Member Blogs > Books Tell You Why

  • Book Spotlight: The Curious Case of Sidd Finch by George Plimpton

    Mon, 18 Mar 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Baseball has long been America’s pastime. Heroes have thrilled fans and achieved glory. Lore has shrouded the sport in expectations and fantasies. But what about when someone uses America’s pastime to fool Americans? George Plimpton, editor, writer, and sportsman, did just that when he published The Curious Case of Sidd Finch.  Read More
  • Mostly Harmless: How Eion Colfer Took Over The Hitchhiker's "Trilogy"

    Thu, 14 Mar 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    One of the best running gags in fiction (in this writer’s humble opinion) comes, unsurprisingly, from Douglas Adams’ beloved Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy series (1979-2008). On the cover of some editions of the series’ fourth book, So Long and Thanks for All the Fish (1984), readers are helpfully informed that they’ve picked up “the fourth in the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker’s Trilogy.” The original cover of the fifth book contained, mutatis mutandis, the same joke—Douglas Adams’ wry comment on the fact that, in terms of plotting out the series, he was just making it all up as he went along. Sadly, Read More
  • Collecting Interesting Editions of the Work of Leo and Diane Dillon

    Wed, 13 Mar 2019 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
  • A Lasting Mark: The Legacy of Virginia Hamilton

    Tue, 12 Mar 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Esteemed children's book author Virginia Hamilton was born the youngest of five children in Yellow Springs, Ohio in 1934 during the great depression. Her maternal grandfather came to the state on the Underground Railroad, and the family always prized the freedom to pursue education, creativity, and freedom. The encouragement she received in her home environment helped Virginia Hamilton graduate at the top of her class and receive a full scholarship to Antioch College. Hamilton later transferred to Ohio State University where she studied literature and creative writing, actively pursuing the field in which she would eventually succeed. During her lifetime, she won Read More
  • Eight Mickey Spillane Quotes That Show His Writing Style

    Sat, 09 Mar 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Mickey Spillane, one of the most popular American mystery writers of the twentieth century, is known for his gritty, gruff writing. His work is violent, dark, and utterly successful; his first novel sold over one million copies. Known for the character Mike Hammer, Spillane’s work on his mystery novels did not limit his work as a writer. He wrote television shows, movies, and children’s books, winning the Junior Literary Guild award for his 1979 story, The Day the Sea Rolled Back. However, his writing is best remembered for his use of vivid descriptions, short words, and fast transitions to help immerse Read More
  • A Family Affair: Lynn Redgrave and the Redgrave Theatrical Pedigree

    Fri, 08 Mar 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    What must it feel like to be a part of a successful family? On one hand, being able to learn from and share experiences with those closest to you is certainly incredibly valuable. On the other hand, it is often daunting for members of the same family to follow in the footsteps of their parents or siblings. The Redgrave family is a premiere example of a modern-day dynasty, and its kingdom is the stage and screen. According to Lynn Redgrave, the family’s acting history spans five generations. To be sure, actress and author Lynn Redgrave knew what it felt like to come Read More
  • A Tribute to Gabo: Remembering Gabriel García Márquez

    Wed, 06 Mar 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    The influence of Gabriel Garcia Marquez cannot be overstated. When he passed away in 2014, he was heralded as "the greatest Colombian who ever lived" by Juan Manuel Santos, the president of Colombia at the time. What did Gabriel García Márquez do to be so influential and to be considered so great? He wrote passionately about politics, both at home and abroad, in his non-fiction and journalistic efforts. He pioneered magic realism in his fiction work. As his popularity grew thanks to the success of his novels like One Hundred Years of Solitude which was translated into over 30 languages, García Márquez took Read More
  • Top Books By State: Alaska

    Tue, 05 Mar 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    When one thinks of Alaska, words that come to mind may include wilderness, ice, and mountains, among others. In effect, many people picture a sparsely populated region with rugged terrain and brutal conditions for anyone who finds themselves left out in the cold.  Alaska, of course, was the 49th state to join the Union. Before officially becoming a state, it also served—alongside the Yukon territory—as a destination for eager gold miners during the gold rush in the early part of the twentieth century. Alaska is home to a significant number of native Alaskans or American Indians. What about the literary Read More
  • Book Spotlight: The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

    Sat, 02 Mar 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Born Theodor Seuss Geisel on March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Massachusetts, Geisel started using the pseudonym “Seuss” during his time at Dartmouth when he was banned from editing and contributing to the campus’ humor magazine, Jack-O-Lantern. Geisel, after graduating from Dartmouth, attended Oxford thinking of becoming a professor, but left to start work as a cartoonist before eventually moving to work in Standard Oil’s advertising department for 15 years and contributing political cartoons to PM magazine. Read More
  • The Important Life and Work of Ralph Ellison

