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Andrea Koczela
Enthusiast of modern and classic literature who loves transforming obscure topics into interesting reads. Writer, editor, marketer, and bookseller.

Recent Posts:

Early Book Collectors: George Washington and the Founding Fathers

By Andrea Koczela. Jul 1, 2021. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, Book Collecting

On July 3, 1776, John Adams wrote to his wife, “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival… It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other.”

Adams was nearly correct in his prediction. Americans have indeed memorialized the Declaration of Independence as he envisioned; however, the celebrations have been on July 4th—the date written on the Declaration of Independence—instead of July 2nd, the date the Second Continental Congress adopted the resolution of independence. Today, as we celebrate the birthday of George Washington, let us salute the Founding Fathers not only for creating a great nation, but also for being the country’s first book collectors.

     
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The Magic of Gabriel García Márquez

By Andrea Koczela. Mar 6, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Nobel Prize Winners

Born March 6, 1927, Gabriel García Márquez is one of the 20th century’s leading authors. The earliest living recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, García Márquez is best known for his novels, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), Autumn of the Patriarch (1975), and Love in the Time of Cholera (1985). Carlos Fuentes called García Márquez, “the most popular and perhaps the best writer in Spanish since Cervantes.”

     
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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.

     
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Ernest Hemingway, Famous Author or Failed Double Agent?

By Andrea Koczela. Jul 21, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Nobel Prize Winners

During World War II, Ernest Hemingway was determined to be a spy. He spoke to no less than four governmental entities on the matter. Three were American: the American embassy in Cuba, the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), and the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). One was Russian: the NKVD, a forerunner of the KGB. He accepted positions from three—the American embassy in Cuba, the ONI, and the NKVD—and worked simultaneously for the Americans and Russians from 1941-1943.

     
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Edgar Allan Poe, Impoverished Literary Genius

By Andrea Koczela. Jul 3, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature

Today we celebrate Edgar Allan Poe, master of the short story and inventor of detective fiction. Although best remembered for his sinister tales and mysteries, during his life Poe was known for his scathing literary reviews. Poe lived most of his life on the brink of poverty and was the first well-known American author to live solely on his writing. Although his work initially received mixed reviews, Poe has since emerged as one of America’s most beloved writers.

     
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Charles van Sandwyk: Captivating Books of Exceptional Artistry

By Andrea Koczela. May 12, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Illustrators, Fine Press

The work of Charles van Sandwyk is a delight for all book lovers, but especially enthusiasts of fine press, children's literature, and exceptional illustrations. Recalling an earlier age, his artwork portrays whimsical animals, fairies, and elves in unique, and sometimes magical settings. As a child, van Sandwyk immersed himself in the works of J. M. Barrie, Beatrix Potter, and J. R. R. Tolkien. These influences are evident in his own creations, as is his admiration for classic illustrator Arthur Rackham. Take a moment to delve into the world of Charles van Sandwyk. Be enchanted.

     
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A History of the Bastard Title

By Andrea Koczela. May 3, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Learn About Books

At last, it is time to read your new book. It is a crisp evening and you have made a cup of your favorite tea. You splurged and even made a fire. You sink into your chair and look at the book’s cover, tracing the title with your fingertip. You sip your tea and open to the first page. Blank. You turn the page. Nearly blank, except for the title—again. With some impatience, you turn to the next page.  Here the title is presented a third time but with the welcome addition of the author and publisher. Your tea nearly finished, you quickly flip past the table of contents, list of illustrations, author’s note, preface, introduction, and dedication. As your fire burns out, you reach page one. 

     
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John Fowles, A Solitary Non-Conformist

By Andrea Koczela. Mar 31, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Movie Tie-Ins

"What interests me about novelists as a species is the obsessiveness of the activity, the fact that novelists have to go on writing. I think that probably must come from a sense of the irrecoverable. In every novelist's life there is some more acute sense of loss than with other people, and I suppose I must have felt that. I didn't realize it, I suppose, till the last ten or fifteen years. In fact you have to write novels to begin to understand this. There's a kind of backwardness in the novel…an attempt to get back to a lost world." ~John Fowles, 1977 BBC interview

This week we celebrate author John Fowles, named by The Times as one of Britain's greatest writers. Best known for his novels The Collector (1963), The Magus (1966), and The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969), Fowles' work is most often categorized between modernism and postmodernism. 

     
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J. R. R. Tolkien, Inkling and Hobbit

By Andrea Koczela. Sep 2, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: J. R. R. Tolkien, Science Fiction

 

“I would that I might with the minstrels sing
and stir the unseen with a throbbing string.”
-J. R. R. Tolkien, “Mythopoeia”

 

Today we celebrate the life of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, author of The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955).  The tremendous success of these novels has earned Tolkien the title “father of high fantasy”, yet he did more than create tales of elves and dragons. An Oxford professor and expert in Old English and mythology, Tolkien believed that all myths contain “fundamental truths” that speak deeply to the human condition. He imbued his novels with these primordial themes, and it is perhaps for this reason that his works have maintained such enduring popularity.

     
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How Harriet Beecher Stowe (and Lincoln) Freed the Slaves

By Andrea Koczela. Jun 14, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, American Literature

In the mid-eighteen hundreds, women had no voice in American politics. Yet one woman, Harriet Beecher Stowe, played a central role in triggering the Civil War and bringing about the abolition of slavery. Prior to Stowe’s novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, abolitionists were considered an extremist group—even in the North. Yet the publication of Uncle Tom changed everything. In honor of her birthday, let's take a look at Harriet Beecher Stowe's influence.

     
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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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