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Leah Dobrinska
Writer, editor, and lover of a good sentence, a happy ending, and the smell of books, both old and new. Enjoys reading children's lit to her daughters, home-improvement magazines with her husband, and Shakespeare by herself.

Recent Posts:

Kicking Off Tombstones: Henry James' Life and Work

By Leah Dobrinska. Apr 29, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Book Collecting

Henry James was born in New York City on April 15, 1843. He had three brothers and one sister, and his parents were rich, thanks to their inheritances. Though he held no official job of his own, Henry James’ father, Henry Sr., used his wealth to move his family abroad when Henry was just twelve years old. His motivation was to ensure his children had the best academic opportunities provided for them. The result was a four year tour of Europe where the family sought out the best schools and tutors for the James children. Henry Jr. ended up as a primarily self-taught young man. The influence of his European childhood—as well as his time spent living abroad throughout the majority of his adult years—can be seen in his works, both in his style of writing and in the subject matter he explores.

     
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Top Books By State: Arizona

By Leah Dobrinska. Apr 19, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literary travel

Arizona: the land of scorching desserts and swimming pools in every backyard. Of hot, dry temperatures and the deep, majestic Grand Canyon. But what about the literary output from or about Arizona? Which authors have made this southwestern state their home, and what sorts of works have they crafted with Arizona as their setting? Continuing our series of the top books in each state, today, we focus on Arizona. We have actually pulled two books by one, well-known Arizonian author and one book by another. These titles impress us with the vivid imagery of the setting alongside the griping stories present in each of these books.

     
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Death and Desire: A Tennessee Williams Round-Up

By Leah Dobrinska. Mar 26, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature

A jack of many literary trades, Tennessee Williams is best known as one of the most prominent playwrights in twentieth century America. His play, A Streetcar Named Desire, sits alongside Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman on the top tier of twentieth century theatrical output. Williams wasn't discovered until his 30s when the success of The Glass Menagerie in New York rocketed him into fame. He followed up this play and became a household name in the late 1940s and early 1950s thanks to his best work, including Streetcar (1947) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955). Many of Williams plays were adapted, adding to his notoriety.

     
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Collecting the Works of James Patterson

By Leah Dobrinska. Mar 22, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Mystery, Suspense & Crime

James Patterson is nothing if not a producer. His literary output is astounding, and the publishing schedule he sticks to is rigorous one (we've written more about his methods here). Patterson began his career in journalism. An avid reader, eventually he was turned on to the suspense and thriller genre through authors like William Peter Blatty and Frederick Forsyth. Thinking he could take a stab at writing such books, Patterson set about writing his first novel, The Thomas Berryman Number. After much rejection, Little Brown Books picked up Patterson's debut book.

     
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Free of All That Noise: A Philip Roth Round-Up

By Leah Dobrinska. Mar 19, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, American Literature

"Everybody else is working to change, persuade, tempt and control them. The best readers come to fiction to be free of all that noise." ~Philip Roth in Conversations with Philip Roth

Philip Roth was one of the great, American literary geniuses of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Through his works, he explored the idea of self. He also highlighted the social and political climate of the time in which he wrote, often with satire and his particular brand of literary panache.

When Roth died in 2018, he had been awarded two National Book Awards for Fiction, two National Book Critics Circle awards, three PEN/Faulkner awards, as well as the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters (2002), a National Humanities Medal (2010), and a Man Booker International Prize (2011), among numerous other awards. But beyond these quantifiable accolades, Philip Roth had perhaps the most profound impact on countless readers who picked up his work. It's true that in his stories, he allowed us to "be free of all that noise". Today, in honor of his birthday, we've selected several of our favorite Philip Roth posts to share.

     
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Collecting Interesting Editions of the Work of Leo and Diane Dillon

Leo and Diane Dillon are world-class illustrators, Caldecott Award winners, and a formidable team. The couple met at the Parsons School of Design in New York where both were students. Leo came upon a still life of an Eames chair displayed among student work at a school exhibition. He was struck by it, and set out to find who had done the work. That person—whom he assumed was a “he”—was, in fact, Diane Sorber. The two entered in to a sort of rivalry, trying to place higher than each other at competitive art shows. In the end, they married and joined creative forces.

     
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A Family Affair: Lynn Redgrave and the Redgrave Theatrical Pedigree

By Leah Dobrinska. Mar 8, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Drama, Art

What must it feel like to be a part of a successful family? On one hand, being able to learn from and share experiences with those closest to you is certainly incredibly valuable. On the other hand, it is often daunting for members of the same family to follow in the footsteps of their parents or siblings. The Redgrave family is a premiere example of a modern-day dynasty, and its kingdom is the stage and screen. According to Lynn Redgrave, the family’s acting history spans five generations. To be sure, actress and author Lynn Redgrave knew what it felt like to come from a talented family.

     
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A Tribute to Gabo: Remembering Gabriel García Márquez

By Leah Dobrinska. Mar 6, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Rare Books, Book Collecting

The influence of Gabriel Garcia Marquez cannot be overstated. When he passed away in 2014, he was heralded as "the greatest Colombian who ever lived" by Juan Manuel Santos, the president of Colombia at the time. What did Gabriel García Márquez do to be so influential and to be considered so great? He wrote passionately about politics, both at home and abroad, in his non-fiction and journalistic efforts. He pioneered magic realism in his fiction work. As his popularity grew thanks to the success of his novels like One Hundred Years of Solitude which was translated into over 30 languages, García Márquez took advantage of opportunities to mediate peace talks and influence some of the powerful people whose company he kept.

Perhaps the appeal of Gabo is less about what he did on a grand scale, though, and more about how he was relatable to readers of all shapes and sizes, and in a particular way those who shared his Latin American roots. As Isabel Allende stated upon his death, "In his books I found my own family, my country, the people I have known all my life, the colour, the rhythm, and the abundance of my continent."

     
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Top Books By State: Alaska

By Leah Dobrinska. Mar 5, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Book Collecting

When one thinks of Alaska, words that come to mind may include wilderness, ice, and mountains, among others. In effect, many people picture a sparsely populated region with rugged terrain and brutal conditions for anyone who finds themselves left out in the cold.  Alaska, of course, was the 49th state to join the Union. Before officially becoming a state, it also served—alongside the Yukon territory—as a destination for eager gold miners during the gold rush in the early part of the twentieth century. Alaska is home to a significant number of native Alaskans or American Indians. What about the literary history of Alaska? In our effort to detail some of the top books from each state, we want to take a look at a couple of titles from Alaska.

     
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Five Rare Science Books To Add to Your Collection

By Leah Dobrinska. Feb 28, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, History, Science

Today is National Science Day! We’re excited, and perhaps you are wondering why. We are, after all, in the business of books—collecting, selling, and writing about them. Indeed, we share with you who wins the Nobel Prize in Literature, not who wins the Nobel Prize in Physics or Chemistry or even Medicine. But that’s not to say we don’t love science! As a matter of fact, we love it when books and science intersect, which happens quite often. Today, we’re focusing our attention on five of our favorite rare science books. If you, like us, have an affinity to books of scientific importance or would like to build a collection surrounding this topic, read on!

     
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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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