Member Blogs > Books Tell You Why

  • Lost Mary Shelley Manuscript Unearthed

    Wed, 01 Apr 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    For years, Mary Shelley was sadly overlooked as a writer. Though she created one of the most iconic monsters in literature in her novel Frankenstein (1818), for more than century after her death she was often thought of as a one hit wonder. Or she was thought of as Mary Wollstonecraft’s daughter, or philosopher William Godwin’s daughter, or Percy Shelley’s wife and literary executor. That is, when she was thought of at all. Read More
  • The Story of Bookbinding

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Rarely does bookbinding receive the attention and glamour afforded other ancient crafts. The craftsmanship required by bookbinding is largely concealed. The role of the bookbinder is that of a guardian; they serve to protect the book's contents to guarantee access for generations of readers. Foremost in the bookbinder's mind is durability and function. Read More
  • Who Can Sell My Rare Books?

    Mon, 30 Mar 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    So you think you want to sell your rare books? Making such a decision can be exciting, but it can also be pretty intimidating. Should you try to sell the books on your own? Should you take them to an auction house? Or should you find a rare book dealer who can list them on consignment or buy them from you outright for resale? And how do you know how much the books are even worth? You may need to have your books appraised in order to know exactly what you have. Once you have a general sense of what Read More
  • Caging the Cat on a Hot Tin Roof: Tennessee Williams

    Thu, 26 Mar 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Thomas Lanier (Tennessee) Williams was a man before his time, drawing attention to social issues rather than politics; focusing on mental health, sexual orientation, domestic violence, and family issues. He is one of the greatest American playwrights and largely undervalued. Read More
  • Chronicling the American Presidency: Bob Woodward

    Wed, 25 Mar 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    While not many print journalists bear the distinction of being a household name, there are likely few people who have not heard of investigative reporter Bob Woodward. Woodward—Harvard educated and a Navy veteran—has spent the majority of his career at The Washington Post, where he currently serves as associate editor. He initially applied for a position as a reporter at the Post and was given a two week trial period. He was not hired on a continual basis due to a lack of experience, since he applied right out of school. Woodward applied again after one year of working as Read More
  • James Patterson: Author or Brand Manager?

    Sun, 22 Mar 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Is he beloved by his critics and peers? Not so much. But James Patterson's popularity among readers remains incontrovertible. He is an industry. It's not so much all that he has written. "Written" isn't a precise enough verb. Maybe conceived, outlined, or curated would be more descriptive of his process. Read More
  • How to Buy Rare Books Online

    Fri, 20 Mar 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Buying rare books online can be tricky, but it can also be a lot of fun. While browsing in rare and antiquarian bookstores should still remain one of your favorite pastimes, sometimes buying online can also be exciting. We want to give you some advice about where to buy, what to be wary of, and how to know you’re getting what you want. Read More
  • Exploring Philip Roth's Memorable Protagonists

    Thu, 19 Mar 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    The best stories have memorable protagonists. Over the course of his illustrious career, Philip Roth has fashioned numerous standouts. Roth said in a 2014 interview republished in the New York Times that his “focus has never been on masculine power rampant and triumphant but rather on the antithesis: masculine power impaired…[His] intention is to present [his] fictional men not as they should be but vexed as men are.”  A look at some of the great Rothian main characters reveals that perhaps it’s the characters’ realistic struggles and less-than-picture-perfect lifestyles that make them as memorable as they have become. Read More
  • Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library

    Tue, 17 Mar 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Whether you’re an academic researcher, an archivist, or simply someone who has an interest in rare books, you should visit the Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library at least once in your life. While the collections at the Beinecke, like those within other special collections libraries, are open only to researchers, there’s still a lot to see even if you’re just passing through New Haven, Connecticut on a weekday afternoon. Indeed, the Beinecke keeps a variety of items from its collection on display within its incredible building at Yale University. And don’t get discouraged by the idea that you need Read More
  • Virginia Hamilton's Life and Work

    Thu, 12 Mar 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Virginia Hamilton was a master storyteller who preserved black oral tradition through her intensive research uncovering riddles, stories, and traditions. Her career would span for more than 40 years, but her first book was published in 1967, a time when most books devoted to the African American experience dealt with issues of segregation and poverty. She termed her novels “liberation literature” and instead of problem storylines, her tales underscored the experiences of ordinary people. Among her works were picture books, folk tales, science-fiction stories, realistic novels, biographies, and mysteries. Read More
  • How to Find Rare Books?

