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An Introduction to McSweeney’s Publishing Company

By Leah Dobrinska. May 31, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Book News

Have you heard of McSweeney’s publishing company? Perhaps you’re familiar with the humor website titled McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. Or perhaps you subscribe to Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern. Have you read any of the books that McSweeney’s has published? The company has helped many authors get their start in the industry. For this reason, and many more, McSweeney’s publishing company may be of interest to book collectors and humorists alike.

     
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Collecting Franz Kafka's The Trial

By Audrey Golden. May 30, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Literature, Book History

If you haven’t read Franz Kafka’s 1914 masterpiece The Trial, we recommend picking up a copy today. But if you have read the work and have considered its significance not only as a piece of modernist fiction but also as a literary work that comments upon the bureaucratic idiocy of government and the perceived rule of law, then you might want to do more than just read this book. Indeed, you might want to start a collection of various editions and translations of the novel. Collecting copies of the book, as well as ephemera related to it, won’t be an inexpensive task. But if you’re willing to invest in a new collection, bringing together materials connected to The Trial could turn out to be an extremely interesting and rewarding experience.

     
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Did You Know? Nine Facts About Ian Fleming and James Bond

By Kristin Masters. May 28, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, James Bond, Movie Tie-Ins, Book News

Born on May 28, 1908, Ian Fleming would go on to create the most enduring literary figure since Sherlock Holmes. Rare book collectors are fascinated with the legacy of Ian Fleming and James Bond. Here's a look at little known facts about Fleming and his world-famous protagonist.

     
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Five Books for Children on Memorial Day

While decorating the graves of the deceased is a common and ancient custom, the American practice of decorating the graves of fallen soldiers dates back to the end of the Civil War. The first recorded instance took place in Virginia in 1861. Women in Savannah, Georgia did the same the following year, decorating the graves of Confederate soldiers, and in 1863, a commemoration was held in Gettysburg. Honoring soldiers lost in battle became even more common after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. While the practice, originally referred to as Decoration Day, became very common in the south, it did not start taking hold in the north until 1868. It soon spread to a national day, celebrated each year on May 30 and always honored by an address at Gettysburg. The shift toward the Memorial Day name did not come about until after World War II and was made official in 1967.

The following year, the date was officially moved to the third Monday in May to create a three day weekend in spite of protests from the VFW and others arguing that the change trivialized the holiday. And indeed, Memorial Day is often celebrated with cook outs, camping trips, swimming, boating, and massive sales at car dealerships and furniture stores; unfortunately, the core meaning of the holiday falls to the wayside for many people. Here are five books you can read with your children this Memorial Day to keep patriotism as your focus. Some will even help teach them the real meaning behind the holiday—honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

     
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Legendary Author Philip Roth, Age 85, Has Died

Philip Roth, award winning author and literary innovator, has died at the age of 85. Roth is well known for his semi-autobiographical texts which often blur the line between fiction and reality. What isn't blurry is Roth's influence and impact on the literary community and on readers and book collectors around the world. With well-known novels like American Pastoral and The Plot Against America, among numerous others, Roth proved himself an astute observer of American culture with all its cracks and flaws. His are novels of satire and American-Jewish life, each complex in the journey it takes readers on. Even though we're afraid we'll only scratch the surface, today, we'd like to look at Roth's many literary contributions and achievements. 

     
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Collecting the Works of Philip Pullman

By Leah Dobrinska. May 23, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Children's Books

Collecting the works of a present-day author is appealing to many collectors. For starters, if the author is alive, a collector’s chance of meeting him or her in person is significantly higher than if the author was dead. Likewise, he or she may be putting more signed books into the world, just waiting to be scooped up by a diligent collector. Living authors may hold speaking events, book signings, etc. which are great opportunities for collecting ephemera. And, if the author in question is still publishing new work, then a collector can still feel the thrill of adding yet-to-be-seen titles to his or her library. For these reasons and many more, collectors of Philip Pullman’s work are in luck.

Do you have a Philip Pullman collection? Are you interested in starting one? Below are some notable titles and editions that you might consider adding to your Pullman library.

     
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Collecting Books by Buzz Aldrin

By Adrienne Rivera. May 22, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, Science

In 1969 American astronaut Buzz Aldrin inspired people all across the nation when he and Neil Armstrong became the first two people to walk on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. He was born Edwin Aldrin Jr. in Glen Ridge, New Jersey in 1930, and he got the nickname “Buzz” (which he legally adopted in 1988) from his sister who struggled to pronounce the word “brother” and said “buzzer” instead. Upon graduation from high school, Aldrin turned down a full academic scholarship to MIT in favor of attending the United States Military Academy at West Point. He graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering and entered the air force as a second lieutenant. He went on to serve as a fighter pilot in the Korean War.

     
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The History of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

By Brian Hoey. May 18, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books

While the Hans Christian Andersen Medal is often touted as the Nobel Prize of children’s literature, the $600,000 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award is the actual title holder for the richest prize in children’s lit—and with a list of honorees that includes Maurice Sendak and Philip Pullman, it may one day grow to match the earlier prize in prestige. After all, the awardwhich is given “by the Swedish people to the world” to one or more international authors, illustrators, oral storytellers, or organizations each yearresembles the Nobel in its lofty aims of promoting literary idealism in its mission to promote children’s access to high quality culture.

     
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Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Thomas Handforth

By Adrienne Rivera. May 17, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Caldecott Medal, Children's Books

The Caldecott Medal was first awarded in 1937 and in the years since, it has honored some of the best and and most innovative artists working in the field of children's literature. For collectors, Caldecott Medal books are some of the most sought-after picture books. Likewise, these titles serve as a guidepost for parents searching for quality books to purchase for their children. Continuing our series on Caldecott Medal winners, we turn our attention to illustrator Thomas Handforth.

