Member Blogs > Books Tell You Why

  • 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
  • David Macaulay's Books For All Age

    Sun, 02 Dec 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    David Macaulay's books and illustrations are as thought-provoking as they are whimsical. He first had his idea for a French gargoyle story, which became Cathedral: The Story of its Construction, in the early seventies. While the lovely gargoyle ladies of medieval France did not make the cut, he was left with a drawing of a cathedral. This inspired a trip to Europe for research and resulted in the aforementioned Cathedral: The Story of its Construction's publication in the spring of 1973. Macaulay was given the Caldecott Honor Award for his efforts. He had been an interior designer and a high Read More
  • Four of Jan Brett's Snowy Stories

    Sat, 01 Dec 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    As winter approaches, it is nice to curl up with a book and a blanket, or, if one is lucky enough to live someplace warm, to pretend it is cold. One author and illustrator especially suited for snowy day reading is Jan Brett. Due to her extensive research, Brett’s illustrations hold an element of realism, which helps readers connect to the characters and settings. With over 30 books, readers are presented with many options to choose from when finding a snowy story. Enjoyable by adult and child readers, Brett’s books provide a perfect winter read.    Read More
  • Mark Twain and the First Great American Novel

    Fri, 30 Nov 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    It's hard to overstate the influence of Mark Twain. Ernest Hemingway once wrote, "All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn," and many critics now cite this work as the first "Great American Novel." While the majority of those in the English-speaking world have heard of Mark Twain, and his two most famous novels, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, they may not know as much about this classic American author as they may think. To start with, Mark Twain is not even his real name. Read More
  • Four of Louisa May Alcott's Lesser Known Novels

    Thu, 29 Nov 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Louisa May Alcott is best known for Little Women and its sequels. The different adaptations of the March family’s adventures all too often overshadow Alcott’s other work. All of her work possesses well written, intricate plots that often—in a manner similar to Jane Austen—promote a feminist ideal of women’s role in society. She shows the importance of more wholesome, old-fashioned values rather than the opulent lifestyle free of responsibility and traditional morals many of the wealthy were participating in. All this Alcott accomplishes in her novels without sounding preachy or alienating her audience. Here are four of her lesser known works Read More
  • The Quintessential Swiss-ness of Johanna Spyri's Heidi

    Wed, 28 Nov 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    As of this writing, some 50 million copies of Johanna Spyri’s Heidi have been sold. A precursor to children’s book heroines from Pippi Longstocking to Eloise, Heidi has earned herself a place in countless childhood memories. Intelligent, caring, effervescent, often in the face of considerable challenges, it is not so hard to see why Heidi continues to be beloved by millions. Amid such artful successes, it can be easy to forget what its author Johanna Spyri contributed to the culture and posterity of her native Switzerland. Read More
  • Cyber Monday: Your Rare & Antiquarian Book Buying Guide

    Mon, 26 Nov 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    After the whirlwind of Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Small Business Saturday last week, today gives feasters and shoppers a chance to sit back and get some holiday shopping taken care of online. Everyone is offering deals of the century, but we have some items that you can’t find on Amazon. If you’re still in the market for a good book for anyone on your list, take some time on this Cyber Monday to browse our site. In this post, we’ve included several great titles and categories to get you started. Read More
  • A Reading Guide to William F. Buckley, Jr.

    Sat, 24 Nov 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    William F. Buckley, Jr. is well known for his conservative political views and witty writing style. With over 75 published works, it can be difficult to determine where to start when first discovering his writing. If leaning towards fiction, Buckley’s Blackford Oakes series follows a CIA operative as he fights against Communism in a style reminiscent of James Bond. His travel books tend towards the philosophical hidden in a more upfront topic. One aspect all of his books have in common is the total command of language and wit that immediately identifies Buckley’s work.  Read More
  • Six Books You Should Give as Gifts This Holiday Season

