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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:

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: Book Collecting, Horror

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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McSweeney's Publishing Company: Notable Titles

By Brian Hoey. Jul 16, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: First Editions, Awarded Books, American Literature

The brainchild of acclaimed author and philanthropist Dave Eggers, McSweeney’s has been publishing vibrant, frequently off-kilter writing in various forms for more than 20 years. While for many the name McSweeney’s primarily conjures up images of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, (i.e. the good people who brought us “It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherf*ckers”), the publisher also puts out a quarterly literary magazine as well as standalone books. Though these various concerns may seem disparate, there is certainly a unity to the various Eggers-run projects, and readers can expect anything with the McSweeney’s stamp to showcase an often wry (though sometimes quite serious), literary sense of adventure.

     
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In Memoriam: Elie Wiesel and the Myth of Sisyphus

By Brian Hoey. Jul 2, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Nobel Prize Winners, Literature

In 1978, a four part miniseries called Holocaust aired on NBC. It featured Meryl Streep as a cast member, and it portrayed all of the horrors that we have since come to expect from depictions of the Holocaust (to enumerate them would, perhaps, defeat the purpose). Though it was one of the earliest examples of this particular historical atrocity being adapted for prime time, in the ensuing decades it undoubtedly blurred together in the minds of its viewers with similar media like Schindler’s List (1993) and Sophie’s Choice (1982). Though the miniseries, which was ostensibly fictionalized from true events, would garner critical acclaim, Elie Wiesel, who remained one of the world’s foremost chroniclers of the Shoah until his death two years ago, hated it. 

     
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The History of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

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

Topics: Children's Books

While the Hans Christian Andersen Medal is often touted as the Nobel Prize of children’s literature, the $600,000 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award is the actual title holder for the richest prize in children’s lit—and with a list of honorees that includes Maurice Sendak and Philip Pullman, it may one day grow to match the earlier prize in prestige. After all, the awardwhich is given “by the Swedish people to the world” to one or more international authors, illustrators, oral storytellers, or organizations each yearresembles the Nobel in its lofty aims of promoting literary idealism in its mission to promote children’s access to high quality culture.

     
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Tom Wolfe: Fiction, Journalism, and Legacy

By Brian Hoey. May 16, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Literature

Tom Wolfe, acclaimed journalist and writer, has died at the age of 88. In his honor, we revisit his life and work today. The prospect of writing a blog post on Tom Wolfe and his influence is daunting. The man who has been such a presence in the world of American letters these past forty years, having authored The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987) and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968), looms large, not just over a new generation of writers and journalists, but over the blogosphere in particular. He did, after all, call out blogs for being "a universe of rumors," citing Wikipedia in particular as being an institution that only "a primitive could believe a word of." How a primitive could successfully navigate all the way to Wikipedia may be a good inquiry for another time, but the pressing question still remains: how do you blog about the man who hated blogs?

     
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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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