Member Blogs > Books Tell You Why

  • Five of T.S. Eliot's Interesting Verse Plays

    Thu, 26 Sep 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Cross-over American-British writer T.S. Eliot is best known for his poetry and contributions to Modernism. Less widely known to the casual reader are his verse plays. Despite being very critical of his own work, he did not let his poorly received work deter his continuing experimentation. Read More
  • How to Prevent Ghosting and Shadowing in Rare Books

    Wed, 25 Sep 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    When it comes to rare books, condition is everything. Any kind of damage, discoloration, or flaw can significantly impact a book's value. One of the most common flaws we see in rare and antiquarian books is a condition called ghosting or shadowing. This condition occurs when a page fades unevenly, leaving a visible outline on the page. Read More
  • Ten Inspiring Quotes From The Great Gatsby

    Tue, 24 Sep 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    First published in 1925, The Great Gatsby is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book and is widely considered the paragon of his career. Its exploration of the lavish wealthy lifestyle of the 1920s causes it to be hailed as the archetypal Jazz Age novel. The reasons behind Gatsby’s place among the greatest twentieth-century classics can be seen in Fitzgerald’s masterful word crafting. Read More
  • Case Studies in Collecting: Stephen King

    Sat, 21 Sep 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Prolific author Stephen King has remained a favorite writer for decades, and interest in his work shows no sign of waning. Though primarily recognized as a horror author, King slides among genres, appealing to lovers of science fiction, the American Western, and others. It should be no surprise, then, that King is a popular figure among collectors of modern first editions. Building a single-author collection around King's vast oeuvre offers multiple valuable lessons for book collectors of all specializations. Read More
  • Celebrating the Legacy of Illustrator Arthur Rackham

    Thu, 19 Sep 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    English artist Arthur Rackham is widely considered to be one of the most important and influential illustrators from the Golden Age of British Illustration. What really cemented his position as one of the preeminent illustrators of his day were his color illustrations for Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle and J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. Some of his notable works include illustrations for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market, and The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, which was published after Rackham's death. On the anniversary of his birthday, let's take a look at the enduring legacy of one of England's Read More
  • Top Books by State: Delaware

    Wed, 18 Sep 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Today we are continuing our Top Books by State series by taking a closer look at Delaware. Known for being the first of the Thirteen Colonies to ratify the new United States Constitution, Delaware earned its its nickname, "The First State." Delaware is a state that embodies contradictions. While it is the second smallest state in the country, it is one of the most densely populated. While it has beautiful seaside vistas and picturesque coastal villages, it is also home to bustling metropolitan centers. The books we've selected to represent Delaware take place in different time periods and are vastly Read More
  • The Work and Career of Lauren Bacall

    Mon, 16 Sep 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Born Betty Perske on September 16, 1924, Lauren Bacall spent her childhood wanting to be a dancer before deciding to pursue acting. After high school, she studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York where she participated in several off-Broadway productions. She started working in modeling after graduating, which led to the start of her film career when director Howard Hawks’ wife saw Bacall’s picture on the March 1943 cover of Harper’s Bazaar and arranged a screen test. Read More
  • Agatha Christie: Queen of Crime with Continuing Appeal

    Sun, 15 Sep 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Everybody knows Agatha Christie wrote an amazing number of books, and lots of movies and TV shows have been based on them. She is considered a genius for her plotting and understanding of the psychology behind her characters. But not as many know that she and her first husband were among the first Brits to surf standing up. And they did this in Hawaii, in the 1920s, while touring the world promoting the British Empire Exhibition. Read More
  • Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Marcia Brown

    Thu, 12 Sep 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Every year the Caldecott Medal is awarded to a committee-selected children's book that showcases the best work being produced in the field of children's book illustration. One of the biggest awards in American children's literature, to even be named a Caldecott Honor book is a massive accolade. In 1955 Marcia Brown received this honor for her book Cinderella, or The Little Glass Slipper. And then she won again in 1962 for Once a Mouse. She won a third time for Shadow in 1983, making her one of only two illustrators in the history of the Caldecott Medal to be awarded Read More
  • A Glimpse of Understanding: A Look at Post 9/11 Novels

    Wed, 11 Sep 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Some moments in history are so monumental, so seismic, they seem impossible for fiction to get its arms around. These are moments that defy logic, that render conventional and unconventional methods of storytelling obsolete in trying to uncover the truth of the human condition. Take, for example, the horrific events of September 11: a calculated, strategic assault on some of the country’s most iconic images — The World Trade Center, The Pentagon and The White House, though thankfully that last image was left unharmed due to the courage of those aboard the plane bound for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  The inherent problem Read More
  • Great Golf Collectibles - Happy Birthday, Arnold Palmer!

