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    Adventures of a rare book dealer (and former small bookshop owner).

Monthly Archive May, 2008

Justification of the Book Thief’s Ways to Man:

“I am the type who steals books because I am poor and I like to read.”
More self-delusion here.
[Via PhiloBiblos.]

BLOG: Bookshelf

The home of interesting bookshelves, bookcases and things that look like them.

I ain’t lyin’

Janet Maslin gives a rave review to fibber James Frey’s newest novel, and does so in the style of the novel itself, a trick that has a long history at the Times.

My six-and-a-half-year-old daughter in the car yesterday…

“Dad, you know why I like books about knights and princesses and fantasy things? Because they make me feel like I want to go to those places even though I know they’re not real. I like that feeling. Do you know what I mean?”
I do, sweetie. I know exactly what you [...]

Beckett Before Beckett: Samuel Beckett’s Lectures or French Literature

New book (apparently only out in the UK) on Samuel Beckett’s early years as a college lecturer based on student’s donated notebook:
Beckett believed himself to be a poor lecturer; he felt, as he put it, that he could not teach others what he did not know himself. But his students saw things differently. Rachel Burrows, [...]

Bookseller as Economic Barometer II

Okay, seriously. I mentioned last week that I was being offered a lot more books than normal and I wondered if perhaps this was an indication of the weakening economy. But it’s now official. I’ve bought / been offered more books over the last two weeks than I have over the preceeding [...]

Another Recent Conversation

“Do you have any old books with clasps on them?”
“You mean that would be attached to the covers and used to close the book?”
“Yes, exactly.”
“Does it matter what the book is?”
“No, I collect books with interesting clasps.”
“Actually, I do. I have this lovely 19th Century Bavarian prayer book.”
“Oh, that is nice. I’ve never [...]

“Will we have a world in which the only value books have will be those of the rare object, making all libraries in effect rare-book libraries?”

This prescient question comes courtesy of a Chicago Tribune piece, The future of books resides in their past:
What is amazing and inspiring about books is just that: their very physicality, the sheer thinginess of them, the fact that you can hold a book in your hands, thump a couple of knuckles on the cover, riffle [...]

Take THAT Flat Screen TVs

The Telegraph UK on home libraries:
[A]ccording to a new report – The Changing Face of British Homes, compiled by insurers Legal & General – more people would like a library or reading room in their home than either a home cinema, gym or music studio. In the survey of 4,000 people, 15 per cent said [...]

From the Dept. of Tooting My Own Horn: William S. Burroughs and an Interview

Last month, colleague Ken Lopez and I handled a rare and important archive of original collages and photographs by/from Naked Lunch author William S. Burroughs. Jed Birmingham, who writes the Bibliographic Bunker column for the WSB site RealityStudio, asked if I would answer some questions about the collection and other related topics. The [...]

Beautiful Images

The Digital Scriptorium
is an image database of medieval and renaissance manuscripts that unites scattered resources from many institutions into an international tool for teaching and scholarly research. It bridges the gap between a diverse user community and the limited resources of libraries by means of sample imaging and extensive rather than intensive cataloguing.
Just the highlights [...]

A recent conversation with someone selling books

SCENE: The shop. A woman has brought in three nineteenth-century books. Two are poor-condition reprints of classic works. One is a handsome reprint of a decidedly minor poet. Some nice plates, but otherwise unremarkable.
ME: I’m afraid these just aren’t in good enough condition. This one is nice, though. I [...]

DQ, Never Been, and We Tell Stories

I recently came across two innovative sites which suggest how internet narratives are being influenced by the form of the traditional “book.”
DQ Books is a collection of four “books,” each with a different theme. The interface allows you to “flip” through them as one would with a “real” book. Each tells a kind [...]

Faber and Faber Flickr Photostream

Publisher Faber & Faber have a fantastic Flickr photostream. Highlights include images of scarce catalogs and ephemera, archive and publicity shots of their authors, and a cover gallery from their 20th Century Classics series.

Are these bookends?

Not sure. But I want some for my daughter’s bookshelf.

The Baron of Bibliomania

From the UK Guardian this rather damning portrait:
For much of the 19th century this was the home of Sir Thomas Phillipps, 1st baronet, whom the world called a bibliomaniac, though his term for himself went still further. Vello-mania, he called his condition, because it ran as much to the purchase and hoarding of documents as [...]

Bookseller as Comic Hero

The Accidental Bookseller is a weblog of Hélène Lefébure who lives in the UK and posts strips based on her life, including many from her job at a bookstore. Sharp and clever.
Meanwhile, Bookhunter is an entire graphic novel now available online that is perhaps more exciting but distinctly less, well, accurate. But how [...]

A History of the Book Jacket

The University of Otago has an informative online exhibition, STRAIGHT JACKETS: The Art of the Book Jacket –
This exhibition offers an overview of the early history of the book jacket. It also highlights the design and artistic aspects of book jacket production, and importantly, raises the viewer’s consciousness on what is now considered an integral [...]

Norman Mailer…

Lego builder!?

“Librarian” by Haunted Love

Fun and catchy nerdster tune from a band from New Zealand. Via So Many Books, a new blog to me, which immediately hits my bookmarks if for no other reason than they have an uncommonly comprehensive blogroll and a refreshingly clean design.

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