Member Blogs > Books Tell You Why

  • Toni Morrison Papers Now Open to Students and Researchers

    Tue, 22 Nov 2016 08:00:00 Permalink
    For students, faculty members, and scholars across the globe, the papers of Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison are now open at the Princeton University Library. Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for her novel Beloved (1987), and she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. Morrison taught at a number of colleges and universities during her career, including at Howard University, Bard College, and Rutgers University. From 1989 until 2006, Morrison taught at Princeton University as the Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities. Since 2014, Princeton has owned the writer’s collected papers, and archivists have been Read More
  • A Brief History of Typography

    Sat, 19 Nov 2016 08:00:00 Permalink
    In 1984, Steve Jobs mistakenly referred to typefaces as fonts on Apple computers thereby perpetuating a misnomer that effectively erased much knowledge of typesetting for generations of young people. While creating new typefaces has become easier than ever before, it is likely that many people creating typefaces and fonts today are unaware of the amazing history, traditions, and standards of a specialization that are becoming increasingly rare as technology evolves. Read More
  • Collecting and Preserving Broadsides

    Fri, 18 Nov 2016 08:00:00 Permalink
    Are you considering expanding your current book collection to include paper ephemera? If so, you might want to learn more about collecting and preserving broadsides. Sometimes you will also see broadsides described as “broadsheets.” Now that you know the terminology, you might be asking: what in the world is a broadside? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it is “a sheet of paper printed on one side only, forming one large page.” But this definition doesn’t fully explain the significance of these items. Broadsides are among the most sought-after items for collectors: from those interested in sixteenth-century political ephemera to Read More
  • Read More Poetry: The Maya Angelou Edition

    Thu, 17 Nov 2016 08:00:00 Permalink
    We’ve long made a case that the world needs to read more poetry. And we’ve been thrilled to see poetry making its way into mainstream media. If you’ve tuned in to any network television programming lately (the recent Summer Olympics come to mind), you’ve likely heard commercials featuring the poetry of one of the great poets of the twentieth century: Maya Angelou. Today, we’d like to take a turn spotlighting some of Angelou’s most poignant poetic efforts. The list of her works is a long one, and one that it would be difficult to cover in one blog post. Her Read More
  • Christa Wolf, Awarded Authors, and the Deutscher Bücherpreis

    Wed, 16 Nov 2016 08:00:00 Permalink
    Christa Wolf may just be one of the greatest novelists to come out of Germany. Yet despite her popularity and critical recognition in Europe, the East German novelist remains largely outside the purview of many contemporary American readers. We’d like to change that. Whether you’re reading her novels in German or in English translation, you should recognize that you’re consuming works of fiction that helped to define, in many ways, the divided postwar Germany. In honor of her life’s work, Wolf was awarded the Deutscher Bücherpreis [German Book Prize] in 2002—the first year in which the prestigious prize was given Read More
  • The Importance of Condition in Rare Book Collecting

    Tue, 15 Nov 2016 08:00:00 Permalink
    Condition. Condition. Condition. It’s something of a mantra heard from the novice rare book collector to book collecting experts and everyone in between. Perhaps just as important as whether a book is a first edition or the first of its kind—primacy—the condition of a book is crucial in helping assess its value and place in the rare book collecting universe. This is especially true when looking at modern classics such as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby where the number of original copies is quite large compared with other classic American novels published just 10 or 20 years before. For Read More
  • Pablo Larraín's Film About Pablo "Neruda"

    Sat, 12 Nov 2016 08:00:00 Permalink
    Many readers of Pablo Neruda’s work are familiar with the cinematic depiction of the Chilean Nobel Prize winner in the 1994 film Il Postino, set on an Italian island. Since the release of Il Postino, the poet has maintained a loyal following among readers and academics, yet his fictional likeness hasn’t appeared in another film—until now! A new film, simply entitled Neruda, has been making its way through the festival circuit. The movie reimagines Neruda’s exile from Chile in the 1940s due to his politics, helping viewers to think through the continued relevance of political refugeeism and forced migration in Read More
  • The Bond Dossier: Goldfinger