    Tue, 10 Sep 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Only a handful of names come to mind in a discussion of truly great golfers—those athletes whose accomplishments are time-tested and serve to inspire the generations of golfers who follow in their wake. Jack Nicklaus. Gary Player. Byron Nelson. More recently, Tiger Woods. But perhaps no man has had such success as a golfer while at the same time endearing himself so fully to golf fans as Arnold Palmer. Read More
  • Raymond Benson, the First American Writer of James Bond

    Fri, 06 Sep 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Strong film screenplays provided the foundation for Sean Connery, Daniel Craig, and other actors to bring James Bond—or 007—to life. These movies have captured the imaginations of movie-goers for decades. Of course, many of the screenplays derived from original James Bond books and short stories. Ian Fleming was the first James Bond author, the originator of the series. However, there have been seven other authorized James Bond authors; the first American writer was Raymond Benson. Read More
  • How Jesse James Became an American Myth

    Thu, 05 Sep 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    This blog post is not the first place it’s been pointed out that the Wild West era lasted a scant few decades—compared to the century-plus of folk songs, dime novels, movies, TV shows, and other forms of myth-making that take up (and sometimes interrogate) the inherent romance and drama of the era. Given all that, it shouldn’t really surprise us that Wikipedia’s article on “Cultural depictions of Jesse James” is almost as long as the article on James himself. And yet, the piece leaves out what is arguably the first piece of popular culture that took up the life (and Read More
  • Writer and Golf Legend: Tom Watson

    Wed, 04 Sep 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    This July, legendary golfer Tom Watson told reporters the British Senior Open would be his final senior open, ending a career of big-stage performances, chock full of personal triumphs and exciting victories. Throughout the golf community, fans and other professionals have voiced their immense respect and gratitude for what Watson has brought to the timeless game. Though golf enthusiasts will no longer be able to enjoy watching Watson's signature play style on the senior open stage, we are still able to take many lessons from the famous pro's career thanks to his large body of work in his other career: Read More
  • Collect What Your Kids Read

    Tue, 03 Sep 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    It's that time of year! Kids are headed back to school, and for students of all ages that means required reading is right around the corner. Perhaps you only vaguely remember The Odyssey, Romeo and Juliet, and Lord of the Flies. But classroom staples can offer inspiration for enhancing your rare book collection. Read More
  • Five of John McCain's Fascinating Books

    Thu, 29 Aug 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Born in 1936, John McCain dedicated his life to serving the United States. He graduated from Naval Academy in Annapolis and received a commission from the U.S. Navy. During his time serving in the Navy, McCain worked as a naval aviator and was captured during the Vietnam War, remaining a prisoner of war for five and a half years before his release in 1973. After retiring from the Navy in 1981, he entered politics, where he served in both the House and the Senate until his death in 2018. Many of his writings were done in collaboration with Mark Salter, Read More
  • Sunning: Bad for Your Skin, Bad for Your Books!

    Wed, 28 Aug 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Summer is in full swing, and along with all that sun comes the joy of summer reading! But the sun can cause irreversible damage to your skin⁠—and your books. It's important to protect your rare and collectible books from heat, humidity, and sunning. Read More
  • Top Books By State: Connecticut

    Tue, 27 Aug 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Today we continue our literary tour of the United States by looking at some of the best books from Connecticut. This New England state is known for its beautiful coastal towns, charming cities and villages, and for being home to the illustrious Yale University. But Connecticut is more than just its collegiate connections. It is both rural and urban, coastal and pastoral. Some of the best Connecticut books hone in on these details that make the state stand out. Join us as we take a closer look at two books set in Connecticut that—through gorgeous detail—embody some of what makes Read More
  • Happy Birthday, Sean Connery!

    Sun, 25 Aug 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Today, “The Greatest Living Scot” (according to The Sunday Herald), turns 89. Just as much as author Ian Fleming, Sir Sean Connery brought James Bond to life and forever defined him as a character—so much so that Fleming eventually began writing details from Connery’s life into Bond’s backstory. Those of us here at Books Tell You Why who appreciate a good literary adaptation (read: all of us), can’t help but recognize the role that Connery played not just in bringing Bond himself to life, but to bringing the whole world of past and future literary superspies into the greater public Read More
  • Book Spotlight: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

