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.

February 2016

A copy of TS Eliot's The Waste Land inscribed to his therapist
A First edition dedicated with 'enduring gratitude' to the doctor who treated Eliot's 1921 breakdown, listed alongside F Scott Fitzgerald book made out to 'the original Gatsby' and a first edition Huckleberry Finn signed by Mark Twain. Alison Flood takes a look at Peter Harringon's latest catalogue ... more  Add a comment

How Oliver Sacks put a human face on the science of the mind
The world's most famous neurologist believed that every patient had a story worth hearing. Norman Doidge explores the legacy of Oliver Sacks, whose work and life remind us that humanity belongs at the heart of medicine ... more  Add a comment

The brand new Yorkshire gallery which showcases literary masterpieces
Some of the world's most rare books and manuscripts have gone on public display for the first time. Sarah Freeman takes a look at the Treasures of the Brotherton ... more  Add a comment

'Big books by blokes about battles'
Only four female writers appeared in the list of top 50 bestselling history titles in the UK last year. And women are still perceived as more suited to writing about drawing rooms than battlefields. Why? Leading historians and biographers discuss sexism and subject matter ... more  Add a comment

The book most people have lied about reading
You might expect hefty Russian tome War And Peace to be the book that Britons are most likely to have lied about reading. But children's favourite Alice's Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll is responsible for the most literary fibs, according to a BBC survey ... more  Add a comment

The rarefied world of rare book collecting is not a dying art
In this age of Kindle and Nook, when used book stores are rapidly disappearing and real estate is at a record premium, one might assume that the world of rare book collecting should be declining as cemetery plots fill up. But in reality, a rich field of rabid book collectors remains ... more  Add a comment

Ebook sales falling for the first time, finds new report
Ebook sales for the UK's five biggest publishers fell in 2015, according to a new report in the Bookseller, collectively declining 2.4%, to 47.9m units. It is the first drop in numbers of books sold in this medium for the "big five" since the digital age began ... more  Add a comment

Aristophil group collection struggles to find buyer
Sources in the art world suggest the collection may be overvalued, and that a top asking price of 100m Euros might be more realistic. "Yes, 5 per cent of the collection is extraordinary, but the remaining 95 per cent is insignificant," one antiquarian bookseller told the Financial Times ... more  Add a comment

Man found guilty of illegal book possession also damaged £10m Monet
Andrew Shannon, previously jailed for damaging £10m Monet painting, has been convicted of possessing 67 stolen antique books including an extremely rare King James Bible ... more  Add a comment

Alan Titchmarsh: I can't stop collecting books
It is, I confess, a disease, and one for which there is no apparent cure. I should know, I have been searching to rid myself of it these past 40 years. The affliction from which I suffer is book collecting ... more  Add a comment

Rare Book Hub reports that book prices at auction slipped 7% last year
This is not likely to be a major surprise to those in the book trade, but results compiled from book and paper auctions showed a 7% decline in prices in 2015 from the previous year. After several years of increases, nervousness about the economy, perhaps even more in Europe than America, has taken its toll ... more  Add a comment

Librarian uncovers one of the world's rarest atlases
A reference librarian at the National Library of Norway came across an old Ottoman atlas in the collections there that seemed perfect for a Reddit board devoted to the appreciation of maps. Weeks later, he figured out that the map in question was a previously-unknown copy of one of the rarest atlases in the world: the Cedid Atlas ... more  Add a comment

'Blook' madness: inside the world of 'bogus books'
In the elegant second floor gallery of Manhattan's Grolier Club, a haven for serious-minded rare book collectors, Mindell Dubansky presents something novel: her collection of blooks. You read that right. Blooks is an abbreviation of "book-look", what she further describes as "a thing that looks like a book, but isn't one". From book-shaped biscuit tins to books made of stone, her exhibit, Blooks: The Art of Books That Aren't, is the first major survey of the decidedly quirky - but utterly delightful - topic. ... more  Add a comment

Agatha Sadler, bookseller - obituary
Agatha Sadler, who has died aged 91, was the proprietor of St George's Gallery Books in St James's, a treasure trove of art books which for three decades traded at the heart of London's art market ... more  Add a comment