Member Blogs > Books Tell You Why

  • Tom Wolfe: Fiction, Journalism, and Legacy

    Wed, 16 May 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Tom Wolfe, acclaimed journalist and writer, has died at the age of 88. In his honor, we revisit his life and work today. The prospect of writing a blog post on Tom Wolfe and his influence is daunting. The man who has been such a presence in the world of American letters these past forty years, having authored The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987) and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968), looms large, not just over a new generation of writers and journalists, but over the blogosphere in particular. He did, after all, call out blogs for being "a universe Read More
  • A Glossary of Book Binding Terms

    Tue, 15 May 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    For anyone interested in book collecting, understanding the terminology used in the book buying and selling industry is essential. When it comes to a book’s binding, there are many descriptors that are used. Do you know the difference between half bound and quarter bound? What does it mean if a book’s been shaken? Can you describe the difference between Octavo and Quarto? Let us help with this glossary of book binding terms. Read More
  • Who Is Mother Goose? The Curious Mystery of Everyone's Favorite Mother

    Fri, 11 May 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    With Mother's Day approaching, we thought it would be a fine time to revisit the history of everyone's favorite mother: Mother Goose. Whether she exists in your mind as a clucking bird, a gentle elderly woman, or a combination of both, the image of Mother Goose is universally synonymous with joy, childhood, storytelling, and safety. Her origins reach back to the sixteenth century, prior to the birth of the fairy tale, and her future attaches to the minds of millions of young children every year. But who is Mother Goose? Who came up with her, and what exactly does she Read More
  • Best Books From Kenya

    Wed, 09 May 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Are you traveling to Nairobi or hoping to learn more about nations in East Africa through fiction? We have some literature recommendations for you to check out. Keep reading for a list of just a handful of the best books from Kenya. Read More
  • Six Interesting Facts About Anne Rice

    Tue, 08 May 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Horror novelist Anne Rice is best known for her Vampire Chronicles and Mayfair Witches series. Since publishing her first novel, Interview With the Vampire in the 1970s, she has published extensively in both the horror and erotic fiction genres, becoming one of the most popular writers living today. Her work has explored the nature of good, evil, and humanity through the lens of horror fiction and monsters like vampires, witches, werewolves, and mummies. Her work has been adapted into movies, comics, musicals, and she and her son Christopher Rice are currently working to adapt her fiction into a television series Read More
  • What Is a Frontispiece?

    Fri, 04 May 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    We think it’s safe to assume that if you’re reading this article you enjoy books. You also probably believe, as we do, that books are important physical objects: they are important collectibles and keepsakes that you can feel, hold in your hand, page through, and examine the condition of. Indeed, we like to place an emphasis on the physical copy of a book as an object to be treasured. In our efforts to do so, we’d like to examine some of the features that make books, especially rare books, so special. Today, we’re focusing on frontispieces. What is a frontispiece? Read More
  • Collecting the Works of Dean Koontz

    Thu, 03 May 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Like the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, Dean Koontz is a man of many names. Following the advice of an early publisher, Koontz determined that he might alienate fans of one genre by publishing under his own name in another. Given how many genres Koontz was going to publish in, it was necessary to have a whole host of pseudonyms (like David Axton, Leigh Nichols, and Brian Coffey) to preserve his image across his various milieus, which ranged from horror and thrillers to satire, science fiction, and mystery. Given that he was, during his era of peak productivity, publishing as many Read More
  • "Bulgakov Diplomacy" and Redesigning the Contemporary Russian Literature Canon

    Wed, 02 May 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Generally speaking, 19th-century Russian novels have been read in literature classes across the globe for many decades. From Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Anna Karenina to Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov, lists of classic literature would not be complete without numerous additions from the Russian “canon.” But what do most of us know about contemporary Russian literature? That’s the question that was posed in an article that appeared in Foreign Policy Magazine. In short, literature from the Cold War era and the fiction from the years following the disintegration of the Soviet Union has not been circulated Read More
  • A May Day Round-Up

    Tue, 01 May 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    May 1, commonly known as "May Day", is upon us. For many, this is an unofficial start to the warm weather season, a chance to get outdoors and celebrate, maybe even dance around a traditional maypole. For many others, this day symbolizes much more and is spent remembering or participating in labor protests and worker's rights movements. After all, May 1 is not only May Day but also International Worker's Day in many locations. We've written in the past about literature that deals with this particular day in history, and we thought we'd share some noteworthy articles and titles with you today. Read More
  • Collecting Civil War Literature

    Fri, 27 Apr 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Interested in starting or adding to a collection of Civil War literature? We think the anniversary of the death of Ulysses S. Grant is a good day to discuss some titles and editions that are important to keep in mind for anyone interested in this period in United States history. Indeed, Grant himself has a noteworthy memoir that graces our list. Beyond the Union general, however, you’ll see that a collection of Civil War literature can span from novels to poems to autobiographies and everything in between. Happy collecting! Read More
  • Book Spotlight: The Last Stop on Market Street

