Sunday, February 24, 2008

Links & Reviews

Some weeks are full of noteworthy biblio-news. This was one.

- Ed Koster, the owner of David's Books (Ann Arbor, MI) has been charged along with three other men in a "book-selling scheme that involved hundreds of stolen textbooks from a nearby store." Police say Koster provided a "shopping list" of medical textbooks to be nabbed from Ulrich's Bookstore and several other local shops near the University of Michigan; the three suspects then allegedly stole the books and sold them to Koster "for cash to feed a heroin habit.""Koster, an Ann Arbor resident, faces up to 10 years in prison and/or a $25,000 fine if convicted. The others face the same potential sentences, along with a possible five-year prison sentence and/or $10,000 fine for the retail fraud charges." (h/t Shelf:Life)

- Travis comments on the charges brought against Mariners' Museum curator Lester Weber and his wife, Lori Child. Two posts: here and here.

- Simon Charles of the EEBO Text Creation Partnership reports that the partnership (between the Universities of Oxford and Michigan) is "is planning to extend its existing work to transcribe another 50,000 texts to add to the 25,000 full, searchable texts that will be online by next year." He writes: " In order to develop funding applications, the Oxford team of the EEBO-TCP is putting together a body of evidence to present to various funding bodies in the UK to demonstrate the importance of the full-text resource to the academic community. If you would like to show your support for these funding applications, please tell us whether you think the availability of additional texts would benefit the research community. Have you found the full texts useful in your work, in teaching or in research? Have you used them for any publications or projects? We are interested in how the EEBO full texts enrich the learning and research experience and would like to hear the views of users of the texts at all stages of study." Statements can be submitted here.

- At long last, Google Books has announced a feature by which users can flag unreadable pages. Dan Abbe reports "You'll now find a link next to all book pages on Google Book Search which allows you to submit an unreadable page to our team for review. There's no need to fill anything out – when you click this link, we'll detect the issue with the page you're looking at and get on the case." (h/t Dan Cohen)

- fade theory reports that Wayne Wiegand has received a fellowship to write A People’s History of the American Public Library, 1850-2000. Excellent news: good works on library history are few and far between.

- The Chicago Tribune notes that a "6-foot-high, 150-pound contemporary sculpture" known as Umanita (which has been in place outside the Newberry Library since 2005) was stolen last weekend. Police are investigating. (h/t NIUSC&RB)

- Scott Brown notes that Tim Toone's collection of 553 Harry Potter books (including translations into 63 languages) will sell in several lots at Bloomsbury on 28 February. More on Toone's collection here. Scott also has some thoughts on Ken Karmiole's shop in Santa Monica, CA, which he got to visit while in LA for the fair there. Ken's one of my favorite dealers to visit with at the Boston fair every year: great to talk to, excellent stock - a credit to the book-world. Scott also requests help in identifying a childrens' book artist, so contact him if you recognize the illustrations here.

- And one more Scott Brown bulletin: he has word that Quill and Brush has released a catalog [PDF] of some of the Rolland Comstock books they acquired after the collector's murder (which remains unsolved). The catalog includes an introduction by Nick Basbanes, who calls Comstock "easily one of the most unforgettable bibliophiles I have ever had the good fortune to meet."

- A copy of the death warrant for Mary, Queen of Scots will remain in England after the library of the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace mustered up £72,485 in grants and donations to prevent its export. A private buyer had applied for permission to export the document in November, but was blocked by the government. Lambeth Palace librarian Richard Palmer said "The library is delighted to have played its part in saving this document for the nation. The warrant is now reunited with the papers with which it belongs and accessible for the benefit of all."

- Fragments of what is believed to be the "earliest dated Christian literary manuscript have been found at Deir al-Surian, an ancient monastery in the Egyptian desert," The Art Newspaper reports. The pieces are from the final page of "a codex written in Syriac (an Eastern Aramaic language) which was acquired by the British Museum library in the 19th century [ADD 12-150]." The document is a list of early Christian martyrs in Persia, and was written by a scribe in Edessa (in what is now Turkey). These new fragments were discovered along with hundreds of others "under a collapsed floor of a ninth-century tower." Much more background here. The Independent also wrote up the find this week, calling the fragments "the world's oldest missing page."

