"When there is danger, when there is destruction, we kind of feel like we're on the edge of life, fully alive, and that can really bring out some strong prose," says author Mitchell Zuckoff. iStockphoto hide caption

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In addition to her 15 novels, Nadine Gordimer authored several volumes of short stories and nonfiction. Radu Sigheti/Reuters /Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Radu Sigheti/Reuters /Landov

Irish poet William Butler Yeats makes a recording for the radio. Scroll down to hear him read his poem "The Lake Isle of Innisfree." Culture Club/Getty Images hide caption

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Maya Angelou, poet in residence at Wake Forest University, talks about the poem she wrote for President Clinton's inauguration from her office in Winston-Salem, N.C., on Sept. 16, 1996. Chuck Burton/AP hide caption

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As bookstores both large and small close across the country, Posman Books is about to open its fourth store in Manhattan. Harry Zernike/Posman Books hide caption

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Dust Bowl farmer drives a tractor with his son near Cland, N.M. (1938). Steinbeck writes: "The tractors came over the roads and into the fields, great crawlers moving like insects, having the incredible strength of insects ... monsters raising the dust and sticking their snouts into it, straight down the country ... through fences, through dooryards, in and out of gullies in straight lines." Dorothea Lange/Library of Congress hide caption

itoggle caption Dorothea Lange/Library of Congress

It would take more than 1,000 1,200-page volumes to contain the content of Wikipedia, but PediaPress has made an example volume to show what it might look like. "Our goal is to allow everyone to explore the physical dimensions of Wikipedia," says PediaPress founder Christoph Kepper. PediaPress hide caption

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