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.

June 2014

Bob Dylan lyrics fetch $2 million
Packed with doodles, corrections and margin notes, a working version of arguably Bob Dylan's best known song has been sold by Sotheby's for more than £1 million ... more  Add a comment

Inside the Soviet Union's secret pornography collection
It was the kinkiest secret in the Soviet Union: across from the Kremlin, the country's main library held a pornographic treasure trove. Founded by the Bolsheviks as a repository for aristocrats' erotica, the collection eventually grew to house 12,000 items from around the world, ranging from 18th-century Japanese engravings to Nixon-era romance novels ... more  Add a comment

New British Museum bookshop features a 'wheel of books'
Lumsden Design has created a new bookshop for The British Museum, which fits into the 35m arced wall of the Great Court's Reading Room ... more  Add a comment

York bookseller spots book for sale on Amazon for 526,914,946,252.69
A York bookseller has spoken of his shock at finding a book he purchased for £69 on sale at for the "ludicrous" price of £526 billion ... more  Add a comment

Walt Whitman book sells for $305,000
A first edition of "Leaves of Grass," printed for the author, sold for $305,000. That was more than twice Christie's estimate of $100,000 to $150,000, and it marked a world auction record for Whitman ... more  Add a comment

The macabre world of books bound in human skin
A book bound in human skin was recently discovered at Harvard University. The grim tale is not as unusual as you'd think, writes Erin Dean ... more  Add a comment

Library of Birmingham wins major architectural award
£188 million development wins Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) award and is in running for prestigious Stirling Prize ... more  Add a comment

One of the world's smallest books goes on display
Named The Smallest Book in the World, it contains the Lord's Prayer in seven languages. This 62-year-old book, which measures 3.5mm by 3.5mm - smaller than a 5 cent coin, has traveled far and wide from Germany to Australia since its creation in 1952. Now the diminutive book is on display in a protective glass cabinet until Sunday ... more  Add a comment

Chipping Norton bookshop owner wants to be 'jailed'
Patrick Neale, co-owner of Jaffe & Neale Bookshop and Cafe, is hoping to spend Thursday in the cells at the old Hammersmith Magistrates' Court, in London, as part of a campaign by the Howard League for Penal Reform against a ban on books being sent to prisoners in England and Wales ... more  Add a comment

The most dangerous book
Can there ever have been a book with a more dramatic publishing history than James Joyce's Ulysses - written in abject poverty and over a period of seven years during and just after the First World War; printed in Paris (at first, just two copies); vilified as obscene; burnt and impounded at British and American docks; and smuggled like forbidden hooch? (Amusing to read here of Ernest Hemingway's part in the smuggling.) ... more  Add a comment

A New York rare book dealer
In a big red brick warehouse in Brooklyn, Heather O'Donnell became a rare book dealer. After a career as college teacher, O'Donnell left academia to pursue her passion : the rare book trade. She found a job at Bauman Rare Books in New York, before deciding to open her own business: "Honey and Wax Booksellers" ... more  Add a comment

Russians sentenced over Gutenberg Bible theft
Russia has sentenced three agents belonging to its Federal Security Service (FSB) for trying to sell a rare 15th-Century Bible, officials say ... more  Add a comment

Not much news today ...
Not much of note seems to have happened while I've been away, but below is a round up of the book related news you might of missed.  Add a comment

Flat signed
I've made my peace with 'login' and am getting used to the ubiquitous 'like', but this bibliophile draws the line at 'flat signed' ... more  Add a comment

Bookshop memories
As Foyles closes the doors of its world famous, 111-year-old London store - and opens a new one - share words and images that stir your memories of independent bookshops ... more  Add a comment

Judging by the cover
Elegant bookbindings might not seem to have much of a place in the modern world. E-books barely have graphics, much less finely crafted covers. Yet the love of handmade books as beautiful objects persists and, as a new travelling exhibit shows, retains many adherents ... more  Add a comment

Hitler's bookbinder
Michael Shaughnessy reports the untold story of Frieda Thiersch and the mysteries of her life, her motives and her books ... more  Add a comment

Shop that beat Hitler is finished by the parking Nazis
East End printing shop forced to close after council installed spy camera outside ... more  Add a comment

Cashback for Crediton Community Bookshop Shareholders
Almost £10,000 is waiting to be collected by the 289 people who applied for shares to bring Crediton's bookshop into community ownership ... more  Add a comment

Why old books smell so good
Infographic reveals complex chemistry behind the comforting scent of yellowed pages ... more  Add a comment

Meet Neil Pearson
Neil Pearson is a TV staple. He's also one of the UK's top antique book collectors. And when he's not hunting down Hemingways, he's bringing Hancock back to life ... more  Add a comment

How to spot a priceless rare book
Matthew Haley of Bonhams advises punters at the Hay Festival how to make a mint from books in your attic ... more  Add a comment

No news is good news
I'm taking a well earned holiday and will be out of the office until June 11th, so no news until then.  Add a comment