    Fri, 11 Nov 2016 08:00:00 Permalink
    It’s a central question in the journey of any artist: How do you bounce back from a project that didn’t meet audience expectations? For novelist Ian Fleming, the answer lies in the publication of his seventh James Bond novel, Goldfinger. Coming off a somewhat tepid response to his previous novel, Dr. No, Fleming was determined to turn out a Bond story that would not only further the development of the series and its central character, but also give readers what they had come to know and love in the Bond series—action, adventure, thrills, romance, and style. And Fleming’s efforts to Read More
  • A Breif Guide to Collecting the Works of Eric Gill

    Thu, 10 Nov 2016 08:00:00 Permalink
    Eric Gill was a sculptor and engraver who is now best known for his scandalous personal behavior alongside his spiritual art. Gill remains a controversial artist. As his biographer Fiona MacCarthy so aptly puts it, “Does consciousness of artists' reprehensible behaviour (Gill, [today,] would no doubt be in prison) put up a barrier between the viewer and the work? Or does knowledge of the artist's life, fallibilities included, amplify and enrich our understanding of the art?”* While that question may be one each individual must answer for him or herself, for those interested in the work of Eric Gill, what Read More
  • A Brief Guide to Collecting the Works of Eric Gill

    Thu, 10 Nov 2016 08:00:00 Permalink
    Eric Gill was a sculptor and engraver who is now best known for his scandalous personal behavior alongside his spiritual art. Gill remains a controversial artist. As his biographer Fiona MacCarthy so aptly puts it, “Does consciousness of artists' reprehensible behaviour (Gill, [today,] would no doubt be in prison) put up a barrier between the viewer and the work? Or does knowledge of the artist's life, fallibilities included, amplify and enrich our understanding of the art?”* While that question may be one each individual must answer for him or herself, for those interested in the work of Eric Gill, what Read More
  • Visiting the New Zealand Home of Katherine Mansfield

    Wed, 09 Nov 2016 08:00:00 Permalink
    If you’re interested in modernism and in the works of important women writers, you should familiarize yourself with the work of New Zealand short-story writer Katherine Mansfield. There’s no better way to get excited about this author than to visit her childhood home in Wellington, New Zealand if you happen to find yourself on the other side of the world. Read More
  • What to Read on Election Day

    Tue, 08 Nov 2016 08:00:00 Permalink
    Presidential election season; the high-stakes political race that comes around once every four years and determines the leader of the United States, the future of the American people, and the mood of our relatives at Thanksgiving dinner. When faced with such a big decision, it can often be helpful to first take a look into the past. As you head to the polls this November day, consider checking out one of these seven presidential books. Read More
  • Buying Rare and Antiquarian Books in Sydney, Australia

    Sat, 05 Nov 2016 08:00:00 Permalink
    If you’re interested in rare books from Australia or New Zealand, one of the best cities for searching just might be Sydney. In particular, many of the bookstores in the city specialize in fiction and poetry by local writers, including Aboriginal novelists and poets. While Melbourne, a city located to the south, is known for its literary history, there are many reasonably priced and exciting rare bookshops scattered across Sydney. And given that this city is immensely walk-able, we’d recommend picking up a map and heading out on the town. Read More
  • Collecting Legendary Works of Psychology

    Fri, 04 Nov 2016 08:00:00 Permalink
    The name “Sigmund Freud” is synonymous with psychology. And for good reason. Freud did much to propel the study of psychology. He developed psychoanalysis, the theory of the Oedipus complex, and the model of the id, ego, and super-ego, among countless other contributions. He is still one of the most studied figures in the field’s history as well as in the humanities. Today marks the anniversary of the publication of Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams, one of his most famous works. There’s much to know if you’re seeking to collect a copy of The Interpretation of Dreams. Likewise, along with Read More
  • Saving the French Home of James Baldwin

    Thu, 03 Nov 2016 08:00:00 Permalink
    If you’re a book collector or an avid reader, chances are you’ve visited the home of at least one notable writer. In all likelihood, if you’re like us, you seek out authors’ homes whenever you’re on vacation or traveling to a new city. What do you gain from visiting the home of a writer? Trips like these give us unparalleled access to the ambiences in which works, both small and great, arose. After all, what can be more intimate—other than, perhaps, immersing yourself in the literary worlds created by great masters of fiction—than standing in the office, kitchen, or bedroom Read More
  • Aurora Teardrops: An Interview with Author Harold Budd and Artist Jane Maru

