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 Home >> Shelf:Life <<

Shelf:Life - what's new in the world of old books and book collecting, links to the news stories that matter, and occassional comments by TheBookGuide.  Archived Stories.

November 2006Skip Free Registration

30.11.06.
Libraries increase security

Two months after an antique map dealer was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in federal prison for stealing millions of dollars worth of rare maps, including 20 from Yale, the University is preparing a series of new library security measures
... more   Add a comment

Blaze damage an old Mount Athos monastery
Authorities said that the fire damaged some furniture but was contained before it could threaten ancient manuscripts or other valuable items
... more   Add a comment

Rare book hits high note with charity
A rare book handed in to a Wilmslow charity shop has been snapped up for a whopping £500. The limited edition of an opera by Richard Wagner and illustrated by Arthur Rackham, was on the shelves at Oxfam, in Ware Lane
... more   Add a comment


28.11.06.
A layered look reveals ancient Greek texts

An ambitious international project to decipher 1,000-year-old moldy pages is yielding new clues about ancient Greece as seen through the eyes of Hyperides, an important Athenian orator and politician from the fourth century B.C. What is slowly coming to light, scholars say, represents the most significant discovery of Hyperides text since 1891, illuminating some fascinating, time-shrouded insights into Athenian law and social history
... more   Add a comment

Bush library may cost $500M
He may be a certified lame duck now, but President Bush and his truest believers are about to launch their final campaign - an eye-popping, half-billion-dollar drive for the Bush presidential library
... more   Add a comment

Kids’ book swap in Rome
A bookshop near Stazione Termini has launched Italy’s first official book swapping zone for children. The Esquilibri e Caffè bookshop in Via Giolitti, run by eight Italian mothers, is holding the swapping event every Sunday from 11.00-16.00, when children can take old books to the shop and exchange them with those of other children
... more   Add a comment

Iran bans woman writer`s bestseller
Iran's conservative cultural body has banned a female writer's award-winning bestseller, which deals with a married woman's secret and unrequited love for another man, a press report said on Monday
... more   Add a comment


27.11.06.
Yale's Lewis Carroll letter ends up on eBay

A letter Lewis Carroll wrote to a friend in 1890 has taken police down a rabbit hole into the world of eBay, a marketplace overflowing with treasures, from Mad Hatter pins to Cheshire Cat mugs. But let the buyer beware: On eBay, as in Wonderland, things are often not as they seem
... more   Add a comment

Copy of Simpson book gets $222,000 bid
The current maximum bid on eBay for a limited edition copy of O.J. Simpson's book, "If I Did It," has reached $222,000, The Daily Mail reported. Two copies of the book -- which was dropped by the HarperCollins publishing house amid a flurry of controversy -- were placed on the Internet auction site and have been drawing numerous bids ever since, the newspaper said
... more   Add a comment

An inspiration, yes. Did I copy from another author? No
Ian McEwan has a reputation for the thorough research he undertakes before writing his novels. But yesterday, a Sunday newspaper claimed he had "copied" the work of another author for his Booker-nominated novel, Atonement. Here, McEwan refutes the claim, and explains how he drew on research and reminiscences for one of his most celebrated books
... more   Add a comment

Gruffalo, the monster we all love
The Gruffalo, a fictional beast that features in a series of children's picture books, lurched its way to the centre stage last week. The hairy monster's illustrator was called on to design Gordon Brown's annual Christmas card, confirming the character's ascendancy to a level of frenzied popularity not seen in children's literature since Harry Potter
... more   Add a comment


25.11.06.
Thieving library staff take a love of rare books too far

A mysterious gap in a dusty bookshelf gave the game away for a corrupt library worker who stole more than £541,000 of antique tomes from one of Germany’s most respected universities. Now the trial of Reinhold K (he cannot be named before the hearing) , who slipped 16th-century botanical works under his long black coat, is set to expose the increasingly lucrative world of library theft
... more   Add a comment

Uncovered Marvin Gaye manuscripts up for sale
The original manuscripts to some of legendary soul crooner Marvin Gaye's biggest hits are among the items that will be on the auction block in London next week
... more   Add a comment

Angelou book attacked in Wisconsin
Some parents want Wisconsin's Fond du Lac High School to remove Maya Angelou's "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," from an advanced English reading curriculum
... more   Add a comment

If the O.J. book were selling... what would it be worth?
One dealer in 20th-century literature, Kevin Johnson, who owns Royal Books Inc. in Baltimore, said that if he owned a copy he would price it to sell quickly -- and would ask $750. He noted that a specialist in more contemporary fiction might ask $2,000
... more   Add a comment

