Shelf:Life - Links to what's new in the world of old, rare, and collectable books, insights into book collecting, the news stories that matter, and occasional comments by TheBookGuide.  Archived Stories.

October 2015

The House of Twenty Thousand Books - review
To Chimen Abramsky, constructing a palace of memory was no mere exercise: it was his life's work. A scholar, teacher, book dealer, and collector, over the course of sixty-six years, Abramsky collected more than 20,000 volumes, all sorted and stacked in double rows along the walls and on the surfaces of Hillway, his cramped North London home. In 'The Citadel' of his bedroom he kept books personally annotated by Marx and Lenin, the typed manuscript of Rosa Luxemburg's doctoral thesis, and a box of William Morris's copies of the Socialist League. The hallway was lined with the complete proceedings of the Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, histories of 19-century European revolutions, and books stuffed with his personal correspondence (also about books). And in the 'jungle room' of Chimen's study were illuminated manuscript treasures of Judaica that had survived the expulsions and conflagrations of medieval and early-modern Europe ... more  Add a comment

Historic Qu'ran manuscript goes on public view
An Islamic manuscript which has been identified as one of the world's oldest fragments of the Qu'ran has gone on public view at the University of Birmingham ... more  Add a comment

Titanic's last lunch menu sells at auction
A lunch menu from the Titanic, saved by a first-class passenger who escaped on a lifeboat whose crew was said to have been bribed to row away instead of rescuing more people, has been sold at a US auction. The online New York auctioneer Lion Heart Autographs offered the menu, which sold for $88,000 (£58,166) and two other previously unknown artefacts from Lifeboat 1 ... more  Add a comment

DH Lawrence and maddening breasts
Before there was Lady Chatterly's Lover there was The Rainbow, and D H Lawrence knew that his wonderful book about three generations of a Nottinghamshire family was going to cause trouble. 'Tell me the parts you think the publisher will decidedly object to,' he told his friend Violet Meynell in July 1915. The author's previous book Sons and Lovers had been banned from public libraries and his publisher Methuen - who would later do everything they could not to take responsibility for the following book in court - demanded two rounds of cuts to The Rainbow ... more  Add a comment

The enduring appeal of cartography
Spanning 5000 years, a new book takes the reader - and indeed the viewer - on a journey of exploration of the map-making genre ... more  Add a comment