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How to Find Rare Books?

By Audrey Golden. Mar 11, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting

Depending upon your previous experience buying rare books, the answer to a question about how to find them might seem either obvious or baffling. So, how does one find rare books? In brief, you can find rare books in a number of places, but knowing precisely where to look can get more complicated than you'd think. Depending upon what kind of rare books you’re looking for, you may need to consult a rare book dealer who specializes in the particular type of text you’re seeking. And to ensure that you’re buying what you think you’re buying (and not a reproduction, for example), it’s important to know how to identify a reputable seller. So, if you’re still looking for rare books, let us give you some ideas of how you can locate what you seek.

     
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Top Books by State: Indiana

By Adrienne Rivera. Mar 10, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, Movie Tie-Ins, Literary travel

Today we continue our literary road trip through the United States by taking a closer look at my home state, Indiana. For many people, the Midwest is little more than a flyover region and simply considered farm country. It's easy to think of Indiana by the things its most known for: NASCAR, basketball, corn, and perhaps the infamous level of violence located in the Gary, Indiana area. While Indiana is definitely known for those things, it's also a state rich in history. Abraham Lincoln lived a large portion of his childhood in southern Indiana, and President William Henry Harrison and Native American leader Tecumseh led their respective sides in the Battle of Tippecanoe. Indiana is also a beautiful state, home to the Indiana Dunes near Lake Michigan, numerous protected areas of woodlands like the Hoosier National Forest and the Lincoln National and Lincoln State forests, and a rich network of limestone caves. One of America's oldest theme parks, Holiday World, is also in Indiana. Let's take a look some of the best books set in the Hoosier state.

     
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Mickey Spillane: Hardboiled Detectives and Salted Peanuts

By Brian Hoey. Mar 9, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Mystery, Suspense & Crime

"Those big-shot writers could never dig the fact that there are more salted peanuts consumed than caviar.” Mickey Spillane

For a writer, one of the most depressing literary pantheons is the “books written in a matter of weeks” category. This includes such classics and arguable classics as Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying (1930, written in six weeks while the author worked as a security guard), Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (1957, written in three weeks on a 120 foot long roll of paper), and Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day (1989, written in a 28 day “crash” during which time he didn't see anyone, answer any mail, answer the phone, etc.). While not a classic by anyone definition, Dostoevsky’s The Gambler (1866) was written in about a month in order to pay off a gambling debt. Also on that list is hardboiled mystery writer Mickey Spillane’s 1947 first novel, I, the Jury—which marked the debut of the iconic private eye Mike Hammer.

     
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The Magic of Gabriel García Márquez

By Andrea Koczela. Mar 6, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Nobel Prize Winners

Born March 6, 1927, Gabriel García Márquez is one of the 20th century’s leading authors. The earliest living recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, García Márquez is best known for his novels, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), Autumn of the Patriarch (1975), and Love in the Time of Cholera (1985). Carlos Fuentes called García Márquez, “the most popular and perhaps the best writer in Spanish since Cervantes.”

     
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Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Ezra Jack Keats

By Adrienne Rivera. Mar 5, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Caldecott Medal, Children's Books

The Caldecott Medal is awarded annually to the illustrator of a children's book that showcases the best work being produced in the field. Ezra Jack Keats' book The Snowy Day was awarded the medal in 1963. Keats' beloved book not only ushered in a much-needed influx of multiculturalism in the world of children's literature, but also has grown to be one of the most beloved children's books of all time. Join us as we continue our Caldecott Winning Illustrators series by taking a closer look at this incredible illustrator.

     
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How Theodor Geisel Became Dr. Seuss

By Matt Reimann. Mar 2, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books

Theodor Geisel, known today as Dr. Seuss, was a student of English literature in his youth. While attending Oxford to get a Ph.D. in the 1920s, his future-wife persuaded him to pursue his dreams as a writer and illustrator. He returned home to the United States, with little experience other than a stint as editor of Dartmouth’s humor magazine, the Jack-O-Lantern. He submitted pieces to publishers and periodicals. It was a long slog, but he eventually made his debut with a cartoon in the July 16, 1927 issue of the Saturday Evening Post. His pay was $25—enough encouragement for the young cartoonist to move to New York to take his dreams seriously.

     
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Visiting Ralph Ellison's Papers at the Library of Congress

Are you interested in learning more about the life and literary work of Ralph Ellison? If you find yourself in Washington, D.C., there are many reasons to plan a visit to the Library of Congress. One of those reasons, though, should certainly be to explore the Ralph Ellison papers, which include materials from 1890-2005. There are a total of 74,800 items in the collection, such as correspondence, drafts for essays, short stories, novels, lectures given by and about Ellison, a wide variety of resources documenting his literary career, and Ellison’s final unfinished novel, Juneteenth.

     
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Interesting Editions of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men

By Leah Dobrinska. Feb 27, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, American Literature

Legendary author John Steinbeck was a literary mastermind. He wrote prolifically throughout the 20th century, and his work and the themes he presents still resonate today. Of Mice and Men, his 1937 novella, does what all brilliant pieces of literature are wont to do. It gives us characters and situations that make us think and feel deeply. As such, the work has been subject to both high praise and a substantial amount of criticism. But it’s safe to say that Of Mice and Men will continue to be widely read, discussed, and appreciated. For a Steinbeck collector, it’s a must-have. Here, we’ve compiled several interesting editions and options for those looking to add Of Mice and Men to their shelves.

     
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Visiting the Homes of Victor Hugo

By Audrey Golden. Feb 26, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature, Literary travel

Planning a trip to France or the U.K. anytime soon? While many famous writers have called these places home, perhaps no author’s experiences living in both regions better reflect a life lived, in many ways, on the margins, as those of Victor Hugo. As you might know, Victor Hugo was a central figure in the Romantic movement, and he remains one of the most well-known French novelists and dramatists today. He published his first works in the 1820s, but it wasn’t until the publication of the novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame [Notre Dame de Paris] in 1831 that Hugo gained fame throughout Europe. Indeed, the work was translated into numerous languages for public consumption. Shortly after using the novel to highlight a need for Paris to attend to important structures such as the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, Hugo turned toward a broader reaching political endeavor. He started writing Les Misérables (1862), which dealt with matters of class and social justice. As it turns out, his town homes in Paris and Guernsey are now museums that the public can visit.

     
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What Are Clamshell Boxes and Why Are They Important?

By Audrey Golden. Feb 25, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Book Care, Collecting guide

If you are a book collector or a collector of rare ephemera, you already may know about clamshell boxes and their importance for preserving rare books and paper. In short, a clamshell box is a particular type of bespoke archival box that is made individually for a specific book or collection of papers. 

To be clear, clamshell boxes open up just like books and are usually custom-made according to the specifications of a particular book or object. As such, no two customized clamshell boxes are necessarily alike. They’re also frequently decorated with handmade papers, making clamshell boxes protective tools as well as decorative items for a library shelf. Anyone who owns rare books should learn more about clamshell boxes and should consider having them custom-made for particularly rare volumes.

     
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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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