Member Blogs > Books Tell You Why

  • FAQ – Book Care and Storage

    Fri, 01 Jun 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    We receive many emails from book collectors and individuals who have purchased books from our inventory. We’re asked a lot of questions about book collecting, the history of a certain collectible or title, etc. We love hearing from you, and we try our best to answer your inquiries. Recently, many of you seem to be wondering about book care, particularly book storage, and how to store your books in a way that ensures the preservation of your collection. We thought we’d share some answers and some of our favorite resources. Read More
  • An Introduction to McSweeney's Publishing Company

    Thu, 31 May 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Have you heard of McSweeney’s publishing company? Perhaps you’re familiar with the humor website titled McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. Or perhaps you subscribe to Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern. Have you read any of the books that McSweeney’s has published? The company has helped many authors get their start in the industry. For this reason, and many more, McSweeney’s publishing company may be of interest to book collectors and humorists alike. Read More
  • Collecting Franz Kafka's The Trial

    Wed, 30 May 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    If you haven’t read Franz Kafka’s 1914 masterpiece The Trial, we recommend picking up a copy today. But if you have read the work and have considered its significance not only as a piece of modernist fiction but also as a literary work that comments upon the bureaucratic idiocy of government and the perceived rule of law, then you might want to do more than just read this book. Indeed, you might want to start a collection of various editions and translations of the novel. Collecting copies of the book, as well as ephemera related to it, won’t be an Read More
  • Did You Know? Nine Facts About Ian Fleming and James Bond

    Mon, 28 May 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Born on May 28, 1908, Ian Fleming would go on to create the most enduring literary figure since Sherlock Holmes. Rare book collectors are fascinated with the legacy of Ian Fleming and James Bond. Here's a look at little known facts about Fleming and his world-famous protagonist. Read More
  • Five Books for Children on Memorial Day

    Fri, 25 May 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    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 Read More
  • Legendary Author Philip Roth, Age 85, Has Died

    Thu, 24 May 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Philip Roth, award winning author and literary innovator, has died at the age of 85. Roth is well known for his semi-autobiographical texts which often blur the line between fiction and reality. What isn't blurry is Roth's influence and impact on the literary community and on readers and book collectors around the world. With well-known novels like American Pastoral and The Plot Against America, among numerous others, Roth proved himself an astute observer of American culture with all its cracks and flaws. His are novels of satire and American-Jewish life, each complex in the journey it takes readers on. Even though Read More
  • Collecting the Works of Philip Pullman

    Wed, 23 May 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Collecting the works of a present-day author is appealing to many collectors. For starters, if the author is alive, a collector’s chance of meeting him or her in person is significantly higher than if the author was dead. Likewise, he or she may be putting more signed books into the world, just waiting to be scooped up by a diligent collector. Living authors may hold speaking events, book signings, etc. which are great opportunities for collecting ephemera. And, if the author in question is still publishing new work, then a collector can still feel the thrill of adding yet-to-be-seen titles Read More
  • Collecting Books by Buzz Aldrin

    Tue, 22 May 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    In 1969 American astronaut Buzz Aldrin inspired people all across the nation when he and Neil Armstrong became the first two people to walk on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. He was born Edwin Aldrin Jr. in Glen Ridge, New Jersey in 1930, and he got the nickname “Buzz” (which he legally adopted in 1988) from his sister who struggled to pronounce the word “brother” and said “buzzer” instead. Upon graduation from high school, Aldrin turned down a full academic scholarship to MIT in favor of attending the United States Military Academy at West Point. He graduated with a Read More
  • The History of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

    Fri, 18 May 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    While the Hans Christian Andersen Medal is often touted as the Nobel Prize of children’s literature, the $600,000 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award is the actual title holder for the richest prize in children’s lit—and with a list of honorees that includes Maurice Sendak and Philip Pullman, it may one day grow to match the earlier prize in prestige. After all, the award—which is given “by the Swedish people to the world” to one or more international authors, illustrators, oral storytellers, or organizations each year—resembles the Nobel in its lofty aims of promoting literary idealism in its mission to promote children’s Read More
  • Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Thomas Handforth

    Thu, 17 May 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    The Caldecott Medal was first awarded in 1937 and in the years since, it has honored some of the best and and most innovative artists working in the field of children's literature. For collectors, Caldecott Medal books are some of the most sought-after picture books. Likewise, these titles serve as a guidepost for parents searching for quality books to purchase for their children. Continuing our series on Caldecott Medal winners, we turn our attention to illustrator Thomas Handforth. Read More
  • Tom Wolfe: Fiction, Journalism, and Legacy

    Wed, 16 May 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Tom Wolfe, acclaimed journalist and writer, has died at the age of 88. In his honor, we revisit his life and work today. The prospect of writing a blog post on Tom Wolfe and his influence is daunting. The man who has been such a presence in the world of American letters these past forty years, having authored The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987) and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968), looms large, not just over a new generation of writers and journalists, but over the blogosphere in particular. He did, after all, call out blogs for being "a universe Read More
  • A Glossary of Book Binding Terms

