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Kicking Off Tombstones: Henry James' Life and Work

By Leah Dobrinska. Apr 29, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Book Collecting

Henry James was born in New York City on April 15, 1843. He had three brothers and one sister, and his parents were rich, thanks to their inheritances. Though he held no official job of his own, Henry James’ father, Henry Sr., used his wealth to move his family abroad when Henry was just twelve years old. His motivation was to ensure his children had the best academic opportunities provided for them. The result was a four year tour of Europe where the family sought out the best schools and tutors for the James children. Henry Jr. ended up as a primarily self-taught young man. The influence of his European childhood—as well as his time spent living abroad throughout the majority of his adult years—can be seen in his works, both in his style of writing and in the subject matter he explores.

     
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Book Spotlight: Tales From Shakespeare by Tina Packer

Seventeenth century poet and playwright William Shakespeare penned some of the most well-known stories in the world. The conflict, romance, comedy, and wordplay have captivated audiences for over four hundred years, and Shakespeare's plays continue to be performed on stage and screen in both their original form and in new, adapted forms. The varying forms shed a different light on the stories, introducing them and making them more accessible to a new audience.

     
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The History and Importance of the Pulitzer Prize

By Kristin Masters. Apr 15, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Pulitzer Prize, American Literature

The Pulitzer Prize—set to be awarded today—was established over 100 years ago to honor exceptional achievements in journalism. Since its inception, the award has grown to include 21 different categories, ranging from literature to musical composition. The prize is named for Joseph Pulitzer, a newspaper journalist with a fascinating life. 

     
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An Introduction to Legendary Chess Player Garry Kasparov

By Abigail Bekx. Apr 13, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting

Garry Kasparov was born in 1963 in Baku, Azerbaijan in the Soviet Union. At the age of 12 he became the USSR’s under-18 chess champion and at 17, he was the world under-20 champion. In 1985 at the age of 22, he achieved fame for being the youngest world chess champion. Throughout his chess career, he defended his title five times, broke Bobby Fisher’s rating record, andperhaps most famouslyplayed against the IBM super-computer Deep Blue. Outside of his work as a professional chess player, Kasparov was vocal about his support for democratic and market reforms and the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

     
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Do You Know Where Your Signed Books Come From?

By Kristin Masters. Apr 9, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting

When one thinks of fraud, the first cases that come to mind may be corrupt money managers (à la Bernard Madoff) or bankers. Businesses like Enron and WorldCom may likewise ring a bell, as well. Why are we talking about fraud on a blog about books, though? Well, sadly the book buying and selling business has not escaped instances of fraud, either. In 2012, Allan Formhals was found guilty of ten counts of fraud. But he wasn't an unscrupulous banker, he was an antiques dealer who sold books on the internet. Formhals was convicted of forging signatures in books and purveying them on eBay as the genuine article.

     
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The Magical Art of Fly Fishing

By Kristin Masters. Mar 27, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Fishing

Few activities offer the sport and serenity of fishing. That unlikely combination has made fishing a popular pastime for people of all ages and backgrounds. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Herbert Hoover did it. So did literary giant Ernest Hemingway. Fly fishing elevates this rather humble sport to a true art form. A fly fisherman must develop a rhythm and style for his cast, and then practice unending patience. That's why Izaac Walton called fly fishing "The Contemplative Man's Recreation."

     
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Collecting the Works of James Patterson

By Leah Dobrinska. Mar 22, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Mystery, Suspense & Crime

James Patterson is nothing if not a producer. His literary output is astounding, and the publishing schedule he sticks to is rigorous one (we've written more about his methods here). Patterson began his career in journalism. An avid reader, eventually he was turned on to the suspense and thriller genre through authors like William Peter Blatty and Frederick Forsyth. Thinking he could take a stab at writing such books, Patterson set about writing his first novel, The Thomas Berryman Number. After much rejection, Little Brown Books picked up Patterson's debut book.

     
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Book Collecting Basics: The Structure of a Book

By Kristin Masters. Mar 21, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting, Book Care

Before taking to the skies, a pilot learns the inner workings of an airplane. Rare book collectors should do the same with books. It's important to understand how a book is put together so it is easier to recognize the signs of fine craftsmanship, to spot reproductions, and to assess the value of potential additions to your collection. Here are the basics of book assembly.

     
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A Tribute to Gabo: Remembering Gabriel García Márquez

By Leah Dobrinska. Mar 6, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Rare Books, Book Collecting

The influence of Gabriel Garcia Marquez cannot be overstated. When he passed away in 2014, he was heralded as "the greatest Colombian who ever lived" by Juan Manuel Santos, the president of Colombia at the time. What did Gabriel García Márquez do to be so influential and to be considered so great? He wrote passionately about politics, both at home and abroad, in his non-fiction and journalistic efforts. He pioneered magic realism in his fiction work. As his popularity grew thanks to the success of his novels like One Hundred Years of Solitude which was translated into over 30 languages, García Márquez took advantage of opportunities to mediate peace talks and influence some of the powerful people whose company he kept.

Perhaps the appeal of Gabo is less about what he did on a grand scale, though, and more about how he was relatable to readers of all shapes and sizes, and in a particular way those who shared his Latin American roots. As Isabel Allende stated upon his death, "In his books I found my own family, my country, the people I have known all my life, the colour, the rhythm, and the abundance of my continent."

     
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Top Books By State: Alaska

By Leah Dobrinska. Mar 5, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Book Collecting

When one thinks of Alaska, words that come to mind may include wilderness, ice, and mountains, among others. In effect, many people picture a sparsely populated region with rugged terrain and brutal conditions for anyone who finds themselves left out in the cold.  Alaska, of course, was the 49th state to join the Union. Before officially becoming a state, it also served—alongside the Yukon territory—as a destination for eager gold miners during the gold rush in the early part of the twentieth century. Alaska is home to a significant number of native Alaskans or American Indians. What about the literary history of Alaska? In our effort to detail some of the top books from each state, we want to take a look at a couple of titles from Alaska.

     
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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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