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.

September 2012

Banned Books Week turns 30
As America's annual celebration of the right to read prepares to kick off on Sunday, EL James's erotic sensation Fifty Shades of Grey joins a list of classics including Catcher in the Rye and Fahrenheit 451 which have been challenged in libraries and schools ... more  Add a comment

Manuscript claiming Jesus had wife is a 'clumsy forgery'
An ancient papyrus fragment which a Harvard scholar says contains the first recorded mention that Jesus may have had a wife is a fake, the Vatican said on Friday ... more  Add a comment

From Hogwarts to Oxfam
Two copies of a new novel by Harry Potter author JK Rowling have found their way on to the shelves of a second-hand charity bookshop in Worcester ... more  Add a comment

Ian Fleming: The Bibliography
A comprehensive 750-page guide to the work of Ian Fleming, one of the 20th Century's greatest thriller writers and creator of the world's most famous spy, Special Agent 007.
     Covering everything from the first draft of Casino Royale in 1952 to editions still in print today, Ian Fleming: The Bibliography is not only an indispensable source of information for collectors, enthusiasts, libraries and booksellers alike, but an entertaining and informative volume that will appeal to anyone interested in the James Bond phenomenon. The guide will be published in late October 2012 by Queen Anne Press -- the literary impress once managed by Ian Fleming and now owned by his nephew and niece.  Add a comment

Author Alison Uttley gets a blue plaque
Unveiling the new blue plaque, Councillor Lewer said: "Alison was a fascinating Derbyshire personality who was well known in her lifetime as an excellent author, particularly of children's books" ... more  Add a comment

Brian Grimwood
WORK is hosting a comprehensive retrospective of Brian Grimwood's career to date. The exhibition includes archival drawings, paintings, cover artwork, newspaper illustrations and printed ephemera, alongside more recent work by the renowned British illustrator ... more  Add a comment

Letters to author Ernest Hemingway get crucial repair
The paper conservator's scalpel picked at the red and black specks, flicking away the fly droppings that had stained Ingrid Bergman's letter to Ernest Hemingway. "I shall remember people like you and forget the rest of the world," the actress wrote to her author friend from Rome in 1950. Six decades later, an effort to preserve that memory, and others that are part of the writer's legacy, recently began inside a New England lab ... more  Add a comment

Goebbels' love letters reveal tyrant in the making
Adolf Hitler's infamous propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels, displayed anti-Semitic, self-centred and controlling behaviour as a young man in thousands of love letters, school papers and other documents which are due to be sold at a controversial auction on Thursday ... more  Add a comment

Rare book goes back under hammer at Aylsham
The rare first edition of Niccolo Machiavelli's The Prince, discovered by chance in a Norfolk home, failed to sell at Keys in Aylsham when it went under the hammer priced at £25,000-30,000 in July. Now the 300-page, 14.5cm x 9cm book is going back before bidders, but this time it is with a reduced guide price of £15,000-20,000 ... more  Add a comment

Treasures at the Vancouver book fair
Among the items for sale is a three-volume set from the explorer who gave Vancouver its name, for $52,500 US ... more  Add a comment

John Keats was an opium addict, claims a new biography
The author of Ode to a Nightingale wrote his greatest poems with the aid of opium, believes Prof Nicholas Roe ... more  Add a comment

Boris Johnson opens BFI Reuben Library
The library, which relocated from Stephen Street in June, is now known as the BFI Reuben Library in recognition of funding from the Reuben Foundation. The library provides one of the biggest collections of printed materials relating to film and television in the world. It occupies the space previously used by the BFI Southbank's gallery for moving image art ... more  Add a comment

Manuscript of Jack Kerouac's On the Road in London
The legendary 120-foot long manuscript of Jack Kerouac's On the Road will be exhibited at the British Library ... more  Add a comment

The Hobbit: What has made the book such an enduring success?
As the 75th anniversary of JRR Tolkien's novel The Hobbit approaches, expert Thomas Shippey asks why it still manages to capture imaginations today ... more  Add a comment

Book sculpture flows out of Museum Meermanno
Book flow ... more  Add a comment

The man who turned his home into a public library
If you put all the books you own on the street outside your house, you might expect them to disappear in a trice. But one man in Manila tried it - and found that his collection grew ... more  Add a comment

NY Art Book Fair plans tribute to late bookdealer
Among the activities at the New York Art Book Fair in Manhattan later this month is a memorial planned for John McWhinnie, a noted rare book and art dealer who died in a snorkeling accident on the British Virgin Islands in January ... more  Add a comment

Peter Pan book makes 1,700
A rare first edition of a Peter Pan book donated to a charity shop has fetched £1,700 at auction ... more  Add a comment

The Iron Lady's softer side
A personal note from Margaret Thatcher thanking her husband Denis and her family for their love and support during her political career, has been found inside a copy of her autobiography ... more  Add a comment

Raiders of the hidden texts
A global team of scientists is on a Herculean task of digitally protecting the hidden treasures of the world's oldest surviving library, writes Mark Schrope ... more  Add a comment

