Member Blogs > Books Tell You Why

  • Book Spotlight: Tales From Shakespeare by Tina Packer

    Tue, 23 Apr 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Seventeenth century poet and playwright William Shakespeare penned some of the most well-known stories in the world. The conflict, romance, comedy, and wordplay have captivated audiences for over four hundred years, and Shakespeare's plays continue to be performed on stage and screen in both their original form and in new, adapted forms. The varying forms shed a different light on the stories, introducing them and making them more accessible to a new audience. Read More
  • Top Books By State: Arizona

    Fri, 19 Apr 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Arizona: the land of scorching desserts and swimming pools in every backyard. Of hot, dry temperatures and the deep, majestic Grand Canyon. But what about the literary output from or about Arizona? Which authors have made this southwestern state their home, and what sorts of works have they crafted with Arizona as their setting? Continuing our series of the top books in each state, today, we focus on Arizona. We have actually pulled two books by one, well-known Arizonian author and one book by another. These titles impress us with the vivid imagery of the setting alongside the griping stories Read More
  • The Kupfer Bibel and an Epic Struggle for the Danish Crown

    Thu, 18 Apr 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Rare book sellers and collectors often talk about the provenance of a book, that is, it's chain of ownership. Knowing a book's provenance offers practical benefits, such as ensuring that a book isn't stolen and lending credibility to a volume's inscription. But exploring a book's provenance also has another benefit: it can unlock fascinating stories connected with the book itself, enriching our understanding of—and appreciation for—the book as an object with its own special history. One example of a book with fascinating provenance is our edition of the Kupfer-Bibel. Read More
  • Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Leo Politi

    Tue, 16 Apr 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Each year the Caldecott Medal is awarded to a book that represents the best of children's illustration. The illustrious list of winning books contains a massive variety, from the style of the illustrations to the subjects of the books, to the backgrounds of the illustrators who poured themselves into the creation of these amazing pieces of art. The latest illustrator to be featured in our Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series is Leo Politi. Politi won the award in 1950 for his book Song of the Swallows. Read More
  • The History and Importance of the Pulitzer Prize

    Mon, 15 Apr 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    The Pulitzer Prize—set to be awarded today—was established over 100 years ago to honor exceptional achievements in journalism. Since its inception, the award has grown to include 21 different categories, ranging from literature to musical composition. The prize is named for Joseph Pulitzer, a newspaper journalist with a fascinating life.  Read More
  • An Introduction to Legendary Chess Player Garry Kasparov

    Sat, 13 Apr 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Garry Kasparov was born in 1963 in Baku, Azerbaijan in the Soviet Union. At the age of 12 he became the USSR’s under-18 chess champion and at 17, he was the world under-20 champion. In 1985 at the age of 22, he achieved fame for being the youngest world chess champion. Throughout his chess career, he defended his title five times, broke Bobby Fisher’s rating record, and—perhaps most famously—played against the IBM super-computer Deep Blue. Outside of his work as a professional chess player, Kasparov was vocal about his support for democratic and market reforms and the dissolution of the Read More
  • Climbing Into Jon Krakauer, Legendary Mountaineering Author

    Fri, 12 Apr 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    American writer and outdoorsman Jon Krakauer was born April 12, 1954. He was raised in Corvallis, Oregon and was first acquainted with mountain climbing when he was eight years old. He attended Hampshire College in Massachusetts where he graduated in 1976 with a degree in Environmental Studies. Following his time at university, Krakauer moved around the States, living in Colorado, Alaska, and the Pacific Northwest. He worked as a commercial fisherman and a carpenter to support himself while he pursued his love for nature and rock climbing. Read More
  • The Fascinating Inspiration Behind Favorite Horror Novels

    Thu, 11 Apr 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Today is Thomas Harris' birthday. The legendary horror author is best known for the stories he spun surrounding serial-killer, Hannibal Lecter. Have you ever wondered what Harris' inspiration was for crafting one of the most notorious villains in all of literature? Is Lecter purely a figment of Harris' imagination? Or was there a real-life muse for the killer? Perhaps you find both options unsettling! But if you've ever been curious about the inspiration behind some of your favorite horror novels, read on.    Read More
  • Do You Know Where Your Signed Books Come From?

    Tue, 09 Apr 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    When one thinks of fraud, the first cases that come to mind may be corrupt money managers (à la Bernard Madoff) or bankers. Businesses like Enron and WorldCom may likewise ring a bell, as well. Why are we talking about fraud on a blog about books, though? Well, sadly the book buying and selling business has not escaped instances of fraud, either. In 2012, Allan Formhals was found guilty of ten counts of fraud. But he wasn't an unscrupulous banker, he was an antiques dealer who sold books on the internet. Formhals was convicted of forging signatures in books and purveying them Read More
  • Five of Trina Schart Hyman's Masterful Works

    Mon, 08 Apr 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Born in 1939, Trina Schart Hyman spent her childhood in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. As a young adult, she studied at the Philadelphia Museum College of Art, the Boston Museum School of Art, and the Swedish State Art School in Stockholm, Konstfackskolan. She published her first work in 1961. From 1972 to 1979, Hyman started working as an artist and illustrator for Cricket magazine for children, eventually becoming the art director. Throughout her career, Hyman won the Caldecott Medal once and Caldecott honors three times. She illustrated more than 150 books. Read More
  • Movie Tie-Ins: Sturges' and Tracy's Old Man and the Sea