    Thu, 26 Apr 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    The Last Stop on Market Street, published in 2015 by Penguin, was written by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson. The book tells the story of CJ who is taking a bus ride with his grandmother after church, as they do every Sunday. While riding the bus, CJ glimpses one of his friends riding in a car with his family and asks why their family doesn't have a car, thus beginning a series of questions CJ asks his grandma based on the things and people he observes on their ride. Why do we love this book so Read More
  • Learning More About the Heinemann African Writers Series

    Wed, 25 Apr 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    In 1962, the Heinemann African Writers Series (AWS) began with Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart (1958) as the first book in the series. The AWS has become synonymous, in many ways, with the global circulation of African literature in the second half of the twentieth century. Do you know how it started and why it’s significant? And perhaps more pressingly, would you like some recommendations for books to seek out from the AWS? We’d like to tell you more about the Heinemann series and to mention some of our favorite books from it that you might add to your Read More
  • Anne Rice: Four Decades of Horror Fiction

    Tue, 24 Apr 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Celebrated writer Anne Rice is known for her horror, religious, and erotic novels. Though she writes in drastically different and seemingly contradictory genres, throughout all of her books, Rice displays lush and sensuous description, complex plots that focusing on history, art, and mythology, and an ongoing discussion around the nature of good and evil and what it means to have or lose faith. Rice has been actively publishing fiction since 1974 and is one of most commercially successful living writers today, as well as perhaps the most famous female living writer of horror. Read More
  • Tips For Collecting Mark Twain Books

    Fri, 20 Apr 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Born November 30, 1835, Samuel Langhorne Clemens (pen name, Mark Twain) would become one of the most beloved American writers of all time. As a writer, humorist, speaker, and publisher, Mark Twain became a household name. His works are perennial favorites among readers and collectors, and in recent years, rare Mark Twain books and ephemera have gained even more value. Let's reexamine his remarkable life and work. Read More
  • R. Buckminster Fuller Collection at Stanford University

    Thu, 19 Apr 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Who was R. Buckminster Fuller? In Stanford University Library’s description of the R. Buckminster Fuller Collection, the description describes Fuller as a “20th century polymath,” while the Buckminster Fuller Institute describes the man as “a 20th century inventor and visionary who did not limit himself to one field but worked as a ‘comprehensive anticipatory design scientist’ to solve global problems.” He was, indeed, a person of many interests, many academic pursuits, and many talents. Fuller lived through most of the twentieth century and published novels and essays, wrote poetry, designed architectural geodesic domes and works of contemporary art, and built Read More
  • FAQ: Insuring Your Book Collection

    Wed, 18 Apr 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    So you’re a book collector. Perhaps you’re just starting out, or maybe you’ve amassed a sizable collection. You have researched the proper methods to protect your books from the elements—things like proper humidity control and winning the battle against bookworms. Your book collection is your pride and joy, and you’re looking forward to passing it down to your kids and grand-kids someday, or donating it to a favorite museum or institute. Excellent. Now, have you considered how you should insure your book collection? If not, you should. We've been asked recently about how to insure book collections. Here are several things to Read More
  • Ten Fascinating Facts About Gabriel García Márquez

    Tue, 17 Apr 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Especially on this blog, Love in the Time of Cholera (1985) author Gabriel García Márquez needs little introduction. William Kennedy declared that Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) was, "the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race," and the Nobel Prize committee seemed to more or less agree, bestowing the honor on a Colombian writer for the first time ever largely in recognition of One Hundred Years of Solitude in particular. Carlos Fuentes called him, "the most popular and perhaps the best writer in Spanish since Cervantes." Here are some interesting Read More
  • Six Interesting Facts about the Nobel Prize in Literature

    Fri, 13 Apr 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    What does it mean to win a Nobel Prize in Literature? Some of the past winners have explained it better than we ever could. For example, Seamus Heaney declared, "I've said it before about the Nobel Prize: it's like being struck by a more or less benign avalanche. It was unexpected, unlooked for, and extraordinary." Doris Lessing, for her part, said, "As soon as I got the Nobel Prize, my back collapsed and I was in the hospital." Mario Vargas Llosa reminds us of the notoriety that comes with the title of Nobel laureate: "The Nobel prize is a fairy Read More
  • Mark Twain's Legendary Humor

    Thu, 12 Apr 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, is one of the most celebrated authors in all of American literature. Born in Florida, Missouri in 1835, Twain moved to Hannibal, the town that inspired the location for some of his most famous novels, when he was four years old. He began his career working as an apprentice printer before moving on to work as a typesetter. His brother Orion had recently purchased The Hannibal Journal, and Twain frequently contributed articles and sketches to the publication. He later went on to realize a lifelong ambition of working on steamboat, a vocation which provided Read More
  • VLOG: Long Stitch Bookbinding

    Wed, 11 Apr 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Medieval Germany: it brought us Otto the Great, the formation of the Hanseatic League, and the first stirrings of the Protestant Reformation. It also, as best as we can discern, brought us long stitch bookbinding, a non-adhesive form of bookmaking (meaning it eschews the use of glue or other adhesives) that gained some popularity in 18th and 19th century Europe. Read More
  • Must-Have Books for World War II Book Collectors

