Sunday, November 29, 2009

Links & Reviews

- A really neat find in England: the deed separating Thomas Paine from his wife Elizabeth Ollive was discovered hanging in the West Sussex home of John Hughes; Hughes' brother found the deed in the late 1970s inside a Smollett novel removed from a shop basement. The deed sold for £11,000 at Bloomsbury on 19 November, purchased by the East Sussex records office and Lewes town council, with donations.

- Some awesome things going on at LT these days (what else is new?) where SantaThing has taken off in a really cool way this year. Also, I'm working with the LT folks to organize a day-long ConferenceThing in Boston in January to coincide with ALA's Midwinter meeting.

- From the New Zealand Book Council, an unorthodox adaptation of a book, to illustrate their tagline: Where Books Come to Life." Very cool. [h/t Jim Watts et. al]

- The Bookshop Blog offers a Viking Q&A with Jasper Fforde, whose new book Shades of Grey is set for release just after Christmas.

- The Shakespeare Quartos Archive debuted recently, with 32 copies of pre-1642 quarto editions of Hamlet available for digital comparison.

- Ian's got a larger image of the 1813 Dance of Death bound in human skin that sold at the Boston Book Fair, as well as a Boston Herald short piece on the book.

- Florence's History of Science Museum has found Galileo's two fingers and tooth, which have been missing since 1905. They'll go on display next year.

- From Library Journal, "The Battle of the Books - Again" examines that oft-discussed topic du jour, the future of libraries.

- Paul Collins notes the US release of Madeline Goold's Mr. Langshaw's Square Piano, and offers a clip of a Broadwood piano in action.

- Wordsworth's bookplace was flooded last week, The Independent reports, but the house in Cockermouth "stands battered but more or less intact amid the mud and debris left by receding floodwaters." [h/t Reading Copy]

- Robert Darnton was on "The Diane Rehm Show" this week to talk about The Case for Books and the future of books. Listen here. He's also got an NYRB essay this week, "Google and the New Digital Future" (about which more soon).

- In the NYT Magazine, Caleb Crain excoriates the practice of "camel case," (that is, where capital letters appear in the middle of the work, as in iPod, or, hem hem, the name of this blog, sorry Caleb!). He's got an online bibliographical supplement here.

- In a 12 November report [PDF], a task force on Harvard libraries concluded that the libraries must "move away from their fragmented and outmoded administrative and financial model." The system's "unwieldy governance no longer aligns well with the current needs of scholarship, where disciplinary boundaries have broken down and digital technology has created a virtual space that extends across the entire University and indeed, the entire world," the report notes. The Harvard Gazette reported that the provost has formed an "Implementation Work Group that will develop new funding and operating models for the library system."

- An excerpt from his forthcoming book The Marketplace of Ideas, Louis Menand's Harvard Magazine essay "The Ph.D. Problem" examines the question of disciplinary professionalization and its impact on scholarship and knowledge, as well as the important questions of just what Ph.D. training in the humanities today gets you.

- Word that the long-delayed Oxford Companion to the Book will be released in January 2010 in the UK; Amazon says March for this side of the pond.

- At Wynken de Worde, Sarah muses on the future of the book and on the 'tension' between e-books and printed books (I agree with her, and many others, that the two are not mutually exclusive).

- The "LJ Best Books 2009" list is out from Library Journal. In The Telegraph, Dominic Sandbrook offers his History books of the year; Benjamin Schwarz gives the Atlantic Books of the Year; the NYT has its 100 Notable Books of 2009 (of these, I've so far read a whopping three). Also in the Telegraph, a selection of folks pick their personal favorite book of the year, and in the TLS, a selection from their Books of the Year 2009.


- At The Little Professor, Miriam Burstein reviews Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall.

- James Baker's Thanksgiving: The Biography of an American Holiday is reviewed by Alexander Nazaryan in the Washington Post.

- John Milton Cooper Jr.'s Woodrow Wilson is reviewed by Erez Manela in the Boston Globe.

- Jill Lepore reviews Gordon Wood's An Empire of Liberty in the Washington Post. Jay Winik reviews the book in the NYTimes.

- Albert Mobilio reviews Umberto Eco's An Infinity of Lists at Bookforum.

- Ben Yagoda's Memoir: A History is reviewed by Daniel Akst in the Boston Globe. Jonathan Yardley reviews the same book in the Washington Post.