Coffee's on, dusty books are out at library
The University of Texas at Austin has probably gone the farthest, removing all 90,000 books from its undergraduate library in favor of more computers and group study areas
... more   Add a comment


23.11.06.
Arrest warrants issued after Canadian book theft

After an investigation into the theft of several antique books from The Avenue LTD, 117 Post Road E., last month, Westport Police detectives have obtained arrest warrants for Ontario, Canada residents Peter Mason King, 48, and Nora Thomson, 47
... more   Add a comment

Russia inaugurates book prize. It’s big
A new Russian national book prize that claims to offer the second largest cash award, after the Nobel, was presented for the first time on Wednesday night to Dmitry Bykov, a prolific journalist, novelist and essayist, for his biography, "Boris Pasternak"
... more   Add a comment

OJ book found on eBAY
A single copy of OJ Simpson's scrapped book If I Did It appeared briefly on internet auction site eBay yesterday, before being removed. The item attracted more than 50 bids of up to $1,600 (£890) before publisher HarperCollins alerted the site and the sale was stopped
... more   Add a comment

Honoured for promoting children's literature
Wendy Cooling has been awarded the Eleanor Farjeon award for a life spent promoting children's literature. She ran the Children's Book Foundation and National Chidren's Book Week, and founded Bookstart, a national programme which gives free books to every child in the UK
... more   Add a comment


22.11.06.
Old maps are still missing

Thirty-six rare antique maps with an estimated value of nearly $1 million are missing from the collection of the Boston Public Library, in addition to 34 stolen maps that were recovered during an investigation of a confessed map thief, E. Forbes Smiley III. In an announcement aimed at dealers who may see the missing maps turn up for sale, library officials released a detailed list of the lost documents, which include a 1613 map of New France, drawn by the explorer Samuel de Champlain, and a 1787 Virginia map, from a book by Thomas Jefferson
... more   Add a comment

Rare books up for auction in Dorset
Rare works by Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens and Anthony Trollope are to be sold at auction. The first edition books by 19th and 20th century authors are part of a sale of about 3,000 books in Dorset
... more   Add a comment

Book lovers seek lovers, buttered or plain
Perhaps only someone from Britain could genuinely believe that a personal ad beginning, "Baste me in butter and call me Slappy," might lead to romance with an actual, nonincarcerated person. But in the strange alternate universe that is the personals column in the London Review of Books, a fetish for even the naughtiest dairy product is considered a perfectly reasonable basis for a relationship. Rejecting the earnest self-promotion of most personal ads, the correspondents in the London Review column tend instead to present themselves as idiosyncratic, even actively repellent
... more   Add a comment

1657: The rough guide to Europe
His was an epic traveller's tale, 1,000 handwritten pages recounting a journey that took him from Scotland to England and onwards across Europe. Now, almost 350 years since the Rev Fraser first put quill to paper, his diaries have been rediscovered and are set to be published for the first time
... more   Add a comment


21.11.06.
OJ Simpson book plan scrapped

Facing a firestorm of criticism, media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has scrapped a new book and TV interview in which OJ Simpson offered a hypothetical account of how he would have killed his ex-wife and her friend.
    
In a dramatic reversal days after his News Corp. announced plans for the book and a Fox television special, Mr Murdoch said in a statement he decided "this was an ill-considered project" and apologized for any harm caused ... more   Add a comment

"What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" yanked from school library
A critically acclaimed book has been yanked from a high school literature class in Carroll, West Des Moines, after the school district's superintendent expressed concerns the book has inappropriate sexual content.
    Carroll Schools' Superintendent Rob Cordes hasn't read all of "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" but says a scene in which the books protagonist, Gilbert Grape, receives oral sex from an older, married woman is out of bounds for high school students ...
more   Add a comment

Theatrical ephemera preserved
" 'Treasures' is a very subjective word," the curator of the Billy Rose Theatre Division of the New York Public Library, Robert Taylor, said. But even the harshest of critics would be hard-pressed not to find a treasure within the trove of the "Stars and Treasures" exhibit, which opens today at the NYPL, where over 300 items and clips from 30 different theater productions are available for viewing ...
more   Add a comment

Judge denies bail to suspect in library bombing
A federal judge refused to set bail Monday for an Illinois man accused of setting off a pipe bomb in the main downtown library ...
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From parties to poetry
He's a multi-millionaire, a lads mag publisher, who was prosecuted for obscenity before anyone had ever heard of Loaded; a former crack-cocaine addict and friend of John Lennon. Felix Dennis has never wanted for excitement, so why has he turned to writing poetry? ...
more   Add a comment


