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Remembering Neil Armstrong

By Kristin Masters. Aug 13, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Biographies, Science

On August 25, 2012, the world lost a truly great man: Neil Armstrong. The first man to walk on the moon, Armstrong inspired a nation--and generations--with the hope and excitement of space exploration.

Born August 5, 1930 in Wapakoneta, Ohio, Armstrong discovered his love for flight very early. By the age of 16, he'd already earned his student license. When he began at Purdue University, it was to pursue a degree in aeronautical engineering under a full scholarship from the US Navy. However, when the Korean War broke out, Armstrong's education was interrupted by the call of duty. He flew 78 combat missions during the Korean War and returned to school in 1952.

     
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A Vincent Van Gogh Book Spotlight: Lust for Life

By Audrey Golden. Apr 30, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Biographies, Art

Vincent Van Gogh lived a short life and committed suicide when he was only 37 years old. For many painters, writers, and collectors, Van Gogh’s story is an interesting one, often shrouded in mystique due to the artist’s own struggles with mental health issues and psychic instability. After his death, when Van Gogh’s paintings finally received the acclaim that they never did in his lifetime, public interest also grew surrounding the artist’s life story. Rumors circulated about his madness and his creative genius. In the 1920s, a young Irving Stone (born Irving Tennenbaum) traveled with his then-wife Lona Mosk to Paris, where he began investigating Van Gogh’s life and works. Stone’s research led to the critically acclaimed biography Lust for Life (1934).

     
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Collect What Your Kids Read

By Kristin Masters. Sep 3, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting, Biographies

It's that time of year! Kids are headed back to school, and for students of all ages that means required reading is right around the corner. Perhaps you only vaguely remember The Odyssey, Romeo and Juliet, and Lord of the Flies. But classroom staples can offer inspiration for enhancing your rare book collection.

     
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V.S. Naipaul and Other Writers Who Hated Their Biographies

By Matt Reimann. Aug 17, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Biographies

Writers are often meticulous and private people. Thus, the creation of authorized biographies can be a contentious matter. Some authors, like Nobel Laureate V.S. Naipaul, allowed a biographer into their home and shared personal information only to find that the resulting biography presented a person foreign to themselves. Although the biographer has a greater duty to his work than to his subject, one can understand why many authors feel betrayed at the end of the process. This article will catalog a few bitter episodes between authors and their biographers including V.S. Naipaul, William S. Burroughs, and Vladimir Nabokov.

     
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Making History: A Tribute to John Glenn

By Kristin Masters. Jul 18, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, Book Collecting, Biographies, Science

When John Glenn became the first man to orbit around the earth, he reawakened a hope and patriotism in the citizens of the United States. Today would have been Glenn's 98th birthday, fittingly falling only a couple days before the anniversary of the first lunar landing. In his honor, we're remembering what the world was like all those years ago when he rose up and inspired a nation.

     
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Happy Birthday, Ian Fleming!

By Kristin Masters. May 28, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Biographies, James Bond

Today we celebrate the birthday of Ian Fleming, the legendary author who created James Bond. Seven different actors have played 007 in 26 different movie adaptations. The runaway success of Fleming's books can be attributed to the author's background as a journalist and naval intelligence officer. Fleming certainly drew on these experiences as he crafted classic tales of espionage and intrigue.

     
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Celebrating the (Literary) History of America's Presidents

Presidents are famously men of letters: educated, erudite, and charismatic. John Adams (whose birthday we celebrate today), Thomas Jefferson, and other founding fathers established their reputation by contributing to beautifully written documents like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.      
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Charles Darwin's Literary Inspirations

By Kristin Masters. Mar 30, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Biographies, History, Science

Charles Darwin's theory of evolution revolutionized the scientific world. An avid reader, Darwin built a personal library that included over 1,500 volumes of science, philosophy, and literature. Just as Darwin was influenced by what he read, he has also influenced generations of scholars and authors. A significant number of his letters, books, and papers belong to the Cambridge University Library.

     
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The Magnetic Charm of George Sand

By Matt Reimann. Jul 1, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Biographies

George Sand knew how to make people talk. Ever since she strutted onto the French literary scene, everyone in Paris turned their eyes toward this charming, strangely dressed woman of veritable artistic talent. She had a two-pronged approach: her conduct would gain the immediate attention of her peers, and her talent would sustain it. Her strategy, buoyed by her robust and wise talent, has been successful to this very day.

     
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Rethinking Form: Musician Lou Reed's Short Stories

By Audrey Golden. Mar 31, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Biographies

It has now been more than three years since Lou Reed’s death, yet fans across the globe continue to listen to his music, and musicians cover his songs in homage. We’re willing to bet that you’re at least somewhat acquainted with the Velvet Underground, the band fronted and formed by Reed in the 1960s that was once managed by Andy Warhol, and you might even be a fan of Reed’s later solo work. But what do you know about the connections between his music and the world of literature? There are more links between famous fiction and Reed’s songwriting process than you might guess.

     
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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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