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.

November 2013

'Exquisite' Rothschild Prayerbook set to fetch over $12m
Readers in the UK have just four days to catch the Rothschild Prayerbook, as the Renaissance manuscript makes a brief stopover on an international tour that has already taken it to Moscow and Hong Kong ahead of an auction at Christie's New York in January 2014 ... more  Add a comment

Bruce Springsteen's Born To Run lyrics up for auction
Sotheby's are expecting to fetch between £43,000 and £61,000 for handwritten manuscript ... more  Add a comment

JD Salinger stories leaked on to filesharing site
An anonymous filesharer has gone against the wishes of JD Salinger about the posthumous publication of his works, by leaking a scanned version of three of his short stories online. They include"The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls", thought to be one of the author's best, and which he directed should not be published before 2060 ... more  Add a comment

15 forgotten things found inside books
In a small town called Otega in the state of New York, there is an independent used bookshop with something very special about it. For decades, the owner of Popeks bookstore, which was passed onto Michael Popek from his father, has been collecting and cataloguing the unusual and forgotten things he finds inside the pages of dusty old books ... more  Add a comment

Psalm book fetches record $14.2M
A tiny book of psalms from 1640, believed to be the first book printed in what's now the United States, sold for just under $14.2 million on Tuesday, setting an auction record for a printed book ... more  Add a comment

Beautiful Readable Objects
Beautiful Readable Objects is an exhibition of experimental approaches to contemporary book binding. This show is the second in The Aram Gallery’s Beautiful Objects series showing contemporary designs alongside designers’ objects of inspiration.  All pieces have been made by members of the international bookbinding collective "Tomorrow’s Past" whose manifesto is to make modern conservation bindings for antiquarian books. 9 members of the collective show new work at The Aram Gallery. The exhibition runs until 17th January 2014 ... more  Add a comment

Rare comics on auction block
Comic book collector and industry legend Maggie Thompson of Wisconsin has decided to put some 500 pieces of her personal collection up for auction over the next few months. The first wave alone includes the first issue of "The Avengers," "Journey Into Mystery" No. 83, which features the first appearance of Thor, the first issue of "The Incredible Hulk" and the original cover art for the fourth issue of "Conan the Barbarian." ... more  Add a comment

Young adult readers 'prefer printed to ebooks'
Sixteen to 24-year-olds are known as the super-connected generation, obsessed with snapping selfies or downloading the latest mobile apps, so it comes as a surprise to learn that 62% prefer print books to ebooks ... more  Add a comment

Manuscript trove illuminates the roots of chemistry
It's not every day that you have the opportunity to buy a 600-year-old cookbook. It's even rarer that the ancient handwritten recipes detail how to create the Philosopher's Stone - essential in transforming base metals into gold ... more  Add a comment

Superman comic featuring JFK sells for 70,000
Action Comics edition that came out days after the assassination of John F Kennedy saw cover art featuring Superman's alter-ego, Clark Kent, disguised as the former president ... more  Add a comment

Gardai arrest National Library staffer over missing books
A staff member at the National Library of Ireland has been arrested following a raid on his home in which detectives uncovered what they described as an "Aladdin's Cave" of historical books and manuscripts ... more  Add a comment

Bay Psalm Book: Why the 18m price tag?
The first book printed in what later became the United States of America is expected to set a world record at auction on Tuesday. The Bay Psalm Book is valued not only as an object of extreme rarity, but also as a symbol of a future nation's identity ... more  Add a comment

Exeter Cathedral's 1,000-year-old archive
A new state-of-the-art library housing the ancient archives of Exeter Cathedral opened for business this week - Martin Hesp has been hearing about its story and perusing its annals ... more  Add a comment

Academics challenge 'apocalyptic' predictions for future of libraries
Academics, book artists, historians, librarians and publishers from 14 countries joined forces at the newly opened Library of Birmingham on 15-17 November to debate the continuing value of books as objects and the changing role of libraries in today's world ... more  Add a comment

