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.

August 2011

The President on Safari
When Lawrence Worms was elected President of the ABA earlier this year, he promised his fellow members that he would travel around Britain in an attempt to see as many of them as possible. He began his journey in August, visiting towns and cities in the south of the country, inculding Oxford, Stroud, Hay-on-Wye, Bristol, Honiton, Dorchester, Salisbury, and Chichester, amongst others. He has just began his second trip to more northern counties, and you can follow his progress on his blog.  Add a comment

Madonna's Sex most sought after OP book
Explicit coffee-table title continues to be in hot demand, according to Bookfinder research ... more  Add a comment

What we do to books
There has always been a lot of discussion about the effect that reading books has on us. Far less attention has been paid to the effect that we (the readers) have on them (the books). I don’t mean on the reputations or royalties of the authors who wrote the books but on the actual physical objects themselves ... more  Add a comment

I was not a Nazi collaborator
PG Wodehouse was questioned by MI5 as a suspected collaborator for broadcasting from Berlin during the second world war. The creator of Jeeves protested that he was shocked and dismayed at the criticism his broadcasts had provoked in Britain. How the cosy world of Bertie Wooster collided with harsh reality is revealed in MI5 files released today at the National Archives ... more  Add a comment

Torah charity founder accused of fraud
A man who billed himself as the "Jewish Indiana Jones" for rescuing Torah scrolls lost in the Holocaust was arrested on Wednesday for making up the bogus stories to steal money from his Save a Torah charity ... more  Add a comment

Books stolen by Nazis to be returned
Berlin library to return books confiscated from Germany's Social Democrats during the Third Reich, among them an edition of The Communist Manifesto thought to belong to Friedrich Engels ... more  Add a comment

Are books dead, and can authors survive?
At the Edinburgh international book festival this weekend, Ewan Morrison set out his bleak vision of a publishing industry in terminal decline. Here's a shortened version of his argument ... more  Add a comment

John Lennon's landing card expected to fetch 15,000
Form filled in months before former Beatle's death in 1980 describes his nationality as 'weird' and his occupation as 'hazardus' ... more  Add a comment

More children read websites than comics
Literacy Trust poll of children's reading habits shows websites and emails displacing books and comics ... more  Add a comment

The Harbour Bookshop may be saved
A bookshop founded by A A Milne's son may be saved from closure as the owners enter tentative talks with new buyers ... more  Add a comment

Medieval manuscript returns to St Kierans
Last Friday, amidst great excitement, a very rare late medieval illuminated manuscript, which disappeared without apparent trace more than forty years ago was returned to its rightful owners, St. Kieran’s College ... more  Add a comment

Artnet Auctions artist ephemera
Artnet Auctions to offer extensive group of rare and unusual artist collectibles including: painted necktie by Alexander Calder, Marcel Duchamp’s chessboard, and Jeff Koons’ erotic wedding invite ... more  Add a comment

Call to save Christopher Robin bookshop
TV presenter Jonathan Dimbleby said he was saddened of hear of the planned closure of a bookshop founded by Winnie-the-Pooh’s friend Christopher Robin. And a heritage group has called for efforts to be made to keep the Harbour Bookshop in Dartmouth open ... more  Add a comment

Dickens statue planned for Portsmouth
Charles Dickens might have written that he wanted no "monument, memorial, or testimonial whatsoever" to be erected in his name, but the UK's first ever statue of the great author is nonetheless set to be created next year to mark the bicentenary of his birth ... more  Add a comment

Collector claims to have Butch Cassidy's manuscript
Historians generally believe that famed bank robber Butch Cassidy died in a gunfight in Bolivia in 1908. But a rare book collector in Utah claims that Cassidy survived -- and lived to write down the tale ... more  Add a comment

Winnie the Pooh bookshop to close
Christopher Robin’s old bookshop is to close after 60 years in business. The Harbour Bookshop in Dartmouth, which was once run by Christopher Robin Milne, son of Winne-the-Pooh author AA Milne, will close in September. Rowland and Caroline Abram, who have owned the shop for the past 15 years, said they were closing it due to risng rents and increasing pressure from supermarket and internet booksellers ... more  Add a comment

England's 'first ever' curry recipe ...
A 200 year-old cookbook by the 18th century equivalent to 'Fanny Craddock' found in the back of an old kitchen drawer - contains the first ever English recipe for curry ... more  Add a comment

