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.

October 2015

British Town Maps
British Town Maps: A History by Roger J.P. Kain and Richard J. Oliver is published by the British Library and available to purchase online, and we are pleased to host this guest blog by one of its esteemed authors ... more  Add a comment

39th Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair
The annual fall gathering for booklovers, the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair, will return to the Hynes Convention Center in Boston's beautiful Back Bay, November 13-15, 2015. More than 120 dealers from the United States, Australia, England, Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, Russia, and The Netherlands will exhibit and sell a vast selection of rare, collectible and antiquarian books, illuminated manuscripts, autographs, maps, atlases, modern first editions, photographs, and fine and decorative prints ... more  Add a comment

The archive of eating
One 84-year-old librarian has spent more than half her life building a comprehensive database of cookbooks throughout history ... more  Add a comment

Paris bookshop Shakespeare and Company opens cafe
Fancy a 'flapjack kerouac'? Visitors who have gorged on books at this literary institution can now head next door for healthy dishes and snacks in its new cafe ... more  Add a comment

Books & Bed
From November 5th, travellers will be able to curl up with a good book and drift off to sleep in one of the cubbyholes-cum-beds in the new bookshop-themed hostel. Designed as a quirky alternative to standard hostels and cheap hotels, Book and Bed is located on the seventh floor of a high-rise in Tokyo's Ikebukuro neighborhood ... more  Add a comment

'Captain Underpants' banned
A Michigan elementary school has banned the latest "Captain Underpants" novel from its book fair because one of the main characters is gay, according to a report by WXYZ in Detroit ... more  Add a comment

Charlotte Bronte sketch identified as self-portrait
A sketch of a woman's head by Charlotte Bronte, previously thought to be of another pupil drawn while the author was at boarding school in Brussels, has been identified as a self-portrait ... more  Add a comment

Death to noisy typists!
Inspired by the University of St Andrews' introduction of 'parking tickets' to desk-hoggers, here are five other activities that ought to get you booted out ... more  Add a comment

School plans to use double decker bus as a library
Woolton Primary school is seeking permission from Liverpool city council to use the bus to encourage those children who are less interested in reading. Documents submitted with the planning application say the school has no dedicated library and also needs small group teaching spaces ... more  Add a comment

Tolkien's annotated map of Middle-earth discovered
The map was found by a specialist at Blackwell's Rare Books, loose in a copy of the acclaimed illustrator Pauline Baynes' copy of The Lord of the Rings. Baynes had removed the map from another edition of the novel as she began work on her own colour Map of Middle-earth for Tolkien, which would go on to be published by Allen & Unwin in 1970. Tolkien himself had then copiously annotated it in green ink and pencil, with Baynes adding her own notes to the document while she worked ... more  Add a comment

Lord Richard Attenborough archive sells for more than 780,000
Photographs, film memorabilia and artwork from one of the most glittering careers in film have netted almost £780,000 at auction. More than 460 items from the family archive of legendary film actor and director Lord Richard Attenborough have been sold at auction at Bonhams this week ... more  Add a comment

Rare Nazi Enigma machine sold
An extremely rare and fully operational Nazi Enigma machine has sold for $365,000 in New York, setting a new record at auction. The M4 machine, which was built between 1943 and 1945, is one of around 150 to have survived from an estimated 1,500 that were built as Nazi Germany fought to fend off the Allies ... more  Add a comment

Royal Institution to sell science treasures
Ninety works spanning three centuries of scientific inquiry are to go under the hammer at Christie's in December, in an attempt to plug a £2m hole in the finances of the UK's most venerable science charity, the Royal Institution. The groundbreaking works in the history of medicine, science and the natural world include first editions from scientific luminaries such as Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, Leonhard Euler, Johannes Kepler and Alexander von Humboldt ... more  Add a comment

Would you pay 450 for a book about Gisele?
The latest alpha fashion accessories are limited-edition coffee-table volumes that retail for more than a high-end handbag. But who buys them and why? ... more  Add a comment

How to make maps and influence people
Maps are one of the most trusted forms of communication - which makes them great for getting your point across. A look at the dark art of cartographic persuasion ... more  Add a comment

A magical glimpse into the Tudor imagination
Treasured books from the lost Library of Tudor polymath John Dee will be revealed in a special exhibition at the Royal College of Physicians Museum in January 2016 ... more  Add a comment

British Library hits the right note
Relics from more than a century of productions of Gilbert and Sullivan operas and the working life of the company for which they were created have been bought by the British Library from the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company ... more  Add a comment

