Member Blogs > Books Tell You Why

  • The Origin of Donaldists: How Micky Maus Became a Bestselling Magazine

    Wed, 23 Jan 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    In Germany, to this day, there are so-called Donaldists: men and women who apply rigorous scientific and anthropological methods to understanding the world of Donald Duck and Duckburg, his hometown. That’s right, in Germany, Donald Duck—not Mickey Mouse—is the star. He’s the reason that Micky Maus, the German-language Disney comic magazine, is the fourth best-selling comic magazine of all time, surpassing a billion sales over the course of its 60+ year run. Considering that no other Disney comics rank so highly in their respective formats, the tremendous ongoing success of Micky Maus warrants some explanation. How did these magazines become Read More
  • Five Facts About Writer and Astronaut, Buzz Aldrin

    Sun, 20 Jan 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Edwin Aldrin Jr, better known as Buzz Aldrin, is perhaps one of America's best known explorer heroes. In 1969, he became one of the first men to walk on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. He has served as one of the most prominent faces of NASA for many years, inspiring generations of people to go into the fields of aerospace and astronautics through his outspoken advocacy for space travel and exploration. Even after his retirement from NASA, he has continued to further his belief in the importance of understanding space as a writer, authoring eleven books for a variety of Read More
  • Ten of the Best Quotes From Edgar Allan Poe

    Sat, 19 Jan 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Edgar Allan Poe is a household name. His influence on poetry and the genres of detective fiction (he is considered its creator), science fiction (which his work helped forge a path for), and Gothic literature in general cannot be overstated. His works are well-known in popular culture, as most all of us were required to read at least some of them throughout our schooling. It follows, then, that Poe remains quite quotable. In honor of his birthday, we've compiled ten of the best quotes from Edgar Allan Poe. Have you read these works? Share with us your favorite Poe title Read More
  • The Most Relatable Winnie the Pooh Characters

    Fri, 18 Jan 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    When thinking of A. A. Milne, the usual first association is Winnie the Pooh. As a children’s book, there are many lessons to be learned and shenanigans to be entertained by. Like many children’s stories, there are parts that are relatable to adults. One example of this is the characters. Each animal possess a uniqueness that makes them singularly situated to be compared to humans of the reader’s acquaintance. Most will, at some point, have known the lovable, ditzy friend, the overenthusiastic ball of energy, the gloomy Gus, the very particular organizer, and the font of stories and advice. Which Winnie the Read More
  • Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Leonard Weisgard

    Wed, 16 Jan 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    One of the finest achievements an illustrator of children's books can receive is the illustrious and much-lauded Caldecott Medal. Established in 1938 by the American Library Association, the award is given out as a means to find and honor the greatest contributions to the field of American children's book illustration. The Caldecott Medal is given annually to “the most distinguished American picture book for children,” whether that be for innovation in the field, incredible beauty, a unique sense of whimsy, or anything else that might cause the book to stand out to children. In 1948, this honor was given to Leonard Weisgard Read More
  • Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Tue, 15 Jan 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Today, we remember the life of minister, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and civil rights activist, Martin Luther King, Jr. King was a man of action and moral conviction. He led by his example and sought a better world for his children and his fellow man. We would all do well to follow his lead and work towards his goals which are, sadly, yet to be realized. However, his legacy remains one of courage and nonviolence in the face of hatred. We've rounded up several of our past posts to pay tribute to the late, great MLK Jr. We've also included Read More
  • Jack London and Living the American Dream

    Sat, 12 Jan 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    “He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars.” ~Jack London, The Call of the Wild Writer and social justice activist Jack London turned every life adventure into a published story. A master of fiction, his writings ran the gamut from novels and short stories, to poems, and plays, and he also wrote nonfiction essays and worked as a journalist. Born on January Read More
  • Top Books By State: Alabama

    Thu, 10 Jan 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    In a sort of literary tour of the United States, we’d like to begin highlighting some of the top books from each state. What does a book have to do to make the list for each particular state? Our criteria is twofold: either the book must be set in the state, or the author must be from the state or have written the book while living in the state. Obviously, the book must also be a good one! Understandably, our list of top books from each state is subjective. We may leave out a title you feel should be included Read More
  • The Man Behind the Newbery Medal

    Wed, 09 Jan 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    The Newbery Medal is given out each year by the American Library Association (ALA) for outstanding achievement in American children's literature (watch for our post announcing this year's winner later this month!). For over ninety years, it has been a significant authority on the reception and evolution of children's books. Its impact is well known. Winning books receive widespread attention in libraries, schools, and book stores, and the publisher is wont to emblazon the shiny medallion on the cover of every printed copy of the winning book. While the award itself receives ample public attention, the man for whom it Read More
  • The Friendship of Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens

    Tue, 08 Jan 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    On January 8, 1824, author Wilkie Collins was born. He'd rise to veritable stardom as one of England's best loved authors. Collins enjoyed the tutelage and collaboration of "the inimitable" Charles Dickens, who would become a fast friend to Collins. Read More
  • Book Spotlight: Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose

    Sat, 05 Jan 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Throughout his life, Umberto Eco worked as novelist, literary critic, and academic. In much of his work, Eco makes literary and historical references, exemplifying a subtle intertextuality, the connection between different works of literature.  The Name of the Rose , originally published in Italy in 1980, uses Eco’s previous study to make many such references to medieval sources that the reader must solve, adding a certain Sherlock Holmes feeling to the work. Read More
  • A Quick Guide to J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth

    Thu, 03 Jan 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    "Eala Earendel, engla beorhtast ofer middangeard monnum sended" The above quote comes from a line of Anglo-Saxon poetry. J.R.R. Tolkien, a linguist and scholar of Anglo-Saxon culture, encountered the line in his research and became fascinated with the word "earendel." Though his Anglo-Saxon dictionary translated the word as "shining light," Tolkien believed that the word sounded like it came from a language "far beyond ancient English."  Read More
  • Five Book-Based New Year's Resolutions for 2019

    Tue, 01 Jan 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Happy New Year! We hope you awoke this morning full of hope and excitement for what 2019 holds. For many of us, the turning of the calendar is an opportunity to reflect on the past year and set goals and plans for the upcoming one. These may be health and fitness related, social and relational, work-based, or any of the many other types of resolutions you hear being thrown around by January 1 optimists. We’ve been thinking of some resolutions of our own, specifically book-based resolutions. Whether you’re a seasoned bibliophile, a novice collector or reader, or an avid fan Read More
  • The Best of 2018: Our Ten Most Popular Blog Posts

    Mon, 31 Dec 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    It's New Year's Eve which means another year has come and gone. Today is a perfect day for reflection. As such, we wanted to revisit some of our most popular blog posts of the year and thank you, our readers, for returning to our site and engaging with us about all things books and book collecting. We love this community, and we're thankful for you. Here's to another great year of bookish posts in 2019! For now, enjoy a review of these great articles from the past year. Happy New Year! Read More
  • Rudyard Kipling: A Retrospective

    Sun, 30 Dec 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Today marks the anniversary of the birthday of Rudyard Kipling, the world renowned author who brought a new (and often controversial) perspective to British imperialism. During his lifetime Kipling would cross continents, win a Nobel Prize, and befriend the celebrated authors of his day. Read More
  • Five Books That'll Teach Your Kids Important Life Skills

    Thu, 27 Dec 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    We all want our kids to be ready for this upcoming year and the future as a whole. One great way to help children gain and develop skills is through reading. This can be done through fiction books with characters who possess important qualities like bravery or empathy as well as through books specifically geared toward a certain skill. What follows are some important titles and themed books that could help your child develop a number of skills to use in 2019 and beyond. Read More
  • How Julia Child Transformed American Cooking

    Wed, 26 Dec 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    In terms of impact on American culture,  Mastering the Art of French Cooking is one of the most influential books written in the last several decades. Published when the United States was immersed in TV dinners and green bean casserole, Julia Child’s first and most famous book taught Americans to view food through a lens of pleasure and art rather than convenience. Written in tandem with two French authors, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, it sold over 100,000 copies its first year. Read More
  • Ten (More) of the Best Literary Christmas Quotes

    Tue, 25 Dec 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Merry Christmas to our readers! Wherever you are reading this blog post from today, we hope you are filled with good cheer and the merriment that only the holiday season can bring. Take some time to enjoy the following beautiful literary Christmas quotes (and if you're looking for more, check out our post on this subject from last year). These we've taken from our favorite books and poems as well as from other holiday-based writings. We hope they warm your heart and bring a smile to your face as you enjoy Christmas day.  Read More
  • Childhood Classics: The Night Before Christmas

    Mon, 24 Dec 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    It's Christmas Eve! As adults, sometimes we can lose sight of the joy, wonder, and magic of this season. But one book that has always encapsulated those emotions is The Night Before Christmas. This childhood classic has enraptured generations, so much so that some rare book collectors even focus all their efforts on this single title. Read More
  • Jolabokaflod: Iceland's Christmas Book Flood

    Fri, 21 Dec 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    In the United States, there is some disagreement about when, precisely, the Christmas season starts. Extremely conservative estimates might say it starts at the beginning of Advent, some might declare the first of December to be the official start of the season, while increasingly many of us seem to have settled on the discount-fueled pandemonium of Black Friday as our starter pistol. In Iceland, on the other hand, there is no such ambiguity. The Christmas season begins with the annual November distribution of the Bokatidindi—the catalog that lists almost all of the books that will be published in Iceland during Read More
  • Ten of the Best Quotes from East of Eden