    Fri, 01 Mar 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Born on March 1, 1914 in Oklahoma City and named after transcendentalist poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, American novelist and literary critic Ralph Ellison remains an important figure and influence in American literature and scholarship. But in spite of his numerous awards and the influence he has had on African American literature, Ellison almost pursued a different field entirely. Read More
  • Five Rare Science Books To Add to Your Collection

    Thu, 28 Feb 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Today is National Science Day! We’re excited, and perhaps you are wondering why. We are, after all, in the business of books—collecting, selling, and writing about them. Indeed, we share with you who wins the Nobel Prize in Literature, not who wins the Nobel Prize in Physics or Chemistry or even Medicine. But that’s not to say we don’t love science! As a matter of fact, we love it when books and science intersect, which happens quite often. Today, we’re focusing our attention on five of our favorite rare science books. If you, like us, have an affinity to books Read More
  • Of Mice and Men and Marine Biology: A John Steinbeck Round-Up

    Wed, 27 Feb 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    If you’ve been reading our blog for any length of time, you know we’re big fans of John Steinbeck. Steinbeck, through his writing, made his way into American homes and schools over the course of the 20th century. That trend has continued to present day with many of his books counted as classics and placed on required reading lists from California to Maine. Steinbeck earned the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962 "for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception." In many a blog post, we’ve noted some of our favorite facts Read More
  • Victor Hugo: An Influential Life of Political Passion

    Tue, 26 Feb 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    All is a ruin where rage knew no bounds: Chio is levelled, and loathed by the hounds, For shivered yest'reen was her lance; Sulphurous vapors envenom the place Where her true beauties of Beauty's true race Were lately linked close in the dance. ~The Greek Boy, 1828 When it comes to French literature, one name is frequently the first to come to mind: Victor Hugo. While he is known internationally for his famous novels, Les Misérables and Notre Dame de Paris (better known to many by its English translation and Disney-popularized title, The Hunchback of Notre Dame), he is widely known in his home country Read More
  • Bob Schieffer's Newsworthy Life

    Mon, 25 Feb 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    In 2019, media—from social to news—plays an important role in the lives of consumers. People are constantly aware of newsworthy, and not so newsworthy, developments from around the world nearly as soon as they occur. With this ease of access, the time when newspapers and television were the main means of delivery for news can be easily forgotten. The men and women who spent their careers informing others and becoming household names may be all but forgotten by the new generation. Bob Schieffer dedicated his life to news. His work as a reporter and news anchor reached millions of viewers and Read More
  • Top Ten Movies Inspired By Great Books

    Fri, 22 Feb 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    The 91st Academy Awards are set to take place on February 24, 2019. Of course, this got us thinking about book-to-movie adaptations. Here's a look at some of our favorites, in no particular order. What would you add to the list? Read More
  • The Women of Group f/64

    Wed, 20 Feb 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    In 1932, Ansel Adams and ten other photographers, announced their formation of Group f/64, a group devoted to straight photography and sharp focus images. It was Edward Weston and Ansel Adams at the center of the group, helping bring the group’s ideals to national attention. They adopted the name Group f/64 in reference to the smallest aperture available for large-format view cameras, which allows the picture to achieve as sharp of focus as possible. As a whole, the group focused on landscapes or close-up photographs of natural subjects. Despite differences in subjects and personal style, their efforts to perfectly show Read More
  • Ten Quotes from Amy Tan

    Tue, 19 Feb 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    First generation American writer Amy Tan was born In Oakland, California on February 19, 1952 to Chinese immigrant parents. She studied at San Jose State University where she received both her BA and Masters degree. She pursued a doctoral degree at UC Berkley but eventually dropped out. Before breaking out as a writer, she worked a variety of jobs, including switchboard operator, pizza chef, and bartender. In 1989, Tan published her first novel, The Joy Luck Club, and she became an immediate and massive success. Her book was adapted into a hit film in 1993. Like much of her body Read More
  • Five Things You Might Not Know About Toni Morrison

    Mon, 18 Feb 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Toni Morrison is one of the foremost leaders who brought African-American literature from the fringes of literary circles into the mainstream. Born Chloe Ardelia Wofford on February 18, 1931, Morrison grew up in Lorain, Ohio. She attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. where she majored in English before earning a Master of Arts from Cornell University. Morrison began her career by teaching English at several universities. In 1970, she published her first novel, The Bluest Eyes. Her best known novel, Beloved, was published in 1987. In 1993, Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. She continues her work promoting Read More
  • Six Books About Love (From Authors Who Aren't Your Typical Romance Writers)

