Member Blogs > Books Tell You Why

  • 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
  • The Important Life and Work of Ralph Ellison

    Fri, 01 Mar 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Born on March 1, 1914 in Oklahoma City and named after transcendentalist poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, American novelist and literary critic Ralph Ellison remains an important figure and influence in American literature and scholarship. But in spite of his numerous awards and the influence he has had on African American literature, Ellison almost pursued a different field entirely. Read More
  • Five Rare Science Books To Add to Your Collection

    Thu, 28 Feb 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Today is National Science Day! We’re excited, and perhaps you are wondering why. We are, after all, in the business of books—collecting, selling, and writing about them. Indeed, we share with you who wins the Nobel Prize in Literature, not who wins the Nobel Prize in Physics or Chemistry or even Medicine. But that’s not to say we don’t love science! As a matter of fact, we love it when books and science intersect, which happens quite often. Today, we’re focusing our attention on five of our favorite rare science books. If you, like us, have an affinity to books Read More
  • Of Mice and Men and Marine Biology: A John Steinbeck Round-Up

    Wed, 27 Feb 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    If you’ve been reading our blog for any length of time, you know we’re big fans of John Steinbeck. Steinbeck, through his writing, made his way into American homes and schools over the course of the 20th century. That trend has continued to present day with many of his books counted as classics and placed on required reading lists from California to Maine. Steinbeck earned the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962 "for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception." In many a blog post, we’ve noted some of our favorite facts Read More
  • Victor Hugo: An Influential Life of Political Passion

    Tue, 26 Feb 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    All is a ruin where rage knew no bounds: Chio is levelled, and loathed by the hounds, For shivered yest'reen was her lance; Sulphurous vapors envenom the place Where her true beauties of Beauty's true race Were lately linked close in the dance. ~The Greek Boy, 1828 When it comes to French literature, one name is frequently the first to come to mind: Victor Hugo. While he is known internationally for his famous novels, Les Misérables and Notre Dame de Paris (better known to many by its English translation and Disney-popularized title, The Hunchback of Notre Dame), he is widely known in his home country Read More
  • Bob Schieffer's Newsworthy Life

    Mon, 25 Feb 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    In 2019, media—from social to news—plays an important role in the lives of consumers. People are constantly aware of newsworthy, and not so newsworthy, developments from around the world nearly as soon as they occur. With this ease of access, the time when newspapers and television were the main means of delivery for news can be easily forgotten. The men and women who spent their careers informing others and becoming household names may be all but forgotten by the new generation. Bob Schieffer dedicated his life to news. His work as a reporter and news anchor reached millions of viewers and Read More
  • Top Ten Movies Inspired By Great Books

    Fri, 22 Feb 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    The 91st Academy Awards are set to take place on February 24, 2019. Of course, this got us thinking about book-to-movie adaptations. Here's a look at some of our favorites, in no particular order. What would you add to the list? Read More
  • The Women of Group f/64

    Wed, 20 Feb 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    In 1932, Ansel Adams and ten other photographers, announced their formation of Group f/64, a group devoted to straight photography and sharp focus images. It was Edward Weston and Ansel Adams at the center of the group, helping bring the group’s ideals to national attention. They adopted the name Group f/64 in reference to the smallest aperture available for large-format view cameras, which allows the picture to achieve as sharp of focus as possible. As a whole, the group focused on landscapes or close-up photographs of natural subjects. Despite differences in subjects and personal style, their efforts to perfectly show Read More
  • Ten Quotes from Amy Tan

    Tue, 19 Feb 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    First generation American writer Amy Tan was born In Oakland, California on February 19, 1952 to Chinese immigrant parents. She studied at San Jose State University where she received both her BA and Masters degree. She pursued a doctoral degree at UC Berkley but eventually dropped out. Before breaking out as a writer, she worked a variety of jobs, including switchboard operator, pizza chef, and bartender. In 1989, Tan published her first novel, The Joy Luck Club, and she became an immediate and massive success. Her book was adapted into a hit film in 1993. Like much of her body Read More
  • Five Things You Might Not Know About Toni Morrison

    Mon, 18 Feb 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Toni Morrison is one of the foremost leaders who brought African-American literature from the fringes of literary circles into the mainstream. Born Chloe Ardelia Wofford on February 18, 1931, Morrison grew up in Lorain, Ohio. She attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. where she majored in English before earning a Master of Arts from Cornell University. Morrison began her career by teaching English at several universities. In 1970, she published her first novel, The Bluest Eyes. Her best known novel, Beloved, was published in 1987. In 1993, Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. She continues her work promoting Read More
  • Six Books About Love (From Authors Who Aren't Your Typical Romance Writers)

    Thu, 14 Feb 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Valentine's Day is upon us, and while modern day readers often associate authors like Nicholas Sparks and Nora Roberts with romance, these writers aren't the only ones to deliver tales of love and passion. Here's a look at a few authors who aren't your typical romance writers, but who have written delightful, poignant love stories.  Read More
  • Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Roger Duvoisin

    Wed, 13 Feb 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Every year, the Caldecott Medal is awarded by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association. The committee reviews children's books published throughout the year and select one book whose art exemplifies the best of American illustration. To be named winner of the Caldecott Medal is a massive achievement and often comes as a sign that the book is destined to be loved by generations of children. These distinguished books are sought after by both children and collectors. Continuing our ongoing Caldecott Medal Winning Illustrators Series, let's take a closer look at 1948 winner, Roger Duvoisin. Read More
  • A Look Inside Presidential Libraries

    Tue, 12 Feb 2019 08:00:00 Permalink
    Today is the anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's birthday. In addition to having been an exceptional statesman, Lincoln, like many of America's forefathers was also a prolific reader, amassing an impressive personal library. In honor of the late, great president, we've put together a post to give you a look inside presidential libraries. Read More
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