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Ellie Koczela

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Herman Melville: Literary Giant Who Died In Obscurity

By Ellie Koczela. Aug 1, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, American Literature

When Herman Melville was seven years old, his father warned his teachers that he was “very backwards in speech and somewhat slow in comprehension.” Luckily for the rest of us, he appears not to have been deterred by this description. A prolific writer of both novels and poetry, he is now among the most renowned authors in the American canon.


Isabel Allende: The Interesting Life of a "Raging Feminist"

By Ellie Koczela. Jan 24, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Awarded Books, Literature

“She sowed in my mind the idea that reality is not only what we see on the surface; it has a magical dimension as well and, if we so desire, it is legitimate to enhance it and color it to make our journey through life less trying.” ~Isabel Allende, Eva Luna

Isabel Allende once said she “didn’t want a happy life but an interesting one.” Raised in Peru, Chile, Lebanon, and Bolivia, and eventually forced into exile when her cousin, Salvador Allende, was deposed as President of Chile, it is safe to say that she is achieving her goal. 


How Julia Child Transformed American Cooking

By Ellie Koczela. Dec 26, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History

In terms of impact on American culture,  Mastering the Art of French Cooking is one of the most influential books written in the last several decades. Published when the United States was immersed in TV dinners and green bean casserole, Julia Child’s first and most famous book taught Americans to view food through a lens of pleasure and art rather than convenience. Written in tandem with two French authors, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, it sold over 100,000 copies its first year.      

T. S. Eliot: Nobel Laureate and Voice of the Lost Generation

By Ellie Koczela. Sep 25, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Poetry, Nobel Prize Winners

Thomas Stearns Eliot was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1888.  A Nobel laureate, The New York Times described his writing as giving "new meaning to English-language poetry,” Due to a congenital double hernia, T. S. Eliot spent much of his childhood reading rather than running around with other children. His family eventually moved to New England where he attended Harvard. At age 22, he moved to Paris; four years later, he married Vivienne Haigh-Wood.  He later claimed, “To her, the marriage brought no happiness. To me, it brought the state of mind out of which came The Waste Land."


William Golding: From the Darkness of War to Man's Latent Evil

By Ellie Koczela. Sep 17, 2014. 10:44 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Nobel Prize Winners

Almost everyone who graduated from an American high school in the last few decades knows William Golding as the author of Lord of the Flies. However, his body of work - for which he was awarded the 1983 Nobel Prize for Literature - is much more extensive. He was a poet and a playwright, as well as the author of essays, short stories, and fifteen novels.


Leo Tolstoy: From Troubled Marriage to Contradictory Worldview

By Ellie Koczela. Sep 7, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature

Three facts:

  • Leo Tolstoy was born on September 9th, 1828 in the Tula region of Russia.
  • He was a prolific writer of political and social philosophy, plays, essays, novels, and short stories.
  • His novel War and Peace is widely considered one of the greatest books ever written.

Beyond these basic statements, however, there is almost nothing simple that can be said about the classic novelist. Tolstoy as a subject is almost as complicated as the novels he wrote.


A. S. Byatt, Acclaimed Writer and Grieving Mother

By Ellie Koczela. Aug 23, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Awarded Books, Literature

Possession is A. S. Byatt’s most widely read novel; it won the Man Booker Prize in 2009 and made Byatt famous. This doesn’t surprise the British author who claims, “I knew people would like it. It's the only one I've written to be liked, and I did it partly to show off. I thought, Why not pull out the stops, why do this painstaking observation . . . why not write about the 19th century! I actually paced it for the first time with the reader's attention span in mind. There is very little life in 'Possession': it's all art."


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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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