18.11.06.
A Wellcome acquisition

Europe's leading resource for the study of the History of Medicine, The Wellcome Library, has been successful in its bid at Sotheby's to purchase a rare book from the personal collection of the late John Dee, the eminent Elizabethan mathematician and astrologer ...
more   Add a comment

Bestsellers banned in new Iranian censorship purge
Dozens of literary masterpieces and international bestsellers have been banned in Iran in a dramatic rise in censorship that has plunged the country's publishing industry into crisis ...
more   Add a comment

Wales war poet Hedd Wyn remembered
Six weeks after his death in the Passchendaele offensive of 1917, the poet Hedd Wyn was awarded the chair at the National Eisteddfod at Birkenhead. This December a specially arranged weekend of activities has been arranged to celebrate the life and works of Hedd Wyn ...
more   Add a comment

Doing it by the book
Ingrid Kent spends a few hours among the second-hand tomes at The Old Pier Bookshop in Morecambe, and hears a tale or two from proud owner, Tony Vettese ...
more   Add a comment


17.11.06.
Where printed words matter

Now that Manhattan’s become one giant shopping mall, it’s worth pausing for a moment to smell the daisies and see what real live artists are creating to express themselves and subvert the new world order. Printed Matter, the non-profit bookstore founded by artist Sol Lewitt and located in Chelsea’s gallery district, is celebrating its 30th anniversary by sponsoring the New York Art Book Fair ...
more   Add a comment

Valuable volumes
Jeffrey D. Mancevice, an internationally known US based dealer in early European books, talks about his chosen specialism. ...
more   Add a comment

First 'Wiki' book to be published
In a move that could shake up the book industry, publishing giant Pearson PLC is joining with two top business schools to create a business book authored and edited by a "wiki" -- an online community dedicated to writing ...
more   Add a comment

Albanian offers heirloom mini-Koran for sale
Skender Prushi always keeps the tiny Koran in his trouser pocket for safekeeping. Before opening it, he washes his hands and puts the book on his forehead and on his heart. The book, which is 2.68 cm long, 2.16 cm wide and 1.09 cm thick, has been in his family for generations ...
more   Add a comment

Parents want gay penguin book blocked
A picture book about two male penguins raising a baby penguin is getting a chilly reception among some parents in a Shiloh village who worry about the book's availability to elementary students -- and the reluctance of administrators to restrict access to it ...
more   Add a comment
    Amazing to me that parents can get so worked up about a library book about "gay" penguins. I wonder if they are monitoring their kids' television viewing just as closely. And what's so terrible abut a tale of male penguins (or humans) nurturing an egg that nobody else wants? I find it uplifting. - Tom at King Champ Books.


15.11.06.
Toilet tied to tale of Dead Sea Scrolls

One of the less sanitary aspects of life in Jesus' day has come into play in the debate over who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls, how they lived and how they died.
    The latest evidence comes from a site that two researchers have identified as the communal latrine for Qumran, the ancient settlement near the caves where the 2,000-year-old scrolls were found ...
more   Add a comment

Razed with textbook precision!
We follow up on the aftermath of the biggest secondhand book market of South India being taken apart ...
more   Add a comment

Author Eric Carle's collage art at the Tacoma Art Museum
The show, on loan from the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, displays some of the original artwork that millions of preschoolers and their parents know only from the printed page.     "It all looks different on the wall," Carle mused. "Especially when you first finish a book, you think, 'Is it any good?' Then you see it on the wall a few years later and it's not yours anymore. And you think, 'Hmm, it's pretty good!' ...
more   Add a comment


14.11.06.
Get some writing on your wall

Ornate Urdu calligraphy is becoming increasingly collectable as an art form, writes John Windsor ...
more   Add a comment

Chris de Burgh buys rare WW1 letter for £14,400
A rare letter home by an unnamed British soldier describing the Christmas Day truce with German forces in 1914 sold for around 40 times its estimate, and was bought by Irish singer Chris de Burgh ...
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The word of God
Smithsonian exhibit of ancient Bibles reveals fascinating works of astounding beauty. "We're trying to give people an idea of what survived from this period of the early development of the book, from tiny scraps to astonishingly well-preserved volumes," said Sackler Gallery curator Ann Gunter ...
more   Add a comment


13.11.06.
Scraps in past, treasures today

Historical ephemera filled the booths Sunday at Washington Avenue Armory, where the Albany Institute of History & Art presented the 33rd annual Antiquarian Book and Ephemera Fair ...
more   Add a comment

