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Audrey Golden
World literature scholar and erstwhile lawyer. Lover of international travel, outdoor markets, and rare books.

Recent Posts:

What is a Rare Book?

By Audrey Golden. Jan 15, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting, Collecting guide

We often hear about people who are starting or adding to rare book collections, but it can be difficult to know exactly what counts as a “rare” book. Indeed, you may find yourself wondering: What is a rare book? The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) defines something that is “rare” in a variety of ways, and some of them certainly apply to rare books. For example, the OED defines a rare object as “a thing or things . . . occurring infrequently, encountered only occasionally or at intervals, uncommon,” or “of a kind seldom found, done or occurring; unusual, uncommon, exceptional.” These definitions can help us to understand why a book might be rare—it is found infrequently, is uncommon to see or to hold, and is exceptional in some capacity. Yet, as you might guess, not all rare books are exceptional in the same ways.

     
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A Guide to Collecting the Works of Anchee Min

By Audrey Golden. Jan 14, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Awarded Books, Modern First Editions

Whether you’re just beginning to read the works of Anchee Min or are considering starting a contemporary literature collection that focuses on Min’s works, it’s essential to know more about her background to understand the potential ways of framing your collection. While many people simply collect all books written by a particular author, Min’s life story provides an interesting background for framing a larger collection that includes texts of the Chinese Cultural Revolution or the Chinese-American immigrant community in the U.S. and elsewhere.

     
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Homage to the Midwest: Building a Carl Sandburg Collection

By Audrey Golden. Jan 6, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Modern First Editions, Books collecting

As a poet and writer born in Illinois in 1878, it might seem obvious that a collection of Carl Sandburg’s works would pay homage in some fashion to the Midwest. Yet more than many authors coming out of the Midwest, Carl Sandburg’s works truly conjure images of rolling prairies and Midwestern cityscapes. Although Sandburg ended up spending the last part of his life in rural Western North Carolina, the subject matter of his poems, biographical writings, and other texts always hearken back to the middle part of the country. From visualizations of cornfields and cornhuskers to biographical writings about Abraham Lincoln, Sandburg’s work is firmly rooted in Illinois soil. And although he spent more than two decades at his Flat Rock, North Carolina home, his ashes ultimately were buried in Galesburg, Illinois in 1967. Given the deep connection between Sandburg’s work and the Midwest, we want to give you some tips and advice for building a “Midwest” collection featuring the books of Carl Sandburg.

     
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Who Were Mark Twain's Publishers?

By Audrey Golden. Nov 30, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Book History, First Editions

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, or Mark Twain as he is known to many readers, wrote nearly two dozen books over the course of his career, not to mention the wide variety of essays that appeared in various literary magazines. He’s a popular author for new and seasoned collectors alike, and his fiction and essays have appeared in dozens of different editions for more than a century. Yet unless you’re extremely familiar with particular editions of Twain’s work, you may not be too knowledgeable about his many publishers. So, who were his publishers?

     
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Louisa May Alcott and the Continuing Relevance of Little Women

By Audrey Golden. Nov 29, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book History, Movie Tie-Ins

As you may know, a new adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s much-loved novel Little Women will appear in U.S. cinemas on Christmas Day of 2019. The recent film adaptation, directed and adapted by Academy Award-nominated Greta Gerwig, stars Meryl Streep as Aunt March, Emma Watson as Meg, Saoirse Ronan as Jo, Timothée Chalamet as Laurie, and Florence Pugh as Amy. Given the recent fascination with and interest in Little Women, we thought it would be a fantastic time to revisit the numerous cinematic adaptations of the novel across the last century, and to consider how the continuing relevance of Little Women might inspire you to start a single-author, single-novel book collection.

     
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The Fame and Fiction of William F. Buckley, Jr.

By Audrey Golden. Nov 24, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, Legendary Authors, Learn About Books

When most people think about William F. Buckley, Jr., they don’t think about Cold War spy novels or interviews with Beat poets and dramatists. Instead, they often think about Buckley's prominence in conservative politics. Yet he also made a name for himself when it came to fiction. We didn’t just reference Cold War spy novels and Jack Kerouac—two seemingly incompatible topics—out of nowhere. In fact, although you might not suspect it, Buckley wrote eleven novels about espionage and even interviewed Allen Ginsberg, Norman Mailer, and Jack Kerouac on television. Are you intrigued? Let us tell you a little bit more about William F. Buckley, Jr.’s fame and fiction.

     
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From Sherlock Holmes to James Bond: Starting a John Gardner Collection

By Audrey Golden. Nov 20, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: James Bond, Bond Dossier

At first glance, Sherlock Holmes and James Bond may not appear to have much in common. Sherlock Holmes, the detective of 221-B Baker Street in London, originated in the late nineteenth century in the fiction of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. James Bond, much differently, didn’t come into being until 1953 as the British Secret Service agent in Ian Fleming’s fiction. Yet if you’ve found yourself interested in the ever-evolving story of Sherlock Holmes on the BBC or the various ways in which James Bond has been reimagined in fiction and cinema, you might be especially interested in learn about the writings of John Gardner. In addition to penning other detective and spy fiction, Gardner’s books include numerous novels that continue the narratives of Sherlock Holmes and James Bond. He wrote three novels that center on Professor Moriarty (the famed nemesis of Sherlock Holmes) in the 1970s and sixteen James Bond novels between the 1980s and 1990s.

If you’re interested in Sherlock Holmes or James Bond and are thinking about starting a new collection, why not consider John Gardner? We have some suggestions for starting to shape an exciting collection.

     
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Collecting Saul Bellow

By Audrey Golden. Dec 13, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Awarded Books

During his long writing career, Saul Bellow wrote 17 books that were reviewed in The New York Times over a period of six decades. Many of those reviews were written by prominent writers in their own right, such as Cynthia Ozick, Irving Howe, and Alfred Kazin. Even earlier, Bellow himself was writing articles for the newspaper on other authors’ works and questions about his own texts. And that’s not all. He also wrote a play, and he was interviewed hundreds of times over the years in which he wrote. He also began editing a literary magazine, News from the Republic of Letters, when he was 81 years old. During his lifetime, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1976, the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction the same year, and the National Book Award on three separate occasions. All of this to say that Bellow not only was extremely well-reviewed and prolific over the course of his career, but that it’s not really a surprise that his books have become so collectible. Bellow was born in Quebec in 1915, spent most of his adult life in Chicago, and died in 2005 in Brookline, Massachusetts. We want to give you some advice for building a collection of Bellow’s work.

     
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Crime Novels from Across the Globe

By Audrey Golden. Oct 8, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Mystery, Suspense & Crime

American readers have long been interested in crime fiction (as have readers from other parts of the world). In recent years, Scandinavian crime fiction, or “Nordic noir,” has become a household favorite for many English-language readers, thanks to translations of such texts as Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and other novels in the series, or Jo Nesbø’s Harry Hole detective books. Of course, writers from the U.S. and other parts of the world have continued to write works of crime fiction that have become immensely popular. We want to give you some recommendations of books you may know and others that may be new to you.

     
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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!

     
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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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