Sunday, July 22, 2012

Links & Reviews

Another busy week in store: I'm off to Boston tomorrow for a presentation on Tuesday morning at the American Association of Law Librarians annual meeting. With Mike Widener and Karen Beck I'll be discussing "Early Law Libraries as Historical Documents: Recording the Bookshelves of Long-Ago Lawyers." If you'll be in town for the meeting, do stop by! I'm looking forward to visiting the Boston bookshops and getting in a few hours of research at MHS and NEHGS as well, time permitting.

- Your must-read series of the week comes courtesy of Adam G. Hooks at Anchora. The posts are: Breaking Jonson apart, "a collection of plays, published separately", Laudian Ghost, in quarto, Red Velvet, and "Miscellaneous collection of sermons". Read 'em all!

- Via The Bunburyist: Public Domain Review features a 1927 Fox newsreel interview with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

- New Skinner, Inc. Director of Fine Books & Manuscripts Devon Gray posted a useful introduction to determining the worth of a book collection.

- From the wonderful More Intelligent Life blog, "Old Polymaths Never Die," about the posthumously-prolific Isaiah Berlin and Hugh Trevor-Roper.

- The NYTimes notes that an effort by Dawn Powell biographer Tim Page to sell her diaries online seems to have failed when no potential purchaser would pony up the $500,000 asking price.

- Scholar Chet Van Duzer has posted a short paper on the details of the discovery of the previously-unknown set of Waldseemuller globe gores at LMU in Munich. Some really good specific information here on the differences between the new set and those previously documented.

- Fine Books Blog highlights the marbled papers of Jemma Lewis of Wiltshire, England.

- In The New Republic, David A. Bell's "The Bookless Library" poses the big question: "What role will libraries have when patrons no longer need to go to them to consult or to borrow books?" He discusses the NYPL renovation plans (make sure to read the comments), grants the importance of physical books (though I strenuously disagree that researching involving the physical artifact "mostly takes place in a handful of leading research libraries, and ... involves a small number of readers"), and pooh-poohs concerns about digital fragility. He does make valid points about e-books and libraries, and his comments on the wide-ranging functions of libraries and librarians are welcome. He's absolutely right that libraries need to take the bull by the horns and work diligently to find a new path forward in a rapidly-changing environment, but I know I join many others in understanding that this does not have to mean what he seems to think it means.

- Over at the Book Bench, James Salter's "The Paradise of the Library" includes this wonderful line: "The love of books, the possession of them, can be thought of as an extension of one’s self or being, not separate from a love of life but rather as an extra dimension of it, and even of what comes after."

- Lorne Blair's "FYI: I Am Not A Goddamned Curator" is also well worth a read this week.

- Jennifer Howard's "The 'Life is Beautiful' Problem" rang true for me, as I suspect it will with many others.

- The Guardian reports that the Qatari government is providing £8.7 million for the digitization of India Office records relating to "British activities in the Gulf" as well as 25,000 pages of medieval Arabic manuscripts.

- Ken Gloss of the Brattle Bookshop writes in the Somerville News about some of the reasons people might, in fact, judge books by their covers.

- Former art forger Ken Perenyi is profiled in the NYTimes. Perenyi's confessional memoir will be released soon by Pegasus Books.

- Also from Public Domain Review, an 1848 monograph on the dodo.

- There's a new issue out of Studies in Book Culture, centered around the history of reading.

- The Little Professor reports "Exciting things discovered while working on footnotes."

Reviews

- James Mann's The Obamians; review by Leslie H. Gelb in the NYTimes.

- Michael Lind's Land of Promise; review by Jack Rakove in TNR.

- Richard Zacks' Island of Vice; review by Joseph Berger in the NYTimes.

- George Boudreau's Independence: A Guide to Historic Philadelphia; review by Frank Wilson in the Inquirer.

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