Member Blogs > Books Tell You Why

  • Three of Cornelia Funke's Best Series

    Tue, 10 Dec 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Fantasy books hold a special place in literature. Their world-building provides insight into authors’ imaginations and exposes readers to new, unique cultures and worlds. In a time where fantasy is running rampant, it can be difficult to find novels outside of the sometimes static popular motifs. German author Cornelia Funke writes some of the best children’s and young adult fantasy series. In her work, she combines well loved fantasy tropes and creatures and elements from classic fairy tales into new, colorful worlds for readers to enjoy. Read More
  • John Milton, Political Activist and Poet

    Mon, 09 Dec 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    “I sung of Chaos and Eternal Night, Taught by the heav'nly Muse to venture down The dark descent, and up to reascend”                 -Paradise Lost     Today we celebrate literary giant John Milton, author of Paradise Lost. His poetry profoundly influenced English literature and in particular the works of William Wordsworth, William Blake, Alexander Pope, and John Keats. Now, over three centuries since his death, Milton remains one of the greatest of all English poets. Read More
  • James Thurber's Life and Work

    Sun, 08 Dec 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    James Thurber became one of the most popular humorists of his time by shining a comedic light on the everyday man and his daily, mundane frustrations and idiosyncrasies. In his work, Thurber often asked his audience to consider how their minds shaped their view of reality. Read More
  • The Real Man Behind Santa Claus (And the Books That Made Him Famous)

    Fri, 06 Dec 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    At this time of year, it is common to hear cheery adults ask wide-eyed children, “What do you want from Santa Claus?” In the lead-up to Christmas day, one can find a white-beard wielding, red suit wearing, rosy-faced man at most every shopping center and holiday event, and whether the young children are excited to tell him their Christmas wishes or run screaming in terror at the thought of sitting upon his lap, imagining Christmas without Santa Claus is incredibly difficult. Indeed, Santa has become so intertwined with the Christmas holiday that for many, he takes center stage on December Read More
  • Five of Disney's Best Adaptations

    Thu, 05 Dec 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    It has long been a tradition to adapt older, well-loved works into more modern versions. From the re-telling of fairy tales, each with their own flair, to the use of popular tropes instituted by some of the most popular authors, the practice of making the old new has long held reader’s and author’s interest. Technology has allowed for this tradition to transform into new medias. One of the best known providers of adapted classics is The Walt Disney Company. While sometimes they change little and sometimes they change much, Disney’s productions are all masterfully created to inspire and draw audiences Read More
  • David Macaulay: A Mind To Be Reckoned With

    Mon, 02 Dec 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    From the time he was a child, David Macaulay evidenced a fascination with how machines operated. He soon began to make models of machines and began drawing illustrations of these machines. Soon he was constructing elevators out of shoe boxes, tape, and string and devising intricate systems of moving cable cars made with empty thread spools. Read More
  • Jan Brett: More Than Pretty Pictures

    Sun, 01 Dec 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Jan Brett decided she would be an illustrator when she was quite young. As a child, she felt that she could enter the pages of her beautiful picture books. Her goal as an illustrator is to recreate that feeling of believing that the imaginary places really exist. Her beautiful pictures allow children and the adults who love them to experience this magic in the 41 million copies of her books in print. She is both an author and illustrator, but it’s her illustrations that truly set her books apart from other players in the world of children’s literature. Read More
  • Who Were Mark Twain's Publishers?

    Sat, 30 Nov 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Samuel Langhorne Clemens, or Mark Twain as he is known to many readers, wrote nearly two dozen books over the course of his career, not to mention the wide variety of essays that appeared in various literary magazines. He’s a popular author for new and seasoned collectors alike, and his fiction and essays have appeared in dozens of different editions for more than a century. Yet unless you’re extremely familiar with particular editions of Twain’s work, you may not be too knowledgeable about his many publishers. So, who were his publishers? Read More
  • Louisa May Alcott and the Continuing Relevance of Little Women

    Fri, 29 Nov 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    As you may know, a new adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s much-loved novel Little Women will appear in U.S. cinemas on Christmas Day of 2019. The recent film adaptation, directed and adapted by Academy Award-nominated Greta Gerwig, stars Meryl Streep as Aunt March, Emma Watson as Meg, Saoirse Ronan as Jo, Timothée Chalamet as Laurie, and Florence Pugh as Amy. Given the recent fascination with and interest in Little Women, we thought it would be a fantastic time to revisit the numerous cinematic adaptations of the novel across the last century, and to consider how the continuing relevance of Little Read More
  • On Gratitude: Ten Quotes for a Literary Thanksgiving

    Thu, 28 Nov 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Today is Thanksgiving in the United States, and that means friends and families are coming together to give thanks and express gratitude for what and whom they have in their lives. A day focused on gathering around a shared table to indulge in extravagant food and drink, one could argue Thanksgiving is the purest of all holidays where the pressures of a commerce-driven culture are set aside in favor of breaking bread, telling stories, and celebrating a communal moment of peace and good will—that is, at least until the Black Friday sales begin.  Read More
  • Caroline Kennedy's Poetry Collections

    Wed, 27 Nov 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Born in 1957 to President John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy, Caroline Kennedy spent her childhood after her father’s assassination in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. After graduating with her J.D., she worked as an attorney, politician, and advocate for educational reform. Under the Obama administration, Kennedy served as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan from 2013 to 2017. Throughout her career, she has published books on politics, American history, constitutional law, and poetry. If you're interested in collecting poetry or collecting books associated with the Kennedy family, the following list is for you. Read More
  • The Fame and Fiction of William F. Buckley, Jr.

