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Collecting Striking Editions of the Rubaiyat

By Matt Reimann. Apr 14, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Book Collecting

I bought my edition of the Rubaiyat from a secondhand bookstore. I can’t tell exactly how old it is; it doesn’t include a date. It was printed by Concord Books, Inc., a publisher whose fate I’ve yet been able to discern. But the volume itself is attractive: a faithful representation of the same Persian poem that captivated Victorian readers some 150 years ago. That is, it’s exquisitely translated, and comes with joyous, beautiful illustrations to boot.

     
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Collecting Nobel Laureates: Gabriel García Márquez and Octavio Paz

When one thinks of the great literary minds to come out of Latin America, Gabriel García Márquez and Octavio Paz often top the list. Indeed, both Gabo and Paz have had a significant impact on the world of Latin American letters and politics. Likewise, each man won a Nobel Prize in Literature. If you are collecting Nobel laureates, especially Nobel laureates from Latin America, these two authors must be included. Read on for collecting points and ideas for the Gabriel García Márquez and Octavio Paz enthusiast.

     
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Bird & Bull: A Fine History of a Fine Press

By Adrienne Rivera. Apr 11, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Fine Press, Book Collecting

In 1958, Henry Morris, inspired by piece of medieval paper he'd recently acquired and a new hobby of paper making, founded Bird & Bull Press. Bird & Bull Press published over seventy-five beautiful books, each printed on paper handmade by Morris himself or carefully selected and imported. Bird & Bull publications were printed by letterpress from metal type, creating books that not only serve as a lovely example of the skill and artistry that goes into bookmaking, typography, and paper making, but as a means of preserving a history and tradition that otherwise may have been lost.

     
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First Books vs. First Editions: The Difference and Significance

By Nick Ostdick. Apr 7, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting, Modern First Editions

Everyone thinks they understand the value of a first edition. The first printing of a book automatically makes it rare, right? Because X or Y novel is a first run, it’s immediately valuable and worthy of collecting, yes? While this is certainly the case with a number of books throughout the literary landscape, first editions are not necessarily sought after by collectors just because they’re the first run. In fact, when you think about it, every book ever published has a first edition printing, but some were not lucky enough to see a second or third.

One factor that truly makes a book rare, valuable, and the apple of a collector’s eye is the combination of a first edition and a first bookthat is, the first printing of an author’s first novel, usually an author of great regard or with a long, profound literary career. These literary Easter eggs are usually printed in small quantitiesremember: we’re talking about first novels from predominantly debut authorsand are often hardcover and ornate or individualized in cover design as subsequent printings tend to reduce artistic quality for mass reproduction. By the time these authors publish their second, third, or fourth books, first print runs usually increase based on demand, which makes the first editions of these first novels even more rare and valuable.

     
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Collecting Nobel Laureates: Miguel Angel Asturias & Pablo Neruda

By Leah Dobrinska. Apr 5, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Nobel Prize Winners

Recently, we began spotlighting Nobel Prize in Literature winners from Latin America. Today, we’d like to highlight a couple more of our favorites. Read on for general information, ideas, and collecting points on Miguel Angel Asturias and Pablo Neruda, winners of the Prize at a time in history when the world as a whole was waking up to the amazing works and writers emerging from Latin America.

For more information on our previous Latin American Nobel laureate spotlights featuring Gabriela Mistral and Mario Vargas Llosa, please see the end of this post. 

     
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Collecting Limited Editions Club Publications

By Leah Dobrinska. Mar 28, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting

As book collectors, we know the importance of the book as a physical object. From marginalia to dust jackets, numerous factors come in to play when determining what to collect and how much any given collectible is worth. Indeed, the condition of the physical book goes a long way in determining its value to collectors, and in many case the look of a book—from its illustrations to its binding and everything in between—charts the course for collectors.

Many ‘groupings’ of collectible books exist, and they often direct the collecting ways of interested bibliophiles. For example, some collectors focus on collecting the leather-bound Franklin Library editions. Others have a special place in their hearts for the Penguin Classics, either the Deluxe Editions or the familiar black-spine series. Still others look to fine-press operations for their aesthetic outputs. One of the most important and valuable ‘groupings’ of collectible books is the Limited Editions Club and its publications.

     
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Five Famous Hawaiian Authors

By Nick Ostdick. Mar 24, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Literary travel

Sand. Surf. Sun. All of it in seemingly endless supply. It’s the pinnacle of a dreamy, island vacation: Hawaii. The last of the 50 U.S. states to enter the Union, Hawaii has long been a melting pot of its own when it comes to the cultures, traditions, and people who make these chains of islands such a destination for vacationers and dreamers alike. Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Europeans. All these influences and more are part of a great cultural fabric that makes Hawaii such a vibrant place. What about famous authors from the islands?

     
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The Bond Dossier: You Only Live Twice

By Nick Ostdick. Mar 22, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, James Bond

It’s perhaps tragically ironic Ian Fleming’s eleventh James Bond novel is titled You Only Live Twice. That irony stems from the fact it was the last Bond novel Fleming completed before his death in August 1964. While a handful of other Fleming-conceived novels were published after his death, You Only Live Twice was the final 007 story Fleming saw from start to finish. He passed away just five months after the novel’s publication.

     
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Collecting Nobel Laureates: Saul Bellow

By Brian Hoey. Mar 17, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Book Collecting, Nobel Prize Winners

Since Saul Bellow won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1976, only a few other American writers (the inimitable Toni Morrison, who earned the sought-after medal in 1993 and most recently, Bob Dylan, come to mind) have accomplished the same feat. This fact speaks to a number of phenomena, but it chiefly indicates the way that Bellow’s fiction represented a sort of capstone in American fiction. Born in Quebec to Lithuanian-Jewish immigrants, Bellow soon moved to Chicago, a city he would come to immortalize in his works. Perhaps more than any other writer, Bellow brought the modernist and intellectual traditions in 20th century fiction into conversation, crafting unforgettable characters in the process.

     
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Family Endurance: The Vicar of Wakefield

By Claudia Adrien. Mar 11, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Literature

Published in 1766, The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith became one of the most widely read novels of the Victorian era. It is widely referenced in British literaturefrom Charles Dickens' Tale of Two Cities to Jane Austen's Emma and George Eliot's Middlemarch. A book about family endurance, the drama surrounds the characters of the Primrose family: Dr. Primrose as the Vicar of Wakefield, his wife, and their many children. The Primrose's idyllic country life is turned upside down when they lose their financial footing and a daughter is abducted.

     
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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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