     
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Tom Wolfe: Fiction, Journalism, and Legacy

By Brian Hoey. May 16, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Literature

Tom Wolfe, acclaimed journalist and writer, has died at the age of 88. In his honor, we revisit his life and work today. The prospect of writing a blog post on Tom Wolfe and his influence is daunting. The man who has been such a presence in the world of American letters these past forty years, having authored The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987) and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968), looms large, not just over a new generation of writers and journalists, but over the blogosphere in particular. He did, after all, call out blogs for being "a universe of rumors," citing Wikipedia in particular as being an institution that only "a primitive could believe a word of." How a primitive could successfully navigate all the way to Wikipedia may be a good inquiry for another time, but the pressing question still remains: how do you blog about the man who hated blogs?

     
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A Glossary of Book Binding Terms

By Leah Dobrinska. May 15, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Book Care

For anyone interested in book collecting, understanding the terminology used in the book buying and selling industry is essential. When it comes to a book’s binding, there are many descriptors that are used. Do you know the difference between half bound and quarter bound? What does it mean if a book’s been shaken? Can you describe the difference between Octavo and Quarto? Let us help with this glossary of book binding terms.

     
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Who Is Mother Goose? The Curious Mystery of Everyone's Favorite Mother

By Jennifer Michelle. May 11, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books

With Mother's Day approaching, we thought it would be a fine time to revisit the history of everyone's favorite mother: Mother Goose. Whether she exists in your mind as a clucking bird, a gentle elderly woman, or a combination of both, the image of Mother Goose is universally synonymous with joy, childhood, storytelling, and safety. Her origins reach back to the sixteenth century, prior to the birth of the fairy tale, and her future attaches to the minds of millions of young children every year. But who is Mother Goose? Who came up with her, and what exactly does she mean?

     
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Best Books From Kenya

By Audrey Golden. May 9, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Literary travel

Are you traveling to Nairobi or hoping to learn more about nations in East Africa through fiction? We have some literature recommendations for you to check out. Keep reading for a list of just a handful of the best books from Kenya.

     
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Six Interesting Facts About Anne Rice

By Adrienne Rivera. May 8, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Horror

Horror novelist Anne Rice is best known for her Vampire Chronicles and Mayfair Witches series. Since publishing her first novel, Interview With the Vampire in the 1970s, she has published extensively in both the horror and erotic fiction genres, becoming one of the most popular writers living today. Her work has explored the nature of good, evil, and humanity through the lens of horror fiction and monsters like vampires, witches, werewolves, and mummies. Her work has been adapted into movies, comics, musicals, and she and her son Christopher Rice are currently working to adapt her fiction into a television series focusing on her most beloved character, the vampire Lestat. Here are some lesser-known facts about one of horror's modern masters.

     
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What Is a Frontispiece?

By Leah Dobrinska. May 4, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Learn About Books

We think it’s safe to assume that if you’re reading this article you enjoy books. You also probably believe, as we do, that books are important physical objects: they are important collectibles and keepsakes that you can feel, hold in your hand, page through, and examine the condition of. Indeed, we like to place an emphasis on the physical copy of a book as an object to be treasured. In our efforts to do so, we’d like to examine some of the features that make books, especially rare books, so special. Today, we’re focusing on frontispieces. What is a frontispiece? What’s with the funny name? What’s the history of this particular feature in our books? We hope this post answers these and more of your questions.

     
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Collecting the Works of Dean Koontz

By Brian Hoey. May 3, 2018. 9:00 AM.

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

Like the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, Dean Koontz is a man of many names. Following the advice of an early publisher, Koontz determined that he might alienate fans of one genre by publishing under his own name in another. Given how many genres Koontz was going to publish in, it was necessary to have a whole host of pseudonyms (like David Axton, Leigh Nichols, and Brian Coffey) to preserve his image across his various milieus, which ranged from horror and thrillers to satire, science fiction, and mystery. Given that he was, during his era of peak productivity, publishing as many as eight novels a year, it’s a miracle he was able to keep track of them all.

     
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“Bulgakov Diplomacy” and Redesigning the Contemporary Russian Literature Canon

By Audrey Golden. May 2, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Book History

Generally speaking, 19th-century Russian novels have been read in literature classes across the globe for many decades. From Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Anna Karenina to Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov, lists of classic literature would not be complete without numerous additions from the Russian “canon.” But what do most of us know about contemporary Russian literature? That’s the question that was posed in an article that appeared in Foreign Policy Magazine. In short, literature from the Cold War era and the fiction from the years following the disintegration of the Soviet Union has not been circulated globally in the same manner as works of Russian literature from the previous decade. To be sure, “Doctor Zhivago, published nearly 60 years ago, was the last Russian novel to become a genuine American sensation.” So if you do in fact want to read more contemporary Russian fiction, where should you start?

     
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A May Day Round-Up

By Leah Dobrinska. May 1, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book History, History

May 1, commonly known as "May Day", is upon us. For many, this is an unofficial start to the warm weather season, a chance to get outdoors and celebrate, maybe even dance around a traditional maypole. For many others, this day symbolizes much more and is spent remembering or participating in labor protests and worker's rights movements. After all, May 1 is not only May Day but also International Worker's Day in many locations. We've written in the past about literature that deals with this particular day in history, and we thought we'd share some noteworthy articles and titles with you today.

     
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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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