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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.

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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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Of Mice and Men and Marine Biology: A John Steinbeck Round-Up

By Leah Dobrinska. Feb 27, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Book Collecting

If you’ve been reading our blog for any length of time, you know we’re big fans of John Steinbeck. Steinbeck, through his writing, made his way into American homes and schools over the course of the 20th century. That trend has continued to present day with many of his books counted as classics and placed on required reading lists from California to Maine. Steinbeck earned the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962 "for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception." In many a blog post, we’ve noted some of our favorite facts about Steinbeck’s life, best ways to collect the literary giant, and perhaps some lesser known (or considered) details of his career and legacy. In honor of his birthday today, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite John Steinbeck articles from across the blog. Enjoy!

     
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Remembering Ronald Reagan Through the Written Word

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

Topics: American History, Book Collecting

When one hears the name “Ronald Reagan” many titles come to mind—actor, politician, president. And while in this day and age, many Hollywood stars participate in politics and make their political voices heard (aided, of course, by massive social media platforms and the resulting exposure), thirty years ago when Reagan made the jump from actor to Governor of California and, subsequently, to President of the United States, he was a bit of a trailblazer. Indeed, Reagan’s charisma charmed the Republican party and the American people. When he left office in 1989, his approval rating was a sky-high 68%, making him as popular as Franklin Delano Roosevelt before him and Bill Clinton in his wake.

     
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A James A. Michener Tribute

By Leah Dobrinska. Feb 3, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, History

February 3 is James A. Michener's birthday. The legendary American author wrote nearly 50 books in his lifetime, and though he passed away in 1997 at the age of 90 years, he has a strong following to this day. We are big fans of Michener at Books Tell You Why, and it seems many of you are, as well. One of our most read and debated posts to date lists some of our picks of the top Michener works. We followed that post up to include a couple more favorites. In honor of Michener's birthday, we're linking to these posts today. Take a read and let us know if you agree or disagree with our selections. And in honor of Michener's life, pick up a copy of one of his lengthy tomes and get started reading it this month.

     
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And the Award Goes To: 2019 Caldecott and Newbery Winners

By Leah Dobrinska. Jan 28, 2019. 12:56 PM.

Topics: Caldecott Medal, Awarded Books, Newbery Award

Today is one of the most anticipated days of the year for children's book enthusiasts. This morning, the the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, announced the winners of the 2019 Caldecott Medal and Newbery Medal, among other children's literature awards. These coveted prizes go a long way in cementing their authors and illustrators as fixtures in the children's literary landscape. Their books will be found on our shelves and in libraries the world over for years to come. Without further ado, the winners of the 2019 Caldecott and Newbery medals are...

     
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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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