Member Blogs > Books Tell You Why

  • Edgar Allan Poe, Impoverished Literary Genius

    Wed, 03 Jul 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Today we celebrate Edgar Allan Poe, master of the short story and inventor of detective fiction. Although best remembered for his sinister tales and mysteries, during his life Poe was known for his scathing literary reviews. Poe lived most of his life on the brink of poverty and was the first well-known American author to live solely on his writing. Although his work initially received mixed reviews, Poe has since emerged as one of America’s most beloved writers. Read More
  • Top Books by State: Colorado

    Tue, 02 Jul 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    This month we are continuing our literary road trip through the United States by taking a look at some of the great books set in Colorado. Now there are many amazing writers that come from Colorado, but a surprising few of them set their books in their home state. While only one of the authors mentioned on this list hails from the Centennial State, all of them embody something of the beauty of Colorado. The western state is known for its amazing geographical features. Within its borders are mountains, plains, and deserts. In Colorado, you can experience the bustle of Read More
  • Ten Favorite Irish Authors

    Thu, 27 Jun 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Today, we're feeling lucky! We thought it would be an ideal time to turn our attention to Ireland and celebrate some of the Emerald Isle's most accomplished authors—and their quirks.  Read More
  • Top Books by State: California

    Wed, 26 Jun 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Today we continue our Top Books by States series by talking a closer look at California. California is one of the most diverse states in the country, containing deserts, mountains, cities, beaches, and farmland all within its borders. It also serves as the heart of the American entertainment industry. California writers are just as diverse as their state. The books featured here are of a variety of genres, but what makes them some of the best and most representative of the state aren't just that their writers live in California, but that they all exemplify something of the beauty and Read More
  • Book Spotlight: Animal Farm by George Orwell

    Tue, 25 Jun 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Published on August 17, 2019, Animal Farm was George Orwell’s first bestseller and helped cement his place among timeless authors. Born June 25, 1903, as Eric Arthur Blair, Orwell spent much of his career after his experiences during the Spanish Civil War speaking against totalitarian governments. His works, from Animal Farm to Nineteen Eighty-Four, are still influential and widely studied nearly 70 years after his death.   Read More
  • Lawrence Block: Master of Crime

    Mon, 24 Jun 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Renowned novelist Lawrence Block has been intriguing and mystifying readers since the 1960s with his beloved crime novels and short stories. Though he has been publishing almost constantly since the publication of his first novel, Grifter's Game, which was published in 1961, Block actually got his start writing in an unconventional way. Before becoming the legend of crime fiction that he is today, Block actually wrote erotic novels under a variety of pen names. He had some skill for writing and at nearly two hundred dollars per erotic story and upwards of fifty jobs a year, the job was fun Read More
  • Dan Brown's Rules for Storytelling Are… Actually Pretty Sound?

    Sat, 22 Jun 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Love him or hate him, Dan Brown has had an outsized impact on Anglophone pop culture since his breakout novel, The Da Vinci Code (2003) was released 16 years ago. Harvard Professor of Religious Symbology Robert Langdon burst onto the scene like an apres-garde Indiana Jones and gave a generation of readers and filmgoers a slightly dubious lesson in religious history. Since then, things like the Malthusian Tragic (Thomas Robert Malthus—the population growth alarmist who bears a striking philosophical resemblance to Marvel’s Thanos—figures prominently in Da Vinci’s 2013 follow-up, Inferno) and The Gnostic Gospels (a series of Coptic texts that present Read More
  • Top Picks: Rare Books for Summer Reading

    Fri, 21 Jun 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    The first day of summer is officially here! Vacation has started for many students and the mercury has already risen to summery temperatures. Now's the time to start thinking about the best part of this season: summer reading. The best summer reading books transport us to another place, like a vacation without ever leaving the sofa. Read More
  • Famous Authors Who Wrote Only One Novel

    Wed, 19 Jun 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    On March 30, 1820, Anna Sewell was born into a devoutly Quaker family. Her mother, Mary Wright Sewell, was a successful children's book author. Sewell was mostly educated at home and did not attend school for the first time until she was twelve years old. Two years later, she seriously injured both ankles in an accident. From then on, Sewell had extremely limited mobility; she required crutches and could never walk great distances.  Read More
  • Five of Chris Van Allsburg's Best Works

    Tue, 18 Jun 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Best known for his children’s books, Chris Van Allsburg is a well-loved author who inspired many young readers through his work. In addition to his two Caldecott Medals, a Caldecott Honor, a nomination for the international Hans Christian Andersen Award, and his contribution to Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Van Allsburg’s work has been adapted into movies and audiobooks, helping his work reach a wider audience. Here are five of our favorite titles. Read More
  • Five More Literary Fathers and Why We Love Them

