Saturday, October 04, 2008

Links & Reviews

- After a theft at his bookstore this week, Scott Brown comments on thefts from libraries and bookstores in general. I admire him for his resolution to "stay focused on the honest folks, while keeping in mind that there are people who will steal me blind if given the chance," but I'm afraid it's not enough. Scott adds "Like many shopkeepers, a lot of librarians feel under pressure to improve security. But I think we have to be cognizant that many efforts to deter theft also deter legitimate visitors. The safest store or library is one that allows no one inside."

While I deplore thefts from bookstores just as strongly as I do those from libraries, they are two very different things. Librarians have a mandate, a responsibility, to make the books and manuscripts in our care available to not only today's researchers, but to tomorrow's as well. If any theft-prevention measures deter legitimate visitors, that's their problem. I've been to no library (or bookstore, for that matter) where security measures are anything but understandable and minimally burdensome (and we've seen too many examples lately where the security was far, far, far too lax).

- Robert and Michelle Wilhelm have donated their collection of books relating to Greek and Roman history, language and literature to St. Michael's College, the Burlington Free Press reports. The 4,000 books were appraised at $207,000.

- The Mississippi Museum of Art's fall exhibit is "John James Audubon: American Artist and Naturalist." The exhibit will run through 4 January 2009, and includes sixty-four images from the Birds of America, plus "rare books, photographs, and other personal items belonging to the artist" from the collections of the Audubon Museum in Henderson, KY.

- Over at the Huntington Library, the exhibit is "Darwin's Garden: An Evolutionary Adventure," which was first showed at the New York Botanical Garden. The show runs there through 5 January.

- More on the Poe Wars from Ed, who's really looking forward to the Great Poe Debate coming up in January.

- Paul Collins points out some of the excellent Palin-linguistics humor which appeared this week. And Michael has a pretty amusing rare book joke.

- The ex-wife of murdered book collector Rolland Comstock wants the civil suit for wrongful death against her dismissed. A report in the Springfield News-Leader notes: "In documents filed with the Greene County Circuit Court on Thursday, Alberta Comstock claims a wrongful death suit filed against her in July lacks sufficient facts for the case to be considered." Another motion requests that Faith Stocker (Comstock's daughter, who filed the wrongful death suit), file a "more detailed pleading." Attorneys for Stocker and Alberta Comstock will argue their case before a court in the weeks to come. Police investigators also say that their investigation into Comstock's murder is "nearing finality."

- Ian at Lux Mentis, Lux Orbis has a great literary poem, "The Book of my Enemy Has Been Remaindered".

Book Reviews

- Eric Foner reviews Annette Gordon-Reed's The Hemingses of Monticello for the NYTimes.

- Rick Ring reviews Donald C. O'Brien's Amos Doolittle: Engraver of the Early Republic at Notes for Bibliophiles (it will also appear in College & Research Libraries).

- For The Scotsman, Andrew Crumey reviews Richard Holmes' The Age of Wonder.

- Andrew McKie reviews Neal Stephenson's Anathem for The Telegraph.

- Justin Marozzi's The Man Who Invented History: Travels with Herodotus is reviewed by Allan Massie in The Scotsman.

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