Member Blogs > Books Tell You Why

  • An Eoin Colfer Primer

    Thu, 17 Sep 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Eoin Colfer writes fantasy adventure books intended for kids in grades 5-9. His books appeal to a much broader audience, but that is the target group. Colfer grew up in Wexford, on the Southeast coast of Ireland with four brothers. His father was an artist, elementary school teacher, and historian. His mother was a drama teacher and stage writer. He was encouraged to appreciate the arts and writing and began writing in elementary school by composing Viking stories based on the history he was being taught. His first work was a class play called Norse Gods. He got a university Read More
  • A Look Inside Presidential Libraries

    Tue, 15 Sep 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Today is the anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's birthday. In addition to having been an exceptional statesman, Lincoln, like many of America's forefathers was also a prolific reader, amassing an impressive personal library. In honor of the late, great president, we've put together a post to give you a look inside presidential libraries. Read More
  • Top Books by State: Kansas

    Thu, 10 Sep 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    The next stop on our literary journey throughout America in our Top Books by State series is Kansas. This Midwestern state is primarily known for its location in the heart of the Great Plains. While Kansas is one of the country's largest producer of wheat, corn, soybeans, and sorghum, it's not just farmland. The state is home to several metropolitan centers namely Wichita and Kansas City. Today, Kansas is mostly associated with farmland, but at the time of it's entry into the union, the decision of whether or not to be a free or a slave-holding state led to great Read More
  • The Art and Life of Eric Carle

    Tue, 08 Sep 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Few children's book illustrators create work as recognizable as that of Eric Carle. His work has been published across the world, translated into sixty-six languages. His dedication to creating fun, playful books for young children has spanned over four decades and has resulted in books that generations of children have not only loved, but have grown up to share with their own children. Let's take a closer look at the life and work of one of children's book illustration's most celebrated artists: Read More
  • In Defense of Book Collecting

    Thu, 03 Sep 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    There are so many different ways to collect books, and never-ending variety when it comes to shaping a book collection and deciding what you will collect. Some book collectors focus on completion, or collecting all of a particular author or publisher’s printed works. Other collectors are more esoteric, making their own rules for what belongs (and what doesn’t) in the collection. Book collectors have widely disparate sums of money to spend on book collections, and developing a collection certainly does not have to involve spending a substantial amount of money. To be sure, many collectors do spend a lot of Read More
  • Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Evaline Ness

    Tue, 01 Sep 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    The Caldecott Medal is awarded annually to one of the best illustrated children's books published that year. Additionally, a handful of other worthy books are given the Caldecott Honor as runners-up.The winner of the 1966 medal has the unique of being named a Caldecott Honor recipient not for three years in a row before she finally was given the medal for Sam, Bangs and Moonshine. Join us today in our Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series as we take a look at the art and career of Evaline Ness: Read More
  • Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Beni Montresor

    Thu, 27 Aug 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    The Caldecott Medal for outstanding children's book illustration is awarded every year to the illustrator who has proven themselves to be at the forefront of what is possible in the world of children's literature. 1965's winner is notable not only because his art style was vivid and unusual, but also because he was inspired almost entirely by his work in another field. Beni Montresor's illustrations, often done in a variety of mediums, were heavily influenced by his work as a set designer for ballet and opera. This lead to illustrations both dynamic and compelling, a clear testament to his love Read More
  • The Difference Between Having a Book Collection and Having a Library

    Wed, 26 Aug 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Do you have a personal library, or do you have a collection? And is there really a difference between the two? It depends on who you ask. In general, we do think a book collection is distinct from a personal library, although the two are not necessarily separate from one another. Why does it matter? Well, the way in which you might conceive of and shape a personal library is likely to be quite different from the way in which you might conceive of and shape a book collection. Read More
  • Unexpected Meetings Between Legendary Authors and Celebrities

    Thu, 20 Aug 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Authors are contributors to their culture, and as part of the job, they tend to cross paths with their famous contemporaries. These can be other authors, artists, actors, leaders, and cultural icons, and at times can create some rather unlikely pairings. Here are a few of these moments immortalized on camera. Read More
  • Do I Have a First Edition?

    Tue, 18 Aug 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Is it a first edition? This is a question that many people ask when they discover what they think might be a rare and valuable book at a flea market, in a thrift shop, or in a box in a family member’s attic. Even if you’re not a rare book collector and you don’t know much about rare books in general, you’ve probably heard the term “first edition,” and you likely associate the phrase with an item of value. Everybody wants to have a first edition, right? Generally speaking, a first edition of a book often will have significantly more Read More
  • Remembering Neil Armstrong

    Thu, 13 Aug 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    On August 25, 2012, the world lost a truly great man: Neil Armstrong. The first man to walk on the moon, Armstrong inspired a nation--and generations--with the hope and excitement of space exploration. Born August 5, 1930 in Wapakoneta, Ohio, Armstrong discovered his love for flight very early. By the age of 16, he'd already earned his student license. When he began at Purdue University, it was to pursue a degree in aeronautical engineering under a full scholarship from the US Navy. However, when the Korean War broke out, Armstrong's education was interrupted by the call of duty. He flew Read More
  • Best Bookish Podcasts for Collectors and Book Enthusiasts

