Did you know?  Check our Rare Books Page

John McCain: Remembering An American Hero

By Leah Dobrinska. Aug 30, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History

The world lost a good man on Saturday. John McCain passed away at the age of 81 after a year-long battle with brain cancer. McCain was many things: husband, father, Navy pilot, prisoner of war, senator, presidential candidate, and author. Moreover, he served as an inspiration for scores of Americans who looked to the war-hero as a no-nonsense patriot who wasn’t afraid to tell the truth and get the job done, party-lines notwithstanding. Countless former colleagues and friends have come forward to pay tribute to John McCain through articles and videos. Two past presidents have been tapped to speak at his funeral events, happening over the course the next few days. If you’re looking for a way to pay tribute to McCain and to honor his legacy, the following list contains a selection of his books. No other politician in recent memory is as deserving of a place on our book shelves as John McCain.

     
Read more...


J.D. Salinger's Place in Modern Literature

By Kristin Masters. Aug 29, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature, Modern First Editions

J.D. Salinger authored Catcher in the Rye (1951) and numerous short stories. Known for being reclusive following the massive fame garnered by The Catcher in the Rye, Salinger rarely gave interviews. In 1974, after a 20 year break from the media, Salinger spoke via telephone to the New York Times. The interviewer asked him about his absence from publishing and the public eye and he responded: "There is a marvelous peace in not publishing. It's peaceful. Still. Publishing is a terrible invasion of my privacy. I like to write. I love to write. But I write just for myself and my own pleasure." 

Because Salinger fiercely guarded his privacy, we're left with many more questions than answers about his life and experiences. We can turn to Salinger's biographers or to the memoir written by his daughter, Margaret, titled Dream Catcher for some telling information, but each written discussion of his life has in turn been disputed by other family members. 

     
Read more...


Book Collecting Basics: What is Collation?

By Brian Hoey. Aug 28, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Book History

The study of Shakespeare has, historically, thrived off of small inconsistencies in the great playwright’s printed editions. When you pick up a Folger edition of the Bard’s work and find that your favorite soliloquy out of the Pelican Shakespeare is ever so slightly altered, you experience the fruits of a literary labor that is as much a science as it is an art. The foundation of this science is called collation. 

     
Read more...


Happy Birthday, Lyndon B. Johnson!

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

Topics: American History, Book Collecting

Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States, would be 110 years old today. Few persons in positions of executive power have experienced such an unthinkable, history-making event as LBJ did. Of course, we’re talking about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and what followed. Another example occurred on September 11, 2001, when then President George W. Bush faced the news of a domestic terrorist attack. How a president—or soon-to-be president, in the case of Lyndon B. Johnson—handles himself in the wake of such a moment, for better or worse, tends to define his legacy.

So, in honor of LBJ’s birthday, let’s examine his presidency and beyond.

     
Read more...


Books That Inspired Award-Winning Movies and Performances

By Kristin Masters. Aug 25, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Movie Tie-Ins, Modern First Editions

Since the invention of cinema, directors and producers have borrowed stories from the pages of books to grace the silver screen. And exceptional books often make exceptional films, as evidenced by the number of award-winning moviesand performancesbased on books. In honor of legendary actor Sean Connery's birthday, here's a look at some favorites, which have remained popular both on screen and among collectors of modern first editions. 

     
Read more...


Ray Bradbury and the Power of Books

By Leah Dobrinska. Aug 22, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors

Ray Bradbury, whose birthday we celebrate today, was a lifelong proponent of books and literature. He fought for the preservation of libraries, and only allowed his physical books to be formatted for e-readers when he was given no other option. This love of books as physical objects is only natural, you might say, for one who made his living as an author. But Bradbury and books are even more connected. After all, his most famous book takes as its focus books themselves, or, rather, a society that burns books. Fahrenheit 451 is a mainstay on most high school English reading lists, and for good reason. It's a cautionary tale, reminding readers of all ages of the risks of simply conforming, doing what they're told, and failing to use their minds to think for themselves. Bradbury's warning goes beyond just the burning of books. As he writes in  Fahrenheit 451, “You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”

     
Read more...


Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Robert McCloskey

Winning the Caldecott Medal is one of the highest honors an illustrator can receive. Winning the Caldecott Medal numerous times is a feat only a few can boast. Robert McCloskey is one of only a handful of artists who were awarded the Caldecott Medal on two different occasions (the others who have won twice are Barbara Cooney, Nonny Hogrogian, Leo and Diane Dillon, Chris Van Allsburg, and Chris Raschka, and only Marcia Brown and David Wiesner have won the award three times). In fact, he was the first ever two-time winner. So who is Robert McCloskey? What made him such an enduring figure in the world of children’s literature?

     
Read more...


Isaac Asimov, Pioneer of Science Fiction

By Kristin Masters. Aug 20, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature, Science Fiction

Isaac Asimov celebrated his own birthday on January 2. He was born sometime between October 4, 1919 and January 2, 1920 in Russia. According to his father, he was one of the healthiest children around, a fact put to the test when he contracted pneumonia at age 2. Asimov was one of 17 children to fall sick in the town where his family lived, and the only child to survive. The family moved to United States the following year, and Isaac Asimov grew up in Brooklyn, New York. 

