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Collecting Civil War Literature

By Leah Dobrinska. Apr 27, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, History

Interested in starting or adding to a collection of Civil War literature? We think the anniversary of the death of Ulysses S. Grant is a good day to discuss some titles and editions that are important to keep in mind for anyone interested in this period in United States history. Indeed, Grant himself has a noteworthy memoir that graces our list. Beyond the Union general, however, you’ll see that a collection of Civil War literature can span from novels to poems to autobiographies and everything in between. Happy collecting!

     
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What Is Physica Sacra and Why Is It Important?

By Leah Dobrinska. Apr 27, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books

The Enlightenment was a period marked with so many innovations in art, science, and philosophy—not to mention all the political power-plays which took place the world over—that it can be difficult to fully unpack all that was accomplished. Book collectors interested in this period are often on the lookout for Daniel Defoe first editions such as the 1719 version of Robinson Crusoe, or the original works of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. James Boswell’s The Life of Samuel Johnson, published in 1791, is another classic of the time. We mustn’t forget, however, that the 18th century gave rise to the field of natural history, and naturalists compiled some of the most interesting and astounding works of the period. One such work is a magnificent bit of art and science, exemplary of 18th century thought and achievement, and worthy of our admiration and study: Johann Jakob Scheuchzer’s magnum opus, Physica Sacra.

     
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Book Spotlight: The Last Stop on Market Street

The Last Stop on Market Street, published in 2015 by Penguin, was written by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson. The book tells the story of CJ who is taking a bus ride with his grandmother after church, as they do every Sunday. While riding the bus, CJ glimpses one of his friends riding in a car with his family and asks why their family doesn't have a car, thus beginning a series of questions CJ asks his grandma based on the things and people he observes on their ride. Why do we love this book so much? Why should you add it to your collection? Read on.

     
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Learning More About the Heinemann African Writers Series

By Audrey Golden. Apr 25, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Literature, Literary travel

In 1962, the Heinemann African Writers Series (AWS) began with Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart (1958) as the first book in the series. The AWS has become synonymous, in many ways, with the global circulation of African literature in the second half of the twentieth century. Do you know how it started and why it’s significant? And perhaps more pressingly, would you like some recommendations for books to seek out from the AWS? We’d like to tell you more about the Heinemann series and to mention some of our favorite books from it that you might add to your collection.

     
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Anne Rice: Four Decades of Horror Fiction

By Adrienne Rivera. Apr 24, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Horror, Movie Tie-Ins

Celebrated writer Anne Rice is known for her horror, religious, and erotic novels. Though she writes in drastically different and seemingly contradictory genres, throughout all of her books, Rice displays lush and sensuous description, complex plots that focusing on history, art, and mythology, and an ongoing discussion around the nature of good and evil and what it means to have or lose faith. Rice has been actively publishing fiction since 1974 and is one of most commercially successful living writers today, as well as perhaps the most famous female living writer of horror.

     
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Tips For Collecting Mark Twain Books

Born November 30, 1835, Samuel Langhorne Clemens (pen name, Mark Twain) would become one of the most beloved American writers of all time. As a writer, humorist, speaker, and publisher, Mark Twain became a household name. His works are perennial favorites among readers and collectors, and in recent years, rare Mark Twain books and ephemera have gained even more value. Let's reexamine his remarkable life and work.
     
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R. Buckminster Fuller Collection at Stanford University

By Audrey Golden. Apr 19, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, Libraries & Special Collections, Art

Who was R. Buckminster Fuller? In Stanford University Library’s description of the R. Buckminster Fuller Collection, the description describes Fuller as a “20th century polymath,” while the Buckminster Fuller Institute describes the man as “a 20th century inventor and visionary who did not limit himself to one field but worked as a ‘comprehensive anticipatory design scientist’ to solve global problems.” He was, indeed, a person of many interests, many academic pursuits, and many talents. Fuller lived through most of the twentieth century and published novels and essays, wrote poetry, designed architectural geodesic domes and works of contemporary art, and built prototype cars of the future.

His books are highly collectible, and if you are interested in seeing and learning more, you can access the R. Buckminster Fuller Collection at Stanford’s Special Collections and University Archives.

     
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FAQ: Insuring Your Book Collection

By Leah Dobrinska. Apr 18, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Book Care

So you’re a book collector. Perhaps you’re just starting out, or maybe you’ve amassed a sizable collection. You have researched the proper methods to protect your books from the elements—things like proper humidity control and winning the battle against bookworms. Your book collection is your pride and joy, and you’re looking forward to passing it down to your kids and grand-kids someday, or donating it to a favorite museum or institute. Excellent. Now, have you considered how you should insure your book collection? If not, you should. We've been asked recently about how to insure book collections. Here are several things to think about when it comes to protecting your investment.

     
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Ten Fascinating Facts About Gabriel García Márquez

By Brian Hoey. Apr 17, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Nobel Prize Winners, Mario Vargas Llosa, Magical Realism

Especially on this blog, Love in the Time of Cholera (1985) author Gabriel García Márquez needs little introduction. William Kennedy declared that Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) was, "the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race," and the Nobel Prize committee seemed to more or less agree, bestowing the honor on a Colombian writer for the first time ever largely in recognition of One Hundred Years of Solitude in particular. Carlos Fuentes called him, "the most popular and perhaps the best writer in Spanish since Cervantes." Here are some interesting facts about him.

