Did you know?  Check our Rare Books Page

Top Books by State: Massachusetts

By Adrienne Rivera. Nov 24, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Movie Tie-Ins

As one of the thirteen original colonies, Massachusetts has a long history dating back to the very beginnings of America. Massachusetts history begins with Plymouth colony and was the setting for numerous events throughout the making of the nation. The state has been a major player history, academics, and industry throughout the entire existence of the country. While numerous important figures—both historical and literary—hail from Massachusetts, today we continue our bookish journey through the America by taking an in depth look at some of the best quotes from Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, a book that was not only a massive hit at the time of publication, but one that has endured to become considered one of the great classics of American literature. Join us as we take a closer look at this pioneering work of fiction for girls as we continue our Top Books by State Series with Massachusetts:

     
Read more...


Alice Adams: Master of the Short Story

By Adrienne Rivera. Sep 24, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Awarded Books, American Literature

Short story writer and novelist Alice Adams was born in 1926 in Virginia. She studied at Radcliffe College during which she also attended writing classes at Harvard University. She worked clerical positions in medical offices for many years and throughout her marriage. Toward the end of her marriage, a therapist suggested she quit writing and continue with her marriage. Adams applied the exact opposite advise and to great success. Throughout her career, she published numerous novels and short stories, twenty-five of which were originally published the prestigious magazine, The New Yorker. Though Adams' novels were never particularly critically acclaimed, she absolutely shone the short story form. She is one of only four authors to be granted the O. Henry Special Award for Continued Achievement, along with such other masters of the form as Alice Munro, John Updike, and Joyce Carol Oates. Consider starting your own collection of works from this amazing writer, who passed away in 1999 at the age of seventy-two.

     
Read more...


Top Books by State: Louisiana

Today we continue our Top Books by State series with a close look at some of the best books from Louisiana. Louisiana is an eclectic mix of small town, big city, and bayou, making it a popular destination for American and international tourists alike. Perhaps best known for its annual Mardi Gras festival, New Orleans is a vibrant mix of culture, reflected in its music, food, and people. Its Cajun and Creole cultures have their roots in French, African, and French Canadian cultures respectively and there is also an influence from Haitian immigration. Let's take a look at some of the best books to come from Louisiana:

     
Read more...


Top Books By State: Kentucky

By Adrienne Rivera. Aug 11, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature

Next up on our state-by-state tour of America is Kentucky. This southern state is most internationally known for being the headquarters of the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant chain, but within the United States, we know there's a lot more to it than that. Kentucky is right on the Mason Dixon line, marking the end of the north and the beginning of the south. Kentucky is bluegrass music and bourbon, the Kentucky Derby and college basketball, moonshine and coal mining, and so much more. It's both rural and metropolitan. Eastern Kentucky is home to part of the Appalachian Mountains while further north west is Louisville, one of the most important cities in the area. Kentucky is a beautiful place to live and a wonderful place to visit. Today, we continue our Top Books by State series by looking at some of the contradictions found within the Bluegrass State:

     
Read more...


Philip Roth, Philip K. Dick, and the Man in the High Castle

By Audrey Golden. Apr 19, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, American Literature

What would our world look like if the Axis powers had won World War II? How would our daily lives have been transformed if the United States had been sympathetic to Nazi Germany? Posing “what if” questions about World War II and its aftermath has been popular among some of America’s most widely read authors. Notably, both Philip K. Dick and Philip Roth have imagined alternate histories in which Nazi Germany won the war. While the series The Man in the High Castle takes its title and storyline directly from Dick’s novel of the same name, we’d like to explore the literary precursors to the show and to consider the ways in which writers wield great power in the writing (and rewriting) of our histories.

     
Read more...


Caging the Cat on a Hot Tin Roof: Tennessee Williams

By Lauren Corba. Mar 26, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Drama

Thomas Lanier (Tennessee) Williams was a man before his time, drawing attention to social issues rather than politics; focusing on mental health, sexual orientation, domestic violence, and family issues. He is one of the greatest American playwrights and largely undervalued.

     
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...


Exploring Philip Roth's Memorable Protagonists

By Leah Dobrinska. Mar 19, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Movie Tie-Ins

The best stories have memorable protagonists. Over the course of his illustrious career, Philip Roth has fashioned numerous standouts. Roth said in a 2014 interview republished in the New York Times that his “focus has never been on masculine power rampant and triumphant but rather on the antithesis: masculine power impaired…[His] intention is to present [his] fictional men not as they should be but vexed as men are.”  A look at some of the great Rothian main characters reveals that perhaps it’s the characters’ realistic struggles and less-than-picture-perfect lifestyles that make them as memorable as they have become.

     
Read more...


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.

     
Read more...


Five Interesting Facts About Sinclair Lewis

By Neely Simpson. Feb 7, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Nobel Prize Winners

American author and Nobel laureate, Sinclair Lewis, was born in 1885 in the small Minnesota town of Sauk Centre. He was the youngest son of the town doctor. Unlike his two older brothers, he was awkward, gangly, sensitive and bad at sports. He also had very bad acne and was teased mercilessly for his looks. His was a lonely childhood. However, he showed an early aptitude for writing and found an escape in journaling and books. He left Sauk Centre at the age of seventeen to attend Oberlin Academy (Oberlin College) for a year. After his year at Oberlin, he was accepted to Yale where he was a contributor to and editor for the Yale Literary Magazine. Over the course of his career, he authored twenty-three novels, numerous short stories, articles, plays and poetry. Here are five interesting facts about one of America's first great satirists.

     
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