Fifty Shades of Grey goes viral - literally
Library copies of Fifty Shades of Grey have reported positive for traces of herpes virus and cocaine, according to two Belgian professors ... more  Add a comment

Treasure trove of ancient manuscripts
Asvati Mahal Library in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, one of the few medieval libraries in the world, might take a back seat in a traveller's itinerary in preference to the famous Unesco World Heritage site Thanjai Big Temple ... more  Add a comment

Politics, pop, scoops and Sloanes
They may be known for gossip and fashion, but the UK's weeklies and glossies have also broken major news stories - and as the publishers' association celebrates its 100th anniversary, they seem to be in ruder health than ever ... more  Add a comment

John Lennon's detention records up for auction
Records rescued from burning at Liverpool's Quarry Bank high school tell of a student penalised for 'shoving' and 'just no interest whatsoever' ... more  Add a comment

Era ends
Liquidation sale at Berkeley's Serendipity Books ... more  Add a comment

Copy of Napoleon's will to be auctioned
The frail Napoleon Bonaparte knew he was near his end as he penned his will and asked that his ashes be scattered along the Seine among the French people he loved. This rare flash of emotion from the once-mighty leader is revealed in the only known copy of the document being auctioned in Paris on Wednesday, and gives an unusual insight into his final moments ... more  Add a comment

What's your comic collection really worth?
Longtime comic fans look back at the nineties and shake their heads at the "speculators boom", a time when non-comic readers started buying up comics by the armful after news that vintage comics like 'Action Comics' #1 were selling in the thousands ... even millions!  But true comic fans knew that the glow-in-the-dark issue of 'Ghost Rider' or any copies of 'Blood Pack' weren't going to be worth toilet paper no matter how long you sat on them ... more  Add a comment

In pictures: The Library of Lost Books
Discarded books from the old Birmingham central library have been given a new life after being transformed into works of art and put on display at the new Library of Birmingham ... more  Add a comment

Bad Sex Awards 2013: The shortlist in full
Excerpts from the shortlist of the Literary Review's Bad Sex Awards 2013, celebrating the most embarrassing passages of sexual description in a novel ... more  Add a comment

Book domino record attempt ends with fireworks
A Dutch reading association says it has broken the world record for the longest book domino chain. Nearly 5,000 books were laid in an elaborate path through the Antwerp book fair ... more  Add a comment

Rare book helps restore forest
A rare book is helping a forest restoration project in Oxfordshire understand how the forest changed throughout time. The Wychwood Project, centered in Oxford, seeks to conserve and restore the Wychwood Forest, which in earlier times covered most of west Oxfordshire ... more  Add a comment

'Amazon' of antiquarian books turns the page
viaLibri has more than 200 million books in its online catalogue - many dating back to the 15th Century with some manuscripts even older. That millions of these are rare and valuable can be taken as read ... more  Add a comment

Online auction site eBay sparks outrage
EBay has since apologised and removed some 30 items of memorabilia relating to the Nazi Holocaust from the site. The company has also made a donation of £25,000 to charity ... more  Add a comment

Jane Austen watercolour portrait to be auctioned
Rarely seen Victorian vicar's commissioned drawing of novelist for sale before likeness reappears on £10 note from 2017 ... more  Add a comment

Dictionary raises 40k at Lewes auction
Every now and again an item will turn up at auction and whether it be in London, New York or Lewes, the sale price takes the in-house auction experts and often senior dealers by complete surprise ... more  Add a comment

Perfect for bibliophiles!
Architects convert stunning medieval Broerenkerk cathedral in Zwolle, Netherlands, into modern book shop ... more  Add a comment

Alfred Wainwright's manuscripts to be unveiled
Cumbria Archive Centre in Kendal will be hosting an open day from 10.30am to 1pm on Saturday, November 16, when visitors can see the story box, the strongroom where it is kept and see a selection of the original manuscripts. People will also be able to see a display on Alfred Wainwright and a selection of his papers from the Saturday, November 9, at the National Park Visitor Centre at Brockhole, near Windermere ... more  Add a comment