Sunday, August 14, 2011

Links & Reviews

- On 25 August one of four volumes of Harbottle Dorr's collection of early American newspapers will be sold at auction in Maine. The volume is from the collections of the Bangor Historical Society; the other three are at the Massachusetts Historical Society. From the Kennebec Journal article on the upcoming sale: "Lippitt [Dana Lippitt, the curator] said the Bangor Historical Society's board considered a private sale to the Massachusetts Historical Society to complete its collection. 'That's where we'd prefer they end up,' Lippitt said. But the need for the most money possible convinced board members to put the newspapers up for auction." This is incredibly unfortunate, and not the way decisions about our cultural heritage should be made. I seriously hope that an institution is able to obtain the volume, so that it doesn't end up in the hands of a dealer and get broken up for piecemeal sale.

- It had been expected, but the news nonetheless is sad: the British Museum closed the Paul Hamlyn Library on Friday

- From The Cataloguer's Desk, Laura Massey looks at a fascinating example of forgery, fakery, and false provenance in a 1793 copy of Shakespeare Illustrated.

- In the Chronicle this week, an excerpt from Alan Jacobs' recent book The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction.

- This week J.L. Bell looked at two recent books which maintain the American Revolution was a mistake. First post; second post.

- NPR Books got a facelift this week.

- A.N. Devers writes about the trials and tribulations of Poe's houses, for The Book Bench.

- David Orr has an essay in the NYTBR on George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series and how it's reshaping modern fantasy. I'm greatly enjoying my trip through A Dance with Dragons just now! And speaking of fantasy, The Millions has an interview with Lev Grossman, whose The Magician King was released this month.

- Frida Kahlo's annotated copy of Poe's works, which includes handwritten notes, paintings, and collage, sold for $24,400 at auction in Chicago this week.

- At EMOB, Eleanor Shevlin looks at open access and subscription databases, using the Aaron Swartz case as a jumping-off point.

- Another interesting take on crowdsourcing from the photo archive Magnum, which combines social networking and gaming with photo identification.

- Very glad to see that the Providence Public Library's Occasional Nuggets publication will continue!

- James McAuley talks to Maya Jasanoff about her book Liberty's Exiles, which I enjoyed very much earlier this spring.

- From the NYT's Disunion blog, a look at James Garfield's early career and entry into the Civil War.

- Perhaps not new (I'm not sure) but Harvard in the 17th and 18th Century is a fantastically detailed guide to the holdings of Harvard's archives on a wide variety of topics.

- An employee of Hartford's Mark Twain house admitted to embezzling more than $1 million from the museum's coffers.

- Over at 8vo, a look at Innerpeffray's lending library, the oldest in Scotland. Great pictures and background!

- A copy of the 9 May 1754 Pennsylvania Gazette, containing Ben Franklin's famous "Join or Die" political cartoon, will be sold at Heritage Auctions in September, with an estimate of $100,000-200,000 (which may be rather low).

- Slate asks a series of authors, editors and critics to name the "great books" they think are most overrated. I quite like, and strongly agree with, Elif Batuman's comment: "My view is that the right book has to reach you at the right time, and no person can be reached by every book. Literature is supposed to be beautiful and/or necessary—so if at a given time you don't either enjoy or need a certain book, then you should read something else, and not feel guilty about it."

- Bookride looks at some of the best printing errors in history.

- Via @john_overholt, a mini-documentary on marginalia.

- Charles C. Mann talked about his new book 1493 on NPR this week.

- The Paul Fraser Collectibles newsletter has a profile of David Rumsey and his famous map collection.


- Brook Wilensky-Lanford's Paradise Lust; review by Laura Collins-Hughes in the Boston Globe.

- Several new editions and works about John Donne; review by Robert Fraser in the TLS.

- Julian Barnes' The Sense of an Ending; review by Lidija Haas in the TLS.

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