artistic movement is typically unclear and shaky. Few have ever announced themselves with the audacity and verve of Vorticism. Discontented with tradition and inspired by the avant-garde spirit spreading across Europe, a group of young English artists assembled to create their own movement. It was dedicated to dynamism, machinery, abstract art, movement, and everything exciting about the future.


Five Facts About Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

By Andrea Diamond. Jun 17, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature

“How do you think we can fight when our own brothers have turned against us? The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.”―Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart


The Bond Dossier: Colonel Sun

By Nick Ostdick. Jun 16, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, James Bond

There comes a time in many artistic endeavors when the torch is passed. Film franchises change directors. Television shows bring in new producers and writers. And wildly popular novel serializations employ different writers to help ferry the characters into new territory. This is perhaps evidenced most clearly in Ian Fleming’s James Bond series when the mantle was passed to a host of new writers following Fleming’s death in 1964.


Libraries & Special Collections: Notable Private Libraries

By Matt Reimann. Jun 14, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting

Ever since Alexandria, the library has been an institution engineered for the public good. Most major libraries belong to communities and to universities, places where one large group or another may borrow books and read them. But there are, of course, some spectacular libraries in private hands. Places where knowledge, and the sharing of it, are highly valued by the person who filled the shelves.


Dorothy Sayers, Detective Fiction, and Dante's Divine Comedy

By Adrienne Rivera. Jun 13, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Mystery, Suspense & Crime

Dorothy Sayers is often regarded as one of the top mystery writers of all time. Her detective stories continue to be read today, and her books' hero Lord Peter Wimsey is often mentioned among such fictional greats as Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, and Hercule Poirot. A prolific writer, Sayers published widely and not just the novels for which she is best known. Sayers also had considerable success as a playwright, short story writer, poet, and Dante scholar. If what you know of Sayers' work only includes Lord Wimsey, the breadth and scope of the rest of her workand of her rather interesting lifemay come as quite a surprise. Here are some interesting facts about the work and life of one of the main players in the Golden Age of detective fiction.


A Brief Guide to Collecting Maurice Sendak

By Connie Diamond. Jun 10, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Children's Books

Why do collectors collect?  I imagine the answers to this question are as varied as the things they treasure. For some, it’s the classic affinity for coins and stamps connecting them to the past. For others it’s the acquisition of expensive art, building a portfolio along with a gallery, while for still others, it’s the nostalgia of scouring markets for marbles and action figures that remind them of their youth. Professor Slughorn in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince famously collected the famous. He lamented that he had taught the entire Black family save Sirius saying, “I got Regulus when he came around of course, but I would have liked the set.”

When one collects children’s books, one simultaneously collects classics, works of art, and memories of childhood. And if one is lucky, one may even collect the books by a famous author and illustrator like Maurice Sendak, and eventually be able to have the complete set.


VLOG: The Entrancing Art of Japanese Papermaking

By Matt Reimann. Jun 9, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Fine Press, Book Making

Centuries before Europe, and as early as the 800s, Japan hosted the best papermaking craftsmanship in the world. To this day, a few hundred businessesoften family-run and ownedcontinue the tradition of making superior-quality paper by hand. The process is labor intensive, slow, and requires years of expertise, but why expect anything less when it comes to manufacturing some of the best paper on earth?


Best Books on Cuba

By Audrey Golden. Jun 8, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Nobel Prize Winners, Literary travel

As you may know, former President Obama’s announcement of an opening of U.S. relations with Cuba occurred in December 2014. The United States had not had an embassy in the country since 1961, the year of the Bay of Pigs Invasion that occurred two years after the Cuban Revolution through which Fidel Castro came to power in the nation. Until former Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to the country during the Obama presidency, no U.S. secretary of state had traveled to Cuba for over 50 years. Now that it is more “open,” so to speak, for American visitors, we thought you might be interested in expanding your knowledge of Cuban literature. We have some recommendations for the best books on Cuba.


A Reader's Guide to Louise Erdrich

By Adrienne Rivera. Jun 7, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Awarded Books, American Literature

American author Louise Erdrich has been publishing novels, short stories, children's books, and poetry since 1984. Erdrich has been awarded in every genre in which she has published. Her novels Love Medicine and LaRose won the National Book Critics Circle Award while The Round House won the National Book Award. She received the World Fantasy Award for The Antelope Wife. Her children's book The Game of Silence won the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. Her poetry has won the Pushcart Prize, and in 2005, she was the Associate Poet Laureate of North Dakota. She holds several honorary doctorates and has won numerous other awards for her achievements in the field of writing. Erdrich's books are an important part of the landscape of American literature. Let's learn more about the writer behind these contemporary classics.


Prohibition and the Writers Who Tried to Get America to Stop Drinking

By Matt Reimann. Jun 6, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, History

Part of the joy of being an proper, democracy-protecting American is getting to tell people what to do. The founders told the prominent how to govern, Evangelists told their parishioners how to behave, Emerson told his readers to be self-reliant, and Theodore Roosevelt told the nation’s men to be manly (whatever that may mean). Yet out of these many, bloviating camps, few have been more dedicated or influential than those who told us to be sober.


Ginsberg & Sons: What Happens When Poetry is the Family Business?

By Brian Hoey. Jun 3, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry

"Like shoemakers and tailors turning out more second-generation shoemakers and tailors, my father, Louis Ginsberg, the poet, had poets." –Allen Ginsberg

Artists and writers are sometimes thought of as being inherently rebellious—taking on low-paying professions and questionable lifestyles that inspire dread in the minds of their parents. But when your father is already a poet, just how rebellious can you be by comparison? If we ask Allen Ginsberg, the answer is obviously “very.”


Getting to Know Nobel Laureate Karl Adolph Gjellerup

By Andrea Diamond. Jun 2, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Nobel Prize Winners

One of the highlights of my college years was the semester I spent abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. During my time there, I took a course titled “Danish Language and Culture.” While the language never found a home in me (I provided hours of free entertainment to my host family as I struggled through my homework each evening), the culture was absolutely fascinating. We learned about Danish contributors to art, design, philosophy, science, and literature, and examined their impact on the country as a whole. One of the cultural entrepreneurs briefly (and a bit harshly) discussed was Karl Adolph Gjellerup, Danish poet, artist, author, and Nobel Prize winner.


The Versions of Anne Frank's Diary Explained

By Matt Reimann. Jun 1, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: History

In 1945, Otto Frank came to Amsterdam after surviving the torments and traumas of Auschwitz. His return home confirmed the unimaginable. He was the sole survivor of his family. His daughters, including 15-year-old Anne, who had been separated from him and transported to Bergen-Belsen, had died. But soon he was greeted by a glimmer of hopeful news: Miep Gies, a secretary and aid to the Franks during their hiding, had preserved Anne’s diary.


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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.

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