    Wed, 11 Mar 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Depending upon your previous experience buying rare books, the answer to a question about how to find them might seem either obvious or baffling. So, how does one find rare books? In brief, you can find rare books in a number of places, but knowing precisely where to look can get more complicated than you'd think. Depending upon what kind of rare books you’re looking for, you may need to consult a rare book dealer who specializes in the particular type of text you’re seeking. And to ensure that you’re buying what you think you’re buying (and not a reproduction, Read More
  • Top Books by State: Indiana

    Tue, 10 Mar 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Today we continue our literary road trip through the United States by taking a closer look at my home state, Indiana. For many people, the Midwest is little more than a flyover region and simply considered farm country. It's easy to think of Indiana by the things its most known for: NASCAR, basketball, corn, and perhaps the infamous level of violence located in the Gary, Indiana area. While Indiana is definitely known for those things, it's also a state rich in history. Abraham Lincoln lived a large portion of his childhood in southern Indiana, and President William Henry Harrison and Read More
  • Mickey Spillane: Hardboiled Detectives and Salted Peanuts

    Mon, 09 Mar 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    "Those big-shot writers could never dig the fact that there are more salted peanuts consumed than caviar.” Mickey Spillane For a writer, one of the most depressing literary pantheons is the “books written in a matter of weeks” category. This includes such classics and arguable classics as Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying (1930, written in six weeks while the author worked as a security guard), Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (1957, written in three weeks on a 120 foot long roll of paper), and Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day (1989, written in a 28 day “crash” during which Read More
  • The Magic of Gabriel García Márquez

    Fri, 06 Mar 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Born March 6, 1927, Gabriel García Márquez is one of the 20th century’s leading authors. The earliest living recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, García Márquez is best known for his novels, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), Autumn of the Patriarch (1975), and Love in the Time of Cholera (1985). Carlos Fuentes called García Márquez, “the most popular and perhaps the best writer in Spanish since Cervantes.” Read More
  • Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Ezra Jack Keats

    Thu, 05 Mar 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    The Caldecott Medal is awarded annually to the illustrator of a children's book that showcases the best work being produced in the field. Ezra Jack Keats' book The Snowy Day was awarded the medal in 1963. Keats' beloved book not only ushered in a much-needed influx of multiculturalism in the world of children's literature, but also has grown to be one of the most beloved children's books of all time. Join us as we continue our Caldecott Winning Illustrators series by taking a closer look at this incredible illustrator. Read More
  • How Theodor Geisel Became Dr. Seuss

    Mon, 02 Mar 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Theodor Geisel, known today as Dr. Seuss, was a student of English literature in his youth. While attending Oxford to get a Ph.D. in the 1920s, his future-wife persuaded him to pursue his dreams as a writer and illustrator. He returned home to the United States, with little experience other than a stint as editor of Dartmouth’s humor magazine, the Jack-O-Lantern. He submitted pieces to publishers and periodicals. It was a long slog, but he eventually made his debut with a cartoon in the July 16, 1927 issue of the Saturday Evening Post. His pay was $25—enough encouragement for the Read More
  • Visiting Ralph Ellison's Papers at the Library of Congress

    Sun, 01 Mar 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Are you interested in learning more about the life and literary work of Ralph Ellison? If you find yourself in Washington, D.C., there are many reasons to plan a visit to the Library of Congress. One of those reasons, though, should certainly be to explore the Ralph Ellison papers, which include materials from 1890-2005. There are a total of 74,800 items in the collection, such as correspondence, drafts for essays, short stories, novels, lectures given by and about Ellison, a wide variety of resources documenting his literary career, and Ellison’s final unfinished novel, Juneteenth. Read More
  • Interesting Editions of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men

    Thu, 27 Feb 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Legendary author John Steinbeck was a literary mastermind. He wrote prolifically throughout the 20th century, and his work and the themes he presents still resonate today. Of Mice and Men, his 1937 novella, does what all brilliant pieces of literature are wont to do. It gives us characters and situations that make us think and feel deeply. As such, the work has been subject to both high praise and a substantial amount of criticism. But it’s safe to say that Of Mice and Men will continue to be widely read, discussed, and appreciated. For a Steinbeck collector, it’s a must-have Read More
  • Visiting the Homes of Victor Hugo

    Wed, 26 Feb 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Planning a trip to France or the U.K. anytime soon? While many famous writers have called these places home, perhaps no author’s experiences living in both regions better reflect a life lived, in many ways, on the margins, as those of Victor Hugo. As you might know, Victor Hugo was a central figure in the Romantic movement, and he remains one of the most well-known French novelists and dramatists today. He published his first works in the 1820s, but it wasn’t until the publication of the novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame [Notre Dame de Paris] in 1831 that Hugo Read More
  • What Are Clamshell Boxes and Why Are They Important?