    Fri, 23 Nov 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Happy Black Friday, shoppers! We hope you all enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving Day here in the United States. If you are hitting the sales early this morning or easing in to the day, we have compiled a brief list of classic Christmas books that make for stellar gifts. Put one (or several) in your virtual shopping cart, and start checking names off your list. In case you missed it, last Friday, we rounded up all sorts of books that we think make excellent gifts. You can find that post here. Enjoy! Read More
  • Ten of the Best Children's Books for Thanksgiving

    Thu, 22 Nov 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Thanksgiving is known for many things: turkey, parades, football, and, of course, Pilgrims and Native Americans. With all of the distractions and celebrations, it can be easy to forget the meaning and history of the holiday. An easy, fun way to remember why we celebrate, for both old and young, is through children’s books. The simple presentation of facts and intriguing illustrations allow readers to remember what Thanksgiving means and why we celebrate.  Read More
  • John Gardner: James Bond Books and Beyond

    Tue, 20 Nov 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Today is the birthday of John Gardner. Gardner, in most circles, is not so much of a household name as James Bond or Ian Fleming, but he was responsible for keeping the intrigue and excitement of the legendary spy and his author alive in the hearts and minds of fans for nearly two decades. Indeed, from 1981 to 1996, John Gardner penned 16 original James Bond novels. In honor of his birthday, let’s take a look at several of his titles. Read More
  • Raymond Benson: The Fourth Man behind James Bond

    Sat, 17 Nov 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Though the James Bond films were originally based on the novels by Ian Fleming, more recent movies are written in the spirit of Fleming's work. After Fleming's death, other writers have been invited to take up the James Bond mantle. First was Kingsley Amis, who wrote one Bond novel under the pseudonym Robert Markham. John Gardner penned the next 14 novels, along with two film novelizations. Raymond Benson was the next author to continue the Bond legacy, writing from 1996 to 2003. Read More
  • An Early Holiday Gift Guide

    Fri, 16 Nov 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Black Friday is one week away. Are your shopping plans made? Or are you still puzzling over the perfect gift for someone in your life? Maybe you won’t even think about the holiday shopping rush for another month. In any case, we’ve put together a list of some lovely collectible books as well as some stellar reading copies that might prove to be the solution to even the trickiest of gift-giving cases. From art books to fine press titles, sports stories to suspense, we’ve got something for everyone on your list. Be sure to follow the links for more information Read More
  • Astrid Lindgren: Pioneer of Children's Literature

    Wed, 14 Nov 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Today marks the birthday of Astrid Lindgren, the talented children's author who created Pippi Longstocking, and who is the namesake of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA). Her books have sold over 145 million copies around the world, and she's earned a place as one of the most distinguished children's authors of the twentieth century. Read More
  • Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Elizabeth Orton Jones

    Tue, 13 Nov 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Each year, the Caldecott Medal is given to a children's book of exceptional quality that exhibits the highest level of artistic excellence. The illustrators given the award are known for their illustrations, whether it be for their beauty, humor, realism, innovation, or any other number of qualities. To be awarded a Caldecott medal is the highest honor an American children's book illustrator can receive. Continuing our Caldecott Medal Winning Book Series, we take a look at Elizabeth Orton Jones, an author who missed out on the award as a runner up in 1944, only to win the award the following Read More
  • Veterans Day Spotlight: The Life & Works of Tim O'Brien

    Sun, 11 Nov 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    "I carry the memories of the ghosts of a place called Vietnam—the people of Vietnam, my fellow soldiers. More importantly, I carry the weight of responsibility and a sense of abiding guilt." —Tim O'Brien, in an interview with NPR. Tim O’Brien, most notably acclaimed for his stories on the War in Vietnam, was born on October 1, 1947. Today, as the United States celebrates Veterans Day, we thought we'd take a closer look at O'Brien's life and work. Read More
  • Ten More Facts You Should Know About Jane Goodall

    Sat, 10 Nov 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Dame Jane Morris Goodall DBE, more affectionately known as Dr. Jane, is the world’s foremost expert on Chimpanzees, a United Nations Peace Ambassador, and an inspiration to budding ethologists the world over. Since making the discovery that chimps make and use tools while studying their behavior in the field more than half a century ago, she has become one of the most recognizable and beloved figures in the global scientific community. A few years back, we penned a post titled Ten Facts You Should Know About Jane Goodall. Here are ten more facts about her you may find of interest. Read More
  • Happy Birthday, Kay Thompson!