    Sun, 16 Jun 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Happy Father’s Day! One day a year dads are officially recognized for the endless amounts of work they do throughout the year. It is a rare day indeed when fathers are properly appreciated. To show our appreciation, we prepared a second list of literary fathers who we love and who we love to hate. To see our previous list, click here. Read More
  • Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Nicolas Mordvinoff

    Fri, 14 Jun 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Every year a book that represents the best that children's book illustrations have to offer is awarded the Caldecott Medal. The Caldecott Medal is considered one of the most prestigious awards that an American children's book can receive and illustrators awarded this honor are widely acknowledged to be the best in the business. Often times, the medal is an indicator of an already impressive career or a sign of great things to come from the illustrator. The Caldecott Medal often ensures continuous print for an awarded book, and good things for the illustrator's future work. Even so, sometimes the illustrator—despite Read More
  • Boris Pasternak, Thwarted Nobel Laureate

    Thu, 13 Jun 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    If English literary critic William Hazlitt was correct in his assertion that “When a thing ceases to be a subject of controversy, it ceases to be a subject of interest,” we can assume that the 1958 Nobel Prize in Literature awarded to Boris Pasternak will remain relevant through the ages. Read More
  • Print Making Processes: Relief and Intaglio

    Tue, 11 Jun 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    There are four major classes of printmaking techniques: relief printing, intaglio printmaking, stenciling, and lithography. Let’s look into some detail about the relief and intaglio printmaking processes. These are the two oldest and best known of the major classes of printmaking techniques. Read More
  • A Saul Bellow Round-Up

    Mon, 10 Jun 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    If you've been reading our blog for any length of time, you know that we have a strong appreciation for Saul Bellow. Bellow was an extremely prolific writer in his lifetime, and his works have become prized collectibles. He is perhaps best known for the titles The Adventures of Augie March, Herzog, and Henderson the Rain King. Bellow was also the recipient of numerous awards and accolades including the Nobel Prize in Literature and the Pulitzer Prize (in the same year!). We've written about him at length, so in honor of his birthday, we've rounded up several of our favorite Saul Bellow posts for Read More
  • Five Interesting Facts About D-Day

    Thu, 06 Jun 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    On June 6, 1944, the Allied forces began their invasion of German occupied France through Normandy. Through this operation, the foundation for victory on the Western Front was laid, leading to the eventual Allied victory over Germany. To commemorate the 75th anniversary, here are five interesting facts about D-Day. Read More
  • Preserving Rare Books: Preventing and Repairing Fire Damage

    Wed, 05 Jun 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Bookworms, mildew, water. These are the most common culprits of rare book damage. But if you've invested in your personal library, you'll also want to prepare for a more serious threat: fire. Though fires are certainly more rare than other destructive forces, they can cause far more damage. Read More
  • A Quick History of Book Binding

    Tue, 04 Jun 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    If you collect rare and antiquarian books, you're well aware that a book's binding can significantly impact its value. The craft of book binding has evolved over time, and modern book conservators often use both contemporary and ancient methods to restore and preserve antiquarian books. Those methods date back much further than you may have thought! Read More
  • Ten Walt Whitman Quotes From "Song of Myself"

    Fri, 31 May 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    First published in 1855, Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass was a continuous labor. Whitman spent much of his professional career creating and changing his work, resulting in vastly altered editions being printed. Included in Leaves of Grass, “Song of Myself” is written in Whitman’s usual free verse and simple language, appealing to a vast audience. Like the work as a whole, “Song of Myself” underwent many revisions throughout the years before becoming the poem now considered one of the most influential pieces of American poetry. Read More
  • Happy Birthday, Ian Fleming!

    Tue, 28 May 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Today we celebrate the birthday of Ian Fleming, the legendary author who created James Bond. Seven different actors have played 007 in 26 different movie adaptations. The runaway success of Fleming's books can be attributed to the author's background as a journalist and naval intelligence officer. Fleming certainly drew on these experiences as he crafted classic tales of espionage and intrigue. Read More
  • Ten Patriotic Reads for Memorial Day

    Mon, 27 May 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    For many in the U.S., Memorial Day is the calendar date that marks the beginning of sweet summertime. Students become restless at their desks, pontoon boats are pulled out of winter storage, and Dads across the Midwest poke their head outside and casually suggest “throwing something on the grill" for dinner. In the midst of sunny afternoons spent living the American Dream, it is easy to forget that our freedom has never been free. Memorial Day is a time to honor those fallen in service to our country. Unless one has served in the military, it can be difficult to Read More
  • Book Conservation, Book Preservation, Book Restoration