    Wed, 02 Nov 2016 08:00:00 Permalink
    Heavenly Monkey is set to release its latest fine press publication: Aurora Teardrops. The book—a collection of poems by legendary musician Harold Budd and batik paintings by artist Jane Maru—has been in production for over two years, but the collaboration between author and illustrator is something that’s existed for longer still. Indeed, the entirety of Aurora Teardrops proves to be the perfect melding of different parts—each shining bright on its own but glowing when combined. Rollin Milroy and Heavenly Monkey worked closely with Harold and Jane to hone the overall concept and ensure the final product was the right combination Read More
  • Favorite Children's Books of Famous Authors

    Tue, 01 Nov 2016 08:00:00 Permalink
    E.L. Konigsburg once said that children’s books are “the key to the accumulated wisdom, wit, truth, myth, history, philosophy, and recipes for salting potatoes during the past 6,000 years of civilization.” In those earliest days of civilization stories were told around small fires and were illustrated on cave walls. But I imagine, even then, they dispelled shadows and illuminated ideas—the best stories always do. Authors who write children’s books contribute to this canon, but also draw upon it. Let’s take a look at the favorite children’s books of these famous authors. Read More
  • Beyond Horror: Spooky Books That Are Actually About Halloween

    Mon, 31 Oct 2016 08:00:00 Permalink
    As Halloween descends upon us, the spooky and the festive-minded among us have their hopes set on a good read. There is a long tradition of horror literature to which countless authors have contributed, but the library becomes far smaller when it comes to the treatment of Halloween itself. Writing a fearsome story is one thing; depicting and contributing to the culture of the autumn celebration is another. Here, we consider some of the important books to extend the tradition of Halloween writing. Read More
  • Ten of the Best Quotes from Evelyn Waugh

    Fri, 28 Oct 2016 08:00:00 Permalink
    My sophomore year of college, I took an English class that delved into literature with central themes of faith, hope, and love. One of the first books we cracked open was Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder, a coming of age story that takes place in 1945 England. I had never read any of Waugh’s work before, but was immediately transfixed by his beautiful writing and unique perspective. The assigned reading was a rare breed of homework—the kind that gave me no desire to procrastinate, but rather left me struggling not to work Read More
  • A Brief History of Papermaking

    Thu, 27 Oct 2016 08:00:00 Permalink
    We associate paper so strongly with writing that it's easy to forget its other uses. By the same token, we don't often think about the fact that paper was, at one time, an invention. The fact remains, however, that paper was once at the cutting edge of modern technology. Indeed, the material which was used not just for books but for packaging, cleaning, decoration, and a host of other applications has taken a fascinating journey through history to arrive at its current state of ubiquity. Read More
  • Women Writing War Literature

    Wed, 26 Oct 2016 08:00:00 Permalink
    Which novels and works of poetry might fall into the broad category of war literature? Should we look only to fiction that depicts combat and its aftermath? Or is this category of literature sufficiently wide-ranging that it can also comprise texts written during and about wartime more generally? Regardless of how you answer these questions, you might realize that the novels and short-story collections commonly classified as literature about war have one thing in common: they’re often written by male writers. Yet not all works of this genre—not by a long shot—are written by male writers. Why has this been a Read More
  • Primacy and Rare Book Collecting: The Value of Being First

    Tue, 25 Oct 2016 08:00:00 Permalink
    As the old saying goes: ‘It pays to be first.’ In the world of rare book collecting, this is also a well-known fact. First editions. First printing. First drafts of manuscripts. These are usually the kinds of 'firsts' book collectors are on the look-out for when evaluating a book’s worth and value, and it’s these elements that factor largely into how much rare books fetch at auction and how sought-after they become. However, the concept of primacy, or being recognized as the first incarnation of something within the literary canon, goes well beyond the simple notion of first editions or Read More
  • Index of Influence: Archiving Pablo Neruda's Poetry and Politics

