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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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The Important Life and Work of Ralph Ellison

By Adrienne Rivera. Mar 1, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, Book Collecting, Awarded Books

Born on March 1, 1914 in Oklahoma City and named after transcendentalist poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, American novelist and literary critic Ralph Ellison remains an important figure and influence in American literature and scholarship. But in spite of his numerous awards and the influence he has had on African American literature, Ellison almost pursued a different field entirely.

     
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Of Mice and Men and Marine Biology: A John Steinbeck Round-Up

By Leah Dobrinska. Feb 27, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Book Collecting

If you’ve been reading our blog for any length of time, you know we’re big fans of John Steinbeck. Steinbeck, through his writing, made his way into American homes and schools over the course of the 20th century. That trend has continued to present day with many of his books counted as classics and placed on required reading lists from California to Maine. Steinbeck earned the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962 "for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception." In many a blog post, we’ve noted some of our favorite facts about Steinbeck’s life, best ways to collect the literary giant, and perhaps some lesser known (or considered) details of his career and legacy. In honor of his birthday today, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite John Steinbeck articles from across the blog. Enjoy!

     
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A Look Inside Presidential Libraries

Today is the anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's birthday. In addition to having been an exceptional statesman, Lincoln, like many of America's forefathers was also a prolific reader, amassing an impressive personal library. In honor of the late, great president, we've put together a post to give you a look inside presidential libraries.

     
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Thomas Harris: A Modern Master of Suspense

By Abigail Bekx. Feb 8, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Horror, Legendary Authors, Book Collecting

Thriller and horror have long been a part of readers’ diets. From the Gothic to Edgar Allan Poe to Stephen King, readers find joy in the macabre. One of the most popular contemporary thriller writers is Thomas Harris. Already popular through his writing, the film adaptations of his work has helped to build his devoted audience. His creation of Hannibal Lecter has led to television series, plays, and parody musicals about the world’s favorite cannibal all while catapulting Harris into fame. 

     
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Remembering Ronald Reagan Through the Written Word

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

Topics: American History, Book Collecting

When one hears the name “Ronald Reagan” many titles come to mind—actor, politician, president. And while in this day and age, many Hollywood stars participate in politics and make their political voices heard (aided, of course, by massive social media platforms and the resulting exposure), thirty years ago when Reagan made the jump from actor to Governor of California and, subsequently, to President of the United States, he was a bit of a trailblazer. Indeed, Reagan’s charisma charmed the Republican party and the American people. When he left office in 1989, his approval rating was a sky-high 68%, making him as popular as Franklin Delano Roosevelt before him and Bill Clinton in his wake.

     
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How a Signature Increases a Book's Value

By Kristin Masters. Jan 30, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting

How much is a baseball worth? Maybe a dollar or two, right? Get that same baseball signed by Alex Rodriguez, and you have a collectible item. If that baseball happened to be a home run ball, you've hit the jackpot! Signatures and autographs in books work much the same way. The rarity of both the book and the signature help determine the value of a book.

     
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The Friendship of Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens

By Kristin Masters. Jan 8, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting, Charles Dickens

On January 8, 1824, author Wilkie Collins was born. He'd rise to veritable stardom as one of England's best loved authors. Collins enjoyed the tutelage and collaboration of "the inimitable" Charles Dickens, who would become a fast friend to Collins.      
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Book Spotlight: Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose

By Abigail Bekx. Jan 5, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Book Collecting

Throughout his life, Umberto Eco worked as novelist, literary critic, and academic. In much of his work, Eco makes literary and historical references, exemplifying a subtle intertextuality, the connection between different works of literature.  The Name of the Rose , originally published in Italy in 1980, uses Eco’s previous study to make many such references to medieval sources that the reader must solve, adding a certain Sherlock Holmes feeling to the work.      
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A Quick Guide to J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth

"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." 

     
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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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