    Thu, 22 Aug 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 has become a cultural phenomenon since its publication in October of 1953. Many adaptations, from film and theater to computer games and comics, have kept cultural references to the novel consistent and relevant, despite over 50 years having passed since publication. A common inclusion in school curriculum, the novel captures the imaginations of readers, forcing them to compare the society presented in the pages to the society of reality. Read More
  • A Quick Guide to Bill Clinton and His Autobiography, My Life

    Mon, 19 Aug 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton received a $15 million dollar advance for his autobiography, My Life (2004)⁠—one of the largest advances ever received for a book. By all measures, the book was a great financial success, selling 2,250,000 copies and earning Clinton $30 million dollars. Yet this achievement did not come easily; it took Clinton over two years to write the book, written in longhand in sixteen notebooks, with no help from a ghost writer. Read More
  • V.S. Naipaul and Other Writers Who Hated Their Biographies

    Sat, 17 Aug 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Writers are often meticulous and private people. Thus, the creation of authorized biographies can be a contentious matter. Some authors, like Nobel Laureate V.S. Naipaul, allowed a biographer into their home and shared personal information only to find that the resulting biography presented a person foreign to themselves. Although the biographer has a greater duty to his work than to his subject, one can understand why many authors feel betrayed at the end of the process. This article will catalog a few bitter episodes between authors and their biographers including V.S. Naipaul, William S. Burroughs, and Vladimir Nabokov. Read More
  • Julia Child: We Are Pleased to Have Known You

    Thu, 15 Aug 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Most of us have a sense of Julia Child's biography and style, at least from the movie with Meryl Streep as Julia and Stanley Tucci as Paul. But there is so much more to Julia Child than the movies that represent her. A look at the innumerable, wonderful quotes that encapsulate her personality and style leave all of us feeling like we have known her, even a little bit. Read More
  • A Reading Guide to Alice Adams

    Wed, 14 Aug 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Best known for her short stories, Alice Adams wrote eleven novels and published over 25 short stories in The New Yorker. Over the course of her career, she won many awards, including the O. Henry Special Award for Continuing Achievement and Best American Short Stories Awards. Her work unflinchingly explores platonic and romantic relationships and the happiness and disappointments that accompany them. Read More
  • Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Ludwig Bemelmans

    Tue, 13 Aug 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Each year, the Caldecott Medal is awarded to a children's book that exemplifies the best work being produce in the field of children's book illustration. The award is a massive professional accolade and often results in a certain desirability from the reading public and from collectors. It is hard to imagine a book more enduring and beloved than 1955's winner, Madeline's Rescue, written and illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans. Come learn more about this iconic illustrator and his beloved Madeline series as we continue our Caldecott Winning Illustrator Series. Read More
  • Toni Morrison, Nobel Laureate and Song of Solomon Author, Has Died

    Wed, 07 Aug 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    “We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.” -Toni Morrison, Nobel Lecture 1993 Toni Morrison, author of Beloved and Song of Solomon, died peacefully in her home on Monday, surrounded by her family. Morrison was the first African American woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Her books were commercially and critically acclaimed and rightly find their way onto many collectors' shelves. Today, we honor Ms. Morrison's life and work. Read More
  • Unexpected Meetings Between Legendary Authors and Celebrities

    Tue, 06 Aug 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Authors are contributors to their culture, and as part of the job, they tend to cross paths with their famous contemporaries. These can be other authors, artists, actors, leaders, and cultural icons, and at times can create some rather unlikely pairings. Here are a few of these moments immortalized on camera. Read More
  • The Controversy Behind Neil Armstrong's Moon Landing Speech

    Mon, 05 Aug 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    On July 16, 1969, the Apollo 11 crew left Kennedy Space Center and entered the Moon's orbit. On July 19, after spending a full day in lunar orbit, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr. boarded the lunar module. It was not an easy decent to the surface of the Moon, but when they landed, they made history. Read More
  • Ten Beautiful Percy Shelley Quotes

    Sun, 04 Aug 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Percy Shelley is considered one of the greatest and most influential English poets. Like many authors, Shelley did not live to see his fame. During his life, he kept good company with other writers and poets, including his wife Mary Shelley née Godwin, author of Frankenstein, the Lord Byron, and John Keats. Due to the radical themes in his work, Shelley had difficulty finding a publisher, but he is now considered one of the paragons of English Romanticism. Read More
  • Happy Birthday to Writer and Activist James Baldwin!

    Fri, 02 Aug 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Writer and activist James Baldwin was born on August 29, 1924 in Manhattan. His plays, essays, novels, poems, and short stories embodied issues of race, class, and sexuality that were common in the mid-20th century and in many cases still exist today. After becoming disillusioned with the way African Americans were treated in his home country, he moved to France where he could be seen as more than just his race. Read More
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