    Tue, 15 May 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    For anyone interested in book collecting, understanding the terminology used in the book buying and selling industry is essential. When it comes to a book’s binding, there are many descriptors that are used. Do you know the difference between half bound and quarter bound? What does it mean if a book’s been shaken? Can you describe the difference between Octavo and Quarto? Let us help with this glossary of book binding terms. Read More
  • Who Is Mother Goose? The Curious Mystery of Everyone's Favorite Mother

    Fri, 11 May 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    With Mother's Day approaching, we thought it would be a fine time to revisit the history of everyone's favorite mother: Mother Goose. Whether she exists in your mind as a clucking bird, a gentle elderly woman, or a combination of both, the image of Mother Goose is universally synonymous with joy, childhood, storytelling, and safety. Her origins reach back to the sixteenth century, prior to the birth of the fairy tale, and her future attaches to the minds of millions of young children every year. But who is Mother Goose? Who came up with her, and what exactly does she Read More
  • Best Books From Kenya

    Wed, 09 May 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Are you traveling to Nairobi or hoping to learn more about nations in East Africa through fiction? We have some literature recommendations for you to check out. Keep reading for a list of just a handful of the best books from Kenya. Read More
  • Six Interesting Facts About Anne Rice

    Tue, 08 May 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Horror novelist Anne Rice is best known for her Vampire Chronicles and Mayfair Witches series. Since publishing her first novel, Interview With the Vampire in the 1970s, she has published extensively in both the horror and erotic fiction genres, becoming one of the most popular writers living today. Her work has explored the nature of good, evil, and humanity through the lens of horror fiction and monsters like vampires, witches, werewolves, and mummies. Her work has been adapted into movies, comics, musicals, and she and her son Christopher Rice are currently working to adapt her fiction into a television series Read More
  • What Is a Frontispiece?

    Fri, 04 May 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    We think it’s safe to assume that if you’re reading this article you enjoy books. You also probably believe, as we do, that books are important physical objects: they are important collectibles and keepsakes that you can feel, hold in your hand, page through, and examine the condition of. Indeed, we like to place an emphasis on the physical copy of a book as an object to be treasured. In our efforts to do so, we’d like to examine some of the features that make books, especially rare books, so special. Today, we’re focusing on frontispieces. What is a frontispiece? Read More
  • Collecting the Works of Dean Koontz

    Thu, 03 May 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Like the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, Dean Koontz is a man of many names. Following the advice of an early publisher, Koontz determined that he might alienate fans of one genre by publishing under his own name in another. Given how many genres Koontz was going to publish in, it was necessary to have a whole host of pseudonyms (like David Axton, Leigh Nichols, and Brian Coffey) to preserve his image across his various milieus, which ranged from horror and thrillers to satire, science fiction, and mystery. Given that he was, during his era of peak productivity, publishing as many Read More
  • "Bulgakov Diplomacy" and Redesigning the Contemporary Russian Literature Canon

    Wed, 02 May 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Generally speaking, 19th-century Russian novels have been read in literature classes across the globe for many decades. From Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Anna Karenina to Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov, lists of classic literature would not be complete without numerous additions from the Russian “canon.” But what do most of us know about contemporary Russian literature? That’s the question that was posed in an article that appeared in Foreign Policy Magazine. In short, literature from the Cold War era and the fiction from the years following the disintegration of the Soviet Union has not been circulated Read More
  • A May Day Round-Up

    Tue, 01 May 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    May 1, commonly known as "May Day", is upon us. For many, this is an unofficial start to the warm weather season, a chance to get outdoors and celebrate, maybe even dance around a traditional maypole. For many others, this day symbolizes much more and is spent remembering or participating in labor protests and worker's rights movements. After all, May 1 is not only May Day but also International Worker's Day in many locations. We've written in the past about literature that deals with this particular day in history, and we thought we'd share some noteworthy articles and titles with you today. Read More
  • Collecting Civil War Literature

    Fri, 27 Apr 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Interested in starting or adding to a collection of Civil War literature? We think the anniversary of the death of Ulysses S. Grant is a good day to discuss some titles and editions that are important to keep in mind for anyone interested in this period in United States history. Indeed, Grant himself has a noteworthy memoir that graces our list. Beyond the Union general, however, you’ll see that a collection of Civil War literature can span from novels to poems to autobiographies and everything in between. Happy collecting! Read More
  • Book Spotlight: The Last Stop on Market Street

    Thu, 26 Apr 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    The Last Stop on Market Street, published in 2015 by Penguin, was written by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson. The book tells the story of CJ who is taking a bus ride with his grandmother after church, as they do every Sunday. While riding the bus, CJ glimpses one of his friends riding in a car with his family and asks why their family doesn't have a car, thus beginning a series of questions CJ asks his grandma based on the things and people he observes on their ride. Why do we love this book so Read More
  • Learning More About the Heinemann African Writers Series