    Thu, 14 Feb 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Valentine's Day is upon us, and while modern day readers often associate authors like Nicholas Sparks and Nora Roberts with romance, these writers aren't the only ones to deliver tales of love and passion. Here's a look at a few authors who aren't your typical romance writers, but who have written delightful, poignant love stories.  Read More
  • Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Roger Duvoisin

    Wed, 13 Feb 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Every year, the Caldecott Medal is awarded by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association. The committee reviews children's books published throughout the year and select one book whose art exemplifies the best of American illustration. To be named winner of the Caldecott Medal is a massive achievement and often comes as a sign that the book is destined to be loved by generations of children. These distinguished books are sought after by both children and collectors. Continuing our ongoing Caldecott Medal Winning Illustrators Series, let's take a closer look at 1948 winner, Roger Duvoisin. Read More
  • A Look Inside Presidential Libraries

    Tue, 12 Feb 2019 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
  • Thomas Harris: A Modern Master of Suspense

    Fri, 08 Feb 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Thriller and horror have long been a part of readers’ diets. From the Gothic to Edgar Allan Poe to Stephen King, readers find joy in the macabre. One of the most popular contemporary thriller writers is Thomas Harris. Already popular through his writing, the film adaptations of his work has helped to build his devoted audience. His creation of Hannibal Lecter has led to television series, plays, and parody musicals about the world’s favorite cannibal all while catapulting Harris into fame.  Read More
  • Literary Travel: Six Places Fans of the Little House Series Should Visit

    Thu, 07 Feb 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Laura Ingalls Wilder spent much of her life traveling with her family as pioneers. She grew up homesteading different farms all over the Midwest. As an adult, she chronicled her journeys in the Little House on the Prairie series. Wildly popular, the children’s series and resulting television show helped romanticize the experiences of the Ingalls family. Many places Laura described in her books have been restored and can still be visited today, helping return a sense of reality to the difficulties pioneers faced.  Read More
  • Remembering Ronald Reagan Through the Written Word

    Wed, 06 Feb 2019 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
  • Five Legendary Authors Who Wrote Through Their Experiences with Cancer

    Mon, 04 Feb 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    “Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify as citizens of that other place.” These are the opening lines of Susan Sontag’s seminal exploration of cancer’s mythology in modern life, Illness as Metaphor (1978). The book’s most enduring impact has been to shed light on the victim-blaming nature of many of the narratives that surround Read More
  • A James A. Michener Tribute

    Sun, 03 Feb 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    February 3 is James A. Michener's birthday. The legendary American author wrote nearly 50 books in his lifetime, and though he passed away in 1997 at the age of 90 years, he has a strong following to this day. We are big fans of Michener at Books Tell You Why, and it seems many of you are, as well. One of our most read and debated posts to date lists some of our picks of the top Michener works. We followed that post up to include a couple more favorites. In honor of Michener's birthday, we're linking to these posts today Read More
  • James Joyce and Company: Sylvia Beach's Literary Table

    Sat, 02 Feb 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Imagining literary Paris between the wars is almost too much.Many of us delight in the knowledge that, say, James Joyce and Henrik Ibsen exchanged some letters, or that C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were fast friends. The prospect of a single time and place that contained the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, and others has the trappings of a literary meeting of the minds unrivaled by any setting in human history.If you think that you’d be almost irrecoverably star struck in such a setting, you’re in good company.In fact, you’re in the same boat as Read More
  • How a Signature Increases a Book's Value

    Wed, 30 Jan 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    How much is a baseball worth? Maybe a dollar or two, right? Get that same baseball signed by Alex Rodriguez, and you have a collectible item. If that baseball happened to be a home run ball, you've hit the jackpot! Signatures and autographs in books work much the same way. The rarity of both the book and the signature help determine the value of a book. Read More
  • Five Things You Might Not Know About Janet Evanovich

    Tue, 29 Jan 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Janet Evanovich was born in South River, New Jersey in 1943. Evanovich has become a household name thanks to her much beloved adventure series featuring bounty hunter Stephanie Plum. A prolific writer, she has published over sixty novels, many of which have topped the New York Times Best Sellers list. Her novels are published all over the world and have been translated into over 40 languages. In celebration of this writer's amazing career, here are five things you might not know about one of America's most loved adventure novelists. Read More
  • And the Award Goes To: 2019 Caldecott and Newbery Winners

    Mon, 28 Jan 2019 11:56:00 Permalink
    Today is one of the most anticipated days of the year for children's book enthusiasts. This morning, the the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, announced the winners of the 2019 Caldecott Medal and Newbery Medal, among other children's literature awards. These coveted prizes go a long way in cementing their authors and illustrators as fixtures in the children's literary landscape. Their books will be found on our shelves and in libraries the world over for years to come. Without further ado, the winners of the 2019 Caldecott and Newbery medals are Read More
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