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.

July 2011

Doubts over authenticity of 'ancient Christian' books
In the cool living room of a stone-built house in Northern Israel I might just have held in my hands the keys to the ancient mysteries of Christianity. And then again, I might not have ... more  Add a comment

Size matters - to the Miniature Book Society
If you're wondering whether the best things come in small packages, you might want to head along to the Miniature Book Society’s annual conference in Dublin this week. Miniature books from the 19th century until the present day will be exhibited at the Davenport Hotel in Dublin 2 as part of a series of events ... more  Add a comment

The Beano joins forces with the National Trust
Special edition of the comic part of an effort to tempt more children into Britain's best buildings and landscapes

... more  Add a comment

Spain starts search for lost bones of Cervantes
Spanish archaeologists have started the search for the remains of Don Quixote author Miguel de Cervantes  Add a comment

Guerilla book art
If book collecting is an art form, it's not a very public one.  That's why I'm so enthusiastic about the pieces of book art being left around Edinburgh.  The intricate sculptures remind us of some of the pure aesthetic pleasures of books as objects, transformed or otherwise ... more  Add a comment

Library bid clears first round
Manchester City Council's bid for £1.6m of lottery funding to pay for a new archive at Central Library has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund ... more  Add a comment

Beatles US concert pictures fetch £220,000
Previously unseen pictures from The Beatles’ first concert in the US have sold for more than £220,000
... more  Add a comment

Marilyn Monroe 'Sex' Film
A Spanish memorabilia collector is set to auction printed photos of a film allegedly starring a young Norma Jean, aka Marilyn Monroe, showing her having sex with an unknown man ... more  Add a comment

The riddle of the Syriac double dot
Manuscripts written in Syriac, an ancient language of the Middle East, are peppered with mysterious dots. Among them is the vertical double dot or zagwa elaya. A Cambridge academic thinks that the zagwa elaya is the world’s earliest question mark ... more  Add a comment

Swedish librarians find stolen atlas in New York
One of the books stolen from the Swedish National Library in the beginning of the 2000s has been discovered with a collector in New York. This is the first of the books stolen in the by now infamous book thefts to have been tracked down ... more  Add a comment

Library closures challenged in court
Library closures across the country were challenged for the first time at the High Court yesterday ... more  Add a comment

A rare chance to see Wales’ very own Iliad and Odyssey
Earlier this week, experts from the National Library of wales in Aberystwyth brought The Book of Taliesin, along with some of Wales’ most historic volumes to the new gallery two at Wrexham Museum ... more  Add a comment

'Angel of Death'Letters and sketch books to be auctioned
Letters, short stories and poetry of Josef Mengele - the 'Angel of Death' of Auschwitz - are to be auctioned off in America this week for tens of thousands of pounds ... more  Add a comment

'Why we must stand up to the book barbarians'
The award-winning author Philip Pullman has joined the fight to prevent library closures ... more  Add a comment

Shakespeare conman bids to clear his name
Raymond Scott who was jailed for eight years for handling a priceless stolen Shakespeare volume, has launched a bid to clear his name ... more  Add a comment

Should we stop writing books?
A New York Times editor says the staff who keep leaving to write them are wasting their time. Can he be right? ... more  Add a comment

What ho!
The discovery of a letter from 1920 may provide a tantalising glimpse into the early work of PG Wodehouse, creator of the much-loved Jeeves and Wooster characters ... more  Add a comment

JK Rowling 'plagiarism' case fails
A legal claim that JK Rowling lifted the plot of one of her Harry Potter books from the work of another writer is to go no further ... more  Add a comment

A bookshop going places
Although it's geared to a much easier-going kind of shopping than we're used to, the Book Barge is a genuinely dynamic enterprise ... more  Add a comment

An odd relationship with books
My first inkling of this came a few months into our relationship when we spent a day out in a small market town and she insisted on visiting every second-hand bookshop she clapped eyes on.
     Once inside she would root through the shelves for the oldest, mustiest book she could find, open it up and then proceed to sniff – that’s right, sniff – its yellowing pages ... more  Add a comment

Interactive literary map of Edinburgh
Edinburgh City Libraries have now produced an interactive literary map of the Capital, detailing books which are either set in or inspired by Edinburgh..
    Launched this week, there are more than 100 books on the map which covers the whole city, from Edinburgh Airport to Portobello Police Station, and Muirhouse to James Gillespie's High School ... more  Add a comment

Mervyn Peake: master of the dark arts
Peake was a true artist, who brought suggestiveness and shadow to his drawings as well as his words ... more  Add a comment