    Wed, 25 Apr 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    In 1962, the Heinemann African Writers Series (AWS) began with Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart (1958) as the first book in the series. The AWS has become synonymous, in many ways, with the global circulation of African literature in the second half of the twentieth century. Do you know how it started and why it’s significant? And perhaps more pressingly, would you like some recommendations for books to seek out from the AWS? We’d like to tell you more about the Heinemann series and to mention some of our favorite books from it that you might add to your Read More
  • Anne Rice: Four Decades of Horror Fiction

    Tue, 24 Apr 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Celebrated writer Anne Rice is known for her horror, religious, and erotic novels. Though she writes in drastically different and seemingly contradictory genres, throughout all of her books, Rice displays lush and sensuous description, complex plots that focusing on history, art, and mythology, and an ongoing discussion around the nature of good and evil and what it means to have or lose faith. Rice has been actively publishing fiction since 1974 and is one of most commercially successful living writers today, as well as perhaps the most famous female living writer of horror. Read More
  • Tips For Collecting Mark Twain Books

    Fri, 20 Apr 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Born November 30, 1835, Samuel Langhorne Clemens (pen name, Mark Twain) would become one of the most beloved American writers of all time. As a writer, humorist, speaker, and publisher, Mark Twain became a household name. His works are perennial favorites among readers and collectors, and in recent years, rare Mark Twain books and ephemera have gained even more value. Let's reexamine his remarkable life and work. Read More
  • R. Buckminster Fuller Collection at Stanford University

    Thu, 19 Apr 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Who was R. Buckminster Fuller? In Stanford University Library’s description of the R. Buckminster Fuller Collection, the description describes Fuller as a “20th century polymath,” while the Buckminster Fuller Institute describes the man as “a 20th century inventor and visionary who did not limit himself to one field but worked as a ‘comprehensive anticipatory design scientist’ to solve global problems.” He was, indeed, a person of many interests, many academic pursuits, and many talents. Fuller lived through most of the twentieth century and published novels and essays, wrote poetry, designed architectural geodesic domes and works of contemporary art, and built Read More
  • FAQ: Insuring Your Book Collection

    Wed, 18 Apr 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    So you’re a book collector. Perhaps you’re just starting out, or maybe you’ve amassed a sizable collection. You have researched the proper methods to protect your books from the elements—things like proper humidity control and winning the battle against bookworms. Your book collection is your pride and joy, and you’re looking forward to passing it down to your kids and grand-kids someday, or donating it to a favorite museum or institute. Excellent. Now, have you considered how you should insure your book collection? If not, you should. We've been asked recently about how to insure book collections. Here are several things to Read More
  • Ten Fascinating Facts About Gabriel García Márquez

    Tue, 17 Apr 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Especially on this blog, Love in the Time of Cholera (1985) author Gabriel García Márquez needs little introduction. William Kennedy declared that Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) was, "the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race," and the Nobel Prize committee seemed to more or less agree, bestowing the honor on a Colombian writer for the first time ever largely in recognition of One Hundred Years of Solitude in particular. Carlos Fuentes called him, "the most popular and perhaps the best writer in Spanish since Cervantes." Here are some interesting Read More
  • Six Interesting Facts about the Nobel Prize in Literature

    Fri, 13 Apr 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    What does it mean to win a Nobel Prize in Literature? Some of the past winners have explained it better than we ever could. For example, Seamus Heaney declared, "I've said it before about the Nobel Prize: it's like being struck by a more or less benign avalanche. It was unexpected, unlooked for, and extraordinary." Doris Lessing, for her part, said, "As soon as I got the Nobel Prize, my back collapsed and I was in the hospital." Mario Vargas Llosa reminds us of the notoriety that comes with the title of Nobel laureate: "The Nobel prize is a fairy Read More
  • Mark Twain's Legendary Humor

    Thu, 12 Apr 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, is one of the most celebrated authors in all of American literature. Born in Florida, Missouri in 1835, Twain moved to Hannibal, the town that inspired the location for some of his most famous novels, when he was four years old. He began his career working as an apprentice printer before moving on to work as a typesetter. His brother Orion had recently purchased The Hannibal Journal, and Twain frequently contributed articles and sketches to the publication. He later went on to realize a lifelong ambition of working on steamboat, a vocation which provided Read More
  • VLOG: Long Stitch Bookbinding

    Wed, 11 Apr 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Medieval Germany: it brought us Otto the Great, the formation of the Hanseatic League, and the first stirrings of the Protestant Reformation. It also, as best as we can discern, brought us long stitch bookbinding, a non-adhesive form of bookmaking (meaning it eschews the use of glue or other adhesives) that gained some popularity in 18th and 19th century Europe. Read More
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