    Tue, 25 Feb 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    If you are a book collector or a collector of rare ephemera, you already may know about clamshell boxes and their importance for preserving rare books and paper. In short, a clamshell box is a particular type of bespoke archival box that is made individually for a specific book or collection of papers.  To be clear, clamshell boxes open up just like books and are usually custom-made according to the specifications of a particular book or object. As such, no two customized clamshell boxes are necessarily alike. They’re also frequently decorated with handmade papers, making clamshell boxes protective tools as Read More
  • Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Nicolas Sidjakov

    Mon, 24 Feb 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    The Caldecott Medal is awarded every year to a book that represents the finest achievement in children's book illustration that year. Often times these awards go to titans in the field of children's book illustrating, artists who go on to create art for some of the best loved books for children. One winner, however, was not primarily an illustrator for children's books, and in fact considered himself to be mostly an advertising artist, illustrating only a handful of children's books during his career. Let's take a closer look at 1961's winner Nicholas Sidjakov, who achieved the highest honor in American Read More
  • Important Collections of the Work of Legendary Photographer Ansel Adams

    Thu, 20 Feb 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    You’ve heard the adage "a picture’s worth a thousand words." And it’s true. Pictures have power, and since the dawn of photography as we know it, individuals have been using photos to tell stories, influence others, and make a difference. Read More
  • The Essential Amy Tan

    Wed, 19 Feb 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Amy Tan is arguably one of the most famous Chinese American writers today. Her novels, short stories, and essays are filled with intimate details about growing up as a first generation American and about what it is like to be both separate and a part of Chinese culture. Her unique yet honest and heartfelt examination of the American experience has led to the majority of her books topping best seller lists. She is often lauded and loved, and her work has been anthologized and studied in numerous text books and classrooms in the decades since her first novel was published Read More
  • Toni Morrison...Children's Book Author?

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Toni Morrison is described as an American book editor, college professor, essayist, and novelist. Her first novel was published in 1970. She gained national attention and the National Book Critics Circle Award for the acclaimed Song of Solomon in 1977. She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1987 for Beloved and received worldwide recognition with the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. But did you know she's also a children's book author? Read More
  • Carl Bernstein: Mystery Writer

    Fri, 14 Feb 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    The Big Sleep (1939). The Maltese Falcon (1929). All the President’s Men (1974). These three books represent some of the best mystery writing produced in the last century. And yet, one of these things is not like the others: where Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett honed and perfected a particular kind of detective novel, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward’s account of corruption and fraud within the Nixon administration leverages the conventions of those novels to present us with something all too true. Though All the President’s Men isn't a novel in the strict sense, it often reads like one—a good Read More
  • Is Book Collecting Worth It?

    Thu, 13 Feb 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    As lovers of rare books and ephemera, it can be difficult to hear someone ask the question, “is book collecting worth it?” Establishing a collection can bring a lifetime of joy, from seeking out new objects at home and abroad to cataloguing those items with care. And if you’re lucky, your collection might just have great significance to others, too. A study conducted by researchers at King’s College London determined that upwards of 30 percent of adults participate in some form of collecting, from books and ephemera to travel souvenirs and memorabilia. Psychologists have long attempted to classify and define Read More
  • Top Books by State: Illinois

    Wed, 12 Feb 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Today we continue our literary journey with a stop in Illinois. This Midwestern state is known for being a mixture of urban and rural, city and farmland, as well as for being home to many of the different cultures that make up America. Illinois is famous for corn and Abraham Lincoln, for gangsters roaming Chicago in the 1930s and for sports. Illinois boasts cities, farms, wetlands and forests, all situated in the heart of country. Illinois is home to Chicago, perhaps the most important of the Midwestern cities, and while Illinois is considered by many to simply be a flyover Read More
  • How Much Is My Rare Book Worth?

    Tue, 11 Feb 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Determining the value of a book or an ephemeral object can be very difficult. While certain texts are highly sought after under almost any circumstances, some items can be very tricky. Some old books are extremely valuable, yet some old books have almost no market value at all. Some books with inscriptions have significant market value, while many books with personal or sentimental notes have little to no market value. Although the condition of a book will almost always impact the object’s value on the market, some books in quite poor condition can still be extremely valuable depending upon the Read More
  • Five Interesting Facts About Sinclair Lewis

    Fri, 07 Feb 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    American author and Nobel laureate, Sinclair Lewis, was born in 1885 in the small Minnesota town of Sauk Centre. He was the youngest son of the town doctor. Unlike his two older brothers, he was awkward, gangly, sensitive and bad at sports. He also had very bad acne and was teased mercilessly for his looks. His was a lonely childhood. However, he showed an early aptitude for writing and found an escape in journaling and books. He left Sauk Centre at the age of seventeen to attend Oberlin Academy (Oberlin College) for a year. After his year at Oberlin, he Read More
  • Remembering Ronald Reagan Through the Written Word

    Thu, 06 Feb 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    When one hears the name “Ronald Reagan” many titles come to mind—actor, politician, president. And while in this day and age, many Hollywood stars participate in politics and make their political voices heard (aided, of course, by massive social media platforms and the resulting exposure), thirty years ago when Reagan made the jump from actor to Governor of California and, subsequently, to President of the United States, he was a bit of a trailblazer. Indeed, Reagan’s charisma charmed the Republican party and the American people. When he left office in 1989, his approval rating was a sky-high 68%, making him Read More
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