{vistor:mbr_blog_screenname}

Blog posts by Margueritte Peterson

Margueritte Peterson received a BA in Children's Literature, and upon graduation made the trek from Florida to the California Bay Area to assist Vic Zoschak of Tavistock Books. She now enjoys blogging, developing catalogues, and managing social media outlets for several booksellers and independent shops around North America. Margueritte plays the piano, goes kitesurfing, and enjoys a close personal relationship with her Netflix account in her spare time. Her favorite books are The Secret Garden and Lolita. Don't psychoanalyze that.


As a child, I was required to listen to many different things. Classical music, for one. Teachers getting annoyed with me for asking too many questions, for another. And… The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy quotes, for a third. For that last particular factor I have my father to thank. (Though actually, now that I think about it, he seems to have had a major hand in all three of those particular life events… but I digress.) Douglas Adams may be best remembered for his humorous saga The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a “trilogy” of five books which sold over 15 million copies during the author's lifetime, but he was much more than a simple humorist (or was he?). He was a script writer, a lover of Doctor Who (he wrote and edited for the show on more than one occasion), and a self-proclaimed radical atheist (as in… if you asked... [more]

There have been many authors over the past century that have been considered forerunners in the art of the Modern Novel. As a matter of fact, we have written about quite a few of them in the past. Some tell-tale signs of modernist literature are a few literary techniques like a stream-of-consciousness voice or interior monologue, and even numerous points-of-view within one work. These techniques are used by a great deal of modernist authors, but perhaps none so pointedly as the creator of the complex Mrs. Dalloway, feminist thinker and free spirit Virginia Woolf. Virginia was born Adeline Virginia Stephen on January 25th, 1882 in Kensington, London. She was born into a mixed family – both of her parents having been married previously with sets of children on both sides. The family was extremely literate – both parents being well conne... [more]

For those of you unfamiliar with Shirley Jackson's work, consider yourself warned of potential SPOILERS right now and exit out of this page. Preferably to pick up one of her books and see for yourself. I still remember the first Shirley Jackson piece I ever read. Like most American high-school teenagers, it was one of her short stories. A terrifying and eye-opening piece entitled The Lottery. To this day, I think it is one of the most horrifying works I've ever read (and this coming from an avid Agatha Christie fan). A work that reveals a callous and mindless side of human nature – just following the herd mentality, even if it involves killing your own mother – what wouldn't be creepy about that? The Lottery has always stuck with me, and also have the other stories by Jackson that I have read since. We Have Always Lived in the Castle ... [more]

On October 4th, 1862, a children's literature tycoon was born. With his humble beginnings, of course, no one ever would have suspected that a talented writer and publisher was in their midst. Edward L. Stratemeyer was born the youngest of six children in Elizabeth, New Jersey to a young tobacconist and his wife. Both of Edward's parents had immigrated from Hanover, Germany in 1837, and yet Stratemeyer's main language was English growing up. As a child, Stratemeyer read Horatio Alger often, enjoying his rags-to-riches tales immensely. He later was said to have remarked on how much Alger's stories influenced him as a young man, and gave him some of the confidence he later used to begin his career. It looks as though even as a teenager Stratemeyer had some idea of what he wanted to do as an adult, as he opened his own amateur printing press ... [more]


Colette

By Margueritte Peterson

"You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.” -- Colette I readily admit that I am a fan of the badass literary woman. Give me Anais Nin, Marguerite Duras or Virginia Woolf any day – women who tell it like it is, who aren't afraid to examine deep parts of the psyche, of feelings on sex, attraction, anger… any and all of the above. It is no surprise, then, that when I first read works by Sidonie Gabrielle Colette (best known by simply “Colette”), I immediately was attracted to her matter of fact statements on such taboo (at the time) subjects, and the lyrical quality of her prose. Today being the 62nd anniversary of her death, I thought it high time a blog was written about this amazing female literary giant. Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette was born in January 1873 to a tax-collector/war hero (bet you didn't think such a c... [more]

Personal confession: normally I am a proponent of all types of blogging. Though I believe the (not-so-old) adage “Don't believe everything you read on the internet,” I also find the internet to be a most useful place for information. Some of it genuine… some of it not quite so genuine… some of it kind, some of it negative. In any case, the internet is a fount of information. And I do use it – boy, do I use it! However, that being said, there is one thing that I cannot make up my mind on how I feel about it. The internet is partially responsible (in my own humble opinion) for making one particular genre of published book not quite as popular anymore. Travel Writing. Nowadays, just about anyone can and does post just about anything they want online. They went on a hike with their girlfriend and found a killer “secret” camping ... [more]

If someone says “Children's Books” to you, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Picture books? Perhaps here is the better question… what author first comes to mind? I would venture to bet that at least 90% of you come up with the same name. However, did you know that the name you come up with is not his true name? (Probably most of you do, since you are members of the book world or bibliophiles and would know something like that… but humor me!) Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2nd, 1904 to a German family in Springfield, Massachusetts. His father ran a family-owned brewery in Massachusetts (well, until the Prohibition did away with that). Geisel went to school in Massachusetts until he went to Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, graduating in 1925. During his time at Dartmouth, Geisel first showed skill and inter... [more]

Charles Dickens was only 58 years old when he passed away. He had long pushed himself too hard for the love of his work and his followers, and in the summer of 1870 (June 9th, to be exact) he succumbed to exhaustion and after experiencing a fatal stroke, was laid to rest. His work, however, has gone on to be remembered since, and the author has never been out of print. His final work, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, has long fascinated fans, as the murder mystery was unfinished at his death and Dickens never (formally) named the murderer. On this the 145th anniversary of the author's death, we look at his last years and his final work – a novel that he persisted on writing, even while suspecting his end was near. Dickens' health began to decline when he was involved in the Staplehurst rail accident on June 9th 1865 (five years to the day be... [more]

Randolph Caldecott was born in March of 1846 in a city called Chester, England. He left school at the tender age of fifteen and went to work in a bank branch. In 1861 he saw published his first drawing – and despite the fact that he was to be most remembered for his humorous depictions and lively countryside scenes, Caldecott's first published work would be of a catastrophic fire at the Queens Railway Hotel in Chester which, along with his write-up of the event, appeared in the Illustrated London News. In his early twenties Caldecott was able to transfer to the Manchester & Salford Bank in the thriving Northern city and began to take night classes at the Manchester School of Art, all while continuing to have his sketches published locally. Upon making the acquaintance of Henry Blackburn and getting published in the London Society, Cald... [more]

Throughout history, writers have been known to cause a stir. The Marquis de Sade was incarcerated in an insane asylum for his erotic tales. Oscar Wilde self-exiled himself to Paris for the unimaginable treatment he received for the “crime” of homosexuality. Harriet Beecher Stowe caused a flurry of activity around the anti-slavery act in the United States. Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita was banned in many different countries, including France (you know it's controversial when even the French consider it obscene…). In modern days we have parents and schools banning books by authors like Judy Blume and Laurie Halse Anderson because they deal with sex and coming-of-age experiences in young-adult fiction. We can only imagine the hell-fire that would begin to burn should any school library choose to keep a holding of The Lover or The Ravishing... [more]