Did you know?  Check our Rare Books Page

The Best of 2019: Our Top Ten Blog Posts

By Leah Dobrinska. Dec 31, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book News

It's hard to believe another year has come and gone. We hope your holiday season has been a wonderful one and that you're looking ahead to 2020 with joy and excitement. We like to take time at the end of each year to take stock of our work over the past 12 months. We've compiled our top posts from 2019. Thank you for reading and commenting! This community of book enthusiasts is why we do what we do. Here's to a bookish 2020!

     
Read more...


Top Books by State: Hawaii

By Adrienne Rivera. Dec 28, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Literary travel

Today we continue our literary journey through the United State with our Top Books by State series. The next stop: Hawaii. Hawaii is one of very few states to have been a sovereign nation before statehood. While the U.S. had acknowledged Hawaii as an independent nation and had established treaties, the U.S. and European businessmen organized a coup to overthrow the Kamehameha monarchy. The U.S. government supported the coup, stating that military demonstrations in Hawaii and the queen's new constitution expanding her personal power were a threat to U.S. citizens; however, control of the sugar trade was a primary motivation. Hawaii existed as a republic until its incorporation into the United States in 1959. Since then, Hawaii has become a major tourist destination, sporting some of the most beautiful lands in the world. Home to many plants and animals unique to the islands, Hawaii is an important natural habitat and one ever changing and at risk from volcanoes and tourism-related expansions.

     
Read more...


Ten Profound Henry Miller Quotes

By Abigail Bekx. Dec 26, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors

Born December 26, 1891, Henry Miller left a profound mark on American literature. Best known for his candor, Miller was unafraid to discuss and include topics in his works that many other authors shied away from in the mid-20th century, causing many of his major works to be banned in the United States and Britain. It was not until the freedom that came with the 1960s that his works were widely published. Because of his candor, his works contain a level of profound insight that other works lacking this particular trait fail to ever reach.

     
Read more...


'Twas the Night Before Christmas: The Authorship Question

By Shelley Kelber. Dec 24, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Christmas Books

It is a fact that this stalwart Christmas poem, now considered a tradition, was initially published as an Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas in New York's Troy Sentinel newspaper on December 23, 1823.  It was published anonymously. The poem is credited with connecting St. Nicholas to Christmas and planted the seeds that led to our idea of Santa Claus. It also established most of the reindeer names.

     
Read more...


Nine Caldecott Winners for the Winter Season

By Katie Behrens. Dec 19, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Caldecott Medal, Christmas Books

The first snowfall of the year, the anticipation of Christmas, the wealth of holiday traditions: the end of the year is filled with opportunities for joy and fascination for the young (and young at heart). It’s no surprise, then, that the list of Caldecott award winners is filled with winter tales. It’s the perfect time of year to snuggle up with loved ones and read a book, so here are some classics to enjoy, from The Polar Express to The Big Snow.

     
Read more...


The Lost World: 5 Books Steven Spielberg Almost Adapted

By Brian Hoey. Dec 18, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Movie Tie-Ins

Steven Spielberg (who turns 73 today!) is more than just one of the most successful and well-respected directors in Hollywood—he’s also a prolific adapter of books and other literary works for the silver screen. Some of his best known works, from Jaws (1974) to the Color Purple (1982) to Jurassic Park (1990), were originally based on books of various levels of literary acclaim. Because one of the great all-time literary and filmic pastimes is comparing novels to their screen adaptations, the book lovers of the world owe Spielberg a huge debt of gratitude (the fact that many of these films are truly great on their own doesn’t hurt either). 

     
Read more...


Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Barbara Cooney

By Adrienne Rivera. Dec 17, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Caldecott Medal, Children's Books

Each year the Caldecott Medal is awarded to the children's book most representative of the highest level of quality and skill in the industry. While sometimes the author and illustrator are one in the same, as with Barbara Cooney's 1958 win for Chanticleer and the Fox, just as often the illustrator in question did not write the book, which is the case for Cooney's 1980 win for her collaboration on Donald Hall's Ox-Cart Man. Cooney is a perfect example of what a recipient should be. Her work is prized not only for the exceptional addition it makes to children's books, but as folk art. After her death, her work began to appear more and more in museums. Cooney is famously noted to have said that she did not believe that children were too young to read about larger issues, that they should not be limited to only what they understand. Her work exemplified this push for a greater understanding and, most importantly for children's books, she never talked down to children. Join us as we take a closer look at the career of this remarkable illustrator in our continuing Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series.

     
Read more...