    Fri, 05 Apr 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Ernest Hemingway (1889-1961) is universally considered one of the most important writers of the 20th century and certainly one of the most influential writers of the American literary canon. Hemingway's career stretched over three decades of war. He wrote travel journalism, seven novels, numerous novellas, short story collections, and works of nonfiction. His novels For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Farewell to Arms, and The Sun Also Rises are considered to be some of the most important works of literature written in the English language. Hemingway's style has served as an influence to generations of writers and has helped form the Read More
  • Five Interesting Facts About Maya Angelou

    Thu, 04 Apr 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Born in April 4, 1928 as Marguerite Johnson in St. Louis, Maya Angelou had a difficult childhood. Her parents divorced when she was three, leaving Angelou to be raised by her grandmother. When she was seven, Angelou was sexually assaulted by her mother’s boyfriend. After testifying against him, her attacker was beaten to death in an alley, causing Angelou to believe her voice was too powerful. She decided to remain nearly mute for the next five years. During this time Angelou connected with the written word, paving the way for her future as a writer. Read More
  • Washington Irving: Champion of American Literature at Home and Abroad

    Tue, 02 Apr 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    When "The Legend of Sleep Hollow" was published in 1820, the United States of America was a young nation. American-born authors were decades away from producing central classics like Leaves of Grass and Moby-Dick, and the cultural direction of this brave new world was anyone’s guess. The country was in need of a strong and talented writer to steer her on the right course. This author was Washington Irving. Read More
  • Netflix Announces New Tolkien Adaptation Slated for 2021

    Mon, 01 Apr 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    For years now, film and television producers have been battling each other to create the one piece of fantasy media that will dominate all others. There was New Line’s Lord of the Rings (2001-2003) adaptions, HBO’s Game of Thrones (2011-2019) series, New Line’s subsequent Hobbit (2012-2014) trilogy, and now, as of a blockbuster 2017 deal, Amazon Studios will be producing at least five seasons worth of television based on Tolkien’s iconic mythos and characters—a show that they, like those that have gone before them, hope will be the one series to rule them all. In this regard, it sometimes feels like these Read More
  • John Fowles, A Solitary Non-Conformist

    Sun, 31 Mar 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    "What interests me about novelists as a species is the obsessiveness of the activity, the fact that novelists have to go on writing. I think that probably must come from a sense of the irrecoverable. In every novelist's life there is some more acute sense of loss than with other people, and I suppose I must have felt that. I didn't realize it, I suppose, till the last ten or fifteen years. In fact you have to write novels to begin to understand this. There's a kind of backwardness in the novel…an attempt to get back to a lost world." Read More
  • The Fascinating Life and Art of Vincent van Gogh

    Sat, 30 Mar 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Art is and does many things. It chronicles history, shows culture, and provides insight into artists. Despite the vast number of artists, there are only a few who hold consumers’ attention long after their death. Included with artists like Michelangelo and da Vinci, is Vincent van Gogh. From novels like Lust for Life to an episode of Doctor Who, the general masses remain fascinated with the man who is known for such talent and for cutting off his own ear.  Read More
  • The Magical Art of Fly Fishing

    Wed, 27 Mar 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Few activities offer the sport and serenity of fishing. That unlikely combination has made fishing a popular pastime for people of all ages and backgrounds. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Herbert Hoover did it. So did literary giant Ernest Hemingway. Fly fishing elevates this rather humble sport to a true art form. A fly fisherman must develop a rhythm and style for his cast, and then practice unending patience. That's why Izaac Walton called fly fishing "The Contemplative Man's Recreation." Read More
  • Death and Desire: A Tennessee Williams Round-Up

    Tue, 26 Mar 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    A jack of many literary trades, Tennessee Williams is best known as one of the most prominent playwrights in twentieth century America. His play, A Streetcar Named Desire, sits alongside Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman on the top tier of twentieth century theatrical output. Williams wasn't discovered until his 30s when the success of The Glass Menagerie in New York rocketed him into fame. He followed up this play and became a household name in the late 1940s and early 1950s thanks to his best work, including Streetcar (1947) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955). Many of Williams plays were adapted, adding to his notoriety. Read More
  • Collecting the Works of James Patterson

    Fri, 22 Mar 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    James Patterson is nothing if not a producer. His literary output is astounding, and the publishing schedule he sticks to is rigorous one (we've written more about his methods here). Patterson began his career in journalism. An avid reader, eventually he was turned on to the suspense and thriller genre through authors like William Peter Blatty and Frederick Forsyth. Thinking he could take a stab at writing such books, Patterson set about writing his first novel, The Thomas Berryman Number. After much rejection, Little Brown Books picked up Patterson's debut book. Read More
  • Book Collecting Basics: The Structure of a Book

    Thu, 21 Mar 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Before taking to the skies, a pilot learns the inner workings of an airplane. Rare book collectors should do the same with books. It's important to understand how a book is put together so it is easier to recognize the signs of fine craftsmanship, to spot reproductions, and to assess the value of potential additions to your collection. Here are the basics of book assembly. Read More
  • Free of All That Noise: A Philip Roth Round-Up

    Tue, 19 Mar 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    "Everybody else is working to change, persuade, tempt and control them. The best readers come to fiction to be free of all that noise." ~Philip Roth in Conversations with Philip Roth Philip Roth was one of the great, American literary geniuses of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Through his works, he explored the idea of self. He also highlighted the social and political climate of the time in which he wrote, often with satire and his particular brand of literary panache. When Roth died in 2018, he had been awarded two National Book Awards for Fiction, two National Book Critics Circle awards, three PEN/Faulkner awards, Read More
  • 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
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