Book town on Timbuktu shortlist
A second hand book town with its own self-proclaimed "king" is in the final of a competition to find a British twin for the African city of Timbuktu ...
more   Add a comment

Court won't hear 'Da Vinci Code' case
The Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to the author of the "The Da Vinci Code," refusing to consider a case alleging copyright infringement ...
more   Add a comment

'Malcolm X' pages damaged
The owner of Alex Haley's original manuscript for "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" has sued a Detroit museum over damage to 15 unpublished pages that occurred while they were on display ...
more   Add a comment


11.11.06.
Vandals desecrate Russian poet Pasternak's grave

Unknown vandals have desecrated the grave of dissident Russian poet Boris Pasternak whose novel "Doctor Zhivago" won him the Nobel Prize for Literature, Russian television channels said on Friday.
     
The modest tombstone, at a cemetery in the famed writers' retreat of Peredelkino outside Moscow, was covered with soot after vandals put wreathes around it and set them on fire last night, said TV reports, featuring the monument ... more   Add a comment

Executed Nigerian writer remembered

Cities around the world are commemorating the 11th anniversary of the execution of Nigerian writer Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other activists ... more 
  Add a comment


10.11.06.
Missing works by cloak and dagger composer for sale

A long lost manuscript of works by German 17th century keyboard maestro Johann Jacob Froberger, also believed to have been a part-time spy, goes on sale later this month with a price tag of 500,000 pounds ($953,500) ... more 
  Add a comment

Resistance literature revisited
Last year, the American University in Cairo inaugurated an annual lecture dedicated to the memory of Edward W Said (1935-2003) to coincide with his birthday. This year's Edward Said Memorial Lecture, entitled "Resistance literature revisited: From Basra to Guantànamo", was given by Barbara Harlow ... more 
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Libraries in the sand reveal Africa's academic past
Researchers in Timbuktu are fighting to preserve tens of thousands of ancient texts which they say prove Africa had a written history at least as old as the European Renaissance. Private and public libraries in the fabled Saharan town in Mali have already collected 150,000 brittle manuscripts, some of them from the 13th century, and local historians believe many more lie buried under the sand ... more 
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Treasures abound in rare book trove
Richard Virr loves his work. And why shouldn't he? As the Chief Curator of the Rare Books and Special Collections Division, Virr spends most of his days exploring the climate-controlled enclave of antiquity, a potential journey of discovery to look forward to every time he walks through its doors. "Hardly a week goes by without me stumbling upon something in the collection and saying 'I didn't know we had that,'" he smiles ... more 
  Add a comment


09.11.06.
A trio of early American publishing rarities
On the morning of July 10th, 1776, the Pennsylvania Journal and Daily Advertiser was distributed to the people of Philadelphia with one dominant feature under the headline "A Declaration."
     A copy of this newspaper printing of the Declaration of Independence is among the rarest early examples of Thomas Jefferson's elegant severing of ties to Great Britain, and will be presented at auction in Freeman's second annual Pennsylvania Sale on November 19th ... more 
  Add a comment

Taking the bloom out of Bloomsday
Exploring the implications of copyright law for the families of deceased authors, readers and performers alike ... more 
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Rare book stolen from Oxfam shop
A rare book worth about £400 has been stolen from a charity shop in Dorset. The Britannia's Bulwarks was stolen from an unlocked cabinet in the Oxfam bookshop in South Street, Dorchester, according to staff ... more 
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07.11.06.
library finds famed 1636 book
A rare book containing descriptions and engraving of plants published in England in 1636 has been found in the basement of a New Jersey library ... more 
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Book stalls Demolished!
Hyderabad: Tension prevailed in the busy Koti area for about three hours when the officials of the Town Planning wing of Municipal Cororation of Hyderabad (MCH) removed more than 100 books stalls on the pavements. Police resorted to lathi-charge to disperse the resisting book-stall owners and many of them were taken into custody ... more 
  Add a comment

Mystery toddler stars in auction
One of the most valuable photographs ever taken in Sheffield is expected to fetch up to £2,000 when it is auctioned next week. The 10x8ins black and white photograph, simply titled 'Sheffield', was taken in 1937 and is valuable because it is by one of Britain's greatest photographers, Bill Brandt. It shows a toddler in a Sheffield back yard, with clothes on a washing line in the background ... more 
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Critics pan play by 'worst poet'
A newly-published play by a man acknowledged to be one of the world's worst poets has been savaged by literary historians. Dr Gerard Carruthers from Glasgow University described it as a "real bludgeoning of literature" ... more 
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06.11.06.
£1m wanted for Tolkien's bungalow
A three-bedroom bungalow where JRR Tolkien used to live has gone on sale with an asking price of £1 million ... more 
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Bizarre Books
It often happens like this. When going to value a collection of books in Norfolk, I’m early, so there is time to kill in a bookshop. The layout is chaotic; customers for the teashop that shares the space fight for chairs and tables with steepling piles of books and racks of pictures ... more 
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New slang enough to make celebs Wallace and Gromit
Of all the trappings that go with fame, this must rank as one of the least welcome. Rhyming slang is increasingly peppered with references to famous folk, and has become enough of a social phenomena to warrant a new book ... more 
  Add a comment


