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 2015

Stephen King manuscript not an original
The manager of a Maine bookstore thought he made the find of a lifetime when he came across an original Stephen King manuscript among a box of the horror writer's books. King's longtime assistant, however, says the 120-page manuscript that's an early version of what eventually became the novel "Under the Dome," was just a copy ... more  Add a comment

Rare copy of first Bible printed in English to be auctioned
A copy of William Tyndale translation expected to fetch £35,000 at Sotheby's, 50 years after current owner bought it for 25 shillings in a secondhand bookshop ... more  Add a comment

Bibliotherapy - the healing power of books
Talk therapy is nothing new, but how about bibliotherapy? I'm not talking about self-help publications, but rather using literature as a means to physical and psychological salvation. And really, who else but the French, the beneficiaries of a literary patrimony that dates from the 9th century, would be at the vanguard of such a movement ... more  Add a comment

MISS READ: The Berlin Art Book Fair
MISS READ: The Berlin Art Book Fair 2015 will take place on June 26 to 28 and will bring together a wide selection of the most interesting artist/authors, artist periodicals and art publishers. Founded in 2009, Miss Read is the oldest active European art book fair and festival, dedicated to creating a context for public discourse around artists' books, conceptual publications and to community-building. Featuring 130+ international participants, it will be accompanied by MISS READ STAGE, a series of lectures, discussions, book launches and workshops exploring the boundaries of contemporary publishing and the possibilities of the book ... more  Add a comment

Titty will keep her name in print
Forthcoming TV version of Swallows and Amazons will rename the character Tatty to avoid innuendo, but publisher insists she'll stay Titty in books ... more  Add a comment

Rare copy of Shakespeare's second folio may fetch $500,000
The book, once owned by a famous 19th-century actor - and brother of John Wilkes Booth - is being sold to raise funds for a once-prestigious social club ... more  Add a comment

'Life in a suitcase' of WW2 flying ace sells at auction
Medals and an archive of documents and pictures which tell of the exploits of an ace doodlebug destroyer have sold at North East auction for more than double their estimate ... more  Add a comment

Rare books stolen by suicide librarian returned to Sweden
The repatriation ceremony marked a small feat in the effort to return the more than 50 rare books lifted by Anders Burius, a former senior librarian of the National Library. When the investigation into the missing texts began in 2004, Burius confessed to selling or consigning them to Ketterer Kunst, an auction house in Germany. Soon after, he committed suicide and cut the gas line in his kitchen, triggering a major explosion in Stockholm - as well as a radio show and television mini-series about his life ... more  Add a comment

Munari's Books
Italian artist Bruno Munari (1907-1998) made significant contributions to advancements in graphic design, photography, painting, and even teaching, and is recognized throughout the art world as a pioneer in modern visual expression. Munari spent much of his seventy-year career on book design and illustration, employing various bindings, materials and typesetting techniques, to the point that Pablo Picasso even called him "the Leonardo of our time" ... more  Add a comment

Hidden secrets of Henricus Martellus 1491 world map
Martellus' map arrived at Yale in 1962, the gift of an anonymous donor. Scholars at the time hailed the map's importance and argued that it could provide a missing link to the cartographic record at the dawn of the Age of Discovery. However, five centuries of fading and scuffing had rendered much of the map's text and other details illegible or invisible, limiting its research value. A team of researchers and imaging specialists is recovering the lost information through a multispectral-imaging project. Their work is yielding discoveries about how the world was viewed over 500 years ago ... more  Add a comment

Sinatra's 'little black book' sells for $8,960
Described by Man of the World magazine as an "oxblood leather social bible that reads like a who’s who of the jet set’s gilded age," the diary reportedly comprises of personal information regarding his many A-list associates ... more  Add a comment

Personal letters of Harper Lee fail to sell
Personal letters of Lee's are rarely publicly available, so their failure to sell no doubt comes as a surprise to Paul Kennerman, the seller, who is said to have acquired the letters privately. Christie's had said they were hoping for a sale of up to $250,000 (£163,000). The Guardian's request for comment from the auction house on the lack of a sale was not returned at press time ... more  Add a comment

Auction of Fleming penicillin mould
The specimen, which is mounted on paper signed by Sir Alexander, was part of ground-breaking work which revolutionised medicine and went on to save millions of lives worldwide. It is being sold at auction with two letters: one from the Scots-born, Nobel Prize-winning scientist and the other from Elizabeth Montgomery, believed to be his housekeeper ... more  Add a comment

