Did you know?  Check our Rare Books Page

Shelley Kelber
Shelley's been in Seattle practically since the dawn of time. She enjoys having fun (seriously) with research and writing. In her off hours she reads and walks, although not at the same time -- because tripping over sidewalks is embarrassing.

Recent Posts:

An Eoin Colfer Primer

By Shelley Kelber. Sep 17, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, Movie Tie-Ins

Eoin Colfer writes fantasy adventure books intended for kids in grades 5-9. His books appeal to a much broader audience, but that is the target group. Colfer grew up in Wexford, on the Southeast coast of Ireland with four brothers. His father was an artist, elementary school teacher, and historian. His mother was a drama teacher and stage writer. He was encouraged to appreciate the arts and writing and began writing in elementary school by composing Viking stories based on the history he was being taught. His first work was a class play called Norse Gods. He got a university degree from Dublin University and returned to Wexford to teach primary school. He and his wife spent 1992 to 1996 working in Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, and Italy. He started publishing books in the late 1990s and after Artemis Fowl appeared in 2001, he quit teaching and has been writing full time ever since.

     
Read more...


The Story of Bookbinding

By Shelley Kelber. Mar 31, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Making

Rarely does bookbinding receive the attention and glamour afforded other ancient crafts. The craftsmanship required by bookbinding is largely concealed. The role of the bookbinder is that of a guardian; they serve to protect the book's contents to guarantee access for generations of readers. Foremost in the bookbinder's mind is durability and function.

     
Read more...


James Patterson: Author or Brand Manager?

By Shelley Kelber. Mar 22, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, American Literature

Is he beloved by his critics and peers? Not so much. But James Patterson's popularity among readers remains incontrovertible. He is an industry. It's not so much all that he has written. "Written" isn't a precise enough verb. Maybe conceived, outlined, or curated would be more descriptive of his process.

     
Read more...


Virginia Hamilton's Life and Work

By Shelley Kelber. Mar 12, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Awarded Books, Newbery Award

Virginia Hamilton was a master storyteller who preserved black oral tradition through her intensive research uncovering riddles, stories, and traditions. Her career would span for more than 40 years, but her first book was published in 1967, a time when most books devoted to the African American experience dealt with issues of segregation and poverty. She termed her novels “liberation literature” and instead of problem storylines, her tales underscored the experiences of ordinary people. Among her works were picture books, folk tales, science-fiction stories, realistic novels, biographies, and mysteries.

     
Read more...


Toni Morrison...Children's Book Author?

By Shelley Kelber. Feb 18, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Children's Books

Toni Morrison is described as an American book editor, college professor, essayist, and novelist. Her first novel was published in 1970. She gained national attention and the National Book Critics Circle Award for the acclaimed Song of Solomon in 1977. She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1987 for Beloved and received worldwide recognition with the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. But did you know she's also a children's book author?

     
Read more...


James Joyce and the Ulysses Publication Saga

By Shelley Kelber. Feb 2, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Learn About Books

James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was one of 10 children of May and John Joyce. He was born in Dublin in 1882. The family is described as a bourgeois Catholic family. James attended a Jesuit boarding school until 1891 when financial worries meant the family could no longer afford to send him there. He was home-schooled for a while, spent a short time at a Christian Brothers school, and started at Belvedere College, a Jesuit day school.

     
Read more...


Lewis Carroll: A Man of Many Talents

By Shelley Kelber. Jan 27, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors

Perhaps best known as the author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the man born as Charles Lutwidge Dodgson and known as Lewis Carroll was truly a Renaissance man of the Victorian era.

     
Read more...


'Twas the Night Before Christmas: The Authorship Question

By Shelley Kelber. Dec 24, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Christmas Books

It is a fact that this stalwart Christmas poem, now considered a tradition, was initially published as an Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas in New York's Troy Sentinel newspaper on December 23, 1823.  It was published anonymously. The poem is credited with connecting St. Nicholas to Christmas and planted the seeds that led to our idea of Santa Claus. It also established most of the reindeer names.

     
Read more...


James Thurber's Life and Work

By Shelley Kelber. Dec 8, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, American Literature

James Thurber became one of the most popular humorists of his time by shining a comedic light on the everyday man and his daily, mundane frustrations and idiosyncrasies. In his work, Thurber often asked his audience to consider how their minds shaped their view of reality.

     
Read more...


David Macaulay: A Mind To Be Reckoned With

From the time he was a child, David Macaulay evidenced a fascination with how machines operated. He soon began to make models of machines and began drawing illustrations of these machines. Soon he was constructing elevators out of shoe boxes, tape, and string and devising intricate systems of moving cable cars made with empty thread spools.

     
Read more...


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.

Get blog notifications per email:

Download the James Bond Dossier

Recent Posts

Book Glossary
Get your free Guide to Book Care

Blog Archive

> see older posts
A Guide to Historic Libraries Part I