Sunday, November 08, 2009

Links & Reviews

- Over at The Little Professor, Miriam Burstein engages in a very useful "thought experiment" about what a "bookless library" might look like (she's responding to this). It's a good start, that's for sure.

- Along the same vein, the Open Content Alliance released their "baseline requirements" for what they'd accept from the revised Google Books Settlement, due to be released on Monday.

- A 1477 Ptolemy map printed at Bologna set a record auction price this week, selling for 210,000 Euros ($312,000).

- Author Annie Proulx has donated her papers to the New York Public Library.

- Some historical/government action this week: a Senate hearing was held on several bills relating to national parks in/near Boston: one would change the name of the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow House to "Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarter’s National Historic Site." Another bill expands the boundaries of the Adams National Historical Park to include the Quincy Homestead.

- The Siegfried Sassoon archive is likely to stay in the UK, after the National Heritage Memorial Fund announced that it would grant £550,000 to Cambridge University toward the purchase of the materials. The final £110,000 will probably be obtained.

- The NYPL was profiled in Friday's NYTimes; this is a fun piece, noting the "cabinet of curiosities," the first book lent out, the oldest/heaviest items in the collections, &c.

- Rare archival materials by Leonardo da Vinci are on display at the Bibliotheca Ambrosiana in Milan, through December.

- In the second installment of their "Difficult Books" series, The Millions tackles Richardson, Sterne, and Melville.

- The November Fine Books Notes is up: it includes some biblio-gift guides, including a book list by Nick Basbanes; and an interview with Robert Darnton.

- Over at Schott's Vocab, readers take a stab at reorganizing the library; this weekend they're changed with making up some "before & after" clues, composite individuals.

- From McSweeney's, "The Police Blotter Shakespeare."

- For the NYT's Paper Cuts blog, Woody Holton answers some questions about his normal day, writing on a laptop (he's looking for one he can use outside) and what he's reading and working on now.

- Marjorie Kehe asks can't bookstores, libraries and Kindles co-exist peacefully? Meanwhile, over at Bookride, the downsides of e-books.

- Allison Hoover Bartlett answers questions about The Man Who Loved Books Too Much in the Boston Globe.

- In Monday's Globe, David Mehegan has an essay about the future of the printed codex, asking "Why do we keep books?" He writes "Reading and having books is like wearing clothes. Much of the year, we could go around naked, if we could think of where to keep our keys. But that would not seem quite natural. I would feel abandoned, almost defenseless, without my books. Do others remember, as I do, where they were when they read certain books that changed everything? In a strange way, if I keep the book, I keep that memory. And if I know, or knew, the writer, it’s like keeping a friend nearby."

- Among the many cool images in the BibliOdyssey Image Dump is a very cool and previously unknown drawing of a dodo, which recently sold at Christie's for £44,500.


- Jonathan Yardley reviews Kirk Savage's Monument Wars in the Washington Post.

- In the New Yorker, Jill Lepore reviews several new histories of murder with a lengthy essay on the strange question of just what makes American culture so much more "murderous" than other affluent societies. In a followup Book Bench post, Lepore discusses Edmund Lester Pearson, who wrote true crime stories for the New Yorker in the 1930s and was also responsible for the hoax that led to the name of this blog.

- Christopher Howse reviews Dan Cruickshank's The Secret History of Georgian London in the Telegraph.

- Woody Holton's Abigail Adams is reviewed by Diana Raabe in the In Denver Times.

- Liesl Schillinger reviews Barbara Kingsolver's Lacuna in the NYTimes, as do Ron Charles for the Washington Post and Kai Maristead in the LATimes.

- Robert Merry's A Country of Vast Designs is reviewed by Aram Bakshian, Jr. in the WSJ.

- Michael Dirda reviews Michael Slater's Charles Dickens in the Washington Post.

- Allison Hoover Bartlett's The Man Who Loved Books Too Much is reviewed by Carmela Ciuraru in the LATimes.

- Also in the NYTimes, Harold Bloom reviews David Nokes' Samuel Johnson.