     
Read more...


Ten of the Most Beautiful Sentences in Literature, Part 2

By Abigail Bekx. Aug 16, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature

Sentences can bring both joy and pain. The joy brought from a well crafted sentence lasts far longer than the pain a poorly written one inflicts on readers. Even when a beautiful sentence helps readers feel the pain present in the work, the contentment felt when remembering the beauty of the sentence far outweighs the momentary fleetingness of the emotion. It is the word choice, the flow, the structure, and the skill of the author that all combine to create something truly beautiful. We all have sentences we love. Certain elements draw each of us to different authors and sentences, much like how some prefer mountains over the ocean, but we all can appreciate when the written word is crafted with such skill and grace to elicit a sense of beauty. We wrote a post about ten of the most beautiful sentences in literature nearly three years ago now. Since sentences are subjective, we thought it was time for another round. So, without further ado, here are ten of my favorite sentences in literature to add to the list. 

     
Read more...


Julia Child's Life and Legacy

By Abigail Bekx. Aug 15, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting

Cooking is a skill everyone must utilize with varying degrees of success. There are people who struggle to turn on the correct stove burner when making pasta, others who are able to manage something edible, and some who create food to be savored, not just eaten. But after the skill-less, mediocre, and expert, there is another type of cook. These cooks are able to bring about new innovations and introduce previously foreign tastes to the public. One such cook was Julia Child who is credited with introducing French cuisine to the American public through her cookbooks and television shows.

     
Read more...


Examining the Life and Work of Nobel Prize Winner V.S. Naipaul

By Kristin Masters. Aug 14, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Literature, Nobel Prize Winners

V.S. Naipaul once said that no woman writer could be his equal. He did not win any points with feminists and those striving for gender equality, but it's hard to argue with his literary output. Again, we have to ask ourselves, how do we separate an author's ideology from the work he or she produces? Do we? Can we? Should we? Born August 17, 1932, Nobel laureate V.S. Naipaul died on Saturday, August 11, 2018 at the age of 85. The author is considered one of the modern legends of literature.

     
Read more...


Remembering Legendary Author Ian Fleming

Everyone has a favorite super spya character whose cunning nature, quick thinking, or pure mental and physical strength keep us rooting for them long after their books, TV series, or films have reached "the end." Before common names like Jack Bauer, Ethan Hunt, and Jason Bourne dotted the super spy landscape, another famous spy arrested our imagination: James Bond. The dashing and debonair 007 was the creation of Ian Fleming, who has earned a reputation as a legendary author. Yesterday marked the anniversary of Ian Fleming's death. In his honor, we take a look back at his life and his inspiration for writing the iconic James Bond series.

     
Read more...


Best Books About Weddings

By Leah Dobrinska. Aug 8, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Book Collecting, Charles Dickens

Wedding season is upon us. Indeed, August recently surpassed June as the most popular month for couples to walk down the aisle making now a perfect time to look at books that center around weddings. Whether you’re looking for inspiration for your own affair, trying to pass the time before the big day, or searching for a wedding-themed book to add to your collection, here are some of our favorite books about weddings.

     
Read more...


How Terry McMillan Got Her Groove Back

By Lauren Corba. Aug 7, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Movie Tie-Ins

Terry McMillan, author of bestselling novels Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back, was born October 18, 1951 in Port Huron, Michigan. She was the oldest of her four siblings and after her parents separated, she was left to care for her brother and sisters. Although forced to grow up at an early age, she found solace in her personal retreat: the Port Huron library. There, she fell in love with reading—relishing the works of classic writers including Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. As much as she enjoyed their writing, she was discouraged that great works of literature seemed produced only by white men. Then, she discovered James Baldwin’s Go Tell it on the Mountain (1953).

     
Read more...


Book Spotlight: The Girl Who Drank the Moon

The Newbery Award-winning novel The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill was published in 2016 by Algonquin Young Readers. This middle grade novel appeals to both young and old readers with it's important message and compelling fairy tale feel. The Girl Who Drank the Moon is a magical story that's perfect for lovers of magic, fairy tales, and for Newbery collectors. What is it about this book that captures the imagination and has lead to it's massive success and popularity?

     
Read more...


Maya Angelou’s Books for Children

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

Topics: Book Collecting, Children's Books, Awarded Books

Many readers know Maya Angelou’s work and recognize her literary contributions, as well as her significant work as a professor, filmmaker, historian, and civil rights activist. She wrote seven autobiographies in her lifetime, acted in numerous films and prominent works of television, and was honored with many prestigious awards. But did you know that she also wrote children’s books? We love the idea of an author’s work—one of the most prominent writers of the twentieth century, perhaps—being accessible to children through a combination of image and text. We want to tell you about a couple of Maya Angelou’s books for children, which are enjoyable reads for kids and adults alike. Don't miss them if you're building a Maya Angelou collection!

     
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