    Wed, 12 Aug 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Would you currently describe yourself as a book collector? Are you interested in becoming a book collector anytime soon? If you’re intrigued by book collecting and you also like podcasts, we have some recommendations for you. For example, perhaps you want to learn more about tips for book collecting while you’re jogging, riding public transit, or driving in your car? There’s a podcast for that. Or, maybe, you’re interested in learning more about recent rare book acquisitions at special collections libraries. There are also podcasts that can give you access to the information and stories you’re seeking. The following are Read More
  • Top Books By State: Kentucky

    Tue, 11 Aug 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Next up on our state-by-state tour of America is Kentucky. This southern state is most internationally known for being the headquarters of the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant chain, but within the United States, we know there's a lot more to it than that. Kentucky is right on the Mason Dixon line, marking the end of the north and the beginning of the south. Kentucky is bluegrass music and bourbon, the Kentucky Derby and college basketball, moonshine and coal mining, and so much more. It's both rural and metropolitan. Eastern Kentucky is home to part of the Appalachian Mountains while further Read More
  • Top Books by State Series: Maine

    Thu, 06 Aug 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Maine, the northernmost state in New England is known for its beautiful woodland, mountain, and coastal landscapes, lobster harvesting, lighthouses, and rich history. The state has a rich literary  history as well, beginning with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and continuing on to today where numerous writers call Maine home or choose to set there novels in the beautiful and still quite wild state. Come with us today as we take a closer look at some of the best books set in Maine for our Top Books by State series. Read More
  • Las Vegas' Rare Book Scene

    Wed, 05 Aug 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    When most of us think about Las Vegas and taking a trip to the Nevada city, we might not immediately imagine it as a rare book destination. To be sure, most people who plan trips to Las Vegas are considering their options for casinos, shows, and restaurants on the Las Vegas Strip. Other visitors to the city might simply be flying into the airport for a brief stopover before traveling to popular nearby natural destinations such as Death Valley National Park or the Grand Canyon. However, Las Vegas is also a great city for rare book hunting. You may be Read More
  • Pablo Neruda: Rarest Spanish Language Editions

    Tue, 04 Aug 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Many of the Chilean poet and diplomat Pablo Neruda’s books are extremely collectable. Nearly any edition of a Neruda book can see its market value enhanced significantly if it’s signed or inscribed by Neruda. Indeed, speaking of the latter, a presentation copy or association copy of a mass-produced paperback marked by Neruda’s hand can fetch thousands of dollars. Yet there are also a number of first editions, without any inscription to a particular person or in some cases even a Neruda signature, that are immensely valuable due to their rarity. Given that Neruda’s work has been translated into many different Read More
  • Bookish Apps for the Avid Collector

    Fri, 31 Jul 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    If you have a book collection, you’re probably like many other collectors of books and ephemera—you want to catalogue what you have. You probably also want to have an easy way to access information about your collection. There are some apps available that can help you to do just that. Beyond apps, some websites also exist for the sheer purpose of helping you to catalog your book collection, as well as to keep a “wants” list for new books that might pop up for sale. We’ve looked at a number of these apps and sites, and we’ve tested some of Read More
  • Iconic Images of Author Jack London

    Thu, 30 Jul 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    On January 12, 1876, author Jack London was born John Griffith Chaney. The son of astrologer William Chaney and music teacher/spiritualist Flora Wellman, London grew up in poverty. After working as a sailor, going to Alaska for the Klondike Gold Rush, and even doing a stint as a hobo, London came to see writing as his means of escaping the work "trap." He began his career, fortuitously, at a time when new printing technology made it more cost effective to publish magazines cheaply, and he was soon making an excellent living thanks to the burgeoning demand for short fiction. London Read More
  • Movie Adaptations Aren't All Bad: Tom Hanks Proves It

    Wed, 29 Jul 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    As emotionally fraught as it can be for readers to see their beloved classics adapted for the big screen—even when those adaptations are faithful and well-produced—movies improve upon their bookish source material just as often as they botch it. Surely this seems like sacrilege coming from an antiquarian books blog, but let’s do a little thought experiment: Let’s say that there’s a roughly even distribution of (1) good movies based on good books, (2) bad movies based on good books, (3) good movies based on bad (or just okay) books, and (4) bad movies based on bad books. Read More
  • Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Nonny Hogrogian

    Thu, 04 Jun 2020 09:00:00 Permalink
    Each year, the Caldecott Medal is awarded to the children's book that best showcases the skill and innovation found in the world of children's book illustration. Today we are taking a look at writer and illustrator Nonny Hogrogian, who was not just the recipient of the 1966 Caldecott Medal, but the 1972 medal as well. Throughout her career, Hogrogian has not only written and illustrated books for herself, but has illustrated numerous books for other writers. She has also helped shape the world of children's literature from behind the scenes too with her work as a production assistant and editor Read More
  • Chicago's Rare Book Scene