04.11.06.
Fragile treasures of the Sinai
An ancient monastery unlocks its trove, and the Getty gives L.A. a rare glimpse of history. Five illuminated manuscripts will represent the 3,300-piece collection of early, handwritten texts at St. Catherine's library, second in number and importance only to the Vatican's trove ... more 
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Emily Dickinson grave mystery
While making improvements to the grounds of the Emily Dickinson Museum on Halloween, workers unearthed the gravestone of one of the poet's relatives. But exactly what Gen. Thomas Gilbert's headstone was doing under 18 inches of dirt in Dickinson's front yard has some experts stumped -- especially knowing that his remains are buried in a nearby cemetery with a more ornate grave marker ... more 
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Custom outlets - US publishing's new holy grail
Once upon a time, not all that many years ago, it was all quite straightforward. A writer would write a draft, an editor would edit it, the publisher would publish it and a bookshop would sell it. It is not so easy any more. Today, a speciality sales manager may well be involved at an early stage working out with the editor and the publisher how the concept of a book and its cover may appear side by side with a chunk of meat, or coffee bags, or an electric chain saw. Colour coding has become a buzzword, where content used to reign supreme ... more 
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Dust Devils
New and Used goes beyond simply lusting after solid-form recordings and books to a fetishization of the scene of consumption itself. Marc Joseph's lush-toned photographs of record and bookshop interiors are exquisite but curiously lifeless. Literally: With just one exception, these stores are completely deserted ... more 
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03.11.06.
Author's private papers go public
Unpublished manuscripts by the late Australian author Patrick White have gone on public display, despite the writer saying he wanted them burnt ... more 
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Anarchist Bookfair trial ends in acquittals
The 2005 Anarchist Bookfair in Holloway Road, London, ended in confrontations with the police outside the Coronet Pub. Five people were arrested on serious public order charges including affray, and their two and a half week trial has just taken place in front of a jury at Snaresbrook Crown Court. despite dozens of police prosecution witnesses, the jury did not believe the stories and all five have finally been acquitted ... more 
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Ancient scrolls returned
Scholars at the University of California, Berkeley, celebrated the return of rare Egyptian scrolls that had been missing for decades ... more 
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Rediscovery Books polishes up forgotten literary gems
Sussex-based Rediscovery Books is publishing high quality reproductions of rare books from the library of the Royal Geographical Society. The joint project will breathe new life into spectacular accounts of the expeditions and campaigns that forged the British Empire ... more 
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02.11.06.
"Sophie's Choice" author William Styron dies at 81
William Styron, whose 1979 novel "Sophie's Choice" was made into an acclaimed film and who won a Pulitzer Prize for "The Confessions of Nat Turner" died on Wednesday in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, The New York Times reported ... more 
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Author, 92, acquitted of insulting Muslims
A Turkish court acquitted a 92-year-old archaeologist Wednesday for claiming in a book that Islamic-style head scarves were first worn more than 5,000 years ago by priestesses initiating young men into sex.
    The case is one of dozens brought against writers and academics — and raises questions about whether Turkey will embrace European values on freedom of expression as it seeks to join the European Union ... more 
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Book-burning threat over town's portrayal
When she became the youngest ever winner of the Booker prize Kiran Desai inadvertently lifted the town of Kalimpong out of the shadows of the Himalayas and into the glare of the media spotlight.
    But few in the town are now thanking her for setting her novel, The Inheritance of Loss, in this landscape. Instead internet forums hum with indignation about the book's "condescending statements" while others threaten public book-burnings ... more 
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Reaching the peak
Bryan and Alwyn Kernaghan set up Kernaghan Books, a renowned antiquarian book shop, in the Wayfarers Arcade upon arriving in Southport from India-Tibet border in 1985 ... more 
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Capote artifacts to be auctioned in NYC
A handwritten manuscript by Truman Capote, written for a dear friend a day before he died, is among more than 300 of his personal effects to be auctioned next week ... more 
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