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John Steinbeck and the Nixon Novel that Never Was

John Steinbeck, born on February 27, 1902 in Salinas, California, would become one of American's most notable authors. Steinbeck established himself as an author in an era when accomplished authors held considerable clout. As a result, he one day found himself in a unique position: he held the upcoming United States presidential election in his hands.

     
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Waiting for Godot in Popular Culture

By Adrienne Rivera. Jan 5, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Nobel Prize Winners, Drama

Nobel Prize winning poet, playwright and novelist Samuel Beckett was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1906. He studied English, French, and Italian at Trinity College before accepting a position at Campbell College where he taught for some years and also developed a friendship with fellow Irish writer James Joyce. It was at this time that be published his first work, an essay discussing Joyce's body of work. But his most famous work is undoubtedly the play, Waiting for Godot. If you haven't seen it, chances are you've seen it referenced in some unique ways.

     
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Top Ten Rudyard Kipling Quotes

By Brian Hoey. Dec 30, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Nobel Prize Winners

In 1942, as ever, George Orwell was bemused. He had spent the early decades of the century wondering how so many Britons could hold Rudyard Kipling’s “If—” (1896) so dearly without realizing that “(f)ew people who have criticized England from the inside have said bitterer things about her” than its author. In a way, Orwell’s outrage gets right to the heart of the questions begged by the man who remains the youngest (and first) English-language writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Of the writer dubbed a genius by Henry James and a unique master of verse by T. S. Eliot, are we as 21st century readers meant to see a sententious imperial-minded jingoist, or a sharp social critic and astute wordsmith? Very probably, the answer is a lot of both—which may account for why works like The Jungle Book (1894), The Second Jungle Book (1895), The Seven Seas (1896), and, yes, “If—” remain widely read and widely loved. Here are ten of the most pointed and enduring Rudyard Kipling quotes.

     
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The Life and Impact of Heinrich Böll

By Adrienne Rivera. Dec 21, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Nobel Prize Winners

Writer Heinrich Böll was born in Cologne, Germany in 1917. His parents were devout Catholics and raised him to also passionately follow the faith, instilling in him a strong belief in pacifism. Not only did his faith guide his actions during Germany's Nazi regime and though Europe's post-war years, but these beliefs—which he often challenged and critiqued—also shaped his fiction, resulting in novels and short stories that renounced terrorism and the horrors of war while raising up the ordinary people of Germany. It is the personification of Böll's ideals that earned him the Nobel Prize in Literature and a reputation as the man responsible for a renaissance in German literature.

     
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Norway's National Poet: Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson

By Adrienne Rivera. Dec 8, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Nobel Prize Winners, Drama

Poet Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson is considered one of the "Four Greats" of Norwegian writers. Besides writing the lyrics to the Norwegian national anthem, his peasant stories are renowned and well loved for their devotion to presenting the peasant class in a new light. Chief among his numerous honors is the Nobel Prize in Literature, which he was awarded in 1903. Interestingly, Bjørnson was one of the original Nobel Prize Committee members and was serving on the committee at the time he was given the award.

     
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A Brief Guide to Great Writers from India

By Brian Hoey. Nov 21, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Awarded Books, Nobel Prize Winners

India’s literature is just as vast and complex as the diverse, densely populated nation that produced it. Even if we limit ourselves to Indian literature written in English, we are still presented with a multicultural tapestry stretching back more than a century, from Rabindranath Tagore, who won India’s first Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 for his “profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful” poems and songs (eat your heart out Bob Dylan) to modern writers like Aravind Adiga (author of 2008’s Man Booker-winning debut The White Tiger). While one article can never encapsulate the entirety of an ever-growing canon, it can present a few names of writers from India that are indisputably worth knowing.

     
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A Reading Guide to Kazuo Ishiguro

By Andrea Diamond. Nov 16, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Nobel Prize Winners

“There was another life that I might have had, but I am having this one.” ~ Kazuo Ishiguro

It is not uncommon, late at night, to be struck with that taunting “what if” question. We wonder how things might have been different had we chosen a different school, taken a different job, or married a different person? What if we lived in the future, or had existed in the past? These thoughts don’t necessarily come out of discontent, even the happiest person on earth must poses some curiosity toward how their life might have been different. While many of us eventually shake off our alternate reality musings and drift off to sleep, the authors in the world cling to those possibilities, and create a new character with a unique life between the covers of a book. One author who has honed this incredible gift is the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature winner, Kazio Ishiguro.

     
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New Translations from the Margellos World Republic of Letters

By Audrey Golden. Nov 10, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Literature, Nobel Prize Winners

Have you been hoping that an exciting book written in a language other than English will find an English-language translator? Or were you recently thinking that a work of “classic” literature could use a new and updated English-language translation? The Cecile and Theodore Margellos World Republic of Letters series, published by Yale University Press, might be exactly what you’ve been seeking. The series describes itself as one that “identifies works of cultural and artistic significance previously overlooked by translators and publishers, canonical works of literature and philosophy needing new translations, as well as important contemporary authors whose work has not yet been translated into English.” The Margellos series ultimately is “designed to bring to the English-speaking world leading poets, novelists, essayists, philosophers, and playwrights from Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, to stimulate international discourse and creative exchange.”

Sounds great, right? There are currently more than seven dozen books in the series, with more forthcoming. We have some recommendations of our favorites for you to browse.

     
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Five Facts About Albert Camus, the Coolest of Philosophers

By Matt Reimann. Nov 7, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Nobel Prize Winners

Few thinkers have managed to make philosophy look cool. But within this rare breed, the photogenic, soccer-loving, provocative, and concise Albert Camus may be most eminent. With short and mystifying novels like The Stranger, and profound explorations like The Myth of Sisyphus, Camus’s philosophy was like a rallying cry for a generation of writers confused and traumatized by the Second World War. It was an elevated position that would win Camus the Nobel Prize in 1957, just two and a half years before his untimely death in a car accident at the age of 46.

     
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Ivan Bunin: The Masterful Nobel Laureate Who Should Be Famous Beyond Russia

By Matt Reimann. Oct 10, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Nobel Prize Winners

When Russian filmmakers delivered to the state censors a screenplay for a biopic about the writer Ivan Bunin, they were immediately shut down. Their objection was not to Bunin’s controversial work, but rather the film’s treatment of him: their saintly Nobel laureate portrayed as an egotistical, philandering, drunken, emotionally reckless artist. This portrait was not too exaggerated, but the film ministry was clear. They could not allow a movie to deface the image of one of Russia’s most prized artists.

     
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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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