Wright, Ellison, Baldwin: Literary Voices of the Pre-Civil Rights Era

by Jessica Teisch courtesy of Bookmarks Magazine In The Souls of Black Folk (1903), W.E.B. Du Bois predicted that “the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line.” Jim Crow laws, Ku Klux Klan lynchings, the “separate but equal” doctrine, and the 1919 Chicago and 1943 Detroit riots anticipated the Harlem, Watts, and Detroit riots of the mid-’60s. They reaffirmed the racial bigotry of the previous century and reflected the general exclusion of blacks from the promises … Continued

Romance Novels: The Forlorn Collectibles

by Glenn A. Hazelwood, G.A. Hazelwood–Booksellers The most enduring theme in writing: romance. Yet the romance novel has generally had as pitiful a plight in stature amongst the book community, as the western movie in the film industry. Critics seldom pay any attention in scant review, and when they do take note, it seems only to use them as a grinder upon which to sharpen their axes and nails. The “lowly stature” of romance novels puts their defenders who would … Continued

An Interview with Jim Crace

British novelist Jim Crace discusses The Pesthouse, his latest projects, and the craft of writing. What was your initial inspiration for The Pesthouse? The initial inspirations for my novels hardly ever resemble the finished products. If a book is going well it abandons me and starts to impose agendas of its own. That’s what happened with The Pesthouse. I guess it all started about 21 years ago in the summer that my first book, Continent, was published. It sold–unexpectedly–for a … Continued

Diana Looser on Collecting Plays from Oceania

Diana Looser, currently finishing her PhD. in theatre studies at Cornell University, recently claimed second place in the 2007 Collegiate Book Collecting Contest. Taking some time out from her studies and theatre efforts, she talks with us about how her collection developed out of her personal history and her fascination with Oceanic culture. B: Your collection, “Drama of Oceania”, is a collection of plays from Pacific Island nations. How did you first come to be interested in this material? What … Continued

In the Spirit of Independence

An Editorial by Aaron Gunn In 2006, Tower Records filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy while Virgin Megastores around the world closed their doors. The culprit was the proliferation of on-line retail outlets, downloadable media, and portable media players, highlighting the obsolescence of a business model whose main selling point was convenience and selection. Barnes & Noble, on the other hand, rode high in the fourth quarter of 2006, after steady growth for the past two years. Despite its seeming vulnerability to the … Continued

David Butterfield on Books, Collections and Classics – An Interview

Recently, David Butterfield became the First Place winner of the 2007 Collegiate Book Collecting Championship (sponsored in part by Biblio.com; read the announcement here), after taking top prize in the Rose Book Collecting contest sponsored by Cambridge University. His collection, “Landmarks of Classical Scholarship”, is comprised of 2,500 volumes centered on Roman and Greek authors. Despite being heavily engaged in academic research at Cambridge University, David agreed to talk with us a little regarding his love of books and the … Continued

Memoirs of a Book Snake by David Meyer – Book Review

courtesy of Fine Books and Collections Magazine The malapropism “book snake” is applied to David Meyer by an acquaintance reaching for the word “bookworm.” “Snake” suggests a creature that navigates hazardous terrain and tight corners in a single-minded pursuit of its prey. “You have to be willing to go anywhere, and climb over, dig through, and move around all manners of obstacles to get to the books,” Meyer writes. As a boy, he accompanied his father on weekly visits to … Continued

What One Book – The U.S. Space Program

courtesy of Bookmarks Magazine

The following experts recommend books, fiction and non-fiction alike, for those of you who plan to colonize another planet – or just want to read about it.

Roger D. Launius


Roger D. Launius is chair of the Division of Space History at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Between 1990 and 2002, he served as chief historian of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He has written or edited more than 20 books on aerospace history, including Critical Issues in the History of Spaceflight (2006); Space: A Journey to Our Future (2004); Imagining Space: Achievements, Possibilities, Projections, 1950-2050 (2001); and Frontiers of Space Exploration (1998; 2004).

Probably the most sophisticated application of an exploration imperative to spaceflight, this book by the premier American space scientist of the latter 20th century lays out a rationale for human colonization of the solar system. Sagan believes we should leave this planet because we can. He writes that as far as we know, this is the first time that a species has become able to journey to the planets and the stars. Our leverage on the future is high just now.

In his significant analysis of the close relationship between popular culture and public decisions in space-flight, McCurdy finds that while spaceflight seems to be generally popular with Americans, it is not a high priority for most. He shows how closely the dominant trends in science fiction literature and film, as well as public perceptions, reinforce actual events in spaceflight and fundamentally affect public support. While a close relationship during the 1950s and 1960s between reality and perceptions created an expectation that supported the lunar landing program, the paths of public perceptions and actual events have diverged since then.

This Pulitzer Prize-winning book analyzes the race to the moon in the 1960s. McDougall asserts that Apollo prompted the space program to stress engineering over science, competition over cooperation, civilian over military management, and international prestige over practical applications. Juxtaposing the American effort of Apollo with the Soviet space program and the dreams of such designers as Sergei P. Korolev to land a Soviet cosmonaut on the moon, McDougall explains how the United States recreated the same type of command technocracy that the Soviets had instituted in its effort to reach the moon.