Member Blogs > Books Tell You Why

  • 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
  • Tennessee Williams and the Catastrophe of Success

    Sun, 26 Apr 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    The Glass Menagerie narrowly avoided complete disaster when it premiered in Chicago in 1944 with the inebriated Laurette Taylor in the crucial role of overbearing matriarch, Amanda Wingfield. Taylor was found drunk in the alley behind the theater an hour and a half before the opening curtain. Somehow, despite needing to vomit in a bucket backstage between scenes, she managed to pull off a performance still considered legendary. It was this performance on which hung the destiny of one of America's greatest playwrights: Tennessee Williams. Read More
  • Questions to Ask When Visiting a Special Collections Library

    Sat, 25 Apr 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Whenever you are in search of a particular rare book that you know a special collections library owns, or when you are seeking out information about a specific author and are hoping to find something exciting and new in that author’s papers, you’ll need to be prepared. Some special collections libraries require you to get permission in advance of your visit to conduct research in a particular writer’s papers (or in the special collections library more generally). Sometimes, especially if a library has recently acquired a collection, it won’t yet be open to researchers. You could really find yourself in Read More
  • James Patterson: Master of the Thriller

    Wed, 22 Apr 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    For fans of mystery and thriller novels, there is perhaps no bigger name than James Patterson. With over 147 books under his belt, Patterson is often considered the most prolific writer working in the field. Since the publication of his first novel in 1976, The Thomas Berryman Number, Patterson has produced a steady stream of mysteries and thrillers popular with both adults and young adults alike, While Patterson has come under fire for his extensive collaboration with co-writers, a practice which many suspect has not called for Patterson to do much of the writing, he has maintained a presence on Read More
  • Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Maurice Sendak

    Tue, 21 Apr 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Every year the Caldecott Medal is awarded to the illustrator of a children's book that represents the best and most innovative work being done in the field. Critically acclaimed and—more importantly—beloved by children, these books often go on to hold important places on the shelves of libraries and families for years. Even so, it is fair to say that while many of the books achieve a notable status and have great staying power, it isn't often that the illustrators themselves become household names. However, there are a few exceptions. Join us as we take a look at the winner of Read More
  • Philip Roth, Philip K. Dick, and the Man in the High Castle

    Sun, 19 Apr 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    What would our world look like if the Axis powers had won World War II? How would our daily lives have been transformed if the United States had been sympathetic to Nazi Germany? Posing “what if” questions about World War II and its aftermath has been popular among some of America’s most widely read authors. Notably, both Philip K. Dick and Philip Roth have imagined alternate histories in which Nazi Germany won the war. While the series The Man in the High Castle takes its title and storyline directly from Dick’s novel of the same name, we’d like to explore Read More
  • A Tribute to John Updike

    Sat, 18 Apr 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Best known for the Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom series, John Updike published in a variety of genres beyond fiction, including poetry, literary criticism, short stories, and even children's books. Read More
  • Rare Books By Women Writers

    Wed, 15 Apr 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    A large majority of books collected are not books by women writers. But right here, right now, you can help to change that! While book collecting historically has been a pastime, passion, and even mania inhabited largely by men for so many problematic reasons, many women collectors and women writers are helping to shape a shift. More women should collect, and more people in general should collect rare books by women writers. While there are so many novelists, poets, and short story writers to choose from, we want to offer you a broad sampling of some of the rare books Read More
  • Fowl Play with Eoin Colfer

    Tue, 14 Apr 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Eoin Colfer, writer of various children’s novels, is most acclaimed for his thrilling adventure series, Artemis Fowl. Beloved by readers and collectors alike, these books have become modern classics. But Colfer has also written a number of other notable children's books.  Read More
  • Collecting Interesting Editions of the Work of Leo and Diane Dillon

    Mon, 13 Apr 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Leo and Diane Dillon are world-class illustrators, Caldecott Award winners, and a formidable team. The couple met at the Parsons School of Design in New York where both were students. Leo came upon a still life of an Eames chair displayed among student work at a school exhibition. He was struck by it, and set out to find who had done the work. That person—whom he assumed was a “he”—was, in fact, Diane Sorber. The two entered in to a sort of rivalry, trying to place higher than each other at competitive art shows. In the end, they married and Read More
  • The History and Importance of Women's Literature

    Sun, 12 Apr 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Women's literature has often been defined by publishers as a category of writing done by women. Though obviously this is true, many scholars find such a definition reductive. What makes the history of women's writing so interesting is that in many ways it is a new area of study. The tradition of women writing has been much ignored due to the inferior position women have held in male-dominated societies. It is still not unheard of to see literature classes or anthologies in which women are greatly outnumbered by male writers or even entirely absent. The onus of women's literature, then, Read More
  • Top Books by State: Iowa

    Wed, 08 Apr 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Next up on our trip through America by book is the state of Iowa. The Hawkeye state is known for football, farmland, and—in election years—for the caucus. While there are metropolitan centers in Iowa like Des Moines, the Quad Cities area, and Iowa City—the latter of which is known as a literary hub due to the Iowa Writers Workshop, one of the most prestigious writing programs in the country—much of Iowa is rural farmland. While much of Iowa used to be covered in prairies, an emphasis on an agriculture-based economy decimated much of the original landscape. In recent years, there Read More
  • Seattle's Rare Book Scene

    Tue, 07 Apr 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Whenever we’re traveling for business or pleasure, we make sure to carve out a few hours—or more!—to visit local rare bookstores. When it comes to a stop in Seattle, there are some fantastic shops that specialize in a range of rare books and ephemera. While Seattle is often remembered as a city that introduced the rest of the country (and the globe) to grunge music and the sounds of bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam, it’s also a city with a rich cultural and literary history. The rare book scene in Seattle should interest both casual and serious collectors Read More
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Political and Familial Influences

    Mon, 06 Apr 2020 08:00:00 Permalink
    Today we celebrate the birthday of legendary author Gabriel García Márquez, affectionately known as "Gabo." Born on March 6, 1928, García Márquez would live through one of the most violent periods in Colombian history. Steeped in the stories of his grandparents, García Márquez wove Colombia's history into magical tales of war, love, and survival. Read More
  • 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
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