The fantastic 17th-century book of birds made from feathers
In the 17th-century, a gardener created a strange book of birds where the illustrations were completely made of feathers. The Feather Book is a 1618 manuscript by Dionisio Minaggio, chief gardener in the State of Milan, held by McGill University Library. While little is known about its past, it is one of the world's oldest preserved feather collections ... more  Add a comment

Brazenhead: New York's speakeasy bookstore
For years, Michael Seidenberg had sold books from his Upper East Side apartment, but received an eviction notice in July. Literary New York mourned - but recently the shop has shown new signs of life ... more  Add a comment

Earliest known draft of King James Bible found in Cambridge
The earliest known draft of the King James Bible, regarded as the most widely read work in English, has been unearthed among ancient papers lodged in a Cambridge college ... more  Add a comment

Dung Beetle spoofs Ladybird after books copyright row
The artist who was threatened with legal action by Penguin for a humorous book introducing children to the art world in the style of the Peter and Jane readers from the 1960s and 1970s has taken satirical revenge, after the publisher announced its own series of retro titles based on the Ladybird books ... more  Add a comment

Armenian devil reappears
Creature removed from manuscript by pious reader can be seen again using hyperspectral imaging, and will go on show as part of Bodleian Library exhibition ... more  Add a comment

From Timbuktu to Trinidad at the British Library
With a saddlebag Qur'an, a slave-ship manual and Fela Kuti, the new exhibition takes a thrilling journey through a thousand years of West African history - and it's full of surprises  Add a comment

No news is ...
 I'm away for a few days - so no news until October 16th.  Add a comment

Instagram had a medieval equivalent
Those who love books are said to share the belief that life is an imperfect vision of reality and only art, like a pair of reading glasses, can correct it. For those who need glasses of this type, Glasgow University library might be a good place to hang out. Its special collections department has recently acquired a series of mysterious old books, including the missing link in one of its collections, the 1564 edition of the Delie, the chef d'oeuvre by the French Renaissance poet Maurice Sceve (c1500-c1564) ... more  Add a comment

Waterstones to stop selling Kindle as book sales surge
The UK's largest book retailer is removing Amazon's Kindle ebooks from its stores nationwide and replacing them with print books due to 'pitiful sales'. Waterstones, which teamed up with Amazon in 2012 to sell the electronic reader in its stores, will use the display space for physical paperbacks and hardbacks instead ... more  Add a comment

The House of Twenty Thousand Books - review
To Chimen Abramsky, constructing a palace of memory was no mere exercise: it was his life's work. A scholar, teacher, book dealer, and collector, over the course of sixty-six years, Abramsky collected more than 20,000 volumes, all sorted and stacked in double rows along the walls and on the surfaces of Hillway, his cramped North London home. In 'The Citadel' of his bedroom he kept books personally annotated by Marx and Lenin, the typed manuscript of Rosa Luxemburg's doctoral thesis, and a box of William Morris's copies of the Socialist League. The hallway was lined with the complete proceedings of the Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, histories of 19-century European revolutions, and books stuffed with his personal correspondence (also about books). And in the 'jungle room' of Chimen's study were illuminated manuscript treasures of Judaica that had survived the expulsions and conflagrations of medieval and early-modern Europe ... more  Add a comment

Historic Qu'ran manuscript goes on public view
An Islamic manuscript which has been identified as one of the world's oldest fragments of the Qu'ran has gone on public view at the University of Birmingham ... more  Add a comment

Titanic's last lunch menu sells at auction
A lunch menu from the Titanic, saved by a first-class passenger who escaped on a lifeboat whose crew was said to have been bribed to row away instead of rescuing more people, has been sold at a US auction. The online New York auctioneer Lion Heart Autographs offered the menu, which sold for $88,000 (£58,166) and two other previously unknown artefacts from Lifeboat 1 ... more  Add a comment

DH Lawrence and maddening breasts
Before there was Lady Chatterly's Lover there was The Rainbow, and D H Lawrence knew that his wonderful book about three generations of a Nottinghamshire family was going to cause trouble. 'Tell me the parts you think the publisher will decidedly object to,' he told his friend Violet Meynell in July 1915. The author's previous book Sons and Lovers had been banned from public libraries and his publisher Methuen - who would later do everything they could not to take responsibility for the following book in court - demanded two rounds of cuts to The Rainbow ... more  Add a comment

The enduring appeal of cartography
Spanning 5000 years, a new book takes the reader - and indeed the viewer - on a journey of exploration of the map-making genre ... more  Add a comment