Sunday, February 22, 2009

Links & Reviews

- Laura has some great finds for us this week: she discovered the outdoor shooting location for the very amusing British show "Black Books," and she's posted the first installment of some of the things she's finding in her research on the evolution of images in anatomy books from 1450 to 1800.

- Washington College, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and George Washington’s Mount Vernon announced the shortlist for the 2009 Washington Prize, a $50,000 award to go to the "best books on the nation’s founding era, especially those that have the potential to advance broad public understanding of American history." Finalists, and deservedly so, are Annette Gordon-Reed's The Hemingses of Monticello, Kevin Hayes' The Road to Monticello, and Jane Kamensky's The Exchange Artist. The winner will be announced on 28 May, which means I have until then to read Gordon-Reed's book (the other two I enjoyed very much). [h/t Cliopatria]

- Only months after major flooding there, the University of Iowa's art book collection was damaged this week when a sprinkler head burst. No estimates yet on the extent of the damage, but preservation librarians were hopeful. [h/t Library Preservation]

- The Folger Library recently unveiled PLRE.Folger, a site designed to complement the ongoing Private Libraries in Renaissance England project. "PLRE.Folger contains records of nearly 13,000 books drawn from book-lists compiled in England between 1507 and 1653, itemizing the collections of 196 owners."

- Speaking of other non-LT "reading databases," The Little Professor test-drives GladCAT for us: this is a collection of annotations and marginalia in the books read by William Gladstone.

- Caleb Crain found a great Franklin quote amongst his reviews. Also this week, Caleb posted an excellent piece on the Google Books proposed settlement.

- In the TLS, Mary Beard asks "what made the Greeks laugh?"

- Jim Watts has a fascinating little video on Bach's personal Bible, highlighting its amazing provenance.

- On the OUPBlog, author David Post has a short essay on his new book Jefferson's Moose, which is on my list of books to read.

- Nick Basbanes posts on the art of the book-dealer catalog, mentioning a few excellent recent examples. I'll add one I really enjoyed recently: Justin Croft's Catalogue Five, which was a delight to read. Nick also wrote recently about bookshops and other bookish activities on Cape Cod.

- Richard Cox has a must-read essay about the major issues of leadership in the archival community.

- On CBS Sunday Morning recently, a piece on French bibliomaniacs. Wonderful.

- It's that time again: the shortlist for the Oddest Title is out. Finalists include Curbside Consultation of the Colon, 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-milligram Containers of Fromage Frais, and Baboon Metaphysics. The winner will be announced 27 March (you can vote here).

- Michael Lieberman points out some great new bookish podcasts for your listening pleasure. He also notes a fascinating new project begun by the ABAA: an oral history project in which Michael Ginsburg and others interview book dealers at various fairs. This will be great!

- David King comments on the next forthcoming J.R.R. Tolkien book, a collection of Norse myths (arriving in May).

- I think I've posted this before but anyway, Reading Copy passes along a list of twenty-five famous people who worked at one time as librarians.

- Polish collector Tomasz Niewodniczanski has donated a large archive of materials, including "maps and plans of Polish towns and letters and manuscripts of Polish kings - from Casimir the Great onwards) - prominent writers such as Mickiewicz, Norwid, Gombrowicz and composers such as Chopin," to the Royal Castle in Warsaw. Niewodniczanski's prior major gifts include a 1999 donation of a collection of maps of the Pomeranian region to the University of Szczecin; in 2002 he gave over 200 maps of Silesia to the Ossolineum Library in Wroclaw." [h/t Tony Campbell]

[Edited to add a link I forgot: Ed's Philadelphia Gotic talk at the Library Company this week is online as a podcast here.]


- In the NYTimes, Walter Kern reviews David Denby's Snark.

- The Little Professor reviews Dan Simmons' Drood.

- For the WSJ, Guy Darst reviews Urich Boser's The Gardner Heist.