Song dynasty Chinese encyclopedia on display
An 800-year-old Chinese encyclopedia is on display at a book fair in Taipei. The rare publication was recently purchased by a Chinese publishing house for $33 million at an auction in Beijing ... more  Add a comment

Rare book returned to Chicago library after 78 years
According to ABC News, the rare edition of Oscar Wilde's 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' was issued in 1934  ... more  Add a comment

Kristjana S Williams at Shapero Rare Books
Organised by Outline Editions in London, illustrator Kristjana S Williams has created a series of prints inspired by (and exhibited alongside) Victorian natural history engravings at Shapero Rare Books in Mayfair in London ... more  Add a comment

Fragments of French medieval poems discovered
The larger fragment is a section of text from the Chanson de Guillaume, one of the earliest surviving Old French texts, known until now in only one manuscript.  The smaller fragment comes from a manuscript of Foulque de Candie, a late twelfth-century poem ... more  Add a comment

Play it again, and again
The trade in music manuscripts is usually tranquil, but many specimens of inestimable value are going under the hammer ... more  Add a comment

The extraordinary discovery of the world's oldest book
Ask people to name the world's oldest printed book and the common reply is Gutenberg's Bible. Few venture that the answer is a revered Buddhist text called the Diamond Sutra, printed in 868 A.D. ... more  Add a comment

The Visscher Panorama of London in 1616
Claes Visscher's Panorama of London in 1616 is one of the finest views we have of London before the Great Fire. It is over two metres long, so perhaps unsurprisingly, there are no complete, high quality, images of it on the net. Thanks to Peter Harrington Rare Books I am very happy to be able to share this stunning image, complete and in colour for the first time ... more  Add a comment

Rare collection under threat in Delhi
One of India's oldest libraries - established by 19th Century colonial officers who donated British and Indian first editions - is facing closure after government funding was withdrawn ... more  Add a comment

Elvis Presley's bible sells for 59,000
A bible which once belonged to Elvis Presley and contains his handwritten notes and thoughts has sold for £59,000 at an auction in England ... more  Add a comment

Squatters reopen Friern Barnet library
A few dog-eared copies of novels by Joanna Trollope and Wilbur Smith sit on the otherwise bare shelves of Friern Barnet library alongside banners urging "peace", "occupy" and "revolution". The library closed down by Barnet council in April is under new management ... more  Add a comment

500-year-old illustrated medical book on display
A rare medieval book gives an insight into the bizarre medical practices used 500 years ago. It has gone on display for the first time at the University of Aberdeen. The De Hortus Sanitatis, which translates as the Garden of Health, shows some of the medical methods practiced in Scotland five centuries ago and is one of the earliest European medical texts. ... more  Add a comment

Photo caption contest #1
(Many thanks to Shaun Kenaelly for the picture)Red Cross Shop  Add a comment

Beekeeper who got buzz out of book collecting
The Moir Rare Book Collection is a library of the finest and rarest beekeeping books on the planet, consisting of hundreds of books, papers and periodicals from around the world, the oldest dating as far back as 1625 ... more  Add a comment

Rare 'rude' paintings unseen for 85 years on show today
A collection of rare D.H. Lawrance paintings which have remained unseen in this country for almost 85 years, go on display today in the writer's hometown of Eastwood in Nottinghamshire ... more  Add a comment

The world's most expensive comic book art
The 20 most valuable comics ever auctioned off have all been sold since 2010. In the past two years, the astronomical selling prices of "holy grail" books like Action Comics No. 1 and Detective Comics No. 27 -- powered at least in part by Hollywood cache -- have triggered a boom in the comic book collectors' market. Buyer interest shows no signs of slowing for first editions and other high-profile comics from long ago ... more  Add a comment

Library closures attract little sympathy from Ed Vaizey
Libraries minister says he is 'not currently minded' to intervene to defend statutory duty to provide a 'comprehensive' service ... more  Add a comment

Birmingham library staff 'will be ready to move 2m books'
Moving one of the world's most expensive books to its new home is no mean feat but staff at Birmingham Central Library say they are prepared. But while Audubon's Birds of America, estimated to be worth £6m, is the library's most valuable, it is just one book in a vast collection that must be relocated ... more  Add a comment

A History of the World in Twelve Maps
Jerry Brotton's 'A History of the World in Twelve Maps' is a study of the cultural values embodied in maps ... more  Add a comment

The Worlds best booksellers meet in Switzerland
The 24th International Antiquarian Book Fair (27th - 30th September) presents the best of the trade. From manuscripts and incunabula to avant-garde, from Erasmus, Philipp Melanchthon and Charles Darwin to Leonardo da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, DADA and the Bauhaus artists -- together with the Fine Art Zurich, this most important event, supported by the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB), will change Zurich into the international market place for everything rare, extravagant and beautiful. ... more  Add a comment

Major Raphael drawing at Sotheby's
This December, Sotheby's will offer at auction three Renaissance masterworks: a major drawing by Raffaello Sanzio, called Raphael (1483-1520); and two 15th-century illuminated manuscripts, produced in Flanders for two of the leading patrons of their day, and among the most important examples of their kind ever to come to auction ... more  Add a comment