    Sun, 24 Nov 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    When most people think about William F. Buckley, Jr., they don’t think about Cold War spy novels or interviews with Beat poets and dramatists. Instead, they often think about Buckley's prominence in conservative politics. Yet he also made a name for himself when it came to fiction. We didn’t just reference Cold War spy novels and Jack Kerouac—two seemingly incompatible topics—out of nowhere. In fact, although you might not suspect it, Buckley wrote eleven novels about espionage and even interviewed Allen Ginsberg, Norman Mailer, and Jack Kerouac on television. Are you intrigued? Let us tell you a little bit more Read More
  • All I Want for Christmas Is a Book: An Early Gift Guide

    Thu, 21 Nov 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    The holiday season is right around the corner! As you think about what sorts of gifts you’d like to give and receive this year, we’re confident books are at the top of your list. You are reading this blog, after all! And it’s true, a book makes a timeless gift—one that can be enjoyed over and over again, and for generations to come. So, we thought we’d break down some ideas for you, in an effort to make your shopping a little easier and free up some time in this busy holiday season for you to do some reading or Read More
  • From Sherlock Holmes to James Bond: Starting a John Gardner Collection

    Wed, 20 Nov 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    At first glance, Sherlock Holmes and James Bond may not appear to have much in common. Sherlock Holmes, the detective of 221-B Baker Street in London, originated in the late nineteenth century in the fiction of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. James Bond, much differently, didn’t come into being until 1953 as the British Secret Service agent in Ian Fleming’s fiction. Yet if you’ve found yourself interested in the ever-evolving story of Sherlock Holmes on the BBC or the various ways in which James Bond has been reimagined in fiction and cinema, you might be especially interested in learn about the Read More
  • Top Books by State: Georgia

    Tue, 19 Nov 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    The next state we're visiting on our literary journey through the United States is Georgia. This southern state is home to a rich history. It's also one of the primary inspirations for longstanding conventions of Southern belles and Southern hospitality. Georgia was home to some of the more brutal battles of the Civil War, facing much devastation in Sherman's March to the East. Modern Georgia has been rebuilt into a state rich with agriculture and tourism. It's also home to some of the most beautiful cities in the south. Whether you know Georgia for its pecans, peaches, and peanuts, for Read More
  • Book Spotlight: Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

    Thu, 14 Nov 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Astrid Lindgren was born on November 14th, 1907. At the age of 14 in 1921 Astrid published På vår gård (On Our Property) in the Vimmerby Tidning. In 1933, her first children’s stories were published. During WWII, she wrote “War Diary.” After her daughter Karin named Pippi Longstocking, Lindgren wrote her story down and sent it to the publishing firm Bonniers, who rejected it. She edited her work and submitted it to Rabén & Sjögren for consideration in a compassion for books for girls. Pippi Longstocking was published in 1945. Over the rest of her career, Lindgren published many children’s stories, Read More
  • Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Marc Simont

    Wed, 13 Nov 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Something about children's books—whether it be the simple stories and lessons or the vibrant artwork—inspires a love that lasts beyond childhood. Numerous adults collect children's books for themselves while others seek out the best examples to add to their own children's bookshelves. It's a genre that inspires happiness and paves the way for a lifetime love of reading. Each year, the Caldecott Medal recognizes the best newly published children's books, those whose illustrations represent the finest children's literature has to offer. Today we continue our Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series by taking a closer look at 1957's winner, Marc Simont. Read More
  • Eloise, C'est Moi: The Real Life of Kay Thompson

    Sat, 09 Nov 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    There’s been plenty of speculation about what Eloise would be like as a grown up. Sarah Ferrell at the New York Times wrote that, “today, she’d probably be on Ritalin.” Carolyn Parkhurst at the New Yorker put together a short piece in 2014 imaging Eloise as a 46-year-old (still) living at the Plaza Hotel, which includes the line, “Some mornings, I wake up with a rawther awful hangover.” Surely somewhere there is a more optimistic take on the life trajectory of the maximally whimsical and mischievous among us—but the consensus seems a little bit dark. Read More
  • The Authorized and Unauthorized Sequels of Gone with the Wind

    Fri, 08 Nov 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell is one of the most undisputed popular novels in the world, winning the Pulitzer Prize and having the unusual distinction of being outsold only by The Holy Bible. In addition, it was adapted into an equally famous film that still holds records to date. This fact is even more remarkable when considering that it was Mitchell's only finished novel and her only fiction publication in her lifetime. She died after being struck by a car at the age of forty-eight. While some of her early works were posthumously publish, none have reached the epic fame as her famous Read More
  • Ephemera and Your Rare Book Collection

