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Top Books by State: Missouri

By Adrienne Rivera. Feb 10, 2021. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors

Today we continue our literary road trip by taking a look at some of the best books set in the state of Missouri. Known for its bustling cities as well as the Ozarks, Missouri is a diverse and beautiful natural state of Missouri. St. Louis is one of the largest and most important cities in the Midwest, full of history and landmarks. The Missouri River flows into the Mississippi River here as well, which is especially notable considering the books we're focusing on today. Join us as we take a closer look at the work of Mark Twain in our Top Books by State series:

     
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Thomas Harris: Biography and Important Works

By Martin Pahulje. Jan 28, 2021. 9:45 AM.

Topics: Horror, Legendary Authors, Thomas Harris

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 thriller writers is Thomas Harris. Already popular through his writing, the film adaptations of his work helps to build his devoted audience. His creation of Hannibal Lector has led to television series, plays, and parody musicals about the world’s favorite cannibal and catapulted Harris into fame. 

     
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Nine of the Best Quotes from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

By Adrienne Rivera. Nov 10, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature, Movie Tie-Ins

J.R.R. Tolkien was born in South Africa in 1892. He spend his early years there, returning to his parent's native England to visit, but staying permanently after the death of his father. It was during this time that he became familiar with the landscape of the country he would come to love, visiting villages and countrysides that would become he basis for the most famous of his creations: Middle Earth, the setting for The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit, the language and mythology of which would become his life's work. One such place was his aunt Jane's farm, called Bag End, which he later used for the name of Bilbo Baggin's home in The Shire. After his mother's death, he and his brother were raised in Birmingham where Tolkien continued his education. It was during this time Tolkien first became interested in creating languages, an interest that followed him into adulthood and is clearly seen in The Lord of the Rings series, which utilizes several invented languages, most famously, Tolkien's Elvish. He went on to study English language and literature at Oxford where he graduated with honors. After serving in World War I, he began his career in academia, serving as a professor at University of Leeds. He published several notable works of scholarship during this time. He also wrote The Hobbit and the first two volumes of The Lord of the Rings. He published the final volume of The Lord of the Rings in 1948. Tolkien's works took on a near-cult popularity during his lifetime, creating a boom in the fantasy genre and inspiring other works and games, such as roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons. The books have been adapted into animated films and famously, two sets of trilogies directed by Peter Jackson. They continue to be immensely popular today and a television series based on the mythology of Middle Earth is in the works for Amazon Prime. Today we take a look at some of the best quotes from each of the books in The Lord of the Rings trilogy:

     
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Unexpected Meetings Between Legendary Authors and Celebrities

By Matt Reimann. Aug 20, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Authors are contributors to their culture, and as part of the job, they tend to cross paths with their famous contemporaries. These can be other authors, artists, actors, leaders, and cultural icons, and at times can create some rather unlikely pairings. Here are a few of these moments immortalized on camera.

     
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Iconic Images of Author Jack London

By Kristin Masters. Jul 30, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Rare Books, Book Collecting

On January 12, 1876, author Jack London was born John Griffith Chaney. The son of astrologer William Chaney and music teacher/spiritualist Flora Wellman, London grew up in poverty. After working as a sailor, going to Alaska for the Klondike Gold Rush, and even doing a stint as a hobo, London came to see writing as his means of escaping the work "trap." He began his career, fortuitously, at a time when new printing technology made it more cost effective to publish magazines cheaply, and he was soon making an excellent living thanks to the burgeoning demand for short fiction. London became one of the most beloved American authors, capturing our imagination with his tales of adventure.

     
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Tennessee Williams and the Catastrophe of Success

By Neely Simpson. Apr 26, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Drama

The Glass Menagerie narrowly avoided complete disaster when it premiered in Chicago in 1944 with the inebriated Laurette Taylor in the crucial role of overbearing matriarch, Amanda Wingfield. Taylor was found drunk in the alley behind the theater an hour and a half before the opening curtain. Somehow, despite needing to vomit in a bucket backstage between scenes, she managed to pull off a performance still considered legendary. It was this performance on which hung the destiny of one of America's greatest playwrights: Tennessee Williams.

     
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Philip Roth, Philip K. Dick, and the Man in the High Castle

By Audrey Golden. Apr 19, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, American Literature

What would our world look like if the Axis powers had won World War II? How would our daily lives have been transformed if the United States had been sympathetic to Nazi Germany? Posing “what if” questions about World War II and its aftermath has been popular among some of America’s most widely read authors. Notably, both Philip K. Dick and Philip Roth have imagined alternate histories in which Nazi Germany won the war. While the series The Man in the High Castle takes its title and storyline directly from Dick’s novel of the same name, we’d like to explore the literary precursors to the show and to consider the ways in which writers wield great power in the writing (and rewriting) of our histories.

     
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A Tribute to John Updike

By Kristin Masters. Apr 18, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Book Collecting, Literature

Best known for the Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom series, John Updike published in a variety of genres beyond fiction, including poetry, literary criticism, short stories, and even children's books.

     
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Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Political and Familial Influences

By Kristin Masters. Apr 6, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Nobel Prize Winners, Book News

Today we celebrate the birthday of legendary author Gabriel García Márquez, affectionately known as "Gabo." Born on March 6, 1928, García Márquez would live through one of the most violent periods in Colombian history. Steeped in the stories of his grandparents, García Márquez wove Colombia's history into magical tales of war, love, and survival.

     
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Virginia Hamilton's Life and Work

By Shelley Kelber. Mar 12, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Awarded Books, Newbery Award

Virginia Hamilton was a master storyteller who preserved black oral tradition through her intensive research uncovering riddles, stories, and traditions. Her career would span for more than 40 years, but her first book was published in 1967, a time when most books devoted to the African American experience dealt with issues of segregation and poverty. She termed her novels “liberation literature” and instead of problem storylines, her tales underscored the experiences of ordinary people. Among her works were picture books, folk tales, science-fiction stories, realistic novels, biographies, and mysteries.

     
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