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Printing in the 16th Century

By Adrienne Rivera. Jun 1, 2024. 7:20 PM.

Topics: Book History, History

One of the most important innovations in human history, printing, was the ability to reproduce copies of the written word for mass consumption and distribution. Printing has taken many forms over the centuries, dating back to ancient Sumer, when documents were pressed into clay using cylinders. Methods of printing patterns onto cloth evolved into means of printing, and in ancient China, woodblock printing and eventually movable type made book printing possible throughout China, Japan, and Korea. The 16th century was a period of massive change within the printing world as new inventions and methods revolutionized how people read.

     
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Nostradamus' Transition from Physician to Psychic

By Adrienne Rivera. Oct 28, 2023. 8:28 AM.

Topics: History

Michel de Nostradame, more commonly known by the Latinised Nostradamus, is arguably the most famous psychic in history. He is best known for his book of poetic quatrains, Les Prophéties, each of which is said to predict figure events. According to believers, his quatrains have predicted numerous key events throughout history, such as The Great Fire of London, the rise of Adolph Hitler, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Kennedy assassination, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But what many people don't realize is that while Nostradamus may be best known as a seer and prognosticator, he began his career as a scholar and apothecary. How did someone previously dedicated their life to academic pursuits become one of the most-known figures in mysticism and the occult? Let's take a closer look at the life of Nostradamus as we explore this question.

     
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Top 10 Phrases Inspired by Shakespeare

By Adrienne Rivera. Mar 15, 2023. 10:07 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature, History, Drama

William Shakespeare is arguably the most influential playwright in the English canon. Born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, he moved to London sometime in the 1580s, where he began a career as an actor and eventual playwright. Most of his works were performed between 1590 and 1630, after which he returned home and passed away at forty-nine. Shakespeare's career spanned histories, comedies, tragedies, and poems that not only captured the imagination of the common folk but also two different monarchs: Queen Elizabeth I and King James I. His works have inspired generations of writers not just in theme, but that's not the only impact of his work. Shakespeare is credited with coining hundreds of phrases still part of the English language today. Join us as we take a look at the origin of some of the common Shakespeare phrases you've likely heard or even used recently:

     
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The History and Importance of Women's Literature

By Adrienne Rivera. Apr 12, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, History

Women's literature has often been defined by publishers as a category of writing done by women. Though obviously this is true, many scholars find such a definition reductive. What makes the history of women's writing so interesting is that in many ways it is a new area of study. The tradition of women writing has been much ignored due to the inferior position women have held in male-dominated societies. It is still not unheard of to see literature classes or anthologies in which women are greatly outnumbered by male writers or even entirely absent. The onus of women's literature, then, is to categorize and create an area of study for a group of people marginalized by history and to explore through their writing their lives as they were while occupying such a unique sociopolitical space within their culture.

     
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Carl Bernstein: Mystery Writer

By Brian Hoey. Feb 14, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: History, Mystery, Suspense & Crime

The Big Sleep (1939). The Maltese Falcon (1929). All the President’s Men (1974). These three books represent some of the best mystery writing produced in the last century. And yet, one of these things is not like the others: where Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett honed and perfected a particular kind of detective novel, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward’s account of corruption and fraud within the Nixon administration leverages the conventions of those novels to present us with something all too true. Though All the President’s Men isn't a novel in the strict sense, it often reads like one—a good one, at that. As a reader, you’re fascinated by the investigative process, you feel real stakes and tension, you want to keep turning pages to figure out whodunnit, and that’s precisely what made the book so powerful.

     
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A James A. Michener Tribute

By Leah Dobrinska. Feb 3, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, History

February 3 is James A. Michener's birthday. The legendary American author wrote nearly 50 books in his lifetime, and though he passed away in 1997 at the age of 90 years, he has a strong following to this day. We are big fans of Michener at Books Tell You Why, and it seems many of you are, as well. One of our most read and debated posts to date lists some of our picks of the top Michener works. We followed that post up to include a couple more favorites. In honor of Michener's birthday, we're linking to these posts today. Take a read and let us know if you agree or disagree with our selections. And in honor of Michener's life, pick up a copy of one of his lengthy tomes and get started reading it this month.

     
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The Life and Work of Hillary Clinton

By Shelley Kelber. Oct 26, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, History

Hillary Clinton engenders strong emotions from many people. Some love her. Some love to hate her. No matter where you fall, it's difficult to argue that she's not a very accomplished, very smart, woman of a certain age. Rather than descending into political debate, we'd like to offer an overview of Clinton's accomplishments and some of her notable written works, and leave it at that.

     
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Book Spotlight: Comrades by Stephen Ambrose

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

Topics: Legendary Authors, History

Published in 2000, Comrades: Brothers, Father, Heroes, Sons, Pals exhibits an application of Stephen Ambrose’s historical knowledge to a modern topic of great importance to the author. Known for his work as a historian and biographer, Stephen Ambrose’s work on his many subjects are combined into an effort to show the importance of male friendship in a society where it is difficult to express. 

     
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Five Powerful Holocaust Books

By Abigail Bekx. Sep 30, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Newbery Award, History

Few things are as horrifying and culturally significant as the Holocaust. For most, it is difficult to comprehend the terrors faced both inside and out of the concentration camps. The works of authors, both fictional and biographical, help readers to gain a small glimpse into life for Holocaust victims, even as no form of media will ever adequately display the horrors.

     
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Five Interesting Books About the Moon Landing

By Abigail Bekx. Jul 20, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, History, Science

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing! On July 20, 1969, NASA successfully landed the Apollo 11 astronauts on the moon. Eight years earlier in 1961, President Kennedy kicked the Space Race into overdrive when he called for more efforts and resources to be put into the space programs with the goal of reaching the moon by the end of the decade. July 16, 1969, found Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins boarding the Saturn V rocket at the Kennedy Space Center and being launched into Earth’s orbit. After three days Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the moon in Eagle, the mission’s lunar module. They spent two and a half hours outside of Eagle exploring the surface, taking samples and photographs, and planting the American Flag. On July 24, Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins splashed down off Hawaii, marking the end of the Apollo 11 mission.

     
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