    Thu, 07 Nov 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    If you've chosen a theme or focus for your rare book collection, eventually you'll want to move beyond books and collect related items as well. These may include magazines, posters, or other paper objects. Known as ephemera , such items can add depth, interest, and value to a personal collection. Read More
  • Book Spotlight: Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer

    Wed, 06 Nov 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Published in 2009, Jon Krakauer’s Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman explores the life of football player Pat Tillman. Born in 1976, Tillman became one of the best known players for the Arizona Cardinals before leaving his multimillion dollar contract to enlist in the Army. His death in the line of duty brought controversy to the Army and U.S. government when they hid and changed details of the incident from Tillman’s family and the public. Krakauer’s work brings together the facts, painting for readers a clear picture of the details and cover-up. Read More
  • A Timeline of Hilary Knight's Life and Work

    Fri, 01 Nov 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    When thinking of illustrator and author Hilary Knight, most first turn to Eloise, his best known work. What few realize is the shear magnitude of Knight’s body of work outside of his work on Eloise. Over the course of his career, Knight illustrated and wrote over 50 books, becoming one of the most recognizable illustrators of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.  Read More
  • Spooky Reads for Halloween

    Thu, 31 Oct 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Have you chosen a costume? Stocked up on candy? Planned that trick-or-treating route? That's right. Halloween is here! The myths and tales of Halloween have long captured our imagination, making the holiday a perfect match for book collectors. Classic spine tingling reads are consistent book collecting favorites. Read More
  • Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Feodor Rojankovsky

    Wed, 30 Oct 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    While hundreds of children's books are published every year in the United States, only a select few are ever granted the highly esteemed Caldecott Medal, which is awarded annually for the best example of quality in children's book illustration. While the addition of Caldecott Honor book seals allows more than one exceptional book to be recognized, per year only one book is given the prestigious Caldecott Medal. These books often become classics, beloved for their amazing illustrations and captivating stories, in addition to becoming highly sought after items for collectors interested in children's literature. Today we continue our Caldecott Winning Read More
  • The Life and Work of Hillary Clinton

    Sat, 26 Oct 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Hillary Clinton engenders strong emotions from many people. Some love her. Some love to hate her. No matter where you fall, it's difficult to argue that she's not a very accomplished, very smart, woman of a certain age. Rather than descending into political debate, we'd like to offer an overview of Clinton's accomplishments and some of her notable written works, and leave it at that. Read More
  • Michael Crichton: The Arthur Conan Doyle of the 20th Century?

    Wed, 23 Oct 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    If you’re good with dates, dear reader, you no doubt have a number of objections ready based simply on the title of this blog post. The Hound of the Baskervilles, which represents Sherlock Holmes’ first appearance after he was unceremoniously killed off by his author, actually appears in 1901, with a slow trickle of additional Holmes stories and other writings throughout the aughts, teens, and twenties. So, in point of fact, Arthur Conan Doyle is the Arthur Conan Doyle of the 20th century. We could call Michael Crichton the Conan Doyle of the Cold War, but Jurassic Park (1990) was Read More
  • Celebrating Nobel Laureate Doris Lessing

    Tue, 22 Oct 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Today is the centennial birthday of Doris Lessing, novelist, poet, playwright, and Nobel laureate. Born in Kermanshah, Iran to British parents, Lessing's life story is an incredible one. In honor of the 100th year since her birth, here's more about one of the foremost authors of the twentieth century. Read More
  • Philip Pullman, Impassioned Storyteller for All Ages

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Author Philip Pullman is a master of modern children's literature. His trilogy, His Dark Materials, is one of the most beloved fantasy series of the last twenty five years, although Pullman himself considers the books "stark realism" not fantasy. Writing for children, Pullman believes, enables him to engage his readers in ways he would otherwise be prohibited - he revels in intricate plots and characters. He has won the Carnegie Medal (1995), Guardian Prize (1996), and Astrid Lindgren Award (2005). And recently, HBO announced the air date for its upcoming series based on His Dark Materials. Fans of Pullman's stories don't have to Read More
  • A Quick Guide to the Works of Arthur Miller

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    In an interview with the Paris Review, Arthur Miller spoke of his admiration for the Greek tragedies when he was young. He had had little classical background at the time, but as to their form he said, “the architecture was clear.” A quick glance at the dictionary reveals the definition of architecture is "the complex or carefully designed structure of something." Interestingly, on the day of his interview, the playwright had greeted the visiting journalist* from a ladder in an old barn that he was converting into a guesthouse. The conversation eventually moved to a one room study at a Read More
  • Wilde Wit: The 15 Funniest Quotes from Oscar Wilde

    Wed, 16 Oct 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Oscar Wilde is easily one of the most recognizable names in literature, just as he would have wanted. While his work was met with general acclaim during his lifetime, today Wilde is considered one of the most famous writers in the British literary canon. Besides his plays, short fiction, and novel, he is also known for his epigrams. Today, we take a closer look at Wilde's career and present to you fifteen of his best and funniest phrases. Read More
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