    Tue, 10 Apr 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    The events of World War II shaped the world we live in today, from economic and political alliances, to scientific advancements. Now a major field of scholarship as well as a frequent inspiration for both fiction and film, World War II has captivated our minds and imaginations. The heroism, sacrifice, and suffering of both soldiers and civilians all around the world make the war not only an important part of the history of the world, but a fascinating topic for book collectors to seek out. The following books represent just a small portion of the quality literature available today for Read More
  • The Top 11 T.S. Eliot Quotes

    Fri, 06 Apr 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Born in St. Louis, Nobel Prize winner T.S. Eliot remains one of America’s most treasured literary exports. The poet who famously authored “The Waste Land” (1922), “Four Quartets” (1943), and “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (1915) also tried to revive the verse-drama genre (most notably with 1934's The Rock) and was an astute literary critic, giving advice to young writers who hoped to carry on the poetic traditions that Eliot himself reshaped. Though his social reputation was one of stuffiness and formality (Virginia Woolf liked to refer to Eliot as wearing a “four piece suit” to dinner), he was Read More
  • The First James Bond? John Dee Was the Original 007

    Thu, 05 Apr 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Centuries before Ian Fleming would write James Bond into existence, another man signed letters with "007." That man, John Dee, was a mathematician, astronomer, and (some say) magician. He was also a trusted member of Queen Elizabeth I's court. Some historians say that Dee was a spy for Elizabeth, thus making him an even more fitting inspiration for Ian Fleming's hero. Read More
  • Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Dorothy P. Lathrop

    Wed, 04 Apr 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    The Caldecott Medal has been awarded since 1937 to an “artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.” Naturally, the Caldecott Award is supremely important for everyone involved in the book making and book buying and selling processes: from illustrators and publishers to fans and book collectors. Today, we begin our Caldecott Winning Illustrators series. We’d like to examine these award-winning artists more closely. Who are they? What is their artistic style? What other works are they famous for? What about them and their work is helpful for collectors to know? We begin with the inaugural Caldecott Award-winning Read More
  • Tell-All Book Describes Clandestine 1967 Moon Mission

    Sun, 01 Apr 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    In 1969, with the rapt attention of a mystified global audience, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon—in fact, he became the first human being to set foot on any terrestrial object other than the earth. After years of training and buildup, Armstrong’s mission (which also included Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, who would stay in orbit during the moonwalk) represented a pinnacle of human exploration and achievement that has been unmatched in the ensuing decades. With his iconic declaration, “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” Armstrong punctuated one of the most meaningful Read More
  • A Brief History of The Pickwick Papers

    Sat, 31 Mar 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    English novelist Charles Dickens is indisputably one of the most important figures in English literature and perhaps the most financially successful of his Victorian contemporaries. Dickens published most all of his novels serially with installments appearing monthly and, in some cases, weekly. His novels, including such standouts as A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, and A Christmas Carol, are counted among the great classics of English literature. His works have been adapted across multiple mediums. His influence on the language can be easily traced, with one notable example being his character Ebeneezer Scrooge, whose surname is a commonly-used sobriquet Read More
  • Charles Darwin's Literary Inspirations

    Fri, 30 Mar 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Charles Darwin's theory of evolution revolutionized the scientific world. An avid reader, Darwin built a personal library that included over 1,500 volumes of science, philosophy, and literature. Just as Darwin was influenced by what he read, he has also influenced generations of scholars and authors. A significant number of his letters, books, and papers belong to the Cambridge University Library. Read More
  • Philip Pullman: Teacher, Writer, and a Book Collector's Dream

    Thu, 29 Mar 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    “As a passionate believer in the democracy of reading, I don't think it's the task of the author of a book to tell the reader what it means…Anyway, I'm not in the message business; I'm in the "Once upon a time" business.” ~Philip Pullman The democracy of reading. The fact that every single person who picks up a Philip Pullman book (and the selection to choose from is a good one!) can and should form for him or herself the meaning and message between and within the lines. What a lovely thought! We like this idea. After all, it’s the Read More
  • Collecting Latin American Authors

    Wed, 28 Mar 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    Latin American literature incorporates a variety of languages from Spanish and Portuguese to indigenous languages of Central and South America. Known for, but not exclusively devoted to, magical realism, Latin American literature came to worldwide notice in the 1960s an 1970s during a movement which is now known as the Latin American Boom. The boom, partially due to an exceptionally prosperous economic state throughout the continent, helped to a create an outpouring of literature that focused on the culture, language, people, and politics of a region that had not previously held a large place on the global stage. Since then, Read More
  • Muriel Wright: The Inspiration for Ian Fleming's James Bond Girls

    Fri, 23 Mar 2018 08:00:00 Permalink
    The stories of James Bond have left readers and audiences mesmerized for decades, but the titular character can't take all the credit for their entertainment. Alongside the adventures of this daring and dangerous spy, there have always been supporting characters called the Bond Girls. They may be friend or foe, but no James Bond story would be complete without them. When author Ian Fleming first dreamed up the tales of Bond and his girls, was it all pure fantasy? Most speculate that a woman named Muriel Wright provided the inspiration for these legendary women. Read More
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