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.

May 2014

Oscar Wilde's gift to prison governor
An edition of The Importance of Being Earnest personally inscribed by Oscar Wilde to the prison governor who the playwright said did him "a great and noble kindness" in allowing him access to reading and writing materials, is expected to fetch up to £60,000 when it's auctioned by Bonhams in London on 18th June  ... more  Add a comment

New Simon Armitage poem fights pollution - literally
Giant roadside display of In Praise of Air is printed on pollutant-absorbing material that works as an air purifier ... more  Add a comment

Yale's 'Map Thief' story told in new book
 A new book offers the best glimpse yet of the social-climbing sneak thief who stole millions of dollars in rare maps from Yale University and other institutions a decade ago ... more  Add a comment

Some books are too cool to be bought
There are , famously, certain authors and titles that are prone to getting stolen - William S. Burroughs, Italo Calvino, Raymond Chandler, Jack Kerouac, et al. Terry Pratchett, a refreshing departure from the usual, uber-trendy suspects above, has joked about being the most stolen author in Britain ... more  Add a comment

Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society takes off
New York book club inspired by 'good books and sunny days and enjoying both as nearly in the altogether as the law allows ... more  Add a comment

Famed Sarajevo library reopens
Sarajevo's famed architectural jewel, "City Hall", or the National Library, reopened on Friday, 22 years after it was destroyed by Bosnian Serb forces' shelling during the 1992-1995 war ... more  Add a comment

The drinkable book
This very unique book filters contaminated water and teaches sanitation and hygiene to people in the developing world ... more  Add a comment

1482 Torah book fetches record $3.87 million
Christie’s, which organized Wednesday’s auction, listed the buyer as "anonymous" and said the sale broke the mark for the most expensive Hebrew-language book. Three buyers attempted to outbid each other over the telephone ... more  Add a comment

Rare Greek coin book auction
If there is anything in the world that puts the BCD collection of ancient Greek coins in the shade, it is the BCD Library, which is by far the largest privately owned library on Greek numismatics that ever existed. The collector, who has been documenting every written remark about Greek numismatics in it for several decades and who gladly makes this treasure of knowledge accessible to interested academics, has now entrusted the young company Auctiones GmbH with auctioning some intriguing duplicates in their eAuction 28 ... more  Add a comment

British Library stages UK's biggest comics exhibition
The first comics show in Britain was organised by the National Union of Teachers in 1954 as a way of scaring people off them. It was a bit of a failure - funnily enough, the exposure to titles such as Tales from the Crypt with their horrifying, sexy covers did not quite have the desired effect ... more  Add a comment

Mozart manuscript expected to auction for 500k
A Mozart manuscript which was smuggled out of Nazi Germany by a Jewish refugee will be auctioned in London by Sotheby's on May 20th, where it is expected to fetch somewhere between £300,000 and £500,000, according to pre-sale estimates ... more  Add a comment

A tale of two thieves
Two book thefts from Asia recently made the newswires. The outcome of both is surprising to western ears. However, this really isn't a story about the difference in treatment of book theft between two Asian countries, or between Asian countries and the West. It is more a story of a difference in treatment between individuals. To put it another way, the title of this tale could also have been "It's not what you did, but who you are." Some people are judged by different standards than others, and generally it has to do with how powerful you are. This story might just as easily have arisen in the West as Asia ... more  Add a comment