    Mon, 24 Oct 2016 08:00:00 Permalink
    This December will mark the 45th anniversary of Pablo Neruda’s acceptance of the Nobel Prize in Literature. To honor the poet’s global reach through his leftist politics, an exhibition of Neruda works and objects from 40 different countries will be on display in the Sinclair Galleries at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. At a moment in which individual involvement in global politics appears both necessary and impossible, Neruda’s works remind us of the power of language to resist tyranny and oppression, and to imagine a world in which human equality and dignity thrive. The exhibit is entitled, Index of Read More
  • The Varied Works of Doris Lessing

    Sat, 22 Oct 2016 08:00:00 Permalink
    Doris Lessing is widely considered to be one of Britain's most notable writers. She penned over fifty books of varying genres, including novels, short story collections, books of poetry, a comic, plays, and even a short series of books on cats. Throughout her impressive and long career, Lessing earned the W.H. Gibson Literary Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the David Cohen Prize, the S.T. Dupont Golden PEN Award, among others. In 2007 she became the eleventh woman and the oldest recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. She declined damehood in 1992 but accepted appointment as a Companion Read More
  • VLOG: Six Videos on the Art of Woodcut Printing

    Fri, 21 Oct 2016 08:00:00 Permalink
    Let’s face it: no matter how much we love reading, everyone likes to look at a good picture. Printers and publishers have long known this, and have struggled for suitable ways to include images alongside set type. The key was to make the illustration copyable, and for that function, bookmakers depended on engravings. And for centuries, woodcuts were king. Today, we’re bombarded with printed images on magazines, billboards, and elsewhere, but unfortunately, none bear the aura of intimate craftsmanship like engravings do. Read More
  • Buying Rare and Antiquarian Books in Mexico City

    Thu, 20 Oct 2016 08:00:00 Permalink
    Before traveling to Mexico City, we thought Buenos Aires had more used and antiquarian bookstores than anywhere else in the world. While that might still feel true while walking the streets of the Argentinian capital city—it seems like there’s a used bookstore on just about every corner—we were nearly just as giddy to discover the sheer number of shops in this capital city. Similar to in Buenos Aires, there’s a map of bookstores selling old and rare books that covers four major regions of the city (“Mapa de librerías de Viejo de la Ciudad de México”). It’s published by the Read More
  • Visiting the Nadine Gordimer Papers at the Lilly Library

    Wed, 19 Oct 2016 08:00:00 Permalink
    Are you interested in doing more than just reading the works of Nadine Gordimer? If you’re ever visiting Bloomington, Indiana, you might consider scheduling a visit at the Lilly Library to explore the materials contained in The Nadine Gordimer Papers. As most lovers of Gordimer’s fiction and South African literature in general know, the Nobel Prize-winning author was born in Springs, South Africa to Jewish immigrant parents in 1923. She wrote fiction for much of her life, with her first short story published in the Children’s Sunday Express when she was 15 years old. The New Yorker published one of Read More
  • An Introduction to The Golden Cockerel Press

    Tue, 18 Oct 2016 08:00:00 Permalink
    Our love affair with fine press is no secret. And we’re in good company. Countless collectors and bibliophiles have discovered the art of fine press printing and savor the chance to compile libraries filled with these creative masterpieces. (If you’re new to fine press and would like to know more, start here!) The history of fine press is an interesting one, and we often focus on currently functioning fine presses. For example, we recently spotlighted a modern fine press printer, Two Ponds Press, which touts works like The Brownsville Boys and a Margaret Wise Brown original. Today, we’d like to Read More
  • The Playful Madness of Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum

    Sat, 15 Oct 2016 08:00:00 Permalink
    On February 19 of this year, world literature lost one of its most wise and respected members: Umberto Eco. A recent passing, one wonders if his reputation will go the way of many “greats” with penchants for humor and madness. Canonical reverence, as it does with Moby Dick, Ulysses, and others, often obscures the joyous play and zaniness of the object it praises. Eco, a literary trickster if there ever was one, would be disheartened to see his memory so distorted. Read More
  • The Ten Best Moments From Winnie-The-Pooh

    Fri, 14 Oct 2016 08:00:00 Permalink
    There is, written in the annals of fictional history, an account of a “bear with very little brain.” He resides in The Hundred Acre Wood. This wood can be difficult to find, but once you discover it, it is clearly mapped. One can mark the very spots where some of the sweetest moments between a honey of a bear and his rag-tag team of friends take place. This is one reader's list of the top ten moments from Winnie-the-Pooh. Read More
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