"Eala Earendel, engla beorhtast ofer middangeard monnum sended"
The above quote comes from a line of Anglo-Saxon poetry. J.R.R. Tolkien, a linguist and scholar of Anglo-Saxon culture, encountered the line in his research and became fascinated with the word "earendel." Though his Anglo-Saxon dictionary translated the word as "shining light," Tolkien believed that the word sounded like it came from a language "far beyond ancient English."
Happy New Year! We hope you awoke this morning full of hope and excitement for what 2019 holds. For many of us, the turning of the calendar is an opportunity to reflect on the past year and set goals and plans for the upcoming one. These may be health and fitness related, social and relational, work-based, or any of the many other types of resolutions you hear being thrown around by January 1 optimists. We’ve been thinking of some resolutions of our own, specifically book-based resolutions. Whether you’re a seasoned bibliophile, a novice collector or reader, or an avid fan of all things written word, what follows are some suggestions that might be right up your New Year’s resolution alley.
Today marks the anniversary of the birthday of Rudyard Kipling, the world renowned author who brought a new (and often controversial) perspective to British imperialism. During his lifetime Kipling would cross continents, win a Nobel Prize, and befriend the celebrated authors of his day.
It's Christmas Eve! As adults, sometimes we can lose sight of the joy, wonder, and magic of this season. But one book that has always encapsulated those emotions is The Night Before Christmas. This childhood classic has enraptured generations, so much so that some rare book collectors even focus all their efforts on this single title.
During his long writing career, Saul Bellow wrote 17 books that were reviewed in The New York Times over a period of six decades. Many of those reviews were written by prominent writers in their own right, such as Cynthia Ozick, Irving Howe, and Alfred Kazin. Even earlier, Bellow himself was writing articles for the newspaper on other authors’ works and questions about his own texts. And that’s not all. He also wrote a play, and he was interviewed hundreds of times over the years in which he wrote. He also began editing a literary magazine, News from the Republic of Letters, when he was 81 years old. During his lifetime, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1976, the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction the same year, and the National Book Award on three separate occasions. All of this to say that Bellow not only was extremely well-reviewed and prolific over the course of his career, but that it’s not really a surprise that his books have become so collectible. Bellow was born in Quebec in 1915, spent most of his adult life in Chicago, and died in 2005 in Brookline, Massachusetts. We want to give you some advice for building a collection of Bellow’s work.
German writer Cornelia Funke was born in 1958 in Dorsten in what was formerly West Germany. She studied pedagogy at the University of Hamburg and after graduation, worked for three years as a social worker. She married book printer Rolf Frahme in 1979 and shortly after, left social work to briefly pursue illustration. However, she quickly turned to writing her own books, and her efforts have been supremely successful. Her first books, which in English were titled Ghosthunters and the Incredibly Revolting Ghost and C.H.I.X., were published in 1993, and each were the the first book in a series for elementary-aged readers. She published her first novel, The Thief Lord, in 2000 and has gone on to write many successful novels for young adults, including Dragon Rider and the Inkheart trilogy, and most recently the MirrorWorld novel The Golden Yarn and picture book The Book No One Ever Read.
Today is the birthday of John Gardner. Gardner, in most circles, is not so much of a household name as James Bond or Ian Fleming, but he was responsible for keeping the intrigue and excitement of the legendary spy and his author alive in the hearts and minds of fans for nearly two decades. Indeed, from 1981 to 1996, John Gardner penned 16 original James Bond novels. In honor of his birthday, let’s take a look at several of his titles.
Though the James Bond films were originally based on the novels by Ian Fleming, more recent movies are written in the spirit of Fleming's work. After Fleming's death, other writers have been invited to take up the James Bond mantle. First was Kingsley Amis, who wrote one Bond novel under the pseudonym Robert Markham. John Gardner penned the next 14 novels, along with two film novelizations. Raymond Benson was the next author to continue the Bond legacy, writing from 1996 to 2003.