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Nick Ostdick
Nick Ostdick is a husband, runner, writer, and craft beer enthusiast based in Western Illinois. He holds a MFA in creative writing from Southern Illinois University and has worked as a college instructor, journalist, and blogger.

Recent Posts:

Happy Thanksgiving: The Books We’re Most Thankful For

By Nick Ostdick. Nov 22, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Book Collecting

It’s that time of year when we stop, take a moment, and reflect on the things in our lives for which we are the most thankful. Family. Friends. Health. A good job. A nice home. These are usually the things that top the list. But as we discuss quite often on this blog, the books, poems, and stories that populate our lives can be just as important, meaningful, and influential to how we live our lives and our overall worldview. As Rob Gordon said in the novel High Fidelity, the pieces of art you like and identify with matter, and during this Thanksgiving season, perhaps it’s the most appropriate time to look inward and examine the pieces of writing for which we are most thankful.

     
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A William Morris FAQ

By Nick Ostdick. Oct 11, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Fine Press

If there’s one problem with our literary landscape, it’s perhaps there are too many great writers and thinkers for the average reader to keep track. Whether you’re looking into a specific literary tradition, region, or movement, it’s easy to gloss over a handful of important writers or those literary artists who have in subtle ways influenced future generations of scribes. Because history is instructive and it’s impossible to understand where you’re going without realizing where you’ve been, this oversight can be a serious misstep for the literary enthusiast.

Perhaps one of the greatest oversights—especially considering the width and depth of the career and creative interests—is English writer, poet, designer, and socialist activist William Morris.

     
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The Bond Dossier: Zero Minus Ten

By Nick Ostdick. Aug 25, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: James Bond

A respect for the past, a glimpse toward the future. One could argue any relevant piece of art (be it a piece of music, a poem, a painting, or even an adventure/spy novel) must straddle this delicate line in order to pay homage to the traditions that came before while at the same time pushing the boundaries of what is possible within any given medium. After 14 years of Bond novels at the hand of British author John Gardner, the 007 baton was finally passed to American author Raymond Benson whose debut, Zero Minus Ten (1997), walked a tightrope between respecting the Bond canon and ushering the literary world’s most famous spy into the 21st Century.

     
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Picture This: Illustrations in Rare Book Collecting

By Nick Ostdick. Jul 26, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” It’s a tired cliche, but when it comes to collecting rare or vintage books, there is perhaps no truer sentiment. Illustrations in rare book collecting, while not necessarily the first element that jumps to mind for a would-be collector, can be a significant driver in terms of the value and rarity of a given volume. Because illustrations have long been a part of literature in a variety of forms—everything from supplementing a narrative to depicting important scenes to enhancing the overall texture or theme of a story—illustrations are a critical element in helping experts place value on certain volumes within a given canon, but also making a determination regarding a book’s place in the rare book landscape.

     
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The Bond Dossier: License Renewed

By Nick Ostdick. Jul 21, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: James Bond

More than a decade. That’s how much time elapsed between adventures of the world’s most famous superspy, James Bond. Following the publication of the first post-Ian Fleming 007 novel, Colonel Sun in 1968, the Bond series went into hiatus for roughly 13 years before Glidrose Publications (now named Ian Fleming Publications) approached noted British spy and literary thriller writer John Gardner to revive the series in the late 1970s.

After several years of negotiations, Gardner agreed to take up the 007 mantle and relaunched the 007 series with the 1981 publication of License Renewed, an aggressive reboot and branding of the series that thrust Bond into a new era. With new themes, tropes, villains, and geopolitical concerns, Gardner’s foray into the James Bond world beginning with License Renewed brought new life into the 007 series at a time when many fans believed the novelizations to be a relic of the past.

     
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The Bond Dossier: Colonel Sun

By Nick Ostdick. Jun 16, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: James Bond, Book Collecting

There comes a time in many artistic endeavors when the torch is passed. Film franchises change directors. Television shows bring in new producers and writers. And wildly popular novel serializations employ different writers to help ferry the characters into new territory. This is perhaps evidenced most clearly in Ian Fleming’s James Bond series when the mantle was passed to a host of new writers following Fleming’s death in 1964.

     
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Common Myths About Rarity in Book Collecting

By Nick Ostdick. May 31, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Rare Books

The concept of rarity in book collecting is tricky. While many novice collectors might believe rarity is the most important element in assessing a book’s value or worth, seasoned collectors understand rarity is in fact one of the more insignificant elements in judging what a volume is worth or its place in the landscape of rare books. The murky nature of rarity in book collecting stems to some degree from the ill defined character of the term. Essentially, rarity is too nebulous and relative a term for book sellers and collectors to base any substantive, concrete value.

However, because the idea of rarity has a certain cache or currency in book collecting, a number of myths have arisen and been propagated throughout the book collecting industry about the intrinsic value of rarity and its influence on accurately judging a volume’s value. These myths can be quite detrimental to the book collecting experience and can lead collectors down hazardous paths in their book collecting journey.

     
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The Bond Dossier: Octopussy and The Living Daylights

By Nick Ostdick. May 25, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: James Bond, Book Collecting

At some point in their careers, most great bands release a collection of B-sides. Songs that were recorded but were deemed not quite appropriate for official release on a record or CD. These songs often stray from the band’s usual sound and find the musicians experimenting with style, genre, length, instrumentation, and so on. With an author as prolific as Ian Fleming, it stands to reason there would be some B-side material with the world-renowned James Bond stories, which is where we find the 1966 volume, Octopussy and The Living Daylights.  

     
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Important Elements of Provenance in Rare Book Collecting

By Nick Ostdick. Apr 25, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting

Condition. Binding. Completeness. These are all relatively easy to understand concepts in the rare book world when judging the value of a piece. But what about provenance? What is provenance? Why is it so important? Why does it impact the value of a book in such a significant way? These are the questions rare book enthusiasts need to ask as they come across rare or unique volumes where the term provenance is bandied about as a crucial indicator as to why a book is valued in such a way. And confusing though it can be, once understood, provenance adds an interesting layer of complexity to a volume’s value and place in the rare book landscape.

     
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The Bond Dossier: The Man With the Golden Gun

By Nick Ostdick. Apr 20, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: James Bond

All good things must come to an end. It’s a cliche, of course, but no truer sentiment can be applied to the string of critical and commercial successes Ian Fleming produced via his internationally loved British spy, James Bond. Fleming's run culminated with the publication of his 12th Bond novel, The Man with the Golden Gun. Released just eight months after Fleming’s death, The Man with the Golden Gun is something of a melancholic note for the series to end on, as Fleming’s health was failing throughout the composition of the novel.

While both critics and fans alike believe The Man with the Golden Gun was not quite as polished, detailed, or nuanced as Fleming’s 11 previous Bond novels, the book still holds an important place in the Bond canon as Fleming’s final entry in a world-renowned series that has continued to this day and spawned one of the most successful film franchises in cinematic history.

     
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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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