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What Exactly Is Young Adult Literature? A Brief History

By Katie Behrens. Mar 10, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, Book History

If you ask a book lover what they read during their young, formative years, the conversation will inevitably turn to how “we didn’t have books like The Hunger Games when I was growing up.” And it’s true: young adult literature as a genre only began to take root in the 1970s and ‘80s, but boy, has it ever gone through a growth spurt since then. Books for teens are dominating book sales and box offices these days. Where did this phenomenon begin?

     
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How Ulysses Got Published

By Brian Hoey. Feb 2, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Book History

The past few years have been big for small presses. The two most recent Man Booker Award-winning novels were published by the same small press in England: London’s Oneworld Publications put out both Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings (2014) and the British edition of Paul Beatty’s The Sellout (2015). Meanwhile, in the United States, Coffee House Press in Minneapolis put out the first American edition of Eimear McBride’s acclaimed debut tour-de-force, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing (2013) which won the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. Anyone who claims that we are entering a golden era of small press publishing certainly has a point; however, it remains the case that small presses have often been bastions of the literary avant-garde, championing works that would go on to become classics in the face of disinterest or adversity. A prime example of this phenomenon is James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922).

     
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Freedom of the Press Battles in America

By Matt Reimann. Dec 27, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book History, History

In 1853, a Swedish visitor named Per Siljeström noted that “In no country in the world is the taste for reading so diffused among the people as in America.” Alexis de Tocqueville reached a similar conclusion two decades earlier, while surveying the young nation. The French sociologist observed the overwhelming inclination for reading and self-education among the American people. He even went so far as to call this land “the most enlightened community in the world.” The United States began as a nation of bookworms.

     
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A History of Book Ownership in the American Colonies

By Brian Hoey. Nov 24, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book History

The Puritans who settled New England were, for their part, a bookish lot. A component of their schismatic position regarding the church derived from the fact that they believed that the Bible ought to be translated into (and read in) the vernacular. So, one would expect them on the whole to be a group of thorough readers. As a result of these tendencies, in its era, colonial New England boasted the highest rate of book ownership in the world. Thus began the history of book ownership in the American colonies. And while in the early days of the settlement most books had to be imported from London, it was not long before America’s first printing press was established in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

     
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A Brief History of Typography

By Adrienne Rivera. Nov 19, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book History, Book Making

In 1984, Steve Jobs mistakenly referred to typefaces as fonts on Apple computers thereby perpetuating a misnomer that effectively erased much knowledge of typesetting for generations of young people. While creating new typefaces has become easier than ever before, it is likely that many people creating typefaces and fonts today are unaware of the amazing history, traditions, and standards of a specialization that are becoming increasingly rare as technology evolves.

     
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A Brief History of Papermaking

By Brian Hoey. Oct 27, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book History, Book Making

We associate paper so strongly with writing that it's easy to forget its other uses. By the same token, we don't often think about the fact that paper was, at one time, an invention. The fact remains, however, that paper was once at the cutting edge of modern technology. Indeed, the material which was used not just for books but for packaging, cleaning, decoration, and a host of other applications has taken a fascinating journey through history to arrive at its current state of ubiquity.

     
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Book It: Five of the Most Interesting U.S. Libraries

Let’s face it: Visiting a library while traveling to a new city is not always atop everyone’s must-do list. Even for the most bookish or literary-minded traveler, libraries as destinations often get lost in the fray when whipping up itineraries or sightseeing spots. Museums. Parks. Skyscrapers. Food markets. Sporting events. These activities more times than not reign supreme over buildings of archaic texts and decaying books where most travelers feel ‘You’ve seen one library, you’ve seen them all.’

But there are a number of libraries across the country that not only warrant serious investigation but also reward visitors with insight into our nation’s history and heritage. Whether simply marveling at the architectural wonders of these buildings or getting lost in the sheer number of volumes they offer, the U.S. plays host to some of the most aesthetically stunning, comprehensive, and interactive libraries the world over.

     
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VLOG: Seven Videos On the Art of Making Books By Hand

By Matt Reimann. Sep 13, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Fine Press, Book History, Book Making, Book Care

Some historians consider the printing press the most important invention of the first millennium. Still, the march of technology has since made the innovative device obsolete. Spreading the written word is easier and cheaper than ever before. And it is for this natural and understandable reason we have grown distant from the remarkable labor and beauty involved in printing by hand.

     
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A Brief History of Woodcut Illustrations

By Brian Hoey. Sep 6, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book History, Book Making

Though illustrations are today mostly synonymous with children’s literature, techniques for printing illustrations were developed and employed at almost the very moment the printing press entered use. And while contemporary publishers have a variety of methods at their disposal for mixing images and text, in the 15th century it was all about the woodcuts.

     
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How the Paperback Book Transformed American Culture

By Abigail Wheetley. Jul 30, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book History, Science Fiction

The paperback has been around since the Civil War, but it wasn’t until steam-powered printing presses and the growing technology that impacted the ability to produce, transport, and sell cheaper versions of heavier hardbacked bound volumes that the paperback truly began to impact the way Americans read and how they viewed the world. With the opportunity to read more, write more, and experience direct variety in our reading habits, the paperback caused a small revolution. To witness it, you’d only have to look as far as the new revolving book stands at the local drug store.

     
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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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