Spain reburies Cervantes
Spain gave its greatest writer, Miguel de Cervantes, a formal burial on Thursday nearly 400 years after his death, unveiling a funeral monument holding recently unearthed bone fragments believed to include those of the author of Don Quixote ... more  Add a comment

Fragment of Gutenberg Bible expected to top $500,000
An eight-page fragment from the Gutenberg Bible, the first major book to be printed using Johann Gutenberg's printing press in 15th-century Germany, will go up for sale at Sotheby's in New York next week, and is expected to fetch at least half a million dollars ... more  Add a comment

Albert Einstein's private letters go up for sale
Some of the greatest scientific advances of the 20th century may have been partially inspired by the gift of a toy steam engine. That, at least, is the upshot of a 1924 letter from Albert Einstein to his uncle Caesar Koch on the occasion of Koch's 70th birthday. Einstein, the author of the theory of relativity and winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics three years previously, suggested in the letter that a Russian toy train given to him by Koch when he was a child had fuelled his interest in science ... more  Add a comment

Tintin in the law courts
Relatives of the legendary Belgian cartoonist and Tintin creator Georges Remi, known as Herge, are crying "stop thief" after a Dutch court denied them the reproduction rights to the celebrated cartoons ... more  Add a comment

Unknown poems by Katherine Mansfield found
Nearly 30 unknown poems by Katherine Mansfield have been discovered in a US library, giving fresh insight into the writer's most painful and difficult period, the evidence for which she had later destroyed ... more  Add a comment

ISIS selling ancient manuscripts online
Having looted and pillaged ancient heritage sites across Iraq and Syria, Islamic State is now believed to be selling stolen artefacts on social media sites ... more  Add a comment

The teacher who inspired Terry Pratchett
During her lifelong career as a teacher Janet Campbell-Dick would frequently say that if she managed to influence just one of her pupils for the better it would all be worth while. Well, given that one of those pupils went on to sell 85 million copies of his fiction worldwide, she can safely be said to have more than achieved that heartfelt ambition. That pupil was the young Terry Pratchett, who, after leaving her care, went on to become one of Britain's most popular writers ... more  Add a comment

The Hobbit first edition fetches 137,000
A first edition of JRR Tolkien's 1937 novel The Hobbit, with an inscription in Elvish written by the author, had sold at auction in London for £137,000. The sale smashes the previous record for a sale of The Hobbit, set in 2008 when a first edition sold for £60,000 ... more  Add a comment

"Shockingly racist" Dr. Seuss cartoon draws no bids
The 1929 color illustration for "Judge" magazine depicts a blatantly racist scenario and uses a slur to describe black people. It's being auctioned for a minimum bid of $20,000 ... more  Add a comment

London's floating bookshop saved from closure
London's only floating bookshop has been saved from closure after finally being offered a permanent home. Word on the Water will be based at Granary Square, near Kings Cross station, after the Canal & River Trust agreed to offer the owners the mooring ... more  Add a comment

Medicine's hidden roots in an ancient manuscript
The first time Grigory Kessel held the ancient manuscript, its animal-hide pages more than 1,000 years old, it seemed oddly familiar. A Syriac scholar at Philipps University in Marburg, Germany, Dr. Kessel was sitting in the library of the manuscript's owner, a wealthy collector of rare scientific material in Baltimore. At that moment, Dr. Kessel realized that just three weeks earlier, in a library at Harvard University, he had seen a single orphaned page that was too similar to these pages to be coincidence ... more  Add a comment

'Sensational' manuscript sells for 356,800 euros
An 11th-century French religious manuscript from a private collection has sold for 356,800 euros in Vienna, in what auctioneers described as a "sensational deal" ... more  Add a comment

The "expert's expert"
"Work hard for 20 years and then only buy things you've never seen before," says William (Bill) Reese, who will be 60 in July. Reese is one of the premier dealers in antiquarian Americana and considered the expert's expert in the buying and selling of rare books and manuscripts in that field. The quote is from Wright Howes, Chicago bookseller active 1920-60 and author of the standard reference work, U.S.iana. But the advice is pure Reese ... more  Add a comment

No news today ...
I'm out of the office until June 5th, so no news until then.  Add a comment