Thursday, June 07, 2007

Links & Reviews

An early Links & Reviews this week since I'm headed out of town for a couple days.

- The New Yorker has a very interesting D.T. Max essay on the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas-Austin and how it has developed into a top-rank repository for the papers and archival collections of well-known writers. [h/t Everett Wilkie, Ex Libris]

- From NPR this week, an interview with Anne Fadiman on her new book of "familiar essays," At Large and at Small (also an excerpt); a discussion with Lang Elliott and Wil Hershberger on their book Songs of Insects, which took six years to write, record, and photograph.

- Adrian Tinniswood's The Verneys gets a brief mention in the New Yorker.

- Reading Copy notes the release of the nominees for this year's Quill Awards. Eighteen categories ... five nominees each ... and I haven't read a single one of them. Nor, oddly enough, am I likely to.

- Joyce has "footage from the front" at the Concord Book Fair last weekend, which I'm sorry to have missed. She also notes, regretfully, that the Book Barn in Wells, ME will be closing at the end of the summer, and until then, everything's 50% off.

- Forrest analyzes a neat old photograph he recently acquired, over at Mutterings of a Mad Bookseller.

- Ed, our resident Bibliothecary, went to Book Expo America last weekend in New York and has some commentary, links, and a list of the new good books he snagged.

- Upcoming auctions: Rare Book Review reports that Thomaston Place Auction Galleries (Thomaston, ME) will hold an annual books and ephemera auction on 30 June with some real goodies: a 1578 Breeches Bible (images) and many other rare titles.

RBR also notes that a 19 June sale at Christies will feature a first manuscript draft of John Wilkes Booth's "Secession Crisis" speech, written in late 1860 (Lot 227). The twenty-one page draft is being sold by the Hampden-Booth Theatre Library, and is expected to fetch between $200,000-300,000. Significant background and excerpts from the speech here. There are more than 300 other lots in this sale of printed books and manuscripts, including many modern firsts and a previously unrecorded first edition of Copernicus' De revolutionibus (Lot 131) which was examined by Owen Gingerich ($300,000-400,000). Other highlights (to me): a letter from John Adams to Benjamin Rush, 8 January 1812 (Lot 223) in which every great Adams letter-writing characteristic is on display ($150,000-200,000) and a copy of John Woodhouse Audubon's 1852 book Illustrated Notes of an Expedition through Mexico and California (Lot 111 - $70,000-90,000). Auction watching - such a fun spectator sport!

- Bookfinder Journal notes that the first ISBN-13s with a 979-prefix could begin appearing as early as 2008.

- Travis has some thoughts on the increase in Smiley's restitution payment.

- fade theory points out Mirror of the World, a new, beautiful online exhibit at the State Library of Victoria. Highly recommended.

For my upcoming trip I'll be taking along Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns, which received a rave review from one of my most trusted book recommenders.