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Brian Hoey
Writer and all around book nerd, Brian puts his English degree to good use turning words into magic. A great lover of beer, baseball, and books, he can write on Baltic Porter and Katherine Anne Porter with equal ease.

Recent Posts:

Mostly Harmless: How Eion Colfer Took Over The Hitchhiker’s “Trilogy”

By Brian Hoey. Mar 14, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Science Fiction

One of the best running gags in fiction (in this writer’s humble opinion) comes, unsurprisingly, from Douglas Adams’ beloved Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy series (1979-2008). On the cover of some editions of the series’ fourth book, So Long and Thanks for All the Fish (1984), readers are helpfully informed that they’ve picked up “the fourth in the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker’s Trilogy.” The original cover of the fifth book contained, mutatis mutandis, the same joke—Douglas Adams’ wry comment on the fact that, in terms of plotting out the series, he was just making it all up as he went along. Sadly, after Adams’ death in 2001, the joke itself had become inaccurate. The “trilogy” was inaccurately named, but no longer, with the literal death of the author, increasingly so. Or at least that’s the way it seemed until Eoin Colfer came along.

     
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Five Legendary Authors Who Wrote Through Their Experiences with Cancer

By Brian Hoey. Feb 4, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature

“Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify as citizens of that other place.”

These are the opening lines of Susan Sontag’s seminal exploration of cancer’s mythology in modern life, Illness as Metaphor (1978). The book’s most enduring impact has been to shed light on the victim-blaming nature of many of the narratives that surround the disease, but her opening bout of lyricism reminds us of a much more obvious truth: that cancer and other illnesses don’t just touch, but envelope our lives, whether through our own experiences or the experiences of loved ones. For World Cancer Day, let’s take a look at some of the authors whose experiences with cancer have yielded important works of literature. 

     
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James Joyce and Company: Sylvia Beach's Literary Table

By Brian Hoey. Feb 2, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Book History

Imagining literary Paris between the wars is almost too much.Many of us delight in the knowledge that, say, James Joyce and Henrik Ibsen exchanged some letters, or that C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were fast friends. The prospect of a single time and place that contained the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, and others has the trappings of a literary meeting of the minds unrivaled by any setting in human history.If you think that you’d be almost irrecoverably star struck in such a setting, you’re in good company.In fact, you’re in the same boat as F. Scott Fitzgerald himself.

     
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The Origin of Donaldists: How Micky Maus Became a Bestselling Magazine

By Brian Hoey. Jan 23, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, Movie Tie-Ins

In Germany, to this day, there are so-called Donaldists: men and women who apply rigorous scientific and anthropological methods to understanding the world of Donald Duck and Duckburg, his hometown. That’s right, in Germany, Donald Ducknot Mickey Mouseis the star. He’s the reason that Micky Maus, the German-language Disney comic magazine, is the fourth best-selling comic magazine of all time, surpassing a billion sales over the course of its 60+ year run. Considering that no other Disney comics rank so highly in their respective formats, the tremendous ongoing success of Micky Maus warrants some explanation. How did these magazines become best-sellers—and how did Donald Duck surpass the world’s most iconic small rodent in popularity?

     
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Jolabokaflod: Iceland’s Christmas Book Flood

By Brian Hoey. Dec 21, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Christmas Books, Rare Book Gift Ideas

In the United States, there is some disagreement about when, precisely, the Christmas season starts. Extremely conservative estimates might say it starts at the beginning of Advent, some might declare the first of December to be the official start of the season, while increasingly many of us seem to have settled on the discount-fueled pandemonium of Black Friday as our starter pistol. In Iceland, on the other hand, there is no such ambiguity. The Christmas season begins with the annual November distribution of the Bokatidindi—the catalog that lists almost all of the books that will be published in Iceland during the coming two months. 

     
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Ten More Facts You Should Know About Jane Goodall

By Brian Hoey. Nov 10, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Science

Dame Jane Morris Goodall DBE, more affectionately known as Dr. Jane, is the world’s foremost expert on Chimpanzees, a United Nations Peace Ambassador, and an inspiration to budding ethologists the world over. Since making the discovery that chimps make and use tools while studying their behavior in the field more than half a century ago, she has become one of the most recognizable and beloved figures in the global scientific community. A few years back, we penned a post titled Ten Facts You Should Know About Jane Goodall. Here are ten more facts about her you may find of interest.

     
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Things to Consider Before Adding a Signed Book to Your Collection

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

Topics: Book Collecting

In his famous essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” (1935) Walter Benjamin describes the “aura” that exists around a work of art that hasn’t been mechanically reproduced (i.e. printed off on a printing press, copied onto a DVD, etc.). The aura, he says, is the element of the work that can’t be replicated outside of its definite location in time and space, giving a ritualistic, almost mystical element that changes the way that we engage with it. This, it seems, in a nutshell, is why we like signed books, and why we often treat them as precious objects of almost totemic significance. After all, you can get the text of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) off the internet and print out as many copies as you want, but a signed edition can’t be copied in the same way. If it gets damaged or destroyed, there’s no way of replacing it in the world.

     
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The Man With Many Names: Collecting Stephen King

By Brian Hoey. Sep 21, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Horror, Book Collecting

Even the task of summing up Stephen King’s career and body of work is daunting. The New England-based literary giant has published more than 50 books, including acclaimed works of sci-fi, fantasy, suspense, horror, supernatural fiction, literary fiction, and, no doubt, other genres as well. He is so famous that even his pseudonyms are household names, and his works have been adapted for the screen more times than it would be in any way reasonable to recount in this space. 

     
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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. 

     
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Eight Fascinating Facts About Jaws Author Peter Benchley

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

Topics: Movie Tie-Ins

Many readers only know Peter Benchley, if they know him at all, as the author of Jaws (1974), the novel upon which Steven Spielberg’s acclaimed blockbuster film was based—but Benchley was more than a one hit wonder (or a one trick pony). In a career spanning decades and media, Benchley would go on to write a number of acclaimed novels like Beast (1991) and The Deep (1976), not to mention screenplays and television programs, in addition to working as an ocean conservationist. Here are a few interesting facts about him.

     
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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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