    Sat, 25 May 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    When you think of conservation and preservation, you may think of the environment. But for rare book collectors, conservation and preservation are the key to maintaining—and sometimes even increasing—the value of your prized investments. But what do the terms "conservation" and "preservation" actually mean in the world of rare books? Furthermore, what happens when you throw the idea of "restoration" into the mix?  Read More
  • A (Very) Subjective List of the Top Ten Children's Books

    Thu, 23 May 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Books are magical, especially for children. They are able to transport readers to strange worlds they could never have imagined on their own, and they're able to help readers grow. Without books, life would be duller with fewer friends to meet. All readers have their own preference: some prefer fantasy, while others wish only for realism. But what each book has in common is its ability to reach readers and change their lives. We've compiled a (very) subjective list of the top ten children books of all time. What would you add to the list? What would you remove? Read More
  • Happy Birthday, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle!

    Wed, 22 May 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Today is the birthday of Scottish author and doctor Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. His character Sherlock Holmes has inspired generations of crime fiction writers. Collectors who are interested in mystery and crime fiction on the whole, as well as those focused on specific authors within the genre, would do well to pay  Arthur Conan Doyle some attention. He has had a wide-reaching impact, and his books fit well in to a myriad of different collecting categories.  Read More
  • Edith Wharton, Sinclair Lewis, and a Pulitzer Kerfuffle

    Tue, 21 May 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Edith Wharton's accomplishments included not only authorship, but also design and philanthropy. Wharton was an active participant in literary circles, befriending personages like Henry James and Jean Cocteau. She would go on to forge relationships with Theodore Roosevelt and other important figures. Yet the most fascinating of Wharton's connections is possibly the one with Sinclair Lewis. Read More
  • Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Katherine Milhous

    Fri, 17 May 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    For American illustrators, one of the highest honors is The Caldecott Medal. The medal is awarded yearly to a book that exemplifies the very best in children's book illustrations. To even be named a Caldecott Honor book is to be deemed one of the best artists in the business. Children's books are one of the rare types of literature that appeal to everyone at one point in their life or another (and, in many cases, for one's entire life!). Whether a person comes to a children's book as a child or as an adult reading to a child, the stories Read More
  • Why Pierce Brosnan Would be Borges' Favorite Bond

    Thu, 16 May 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Argentine literary giant Jorge Luis Borges died in 1986 at the age of 86 having left a behind a legacy that any writer would envy. His being snubbed for the Nobel Prize in Literature is, in its way, more memorable than the victories of other writers (how many of us remember Jaroslav Seifert’s 1984 win?), and even at the time of his death, it was pretty clear that his short stories had a much better shot at literary immortality than most of his contemporaries’ work. Still, his death came several years before the release of 1995’s Goldeneye, which means that Read More
  • The Wonderful Adaptations of Oz

    Wed, 15 May 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    With advancing technology, it is becoming less and less rare for an adaptation to be better known than an original work, especially if the original work is a book. First published in 1900, L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and its 13 sequels, has long been a favorite of readers. The world of Oz Baum created grabs hold of the imagination. As a result, it has led many writers to add their own interpretation and work to the magical land of Oz. In addition to the written works, Baum’s world has become a cultural icon due, in part, to the Read More
  • Top Books By State: Arkansas

    Mon, 13 May 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Today, we are continuing our bookish road trip through the United States by taking a look at Arkansas. The books we've chosen to highlight for our examination of this southern state were picked either for the author's Arkansas connection or because they're set in Arkansas. Arkansas is split between the Ozarks and the Gulf Coastal plain and is known for it's unique and varied landscapes as well as being home to some notable political leaders. Let's take a look at four books that make up some of the literature of Arkansas. Read More
  • Charles van Sandwyk: Captivating Books of Exceptional Artistry

    Sun, 12 May 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    The work of Charles van Sandwyk is a delight for all book lovers, but especially enthusiasts of fine press, children's literature, and exceptional illustrations. Recalling an earlier age, his artwork portrays whimsical animals, fairies, and elves in unique, and sometimes magical settings. As a child, van Sandwyk immersed himself in the works of J. M. Barrie, Beatrix Potter, and J. R. R. Tolkien. These influences are evident in his own creations, as is his admiration for classic illustrator Arthur Rackham. Take a moment to delve into the world of Charles van Sandwyk. Be enchanted. Read More
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