Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Post-Christmas Links

A few things from around the Interwebs, as Christmas-Mania 2007 continues (one dinner to go):

- The Windsor Star profiles the special collections room at the University of Windsor's Leddy Library, which holds not only university records but also documents the "social history" of southewestern Ontario.

- Paul Collins points out a couple of just-released biblio-oddities: a new and improved edition of Bizarre Books: A Compendium of Classic Oddities and Scouts in Bondage and other Violations of Literary Propriety. Paul also claims to have found the root of the Three Stooges slapstick routines.

- Michael has a brief note on James Lackington, a famous 18th-century London bookseller.

- Bruce notes a couple of very handy (plus, free) imaging tools, including From Old Books, a great collection of scanned images and material from, well, old books.

- Scott Brown's wife Amy Stewart has written a short essay on their entry into the used book business (by purchasing Eureka Books). The whole thing is good (read it!) but here's the key paragraph: "I don’t know a damn thing about rare books—I like my paperbacks cheap and tattered—but I know that I plan to fight long and hard against the alleged demise of the book. Let the National Endowment for the Arts make dire predictions about the decline in reading. Let Sony, Apple, and Amazon roll out one handheld e-book device after another. I’m having none of it. I love the smell of an old book, I love the heft of a hardcover, and I love getting to know a person by browsing their bookshelves. Surely I’m not the only one. Antiquarian bookstores all over the country are closing their doors, but by God, I’m going to wedge my body in the doorway of this one and keep it open." Huzzah!

- From BibliOdyssey, images from one of my favorite hoaxes: the Turkish Chess Automaton, which toured Europe in the 1780s and fooled many.