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 2013

Poet Seamus Heaney dies aged 74
Heaney was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995 "for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past" ... more  Add a comment

Outcry over arrest of German 'book thief'
Staff at a German auction house have reacted with shock over the "preposterous" arrest of their director, accused of stealing hundreds of precious volumes from one of Italy's most treasured libraries ... more  Add a comment

Samuel Beckett's Murphy draft bought by for 1m
Reading University has become the new owner of "almost certainly the most important English language manuscript still in private hands", after paying nearly £1m for a six-notebook draft of Samuel Beckett's first published novel, Murphy ... more  Add a comment

'Reinventing the library'
Prince Charles once famously called Birmingham's old central library an "incinerator" but the architects of its £189m replacement have striven to create a "people's palace" ... more  Add a comment

Never-before-seen Warhol photos to be sold at auction
Never-before-seen photographs of celebrities captured in informal moments by the artist Andy Warhol are to be sold. The American pop artist used photography as a medium of art towards the end of his career and had a tendancy to snap people in spontaneous moments ... more  Add a comment

Oldest globe to Show 'New World' discovered
Dated to the early 1500s, the globe was likely crafted in Florence, Italy, from the lower halves of two ostrich eggs. It is engraved with then-new and vague details about the Americas garnered from European explorers like Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci ... more  Add a comment

Queen Victoria letters sell for 15k at auction
A series of letters penned by Queen Victoria using informal language, including a number of abbreviations common to today’s generation of text massagers, have been sold at auction for £15k ... more  Add a comment

Renoir's personal items coming to NYC auction
Billed as the single-largest archive of Pierre-Auguste Renoir's personal property, an upcoming auction of hundreds of personal letters, photos and other memorabilia offers a candid look inside the master painter's life as an artist, loving husband and devoted father ... more  Add a comment

Football's original rule book on display
The original FA Minute Book will form the centrepiece of the British Library's first-ever football display to mark the 150th anniversary of The Football Association ... more  Add a comment

15th century manuscript brought to Azerbaijan
The Institute of Manuscripts has brought to Azerbaijan the ancient manuscript "Miniature hamsa" (five poems), written by 15th century Ottoman poet Atai, who was influenced by the creative writing of famous Azerbaijani 12th century poet Nizami Ganjavi, according to Acting Director of the Institute Pasha Karimov ... more  Add a comment

The books you will want to treasure!
Artist grows crystals on classic works after soaking them in laundry detergent ... more  Add a comment

Collecting by the book (and letter and postcard)
Many collectors do it for the sheer love of literature. But sometimes, the money's not bad either. At a June auction, an edited story and a cache of letters by the late author David Foster Wallace to writing professor Richard Elman came up for sale. Sotheby's BID +0.67% estimated that they would go for $10,000 to $15,000 overall. A bidding war ensued, won by a private collector with a bid of $125,000 ... more  Add a comment

The best book related magic trick in the world
Get your friend to choose any two of the books in the cottage (or house, or flat, or wherever you happen to be at the time. The effect is particularly stunning if you perform it in a bookshop) ... more  Add a comment

Catalogue of Arabic manuscripts launched
Dairatul Maarif, the institute for preservation of Arabic manuscripts in Osmania University, has launched a descriptive catalogue of its centuries-old rare Arabic books and manuscripts ... more  Add a comment

Film on wartime book evacuation to screen
A documentary about a project during the last phase of the Pacific War to move 400,000 precious books out of central Tokyo to the suburbs will be shown on Thursday, the anniversary of the end of World War II, at Hibiya Library & Museum in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo ... more  Add a comment

Seattle's 'Books on Bikes' librarian's wheels stolen
Jared Mills is a librarian on the move. As the project manager of the Seattle Public Library’s 'Books on Bikes' team, he pedals his bicycle around Seattle with a customized trailer to bring books and library services to community events. At least, he did ... more  Add a comment

Independent bookstores and Crowdfunding
In a reminder that people do not always want a tax break for their contributions, and that many small businesses play critical roles in the social fabric of communities, independent bookstores have been trying out crowdfunding to make it through some of the rough spots caused by the profound changes in the industry. Will the practice stick? Are we watching a more permanent change occur? ... more  Add a comment

How I started my business with $1
Ten years ago this week, my husband and I found an old, tattered copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland at a street sale for $1. From this find, two entrepreneurs and a rare book company were born. Of course it's not that simple - there are many ups and downs, ins and outs to our story, but essentially, we were looking for a business opportunity and found one in New York City in August of 2003 ... more  Add a comment

Rare 'Schindler's List' documents sold
Documents linked to Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist known for his efforts to save Jews from World War Two concentration camps, were sold at auction for more than $122,000, a New Hampshire auction house said on Thursday ... more  Add a comment

Behold, the Kindle of the 16th Century
Captain Agostino Ramelli, the designer outlined his vision for a wheel-o-books that would employ the logic of other types of wheel (water, Ferris, "Price is Right", etc.) to rotate books clockwork-style before a stationary user ... more  Add a comment

Jane Austen museum raises funds to buy author's ring
The museum of Austen's home in Chawton, Hampshire - which was outbid in the last auction - has received a £100,000 anonymous donation to help it do so ... more  Add a comment

Welsh booktown entrepreneur jailed for another 60 years
An American man who arrived in Wales promising to transform Blaenavon into a rival to Hay-on-Wye as part of a book town venture has admitted rape charges in the US. ... more  Add a comment

Oskar Schindler documents up for auction in U.S.
(Reuters) - A historically important letter from Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist whose efforts to save Jews from the Holocaust were made famous in the 1993 Oscar-winning film "Schindler's List," is among the Schindler documents to be sold at New Hampshire auction house ... more  Add a comment

Historic manuscripts go on show at Canterbury
The treasures from the Canterbury Cathedral library are part of Picture This, a display celebrating the first anniversary of an online project of the same name between the University of Kent's Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies and the library ... more  Add a comment

World's largest comic book collection
A super-hero fanatic has amassed the world's largest comic book collection that decorates almost every inch of his home. Weighing 8.5 tons - more than a large elephant - it has taken 43 years to build. And it's still growing ... more  Add a comment

Book thieves!
I have been eagerly waiting for the next grand tale of biblio-thievery and biblio-detectives from Travis McDade, rare book curator and author of The Book Thief, and I'm happy to report Thieves of Book Row: New York's Most Notorious Rare Book Ring and the Man Who Stopped It, is just out ... more  Add a comment

The man behind the illustrated Ottoman manuscripts
The miniatures from the classical Ottoman period are familiar, but we usually forget that these were originally illustrations in manuscripts. Little is reported about the content of these manuscripts, let alone the authors of the books, in which these miniatures originally appeared ... more  Add a comment

The great Dickens and Dostoevsky hoax
When writer AD Harvey invented an 1862 meeting between Dickens and Dostoevsky, it was for years accepted as fact. So why did he do it - and why did he also create a series of fake academic identities? ... more  Add a comment

Jane Austen ring barred from leaving UK
The US singer Kelly Clarkson has been barred from taking a ring that once belonged to Jane Austen out of Britain on the grounds it is too precious a part of literary history to leave the country ... more  Add a comment

The Kindle has turned me off paper books
I'm a rare book dealer, but since getting an e-reader older reading media seem awkward and cumbersome ... more  Add a comment

Poe manuscript fetches $300,000
A copy of Poe's poem "The Conqueror Worm," hand-written and signed by the author, sold for $300,000 Saturday -- about $280,000 more than the New England auction house handling it had expected ... more  Add a comment