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Top Books By State: Arkansas

By Adrienne Rivera. May 13, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Book Collecting

Today, we are continuing our bookish road trip through the United States by taking a look at Arkansas. The books we've chosen to highlight for our examination of this southern state were picked either for the author's Arkansas connection or because they're set in Arkansas. Arkansas is split between the Ozarks and the Gulf Coastal plain and is known for it's unique and varied landscapes as well as being home to some notable political leaders. Let's take a look at four books that make up some of the literature of Arkansas.

     
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Four Writers To Explore on Cinco de Mayo

By Adrienne Rivera. May 5, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, History

While often confused in America for Mexican Independence Day, Cinco de Mayo is actually the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla and Mexico's victory against the French. As the name implies, it is celebrated annually on May 5th. In Mexico, it is not observed as a national holiday, though schools are closed on that day and it's often celebrated with parades and historical enactments. The holiday is actually celebrated more outside of Mexico than it is in the country itself. In the United States in particular, Cinco de Mayo has taken on a life of its own and has become more of an annual celebration of Mexican American culture. Take a look at these Mexican writers this Cinco de Mayo and get in on the cultural celebration.

     
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Kicking Off Tombstones: Henry James' Life and Work

By Leah Dobrinska. Apr 29, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Book Collecting

Henry James was born in New York City on April 15, 1843. He had three brothers and one sister, and his parents were rich, thanks to their inheritances. Though he held no official job of his own, Henry James’ father, Henry Sr., used his wealth to move his family abroad when Henry was just twelve years old. His motivation was to ensure his children had the best academic opportunities provided for them. The result was a four year tour of Europe where the family sought out the best schools and tutors for the James children. Henry Jr. ended up as a primarily self-taught young man. The influence of his European childhood—as well as his time spent living abroad throughout the majority of his adult years—can be seen in his works, both in his style of writing and in the subject matter he explores.

     
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Movie Tie-Ins: Sturges' and Tracy's Old Man and the Sea

By Adrienne Rivera. Apr 5, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Awarded Books, Movie Tie-Ins

Ernest Hemingway (1889-1961) is universally considered one of the most important writers of the 20th century and certainly one of the most influential writers of the American literary canon. Hemingway's career stretched over three decades of war. He wrote travel journalism, seven novels, numerous novellas, short story collections, and works of nonfiction. His novels For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Farewell to Arms, and The Sun Also Rises are considered to be some of the most important works of literature written in the English language.

Hemingway's style has served as an influence to generations of writers and has helped form the landscape of modern American literature. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize in Literature, two of the highest honors a writer can receive. His work has been adapted numerous times for both television and film. One of the most notable adaptations of a beloved Hemingway novel is the 1958 film adaptation of The Old Man and the Sea starring Spencer Tracy.

     
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Five Interesting Facts About Maya Angelou

By Abigail Bekx. Apr 4, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Poetry, Music

Born in April 4, 1928 as Marguerite Johnson in St. Louis, Maya Angelou had a difficult childhood. Her parents divorced when she was three, leaving Angelou to be raised by her grandmother. When she was seven, Angelou was sexually assaulted by her mother’s boyfriend. After testifying against him, her attacker was beaten to death in an alley, causing Angelou to believe her voice was too powerful. She decided to remain nearly mute for the next five years. During this time Angelou connected with the written word, paving the way for her future as a writer.

     
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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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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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