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Lesser Known Facts About The Publication of Harry Potter

By Leah Dobrinska. Sep 1, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature, Movie Tie-Ins

Two decades ago, “the boy who lived” soared across the ocean and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone made its way into the hands of American readers for the first time. Now, twenty years later, almost everyone knows the stories, and the beloved characters from the Harry Potter series feel like old friends. Many of us know the history of J.K. Rowlings’ writing process, and how she went from single mother, struggling to make ends meet, to literary superstar. Most readers of the Harry Potter Generation can identify the books by their cover art, even by their color schemes. But what are some of the lesser known facts about the Harry Potter series, particularly the first and subsequent U.S. editions in comparison to their U.K. counterparts? In honor of the twentieth publication anniversary of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, here are some pieces of Harry Potter trivia that’ll help you ace even the most challenging “History of Magic” exam.

     
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J.D. Salinger's Place in Modern Literature

By Kristin Masters. Aug 29, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature, Modern First Editions

J.D. Salinger authored Catcher in the Rye (1951) and numerous short stories. Known for being reclusive following the massive fame garnered by The Catcher in the Rye, Salinger rarely gave interviews. In 1974, after a 20 year break from the media, Salinger spoke via telephone to the New York Times. The interviewer asked him about his absence from publishing and the public eye and he responded: "There is a marvelous peace in not publishing. It's peaceful. Still. Publishing is a terrible invasion of my privacy. I like to write. I love to write. But I write just for myself and my own pleasure." 

Because Salinger fiercely guarded his privacy, we're left with many more questions than answers about his life and experiences. We can turn to Salinger's biographers or to the memoir written by his daughter, Margaret, titled Dream Catcher for some telling information, but each written discussion of his life has in turn been disputed by other family members. 

     
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Isaac Asimov, Pioneer of Science Fiction

By Kristin Masters. Aug 20, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature, Science Fiction

Isaac Asimov celebrated his own birthday on January 2. He was born sometime between October 4, 1919 and January 2, 1920 in Russia. According to his father, he was one of the healthiest children around, a fact put to the test when he contracted pneumonia at age 2. Asimov was one of 17 children to fall sick in the town where his family lived, and the only child to survive. The family moved to United States the following year, and Isaac Asimov grew up in Brooklyn, New York. 

     
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Ten of the Most Beautiful Sentences in Literature, Part 2

By Abigail Bekx. Aug 16, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature

Sentences can bring both joy and pain. The joy brought from a well crafted sentence lasts far longer than the pain a poorly written one inflicts on readers. Even when a beautiful sentence helps readers feel the pain present in the work, the contentment felt when remembering the beauty of the sentence far outweighs the momentary fleetingness of the emotion. It is the word choice, the flow, the structure, and the skill of the author that all combine to create something truly beautiful. We all have sentences we love. Certain elements draw each of us to different authors and sentences, much like how some prefer mountains over the ocean, but we all can appreciate when the written word is crafted with such skill and grace to elicit a sense of beauty. We wrote a post about ten of the most beautiful sentences in literature nearly three years ago now. Since sentences are subjective, we thought it was time for another round. So, without further ado, here are ten of my favorite sentences in literature to add to the list. 

     
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Examining the Life and Work of Nobel Prize Winner V.S. Naipaul

By Kristin Masters. Aug 14, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Literature, Nobel Prize Winners

V.S. Naipaul once said that no woman writer could be his equal. He did not win any points with feminists and those striving for gender equality, but it's hard to argue with his literary output. Again, we have to ask ourselves, how do we separate an author's ideology from the work he or she produces? Do we? Can we? Should we? Born August 17, 1932, Nobel laureate V.S. Naipaul died on Saturday, August 11, 2018 at the age of 85. The author is considered one of the modern legends of literature.

     
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How Terry McMillan Got Her Groove Back

By Lauren Corba. Aug 7, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Movie Tie-Ins

Terry McMillan, author of bestselling novels Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back, was born October 18, 1951 in Port Huron, Michigan. She was the oldest of her four siblings and after her parents separated, she was left to care for her brother and sisters. Although forced to grow up at an early age, she found solace in her personal retreat: the Port Huron library. There, she fell in love with reading—relishing the works of classic writers including Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. As much as she enjoyed their writing, she was discouraged that great works of literature seemed produced only by white men. Then, she discovered James Baldwin’s Go Tell it on the Mountain (1953).

     
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Northwestern University Press’s Writings from an Unbound Europe

By Audrey Golden. Jul 24, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Book History, Book News

Where do you go to find literature in translation from Central and Eastern Europe? For much of the 1990s and early 2000s, readers could rely on Northwestern University Press for contemporary fiction translated from various languages within the former communist countries. While the series came to an end in 2012, Northwestern University Press’s Writings from an Unbound Europe remains one of the most significant series for a wide range of works from Central and Eastern Europe. We want to highlight its remaining significance several years after the series’ end, and we also want to highlight some of our favorite texts that wouldn’t have been possible for English-language readers to devour without the help of the series.

     
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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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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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