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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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The Magic of Gabriel García Márquez

By Andrea Koczela. Mar 6, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Nobel Prize Winners

Born March 6, 1927, Gabriel García Márquez is one of the 20th century’s leading authors. The earliest living recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, García Márquez is best known for his novels, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), Autumn of the Patriarch (1975), and Love in the Time of Cholera (1985). Carlos Fuentes called García Márquez, “the most popular and perhaps the best writer in Spanish since Cervantes.”

     
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Visiting Ralph Ellison's Papers at the Library of Congress

Are you interested in learning more about the life and literary work of Ralph Ellison? If you find yourself in Washington, D.C., there are many reasons to plan a visit to the Library of Congress. One of those reasons, though, should certainly be to explore the Ralph Ellison papers, which include materials from 1890-2005. There are a total of 74,800 items in the collection, such as correspondence, drafts for essays, short stories, novels, lectures given by and about Ellison, a wide variety of resources documenting his literary career, and Ellison’s final unfinished novel, Juneteenth.

     
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Interesting Editions of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men

By Leah Dobrinska. Feb 27, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, American Literature

Legendary author John Steinbeck was a literary mastermind. He wrote prolifically throughout the 20th century, and his work and the themes he presents still resonate today. Of Mice and Men, his 1937 novella, does what all brilliant pieces of literature are wont to do. It gives us characters and situations that make us think and feel deeply. As such, the work has been subject to both high praise and a substantial amount of criticism. But it’s safe to say that Of Mice and Men will continue to be widely read, discussed, and appreciated. For a Steinbeck collector, it’s a must-have. Here, we’ve compiled several interesting editions and options for those looking to add Of Mice and Men to their shelves.

     
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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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