Sunday, February 15, 2009

Links & Reviews

- If you're looking for something bookish to do next Saturday, LT's hosting another Flash-Mob Cataloging Party, at the Audubon Society of Rhode Island's Powder Mill Ledges Wildlife Refuge in Smithfield. Full info here. I'm going. You should too!

- The ABAA's San Francisco fair is going on this weekend. Coverage in the San Francisco Chronicle includes a top-line mention of our friend Ian Kahn (whose books arrived on time after all - whew!).

- Members of the Jeffersonville Carnegie Library Foundation, which oversees the Remnant Trust collection currently housed in Jefferson, KY, said this week that they are confident they can find a way to keep the collection where it is, problems with its present location notwithstanding.

- The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore has mounted an exhibit relating to the St. John's Bible, an ongoing project to create the "first handwritten, illuminated Bible to be commissioned by a Benedictine monastery since the advent of the printing press more than 500 years ago." The Bible is scheduled for completion next year.

- More than 24,000 pages of the papers of former first lady Bess Wallace Truman were opened to the public 13 February at the Truman Presidential Library and Museum, to mark the 124th anniversary of Mrs. Truman's birth. No bombshell revelations were reported.

- Paul Collins notes his Slate piece on CBS' "The Big-Bang Theory" and the question of whether Sheldon has Asperger's syndrome.

- Blood traces on a couch believed to be the very piece of furniture on which author Alexander Pushkin died are being tested to be determine if they're the real thing. Carolyn Kellogg has more at Jacket Copy.

- Scott Douglas has a new "Dispatches from a Public Librarian" up at McSweeney's.

- Carolyn Kellogg also pointed us this week to the Catalogue of Digitized Medieval Manuscripts, a very decent and usefully-searchable database of manuscripts made available online by libraries around the world. I like it! Kellogg is right to note that link-collections are tricky, since URLs tend to be less stable than they should be, but hey, it's better than nothing.

- Some really scary news out of the Keystone State this week, where Gov. Ed Rendell's proposed 2009-2010 budget cuts fifty of fifty-seven positions at the State Library of Pennsylvania. Funding for the library would be slashed by fifty percent, to just $2.4 million. "The State Library houses an extensive general and legal reference collection and is perhaps the state's leading repository of Pennsylvania and U.S. government reports, from election results to postings of salaries of all state employees.It also contains a state-of-the-art rare-books room that preserves a collection of books and newspapers started by Benjamin Franklin." (That collection is now online at LT here). Awful news, and I hope that the state can figure out a way to keep the library going in a meaningful way. [h/t LISNews]

- The NYPL blog this week mentioned Premiere Issues, a site designed to archive "first issues" of magazines. It contains about 200 issues, mostly fairly recent (within the last twenty years or so). With wider coverage this could be extremely useful.


- In the TLS, Richard Dawkins reviews Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution is True. He calls the book "outstandingly good," and concludes "The need was great; the execution is superb. Please read it." Given the recent poll numbers, it's hard not to agree.

- Coyne's book is reviewed alongside Desmond and Moore's Darwin's Sacred Cause by Thomas Hayden in the WaPo.

- Dan Simmons' Drood is reviewed by Robert Hughes for the WSJ.

- Lauren Groff's new collection of short stories, Delicate Edible Birds, is reviewed at Open Letters.

- Costica Bradatan reviews Ingrid Rowland's Giordano Bruno: Philosopher/Heretic in the Philly Inquirer.