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A Portrait of James Joyce

By Kristin Masters. Jul 19, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature

James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was born in Dublin on February 2, 1882. The oldest of ten children, Joyce would eventually renounce both Ireland and the Catholic faith into which he was baptized. Even more than a century later, his works have remained fascinatingand confoundingto critics, scholars, and readers.

     
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Best Books from Haiti

By Audrey Golden. Jul 3, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Literary travel

There are so many incredible works of literature from Haiti that we’re going to have some difficulty selecting just a handful of our favorites for you here. But, that being said, we’ll give it a try. Many American readers know Haiti through a lens of Western bias: from news reports of violence or of the devastation wrought by the earthquake in 2010. Or, going back almost one hundred years prior, through the neocolonial perspective produced by the U.S. invasion and occupation of the country in 1915. Can we help to change your mind? In addition to reminding you here of Haiti’s successful revolution against colonial, slave-owning forces in 1803, we have some works of fiction to introduce you to a number of twentieth-century writers from the country.

     
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In Memoriam: Elie Wiesel and the Myth of Sisyphus

By Brian Hoey. Jul 2, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Nobel Prize Winners

In 1978, a four part miniseries called Holocaust aired on NBC. It featured Meryl Streep as a cast member, and it portrayed all of the horrors that we have since come to expect from depictions of the Holocaust (to enumerate them would, perhaps, defeat the purpose). Though it was one of the earliest examples of this particular historical atrocity being adapted for prime time, in the ensuing decades it undoubtedly blurred together in the minds of its viewers with similar media like Schindler’s List (1993) and Sophie’s Choice (1982). Though the miniseries, which was ostensibly fictionalized from true events, would garner critical acclaim, Elie Wiesel, who remained one of the world’s foremost chroniclers of the Shoah until his death two years ago, hated it. 

     
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Literature's Best Quotes About Fathers and the History of Father's Day

By Adrienne Rivera. Jun 15, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Rare Book Gift Ideas

Celebrations of fatherhood exist around the world. The U.S. celebration of Father's Day has become popular in many nations and most commonly is celebrated on the third Sunday in June (that's in two days, if you still need to purchase a gift!). While the U.S. celebration has its modern roots in the early 20th century, days devoted to celebrating fatherhood can be traced back to the Middle Ages.

     
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Collecting the Works of Saul Bellow

"A novel is balanced between a few true impressions and the multitude of false ones that make up most of what we call life." So spoke Saul Bellow, one of the greatest American authors of the twentieth century. Rare book collectors have consistently been interested in Bellow's works, and that interest will only grow as his books get more scarce over time.

     
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Collecting Franz Kafka's The Trial

By Audrey Golden. May 30, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Literature, Book History

If you haven’t read Franz Kafka’s 1914 masterpiece The Trial, we recommend picking up a copy today. But if you have read the work and have considered its significance not only as a piece of modernist fiction but also as a literary work that comments upon the bureaucratic idiocy of government and the perceived rule of law, then you might want to do more than just read this book. Indeed, you might want to start a collection of various editions and translations of the novel. Collecting copies of the book, as well as ephemera related to it, won’t be an inexpensive task. But if you’re willing to invest in a new collection, bringing together materials connected to The Trial could turn out to be an extremely interesting and rewarding experience.

     
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Legendary Author Philip Roth, Age 85, Has Died

Philip Roth, award winning author and literary innovator, has died at the age of 85. Roth is well known for his semi-autobiographical texts which often blur the line between fiction and reality. What isn't blurry is Roth's influence and impact on the literary community and on readers and book collectors around the world. With well-known novels like American Pastoral and The Plot Against America, among numerous others, Roth proved himself an astute observer of American culture with all its cracks and flaws. His are novels of satire and American-Jewish life, each complex in the journey it takes readers on. Even though we're afraid we'll only scratch the surface, today, we'd like to look at Roth's many literary contributions and achievements. 

     
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Tom Wolfe: Fiction, Journalism, and Legacy

By Brian Hoey. May 16, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Literature

Tom Wolfe, acclaimed journalist and writer, has died at the age of 88. In his honor, we revisit his life and work today. The prospect of writing a blog post on Tom Wolfe and his influence is daunting. The man who has been such a presence in the world of American letters these past forty years, having authored The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987) and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968), looms large, not just over a new generation of writers and journalists, but over the blogosphere in particular. He did, after all, call out blogs for being "a universe of rumors," citing Wikipedia in particular as being an institution that only "a primitive could believe a word of." How a primitive could successfully navigate all the way to Wikipedia may be a good inquiry for another time, but the pressing question still remains: how do you blog about the man who hated blogs?

     
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Best Books From Kenya

By Audrey Golden. May 9, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Literary travel

Are you traveling to Nairobi or hoping to learn more about nations in East Africa through fiction? We have some literature recommendations for you to check out. Keep reading for a list of just a handful of the best books from Kenya.

     
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“Bulgakov Diplomacy” and Redesigning the Contemporary Russian Literature Canon

By Audrey Golden. May 2, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Book History

Generally speaking, 19th-century Russian novels have been read in literature classes across the globe for many decades. From Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Anna Karenina to Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov, lists of classic literature would not be complete without numerous additions from the Russian “canon.” But what do most of us know about contemporary Russian literature? That’s the question that was posed in an article that appeared in Foreign Policy Magazine. In short, literature from the Cold War era and the fiction from the years following the disintegration of the Soviet Union has not been circulated globally in the same manner as works of Russian literature from the previous decade. To be sure, “Doctor Zhivago, published nearly 60 years ago, was the last Russian novel to become a genuine American sensation.” So if you do in fact want to read more contemporary Russian fiction, where should you start?

     
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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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