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Top Books by State: New York

By Adrienne Rivera. Apr 6, 2024. 5:51 PM.

Topics: American Literature

New York is the next stop on our literary journey throughout the fifty states. Richly diverse in people and landscape, New York is a wealth of culture, activity, and beautiful scenery. From the hectic buzz of New York City to the beautiful forests and farms of upstate New York, which is full of amazing things to do and see. Today's novels span decades of American literature, showcasing both the city and rural areas throughout the history of the state. From the earliest days of America to modern city living, these books represent some of the best books set in New York. Join us as we take a closer look at The Empire State in this edition of our Top Books by State Series:

     
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Top Books by State: Vermont

By Adrienne Rivera. Mar 17, 2024. 6:54 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Pulitzer Prize, American Literature

Today, we continue our literary road trip through the United States by taking a closer look at some books set in the great state of Vermont. This New England state, home to hot, humid summers and long, frigid winters, possesses a landscape of great natural beauty. Known for agriculture and forestry, Vermont's landscape has served as an inspiration to writers and artists for years. Join us today as we take a closer look at Vermont in our Top Books by State series: 

     
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Newbery Medal Winning Authors Series: Charles Boardman Hawes

By Adrienne Rivera. Feb 24, 2024. 11:09 PM.

Topics: Children's Books, American Literature, Newbery Award

The John Newbery Medal is awarded annually to a children's book that represents the height of achievement in that field of literature. 1924's winner is particularly notable because he passed away before receiving the award. Today in our Newbery Medal Winning Authors series, we look at the 1924 winner, Charles Boardman Hawes, who, in his short life, earned the most prestigious award for children's book writers in America.

     
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Speculative Fiction Writer Octavia Butler: A Reading Guide

By Adrienne Rivera. Jan 7, 2024. 5:51 AM.

Topics: Awarded Books, American Literature

Octavia Butler was born in 1947 in Pasadena, California. From a young age, her mother encouraged her love of stories and writing, from buying her a typewriter in her childhood to using money for surgery to support her writing. Inspired by racial segregation and the prevalence of the white male protagonist in science fiction, Butler turned her attention to speculative fiction. She studied writing at UCLA and the Clarion Science Fiction Workshop. She sold short stories to anthologies and eventually released a novel that would become the first in her legendary Patternmaster series. Butler published throughout the entirety of her life, even throughout a battle with depression and writer's block. Her impressive body of work earned her both the Hugo and Nebula awards. She is also the first speculative fiction writer to receive a MacArthur Fellowship. She passed away in 2006 at the age of fifty-eight. Her work continues to impress and inspire. Join us today as we look at some of her most important works.

     
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Gertrude Chandler Warner and The Boxcar Children

For most people, the biggest names in mysteries are Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. While those beloved masters are well known worldwide, for many young readers, their first introduction into the genre is through another author: Gertrude Chandler Warner, author of the classic children's series The Boxcar Children. Join us today as we take a look at her life and work.

     
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Best Quotes from Ernest Hemingway

American novelist, short story writer, and journalist Ernest Hemingway is widely considered one of the most important and influential writers in American literature. Throughout his decades-long career, he produced seven novels, multiple short story collections and novellas, and non-fiction pieces, which include three decades of war coverage and travel journalism. Several of his novels, including For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Sun Also Rises, and A Farewell to Arms, have earned the unofficial status of Great American Novel and are considered classics outside of America. Hemingway is known for his simple, clear style that conveys complex meaning without overly complex structure or wording. He is the recipient of both the Pulitzer and Nobel Prizes. Today, we look at some of the best passages in Hemingway's classic style.

     
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Remembering Anne Rice

By Adrienne Rivera. Oct 22, 2023. 6:15 AM.

Topics: Horror, Legendary Authors, American Literature

Renowned horror writer Anne Rice passed away on December 11, 2021, at 80, due to complications relating to a stroke. Born Howard Allen Frances O'Brien in 1941, Rice developed an interest in writing at an early age. She spent much of her young life in New Orleans, a city featured prominently in some of her most famous works.

     
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Fantasy Author Patricia McKillip: A Reading Guide

By Adrienne Rivera. Sep 2, 2023. 4:25 PM.

Topics: Awarded Books, American Literature

Novelist Patricia A. McKillip was born in 1948 in Salem, Oregon. She attended the College of Notre Dame and San Jose State University. She began her career publishing books for young children. Her first novel, her third published work, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, won the World Fantasy Award in 1976, cementing her as one of the best fantasy authors of her time. Known for her stunning and lyrical prose, McKillip's stories often feature feminist takes on folk and fairy tales. Often awarded throughout her career, McKillip was given the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2008. She passed away at her home in 2022 at the age of seventy-four. Join us today as we take a closer look at some of her most beautiful and enduring stories:

 

     
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Judy Blume's Most Banned Books

By Adrienne Rivera. May 21, 2023. 4:30 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, American Literature

With a career spanning over fifty years, Judy Blume is a force in children's fiction. Her earnest portrayals of life for teens and pre-teens have made her one of the most beloved authors writing today. Her books continue to be reprinted and updated as even those written decades ago resonate for children today. However, her dedication to portraying real issues pre-teens and teens face has often led to her books being banned. Judy Blume is consistently placed on lists of most banned writers. Join us today as we take a look at some of Judy Blume's best and most banned novels for children.

     
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Best Quotes from Philip Roth

Philip Roth was born in New Jersey in 1933 to second-generation Jewish parents from Austria and Ukraine. He graduated from Weequahic High School in 1950, and his time there inspired much of his fiction, including his popular and critically acclaimed Portnoy’s Complaint. He earned a BA from Bucknell College and an MA from the University of Chicago. He began studying for his PhD but dropped out. He taught writing at numerous institutions before retiring from teaching in the early 90’s. His publishing career began in the 50’s with short stories and novellas. His first collected work, Goodbye, Columbus, won the National Book Award in 1960, securing his place as one of the best American writers of his generation. He won a second National Book Award for Sabbath’s Theater and a Pulitzer Prize for American Pastoral. He also won three PEN/Faulkner Awards throughout his career. He passed away in 2018 at the age of eighty-five. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best passages from Roth’s impressive body of work:

 

     
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