- The Philadelphia Bulletin profiles Katy Rawdon, archivist at the Barnes Foundation, which was founded in 1922 to "promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts."

- Rick Ring made a fabulous find in the stacks this week, discovering some volumes of Romeyn Beck Hough's The American Woods, a thirteen-volume compilation "designed to contain specimens (in transverse, radial, and tangential sections) of all the native and naturalized species of woods in the united States and Canada." He also links to a digital version of Hough's work hosted by North Carolina State University.

- Ian Kahn has a first dispatch and a second dispatch from the Greenwich Village Book Fair ... more to come, surely.

- The Guardian profiles Colin St. John Wilson, the architect of the new British Library building, who died last year. (h/t Iconic Books)

- Edinburgh-based publisher Itchy Coo (how about that for a name?) wants to translate the Harry Potter canon into the Scots dialect, according to a report in The Scotsman. J.K. Rowling "has not yet been approached for the go-ahead."

- The Times prints an extract from Frances Wilson's The Ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth, to be published in the UK by Faber & Faber in March.

- Staff at the the New York Public Library have started a blog. I've added a link. (h/t Jessamyn West)

Reviews

- In the TLS Kelly Grovier reviews a new edition of an 1821 edition of Goethe's Faust, published anonymously but now attributed to Samuel Taylor Coleridge by scholars Frederick Burwick and James C. McKusick (building off a case begun by Paul Zall in the 1970s). A fascinating backstory to this one.

- In the Boston Globe, Michael Kenney has a joint review of Edward Lengel's new edition of This Glorious Struggle: George Washington's Revolutionary War Letters and Mark Puls' Henry Knox: Visionary General of the American Revolution. J.L. Bell add his comments to Kenney's review here. I'm anxious to read both of these books.

- Richard Cox comments on another new title I'm keen to read as well: Bill Hayes' The Anatomist: A True Story of Gray’s Anatomy. Cox writes "Those interested in archives will be interested in the book because of the author’s exploration into the modest amount of material left behind by Gray contrasted with the extraordinary evidence about Gray in the extensive pile of letters and diaries provided by [H.V.] Carter [Gray's illustrator]. As it turns out, Carter’s archives have been little tapped by historians of medicine and other scholars, and Hayes provides considerable commentary on his observations about the nature of diary writing."

- Stacy Schiff reviews Jerome Charyn's Johnny One-Eye for the New York Times, concluding "Charyn hasn’t woven a taut narrative from a lurching plot. What he has done is to create a rollicking tale in which — true to the dictates of the genre [the picaresque] — our hapless rogue makes good."

- In the Washington Post, Thomas Ryan reviews How the South Could Have Won the Civil War, a new alternative history by Bevin Alexander. From the review, this sounds more like a paean to Stonewall Jackson than anything else, and this sentence is enough to keep me away from the book: "Alexander's opinions are firmly stated, but his assertions are not always well documented."

- Also in the Post, Stephen Budiansky reviews Drew Gilpin Faust's This Republic of Suffering, which has become a minor sensation as a scholarly book which seems to be selling well.

- For the Boston Glode, Matthew Price reviews Joseph Wheelan's Mr. Adams' Last Crusade, about JQA's post-presidential career in the House.

- Nick Basbanes' new collection of essays, Editions and Impressions, is reviewed by Martin Rubin in the LATimes. Rubin enjoyed the book: "The essays are radiant with [Basbanes'] joy in discovering and exploring the byways of the book world. And what a world it is, full of fascinating characters and interesting tales, which Basbanes, with his experience covering 'every imaginable kind of story as a newspaper reporter,' is perfectly fitted to evoke."

- In The Scotsman, Emma Crichton-Miller reviews Peter Ackroyd's Poe: A Life Cut Short.

- Marjorie Kehe reviews Thomas DeWolf's Inheriting the Trade for the Christian Science Monitor. DeWolf's relative James was "the head of the most successful slave-trading family in American history," and features prominently in Marcus Rediker's recent The Slave Ship. DeWolf's book complements a recent documentary film, "Tracing the Trade," made by another family member.

1 comment:

Bookseller Bill said...

Huh - that's a shame about David's books. I used to enjoy going in there.