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Free of All That Noise: A Philip Roth Round-Up

By Leah Dobrinska. Mar 19, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, American Literature

"Everybody else is working to change, persuade, tempt and control them. The best readers come to fiction to be free of all that noise." ~Philip Roth in Conversations with Philip Roth

Philip Roth was one of the great, American literary geniuses of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Through his works, he explored the idea of self. He also highlighted the social and political climate of the time in which he wrote, often with satire and his particular brand of literary panache.

When Roth died in 2018, he had been awarded two National Book Awards for Fiction, two National Book Critics Circle awards, three PEN/Faulkner awards, as well as the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters (2002), a National Humanities Medal (2010), and a Man Booker International Prize (2011), among numerous other awards. But beyond these quantifiable accolades, Philip Roth had perhaps the most profound impact on countless readers who picked up his work. It's true that in his stories, he allowed us to "be free of all that noise". Today, in honor of his birthday, we've selected several of our favorite Philip Roth posts to share.

     
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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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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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Ten Quotes from Amy Tan

By Adrienne Rivera. Feb 19, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature

First generation American writer Amy Tan was born In Oakland, California on February 19, 1952 to Chinese immigrant parents. She studied at San Jose State University where she received both her BA and Masters degree. She pursued a doctoral degree at UC Berkley but eventually dropped out. Before breaking out as a writer, she worked a variety of jobs, including switchboard operator, pizza chef, and bartender. In 1989, Tan published her first novel, The Joy Luck Club, and she became an immediate and massive success. Her book was adapted into a hit film in 1993. Like much of her body of work, this first novel was partially inspired by her real life experiences: the interaction between a Chinese mother and her American daughter and the burden of family tragedy.

     
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Five Things You Might Not Know About Toni Morrison

By Abigail Bekx. Feb 18, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Book News

Toni Morrison is one of the foremost leaders who brought African-American literature from the fringes of literary circles into the mainstream. Born Chloe Ardelia Wofford on February 18, 1931, Morrison grew up in Lorain, Ohio. She attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. where she majored in English before earning a Master of Arts from Cornell University. Morrison began her career by teaching English at several universities. In 1970, she published her first novel, The Bluest Eyes. Her best known novel, Beloved, was published in 1987. In 1993, Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. She continues her work promoting and supporting the central theme of her novels: the experience of African-Americans in unjust societies. 

     
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Six Books About Love (From Authors Who Aren't Your Typical Romance Writers)

By Kristin Masters. Feb 14, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature

Valentine's Day is upon us, and while modern day readers often associate authors like Nicholas Sparks and Nora Roberts with romance, these writers aren't the only ones to deliver tales of love and passion. Here's a look at a few authors who aren't your typical romance writers, but who have written delightful, poignant love stories. 

     
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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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Literary Travel: Six Places Fans of the Little House Series Should Visit

By Abigail Bekx. Feb 7, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literary travel

Laura Ingalls Wilder spent much of her life traveling with her family as pioneers. She grew up homesteading different farms all over the Midwest. As an adult, she chronicled her journeys in the Little House on the Prairie series. Wildly popular, the children’s series and resulting television show helped romanticize the experiences of the Ingalls family. Many places Laura described in her books have been restored and can still be visited today, helping return a sense of reality to the difficulties pioneers faced. 

     
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A James A. Michener Tribute

By Leah Dobrinska. Feb 3, 2019. 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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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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