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Visiting the Charles Dickens House and Museum in London

By Audrey Golden. Jan 11, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature, Literary travel

If you’re traveling to London anytime soon and are an avid reader or collector of nineteenth-century British literature, why not plan a stop at the former home of Charles Dickens? We’re willing to guess that you’ve read at least one of Dickens’s novels, if not many of them. While he also wrote a number of works of nonfiction, drama, and poetry, Dickens is known best for his fiction (and largely his novels). You’ve probably read, or seen a film adaptation, of the novella A Christmas Carol (1843), in addition to reading novels such as The Pickwick Papers (1837), Oliver Twist (1839), David Copperfield (1850), Bleak House (1853), A Tale of Two Cities (1859), and Great Expectations (1861). Dickens is, perhaps, one of the most widely read English-language authors of the nineteenth century, and for Dickens' collectors or fans, it’s actually pretty easy to make a stop at his family home, which is now a museum that’s open to visitors.

     
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Best Books on Tunisia

By Audrey Golden. Dec 6, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Literary travel

Like many other North African countries, Tunisia has a long history of colonialism but also a rich literary and cultural history. Just after the turn of the twentieth century, the painter Paul Klee traveled to Sidi Bou Said, a Tunisian town on the coast just outside the capital city of Tunis. In the same place, decades later in the late 1960s, the enormously influential philosopher Michel Foucault lived while teaching at the University of Tunis. Tunisia has been a place of inspiration for writers from outside the country while also producing incredible novelists, poets, and playwrights from within. We have a few suggestions for some of the best books on Tunisia.

     
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Learning About the Baghdad Book Market

By Audrey Golden. Nov 17, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, History, Literary travel

If you’re interested in rare book collecting or Arabic literature, we cannot emphasize enough the significance of the Iraqi literary and cultural traditions, and the importance of reimagining Baghdad outside the Western context of war, violence, and dictatorship. In 2015, the Los Angeles Times published an article entitled, “Iraq Book Market Comes Back to Life Seven Years After Bombing.” A number of other western and Arab media sites posted similar pieces, recalling a destructive bombing and signs of recovery in the nation’s capital city. Those stories were referring to Al Mutanabbi, or Mutanabbi Street, in Baghdad. For years, the street, which almost reaches the Tigris River, was known for its weekly book market. A car bomb devastated it in 2007, but it has again become a location for buying used and rare books in Iraq.

     
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Buying Rare and Antiquarian Books in Dublin

By Audrey Golden. Oct 6, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Literature, Literary travel

Ireland has a long literary history, which grows especially dense in the twentieth century. From W.B. Yeats to James Joyce to Seamus Heaney, there are many collectible Irish poets and writers. In addition, there are numerous novelists who have been published in Ireland and whose work relates to Ireland’s history of colonialism that is shared, in many ways, by numerous countries around the globe. If you’re traveling to Dublin, you should certainly look into the city’s expansive literary past, but you should also be sure to visit the fantastic used and rare bookstores in the city. In terms of rare and antiquarian books, the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) lists two sellers in the city (four in the country total). In addition, there are a number of rare and used shops, as well as a thriving weekend book market.

     
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Best Books from Japan

By Audrey Golden. Oct 3, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Nobel Prize Winners, Literary travel

Are you interested in reading more Japanese literature, or are you traveling to Kyoto or Tokyo soon? We have some book recommendations for you.

     
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The Incendiary Politics of Michel Houellebecq

By Audrey Golden. Sep 14, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, History, Literary travel

Like many other readers, we’re not quite sure what to make of Michel Houellebecq. And if we enjoy reading one of his works of fiction, or if we find his work inspiring, do those sentiments reflect somehow upon our own politics? These are complicated questions, of course, and if you’re not familiar with Houellebecq, you might be wondering why we’re even asking them in the first place. To give you a quick primer: a recent headline in The Guardian* read: “Michel Houellebecq: ‘Am I Islamophobic? Probably, yes.’” The writer has been described as “the ageing enfant terrible of French literature,” and The Guardian tells us that he “has been under 24-hour police protection since the Charlie Hebdo attack.” At the same time, Iggy Pop has found musical inspiration in Houellebecq’s work and, well, we think Iggy Pop is cool. Want to decide for yourself? We’ll tell you a little bit more about Houellebecq first.

     
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Best Books on Ireland

By Audrey Golden. Aug 31, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Nobel Prize Winners, Literary travel

Are you visiting Dublin or the Irish countryside anytime soon? Do you want to learn more about the history of modern Irish literature? Are you traveling to Belfast in the near future? If you answered with an emphatic 'yes!' to any of our questions, or if you’re interested in literary travel from the comfort of your sofa through a well-written novel, then we have some reading recommendations for you.

     
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Buying Rare and Antiquarian Books in Central Italy

By Audrey Golden. Aug 23, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting, Literary travel

Are you traveling to Italy and planning to add to your book collection? The number of cities in Italy with rare and antiquarian bookstores is overwhelming. Indeed, the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) lists 110 booksellers in the country. As such, we’ve limited this particular article to rare and antiquarian shops in Central Italy, focusing primarily on stores in Rome and Florence.

     
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Eileen Chang and Chinese Modernist Fiction

By Audrey Golden. Aug 12, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, History, Literary travel

Why hasn’t Eileen Chang become a household name in modern literary studies? We’re not entirely sure, and we want to remedy that. She was born in 1920 in Shanghai, China, and passed away in her Los Angeles apartment in 1995. Chinese readers know the novelist and short-story writer as Chang Ai-Ling. In The New York Times obituary*, the newspaper described Chang as “a giant of modern Chinese literature.” She enrolled at the University of Hong Kong in 1939, but was unable to continue her studies as a result of the Japanese invasion during World War II. In 1941, following the Japanese invasion, the University of Hong Kong shut down. Chang’s experiences in Hong Kong during the war played a part in shaping one of her best-known texts in the West, “Lust, Caution,” made into a film of the same name by Ang Lee in 2007. In 1952, Chang returned to Hong Kong only to leave a few years later for the United States. She spent the remaining years of her life in Los Angeles, and largely as a recluse. We love her fiction, and we want you to discover it, too.

     
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Best Books from Iran

By Audrey Golden. Jul 22, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, History, Literary travel

During various periods of repression throughout the twentieth century, Iranian writers haven’t been read as widely as they should have been. Certainly, Iranian novelists and poets are not the first to be subjected to the heavy hand of censorship from a tyrannical government. However, since the Iranian Revolution, prejudices and other forms of sociocultural censorship have excluded, in various ways, significant works of Iranian literature. While we can’t list all of the best books from Iran, we have a handful for you to explore.

     
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About this blog

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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