    Fri, 09 Nov 2018 03:00:00 Permalink
    Kay Thompson is perhaps today best known for her work on the beloved children's book series Eloise and for her role in the equally famous film adaptation of the musical Funny Face. Both her literary, film, and music careers represent a bygone sort of old Hollywood glamour. From the music she arranged for MGM studios to her night club acts to the ritzy penthouse apartment that served as home to Eloise, Thompson's life and work serve as a glimpse into a exciting age of New York and Tinsel Town that now exists only in pop culture and memories. But it's the human heart Read More
  • Things to Consider Before Adding a Signed Book to Your Collection

    Sat, 03 Nov 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    In his famous essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” (1935) Walter Benjamin describes the “aura” that exists around a work of art that hasn’t been mechanically reproduced (i.e. printed off on a printing press, copied onto a DVD, etc.). The aura, he says, is the element of the work that can’t be replicated outside of its definite location in time and space, giving a ritualistic, almost mystical element that changes the way that we engage with it. This, it seems, in a nutshell, is why we like signed books, and why we often treat them Read More
  • Caldecott-Winning Books Perfect For Fall

    Fri, 02 Nov 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    The Caldecott Medal is the most prestigious award for children's book illustration in America. Books awarded the medal are widely sought by libraries, children, and collectors alike. Though these books make for an excellent read any time of the year, we've picked out a few winners that are perfect to read during the fall. In some particular way, each of these books conjure up the feeling of autumn. Whether it be in their depiction of cool weather and changing leaves or by the way they evoke the feelings of the Thanksgiving season, these titles are perfect for this time of Read More
  • Hilary Knight Outside of Eloise

    Thu, 01 Nov 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Illustrator Hilary Knight has brought joy to many children through his work. Despite his large collection of work, Eloise, easily his most popular series, tends to overshadow all of his other books. Understandably, the characters and stories in the Eloise books have been loved by many readers, allowing for the lesser known works to be overshadowed. Both original works and collaborations are often glossed over in favor of the incorrigible Eloise. Many of Knight’s works outside of Eloise are still well loved and receive high praise from readers. Let's examine some of them today. Read More
  • A Brief History of Bram Stoker and His Horror Classic, Dracula

    Wed, 31 Oct 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    In the history of the horror novel, some works have come alive in popular imagination. One of these is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818); almost everyone is familiar with the plot regardless of whether they've read the book. Bram Stoker’s Dracula is similarly ubiquitous. Although Stoker did not invent the vampire legend, his classic work has defined and popularized the myth across continents and generations. We all know who Dracula is, but what about Stoker? Who was the man who made "vampire" a household name? Read More
  • Celebrating the (Literary) History of America's Presidents

    Tue, 30 Oct 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Presidents are famously men of letters: educated, erudite, and charismatic. John Adams (whose birthday we celebrate today), Thomas Jefferson, and other founding fathers established their reputation by contributing to beautifully written documents like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Read More
  • A Literary Look at Hillary Clinton

    Fri, 26 Oct 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Hillary Clinton’s resume is an impressive one. Secretary of State. Democratic Party Presidential nominee. First Lady. Lawyer. Advocate. Author. Her life and work has been scrutinized thoroughly—as is the case with most politicians and public figures—in countless books, articles, and op-ed pieces. Whether you agree or disagree with Clinton’s political beliefs, it is difficult to argue with her impact on politics, the country, and the literary landscape over the past several decades. Today, we’d like to explore a few of the books written by Hillary Clinton. Read More
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