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Top Books by State: California

Today we continue our Top Books by States series by talking a closer look at California. California is one of the most diverse states in the country, containing deserts, mountains, cities, beaches, and farmland all within its borders. It also serves as the heart of the American entertainment industry. California writers are just as diverse as their state. The books featured here are of a variety of genres, but what makes them some of the best and most representative of the state aren't just that their writers live in California, but that they all exemplify something of the beauty and spirit of the Golden State.

     
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Famous Authors Who Wrote Only One Novel

On March 30, 1820, Anna Sewell was born into a devoutly Quaker family. Her mother, Mary Wright Sewell, was a successful children's book author. Sewell was mostly educated at home and did not attend school for the first time until she was twelve years old. Two years later, she seriously injured both ankles in an accident. From then on, Sewell had extremely limited mobility; she required crutches and could never walk great distances. 

     
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Edith Wharton, Sinclair Lewis, and a Pulitzer Kerfuffle

By Kristin Masters. May 21, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Pulitzer Prize, Literature

Edith Wharton's accomplishments included not only authorship, but also design and philanthropy. Wharton was an active participant in literary circles, befriending personages like Henry James and Jean Cocteau. She would go on to forge relationships with Theodore Roosevelt and other important figures. Yet the most fascinating of Wharton's connections is possibly the one with Sinclair Lewis.

     
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The History and Importance of the Pulitzer Prize

By Kristin Masters. Apr 15, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Pulitzer Prize, American Literature

The Pulitzer Prize—set to be awarded today—was established over 100 years ago to honor exceptional achievements in journalism. Since its inception, the award has grown to include 21 different categories, ranging from literature to musical composition. The prize is named for Joseph Pulitzer, a newspaper journalist with a fascinating life. 

     
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Seven Books We All Read in School

It's the day after Labor Day, and that means for many, it's time to go back to school. Books and school go hand-in-hand. Whether they were on summer reading lists, sprinkled throughout the general curriculum, or assigned for a book report, the following books represent some of the most common novels we all read in school. Check out some of these classic novels and relive your school days.

     
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Five Books for Children on Memorial Day

While decorating the graves of the deceased is a common and ancient custom, the American practice of decorating the graves of fallen soldiers dates back to the end of the Civil War. The first recorded instance took place in Virginia in 1861. Women in Savannah, Georgia did the same the following year, decorating the graves of Confederate soldiers, and in 1863, a commemoration was held in Gettysburg. Honoring soldiers lost in battle became even more common after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. While the practice, originally referred to as Decoration Day, became very common in the south, it did not start taking hold in the north until 1868. It soon spread to a national day, celebrated each year on May 30 and always honored by an address at Gettysburg. The shift toward the Memorial Day name did not come about until after World War II and was made official in 1967.

The following year, the date was officially moved to the third Monday in May to create a three day weekend in spite of protests from the VFW and others arguing that the change trivialized the holiday. And indeed, Memorial Day is often celebrated with cook outs, camping trips, swimming, boating, and massive sales at car dealerships and furniture stores; unfortunately, the core meaning of the holiday falls to the wayside for many people. Here are five books you can read with your children this Memorial Day to keep patriotism as your focus. Some will even help teach them the real meaning behind the holiday—honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

     
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Twelve Women to Read on International Women's Day

International Women's Day is celebrated every year on March 8. It was inspired by a National Women's Day held in New York in 1909 as a response to a 1908 march for equal rights undertaken by 15,000 women. However, by the second year, the International Conference of Working Women decided that the holiday should expand worldwide. It was adopted by the United Nations in 1975 and declared an international holiday in all participating states. International Women's Day is dedicated to fighting for gender equality and to celebrating the social, political, and cultural achievements of women. While a common opinion today is that all the battles for women have been won, International Women's Day urges women to fight to close the pay gap, to end violence against women, and to push for more visibility for women both in the workplace and in national and international leadership positions. The following 12 women writers exemplify the goals of International Women's Day in their writing and activism.

     
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Ten Essential Dr. Seuss Quotes

Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known by his pen name Dr. Seuss, was born in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1904. He attended Dartmouth College where he wrote and drew for the Dartmouth Jack-o-Lantern. After he and his friends were caught with gin in the dormitories during prohibition, part of his punishment was being banned from all extracurricular activities. However, he continued to work for the magazine, using for the first time the pen name Seuss.

     
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New Poetry from Wesleyan University Press

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

Topics: Poetry, Pulitzer Prize, Awarded Books

Many university presses across the country publish poetry collections, but few university presses are as notable for their poetry publications as Wesleyan University. The Wesleyan University Press began its work in 1957, and although it focuses on a relatively broad range of subjects—from poetry to music and dance to Connecticut history and culture—it is perhaps best known for its important contributions to new poetry and poetics. As the press explains, it has “published an internationally renowned poetry series, collecting five Pulitzer Prizes, a Bollingen, and two National Book Awards in that one series alone.”

What books from the press should you seek out for your poetry collection?

     
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A Reading Guide to Anne Tyler

By Andrea Diamond. Oct 25, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Pulitzer Prize, Literature

During one of the many family studies courses I took in college, I was introduced to the concept of Dialectic Thinking. Dialectic Thinking describes one’s desire for two conflicting values, such as being connected to others while also having personal space, or seeking familiarity while also craving change. As a young college student, hungry for every good thing the world had to offer, this little piece of vocabulary always stuck with me. It seems so much of life requires choosing one thing over another, because some things simply cannot exist in unison. Sharing my passion for conflict, Minneapolis-born author Anne Tyler uses Dialectic Thinking to create complex, engaging, and relatable characters.

     
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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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