Hero vs. Villain: Jane Austen's Male Characters

By Abigail Bekx. Dec 16, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors

When thinking of Jane Austen, one, primarily, first thinks of her heroines. While a perfectly reasonable instinct since they are the main protagonists, their male counterparts are often overlooked and shuffled to the side and considered only in their marriage eligibility, a rather fair occurrence when one considers how female characters were often treated by Austen’s contemporaries. This does, however, offer a disservice to Austen’s work. Her male characters are just as carefully crafted as her female protagonists, each providing specific insight into the different kinds of men, both heroes and villains, Austen and her heroines experienced.

     
Read more...


Children's Books to Gift This Holiday Season

By Adrienne Rivera. Dec 11, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, Christmas Books

Christmas is a magical time for children. School is out of session, the possibility of snow lends a sense of excitement to every cold day, treats and presents are never far off, and the season is filled with the warm comfort of tradition. This year, we invite you to take a look at some of the best Christmas books to gift to children. Maybe you can start a new tradition of your own by giving a book that comes to hold an important place in a child's holiday celebration. From The Night Before Christmas to a few more unusual titles, here are some books sure to make any child's eyes light up on Christmas morning. In fact, with twelve books on this list, you might as well get one for every day of Christmas.

     
Read more...


Three of Cornelia Funke's Best Series

By Abigail Bekx. Dec 10, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books

Fantasy books hold a special place in literature. Their world-building provides insight into authors’ imaginations and exposes readers to new, unique cultures and worlds. In a time where fantasy is running rampant, it can be difficult to find novels outside of the sometimes static popular motifs. German author Cornelia Funke writes some of the best children’s and young adult fantasy series. In her work, she combines well loved fantasy tropes and creatures and elements from classic fairy tales into new, colorful worlds for readers to enjoy.

     
Read more...


John Milton, Political Activist and Poet

By Andrea Koczela. Dec 9, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors

“I sung of Chaos and Eternal Night,
Taught by the heav'nly Muse to venture down
The dark descent, and up to reascend”
                -Paradise Lost

 

 

Today we celebrate literary giant John Milton, author of Paradise Lost. His poetry profoundly influenced English literature and in particular the works of William Wordsworth, William Blake, Alexander Pope, and John Keats. Now, over three centuries since his death, Milton remains one of the greatest of all English poets.

     
Read more...


James Thurber's Life and Work

By Shelley Kelber. Dec 8, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, American Literature

James Thurber became one of the most popular humorists of his time by shining a comedic light on the everyday man and his daily, mundane frustrations and idiosyncrasies. In his work, Thurber often asked his audience to consider how their minds shaped their view of reality.

     
Read more...


The Real Man Behind Santa Claus (And the Books That Made Him Famous)

By Leah Dobrinska. Dec 6, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Christmas Books

At this time of year, it is common to hear cheery adults ask wide-eyed children, “What do you want from Santa Claus?” In the lead-up to Christmas day, one can find a white-beard wielding, red suit wearing, rosy-faced man at most every shopping center and holiday event, and whether the young children are excited to tell him their Christmas wishes or run screaming in terror at the thought of sitting upon his lap, imagining Christmas without Santa Claus is incredibly difficult. Indeed, Santa has become so intertwined with the Christmas holiday that for many, he takes center stage on December 24 and 25. What are the origins of the modern day Santa Claus? Who was the real St. Nicholas? And who helped bring the image of the man in the red suit into popular culture?

     
Read more...


Five of Disney's Best Adaptations

By Abigail Bekx. Dec 5, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, Movie Tie-Ins

It has long been a tradition to adapt older, well-loved works into more modern versions. From the re-telling of fairy tales, each with their own flair, to the use of popular tropes instituted by some of the most popular authors, the practice of making the old new has long held reader’s and author’s interest. Technology has allowed for this tradition to transform into new medias. One of the best known providers of adapted classics is The Walt Disney Company. While sometimes they change little and sometimes they change much, Disney’s productions are all masterfully created to inspire and draw audiences into the classic tales. 

     
Read more...


David Macaulay: A Mind To Be Reckoned With

From the time he was a child, David Macaulay evidenced a fascination with how machines operated. He soon began to make models of machines and began drawing illustrations of these machines. Soon he was constructing elevators out of shoe boxes, tape, and string and devising intricate systems of moving cable cars made with empty thread spools.

     
Read more...


Jan Brett: More Than Pretty Pictures

Jan Brett decided she would be an illustrator when she was quite young. As a child, she felt that she could enter the pages of her beautiful picture books. Her goal as an illustrator is to recreate that feeling of believing that the imaginary places really exist. Her beautiful pictures allow children and the adults who love them to experience this magic in the 41 million copies of her books in print. She is both an author and illustrator, but it’s her illustrations that truly set her books apart from other players in the world of children’s literature.

     
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