    Thu, 20 Dec 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Born February 27, 1902, John Steinbeck is best known for being a prolific American writer who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962. One of his best known works is 1952’s East of Eden. The novel follows two families, the Trasks and the Hamiltons, through their lives in the Salinas Valley in Central California. Often considered the best of his work, Steinbeck explores themes of love, good, and evil, enrapturing and inspiring readers through his characters and philosophy. His insight into human nature twines throughout the novel, showing the importance of “thou mayest.” Though it's difficult to choose just Read More
  • Five Lesser-Known Books to Read This Christmas

    Wed, 19 Dec 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Christmas is a time for traditions. From singing carols to hanging stockings, every family has their own way to celebrate the season. For many people, that includes reading their favorite Christmas stories, like A Christmas Carol or A Visit From St. Nicholas. This year, why not try something new? The following books are a somewhat less well known. Maybe your family's newest Christmas tradition is somewhere on this list. Read More
  • Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Maud and Miska Petersham

    Tue, 18 Dec 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Part of what makes Caldecott-winning books so desirable for both children and collectors is that the illustrations accompanying the stories are at the highest level found in children's literature. Whether honoring traditions, putting a new spin on a method of illustration, or pushing the boundaries of what is commonly seen in books for children, Caldecott winning-illustrators represent the best of what books can be. Continuing our Caldecott-winning illustrators series, we look now at married writer and illustrator duo Maud and Miska Petersham, who are known in the industry for their skill and dedication to the craft that helped drive the Read More
  • Top 10 Children's Books for the Holiday Season

    Fri, 14 Dec 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Whether you’re eight years old or eighty, there’s something magical about receiving a children’s book as a holiday gift. Whether it's a story you knew and loved as a child, or one you're passing on to a new generation, children's books stir old memories and create new. You open up the wrapping paper to find a beautiful story that transports you to a different place and time.  It is also a meaningful experience for the gift giver, wanting to pass along a character or story that they loved as a child. And for those merely ‘young at heart’, what a Read More
  • Collecting Saul Bellow

    Thu, 13 Dec 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    During his long writing career, Saul Bellow wrote 17 books that were reviewed in The New York Times over a period of six decades. Many of those reviews were written by prominent writers in their own right, such as Cynthia Ozick, Irving Howe, and Alfred Kazin. Even earlier, Bellow himself was writing articles for the newspaper on other authors’ works and questions about his own texts. And that’s not all. He also wrote a play, and he was interviewed hundreds of times over the years in which he wrote. He also began editing a literary magazine, News from the Republic Read More
  • Book Spotlight: Wag-by-Wall by Beatrix Potter

    Wed, 12 Dec 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Beloved children's book author and illustrator Beatrix Potter was a staple in many childhoods. Perhaps best known for her Peter Rabbit stories, Potter was a prolific writer with familiar, enchanting illustrations. In 1944, Wag-by-Wall, originally intended for The Fairy Caravan, was published for the first time in The Hornbook Magazine. When published as a book, illustrations were omitted since Potter did not include them in any drafts. The setting of the book is based on the Lake District Potter lived in and loved. Her detailed descriptions of the setting and characters serve as an excellent example of Potter’s skill as Read More
  • Cornelia Funke: Fantasy for All Ages

    Mon, 10 Dec 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    German writer Cornelia Funke was born in 1958 in Dorsten in what was formerly West Germany. She studied pedagogy at the University of Hamburg and after graduation, worked for three years as a social worker. She married book printer Rolf Frahme in 1979 and shortly after, left social work to briefly pursue illustration. However, she quickly turned to writing her own books, and her efforts have been supremely successful. Her first books, which in English were titled Ghosthunters and the Incredibly Revolting Ghost and C.H.I.X., were published in 1993, and each were the the first book in a series for Read More
  • Remembering James Thurber

    Sat, 08 Dec 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    On December 8, 1894, James Thurber was born in Columbus, Ohio to Charles and Mary Thurber. His father was a clerk and minor politician with bigger dreams of being a lawyer or actor. Thurber was the middle child and while playing a game of “William Tell” with his brothers, he was shot in the eye with an arrow and from the accident, lost sight in one of his eyes. Although sight remained in the uninjured eye, he had various vision problems throughout his life. His wound left him unable to participate in normal activities for children his age, which left Read More
  • The Real Man Behind Santa Claus (And the Books That Made Him Famous)

    Thu, 06 Dec 2018 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 of December Read More
  • Hugo vs. Disney: The Changing Case of Notre-Dame

    Wed, 05 Dec 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Walt Disney and his successors have a long tradition of retelling famous stories. Their history of changing the original work is usually rationalized as making the content more suitable for children, but, in some cases, the changes go past small edits. As with most books changed into movies, in order to condense a long work into only 90 minutes, certain more unnecessary plot points must be cut. When remaking The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, however, Disney did more than simplify and streamline. Some elements were removed by necessity, such as much of the violence and many attempted seductions of Esmeralda, to Read More
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