Hardback sales plummeting in age of the ebook
 Sales of adult hardback fiction have fallen by over 10% this year alone, with ebooks now accounting for 13.6% of US market ... more  Add a comment

Why wasn't Waterstone's looted?
Are books just for the middle class? As society puzzles over its divisions, perhaps the publishing industry should follow suit ... more  Add a comment

"Missing" Renaissance manuscript acquired
 The Art Fund has helped the University of Manchester’s John Rylands University Library acquire the ‘missing’ seventh volume of a celebrated Renaissance manuscript ... more  Add a comment

Wall Street lawyer used tax dollars for rare books
A former corporate partner at the Wall Street law firm Sullivan and Cromwell admitted on Thursday that he did not file and pay tax returns, funnelling the millions to a rare-book business instead, prosecutors said ... more  Add a comment

Hacked off
TheBookGuide was hacked for a second time over the weekend and the feelings of outrage and helplessness in the face of this invasion; have to be experienced to be fully appreciated ... more  Add a comment

Poems bound up in a human skin
At first glance, its just an old book of poems, bound in slightly grubby beige leather with gold lettering and gold-edged pages. But open it up and you might want to drop it and recoil when you read the inscription on the first page - "Bound in human skin" ... more  Add a comment

Cold Comfort Farm was just the beginning
As welcome new editions of Stella Gibbons's lesser known novels are published, Rachel Cooke celebrates an author whose incisive wit extended far beyond the confines of Cold Comfort Farm ... more  Add a comment

London gay bookshop attacked
London’s renowned gay bookshop, Gay’s the Word, has been attacked by vandals. Assistant manager Uli Lenart told that witnesses reported seeing a group of youths “rampaging” up and down the street at around 12.30am and throwing eggs at another store ... more  Add a comment

Book chains in talks with police to protect stores
Waterstone's and WH Smith closed stores across riot-stricken areas in London as the violence appears set to continue into a fourth night ... more  Add a comment

I depict a riot
London's current mayhem has a history and some great art perfectly captures the terror and lawlessness of past upheaval ... more  Add a comment

Edinburgh festival book lovers to attempt reading record
Hundreds set to participate in reading relay of Theresa Breslin's Prisoner in Alcatraz, at this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival, in an attempt to smash the world record ... more  Add a comment

'Spider-Man' cover may top $100,000
The original 1967 cover art for Amazing Spider-Man #49, by legendary comic book artist John Romita Sr. is expected to bring $100,000 or more at Heritage Auctions’ Signature® Vintage Comics & Comic Art Auction on August 17-18th ... more  Add a comment

Jesuits sell historic 7th-century St. Cuthbert Gospel
The Jesuits have sold the historic St. Cuthbert Gospel - believed the oldest intact book produced in Europe - to the British Library for $14.7 million ... more  Add a comment

Writers' boltholes on the market
JG Ballard, Charles Dickens and JK Rowling have all inhabited properties that were up for grabs - for the right price ... more  Add a comment

Rare South African book found
A rare book marking a literary milestone in South Africa has been discovered by a Fife university expert researching a 19th Century collection ... more  Add a comment

The Dead Sea Scrolls are put up for adoption
The Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority is offering the scrolls up for adoption. There are 15,000 fragments and it costs upwards of £1,200 to have one as your own ... more  Add a comment

932 books stolen from the National Library of Peru
In February this year, the National Library of Peru reported that it had been the victim of systematic theft. Five months later, after an exhaustive inventory forced the closure of its doors, its director, Ramón Mujica Pinilla, presented the total number of books missing: 932. The missing books are mostly very valuable antiques ... more  Add a comment

The Fine Art Auction Group acquires Bloomsbury Auctions
The Fine Art Auction Group, holding company for the Dreweatts and BCVA auction businesses, has acquired the London-based Bloomsbury Auctions business from Bloomsbury Auctions Ltd, consolidating the co-marketing alliance that has been in place between the two firms since October 2009 ... more  Add a comment

Bernard J Shapero Rare Books
Stocklight Ltd the owner of Bernard J Shapero Rare Books has reached a verbal agreement to sell the book business to Bookbank Ltd. The new company is backed by a group of private investors with longstanding book selling experience.  Add a comment