     
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Six Interesting Facts about the Nobel Prize in Literature

By Andrea Koczela. Apr 13, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Nobel Prize Winners

What does it mean to win a Nobel Prize in Literature? Some of the past winners have explained it better than we ever could. For example, Seamus Heaney declared, "I've said it before about the Nobel Prize: it's like being struck by a more or less benign avalanche. It was unexpected, unlooked for, and extraordinary." Doris Lessing, for her part, said, "As soon as I got the Nobel Prize, my back collapsed and I was in the hospital." Mario Vargas Llosa reminds us of the notoriety that comes with the title of Nobel laureate: "The Nobel prize is a fairy tale for a week and a nightmare for a year. You can't imagine the pressure to give interviews, to go to book fairs."

Any way you look at it, winning the Nobel Prize in Literature is certainly life changing. Take a moment to test your knowledge against these six facts about the Nobel Prize in Literature:

     
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Mark Twain's Legendary Humor

By Adrienne Rivera. Apr 12, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Movie Tie-Ins

Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, is one of the most celebrated authors in all of American literature. Born in Florida, Missouri in 1835, Twain moved to Hannibal, the town that inspired the location for some of his most famous novels, when he was four years old. He began his career working as an apprentice printer before moving on to work as a typesetter. His brother Orion had recently purchased The Hannibal Journal, and Twain frequently contributed articles and sketches to the publication. He later went on to realize a lifelong ambition of working on steamboat, a vocation which provided him with his pen name. “Mark twain” means the depth of the river measures twelve feet, which meant the water was safe for the steamboat. Twain worked on steamboats until the Civil War, at which point he enrolled in the Confederate Army for a period of less than a month. After the war, he moved to Nevada to be with his brother who was working there as a secretary to the governor. Twain worked briefly as a silver miner, and this experience inspired him to write his first successfully published piece of fiction. Though Twain is best known for his novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, his first short story “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” is more representative of his great achievements as a humorist.

     
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VLOG: Long Stitch Bookbinding

By Brian Hoey. Apr 11, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Fine Press, Book Making

Medieval Germany: it brought us Otto the Great, the formation of the Hanseatic League, and the first stirrings of the Protestant Reformation. It also, as best as we can discern, brought us long stitch bookbinding, a non-adhesive form of bookmaking (meaning it eschews the use of glue or other adhesives) that gained some popularity in 18th and 19th century Europe.

     
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Must-Have Books for World War II Book Collectors

By Adrienne Rivera. Apr 10, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Movie Tie-Ins, History

The events of World War II shaped the world we live in today, from economic and political alliances, to scientific advancements. Now a major field of scholarship as well as a frequent inspiration for both fiction and film, World War II has captivated our minds and imaginations. The heroism, sacrifice, and suffering of both soldiers and civilians all around the world make the war not only an important part of the history of the world, but a fascinating topic for book collectors to seek out. The following books represent just a small portion of the quality literature available today for collectors to acquire.

     
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The Top 11 T.S. Eliot Quotes

By Brian Hoey. Apr 6, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Nobel Prize Winners

Born in St. Louis, Nobel Prize winner T.S. Eliot remains one of America’s most treasured literary exports. The poet who famously authored “The Waste Land” (1922), “Four Quartets” (1943), and “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (1915) also tried to revive the verse-drama genre (most notably with 1934's The Rock) and was an astute literary critic, giving advice to young writers who hoped to carry on the poetic traditions that Eliot himself reshaped. Though his social reputation was one of stuffiness and formality (Virginia Woolf liked to refer to Eliot as wearing a “four piece suit” to dinner), he was actually an avid prankster, once setting off stink bombs in the lobby of a posh hotel—and this playful sensibility is alive in works that can often seem obscure and forbidding. This is not to say that his work, often inspired by his Anglican faith, doesn’t have an imposing moral seriousness to it. Perhaps Robert Frost said it best: “We are both poets and we both like to play. That's the similarity. The difference is this: I like to play euchre. He likes to play Eucharist.” Here are some of Eliot’s most memorable quotes.

     
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The First James Bond? John Dee Was the Original 007

By Kristin Masters. Apr 5, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: James Bond

Centuries before Ian Fleming would write James Bond into existence, another man signed letters with "007." That man, John Dee, was a mathematician, astronomer, and (some say) magician. He was also a trusted member of Queen Elizabeth I's court. Some historians say that Dee was a spy for Elizabeth, thus making him an even more fitting inspiration for Ian Fleming's hero.

     
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Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Dorothy P. Lathrop

The Caldecott Medal has been awarded since 1937 to an “artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.” Naturally, the Caldecott Award is supremely important for everyone involved in the book making and book buying and selling processes: from illustrators and publishers to fans and book collectors. Today, we begin our Caldecott Winning Illustrators series. We’d like to examine these award-winning artists more closely. Who are they? What is their artistic style? What other works are they famous for? What about them and their work is helpful for collectors to know? We begin with the inaugural Caldecott Award-winning illustrator: Dorothy P. Lathrop.

     
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Tell-All Book Describes Clandestine 1967 Moon Mission

By Brian Hoey. Apr 1, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: History, Science, Book News

In 1969, with the rapt attention of a mystified global audience, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon—in fact, he became the first human being to set foot on any terrestrial object other than the earth. After years of training and buildup, Armstrong’s mission (which also included Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, who would stay in orbit during the moonwalk) represented a pinnacle of human exploration and achievement that has been unmatched in the ensuing decades. With his iconic declaration, “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” Armstrong punctuated one of the most meaningful firsts in humanity’s history. Or so we thought until now…

     
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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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