British Library prepares £9 million book bid
A £9m appeal has been launched by the British Library to buy the oldest intact book in Europe, a palm-sized leather-bound copy of the gospels buried 1,300 years ago in the coffin of Saint Cuthbert ... more  Add a comment

Joyce passport sells for £61,250
James Joyce's wartime family passport, recording the writer’s movements across Europe as he penned his masterpiece Ulysses , sold for £61,250 (€69,747) at auction in London yesterday ... more  Add a comment

No news today ...
I'm off to wander about in Wild Wales, so no news until I return on July 15th.  Add a comment

Codex Calixtinus manuscript stolen
A priceless 12th-century illustrated manuscript containing what has been described as Europe's first travel guide has been stolen from the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain ... more  Add a comment

Long-lost Lord Byron tribute book donated
A 186-year-old book that was bought for a few dollars in a bring-and-buy sale in America has been identified as a long-lost tribute to Lord Byron. The rare book has now been donated to the National Library of Scotland where it will be restored by conservation experts ... more  Add a comment

JD Salinger letters refer to unpublished 'manuscripts'
New indications that JD Salinger did indeed leave behind a collection of unpublished manuscripts are given in a freshly unearthed correspondence from the author ... more  Add a comment

Historic library may close as subsidy slashed
A historic London reference library containing 50,000 books, including unique, centuries-old tomes relating to the history of the British Museum, is under threat of closure ... more  Add a comment

Confessions of a sporting bibliophile
If you want to build a collection of sports books you could do worse than start with Arthur Hopcraft's The Football Man and build on his foundations ... more  Add a comment

Amazon snaps up British rival
Amazon acquired its rival The Book Depository yesterday in a move that industry experts warned could tighten the American company's "stranglehold" over the online book trade in the UK ... more  Add a comment

Dan Brown stays top of Oxfam's 'least wanted' chart
Da Vinci Code author heads charity shop's list of most-donated books for a third year ... more  Add a comment

Alert collector helps retrieve stolen rare books
More than 200 rare books are back in Hamilton Library at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, thanks to a California rare book collector. Police are investigating the theft of the 218 books, whose total value is estimated by officials at $50,000 to $100,000 ... more  Add a comment

Cafes turn themselves into eco-friendly book shops
A network of second-hand bookshops is springing up all over Israel, but not where you’d expect. Israelis no longer have to go to the odd librarian in order to find cheap copies of great books. Instead, they can just pop into one of their favorite cafes ... more  Add a comment

Helmut Newton's 'Sumo' stolen
Thames Valley Police is appealing for the public’s help after a limited edition photography book was stolen during a burglary in Tilehurst ... more  Add a comment

Bookbinders on tour
The Designer Bookbinders first major tour in years has opened at the Sophie Schneideman Gallery in London. Further dates and details can be found here  Add a comment

Hemingway lives on in Cuba
A daiquiri at the Floridita, a mojito at the Bodeguita del Medio and an afternoon at Finca Vigia is the obligatory ritual for enthusiasts arriving in Cuba to honour the 50th anniversary of American writer Ernest Hemingway's death.A daiquiri at the Floridita, a mojito at the Bodeguita del Medio and an afternoon at Finca Vigia is the obligatory ritual for enthusiasts arriving in Cuba to honour the 50th anniversary of American writer Ernest Hemingway's death. ... more  Add a comment

Major trove of classical music manuscripts for sale
For music lovers, some melodies may seem priceless. But if you ever wondered what music is really worth — like the original manuscript to Maurice Ravel's Bolero? That score and about 200 more, which reside at New York's Morgan Library, are on sale for $135 million. They are part of the esteemed Lehman Collection — a group of nearly 200 scores that reads like a greatest hits of classical music. Christoph Wolff, a professor of music history at Harvard, calls it "the trophy collection." ... more  Add a comment

The Secret Lives of Hoarders
Anyone who seriously collects anything — whether books, vintage clothing, pulp magazines, vinyl records, old comics, classical CDs, manual typewriters or Golden Age movies on tape and DVD — at least occasionally thinks about hoarding. If, like me, you regularly visit thrift shops and used-book stores and yard sales in search of, well, all the items just mentioned, you sometimes think, while driving home with a trunk full of “treasures”: Has this gotten out of control? Do I have a problem? ... more  Add a comment

Long-lost playing cards found
There's no question that this long-lost discovery from the stores of St Andrews University library is the real deal.The deck of 17th-century playing cards, printed in Edinburgh, are thought to have lain undiscovered in stores for at least 100 years ... more  Add a comment