    Wed, 03 Jun 2020 08:45:00 Permalink
    Planning a trip to Chicago anytime soon? Like a number of other major cities in the U.S. and across the globe, Chicago has its own vibe, its own pizza, and its own rare book scene. We want to tell you more about all the city has to offer for buying rare books at stores and fairs, and for delving into rare book research at some of Chicago’s special collections libraries. Read More
  • Book Collecting as a Woman

    Tue, 02 Jun 2020 08:49:50 Permalink
    As a woman who collects rare books, ephemera, and vinyl records, I think about the gendered aspects of collecting a lot more than some other people might. I’ve been collecting for years—well, for decades, really. I have a few different collections that I’ve been developing over the years, and those collections are quite disparate from one another. The variety of the items in these collections means that I end up interacting with many different kinds of sellers and collectors, so my experiences aren’t limited to a single temporal period, genre, or medium. What I continue to find, dishearteningly, is that Read More
  • The Books That Inspired George Lucas

    Thu, 14 May 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    The adventure begins in the ordinary world, where our hero gets the call to action; with the help of companions and mentors, he crosses the threshold into a supernatural world, where the old rules don’t apply. He faces a series of trials, culminating in an ultimate ordeal in which the hero is victorious. He earns a boon, which he carries back into the ordinary world. Read More
  • How to Choose What Kind of Book to Collect

    Wed, 13 May 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    If you want to start a book collection but you don’t know where to begin, we’re here to help. While many collections arise out of the collector’s enthusiasm for a particular author, genre, or field, book collections can have a wide variety of starting points. Depending upon the collection, the organizing principles might immediately be recognizable to an average onlooker, or the collection may look entirely disordered with categorizations and classifications developed out of the idiosyncratic mind of the collector. The types of books and ephemera you choose to collect ultimately will depend upon your own interests. One thing is Read More
  • Legendary Illustrators: Charles van Sandwyk

    Tue, 12 May 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Award-winning children's illustrator Charles van Sandwyk has developed a reputation for drawings and watercolors that look like they hark from ages—and places—past. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1966, van Sandwyk grew up surrounded by art. His father was a graphic designer, and their home was filled with a wealth of antique prints and paintings. Read More
  • Tim Russert: Journalist and Author

    Thu, 07 May 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    As the long-time host of Meet the Press and commentator on presidential elections, Timothy Russert was a household name during his lauded career at NBC. Russert is credited with popularizing the terms “red and blue states” to refer to states that primarily tend to vote Republican or Democrat, respectively. During his time as a journalist with NBC, he covered numerous presidential elections and the Iraq war. Let's take a closer look at the career and books by this legend of televised political journalism. Read More
  • Los Angeles's Rare Book Scene

    Wed, 06 May 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Los Angeles has a rare book scene all of its own. With the city’s deep roots in cinema and Hollywood production, not surprisingly, many rare bookstores in the city have an incredible selection of film books, screenplays, and other materials tied to the silver screen. At the same time, Los Angeles is also a beacon for contemporary art, and many of the city’s rare bookshops reflect the modern and contemporary art scene. Like other major urban areas in the U.S., if you visit at the right time, you may find yourself in Los Angeles during a book fair. From shops Read More
  • Are Paperbacks Worth Anything?

    Tue, 05 May 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Whether you already have a collection of paperback books or are thinking about starting one, you might be wondering if paperbacks have any market value. The answer to that inquiry depends on a wide variety of factors, from the scarcity or rarity of the paperback book to the history of the specific paperback book as a physical object. For example, was the paperback owned by a prominent writer, or was it inscribed by a notable author? Or, is the paperback part of a limited first edition of the book? Is the book printed on handmade paper? These are just a Read More
  • A Vincent Van Gogh Book Spotlight: Lust for Life

    Thu, 30 Apr 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Vincent Van Gogh lived a short life and committed suicide when he was only 37 years old. For many painters, writers, and collectors, Van Gogh’s story is an interesting one, often shrouded in mystique due to the artist’s own struggles with mental health issues and psychic instability. After his death, when Van Gogh’s paintings finally received the acclaim that they never did in his lifetime, public interest also grew surrounding the artist’s life story. Rumors circulated about his madness and his creative genius. In the 1920s, a young Irving Stone (born Irving Tennenbaum) traveled with his then-wife Lona Mosk to Read More
  • What is the History of the ISBN?

    Tue, 28 Apr 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    If you’ve ever purchased a new book from a bookstore, a secondhand book, or a textbook for a course, you’ve most likely held a book that has an ISBN number. Sometimes college and university faculty will emphasize the need to buy a book for a course with a specific ISBN number to ensure that everyone has the same edition. You might even have entered an ISBN number if you’ve gone onto a publisher’s website with the intention of identifying or ordering a book. Anyone who has ever had to use an ISBN number already knows, most likely, that these numbers Read More
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