Sunday, November 24, 2013

Boston Recap, and Links & Reviews

This year's Boston Book Fair certainly appeared to be a resounding success, and it was a real pleasure to have the chance to see so many friends and readers of the blog while enjoying the great variety of books on offer at the Fair. It was, of course, also a treat for me to be back in Boston and visit old stomping grounds (including the Brattle and Raven for books).

- It was on the train up to Boston that I learned that the Google Books decision had finally been handed down, and was basically a complete victory for Google on fair use grounds. Read Judge Denny Chin's decision, or read a rundown at Techdirt. Jessamyn West rounded up some excellent links on the decision as well, and there's yet another link collection here. Nathan Raab wrote for Forbes about the impact this decision, suggesting that it will further drive down the prices of used books (I'm not sure I entirely agree).

- Sotheby's will sell the Bay Psalm Book on Tuesday at 7 p.m. EST in New York. See the catalog for a full account of the sale (you'll also be able to watch the sale via that link). Jill Lepore has an op/ed in the NYTimes about the sale today. Harvard has had their copy out for display through 14 December. Richard Davies attended one of the displays of the book in Seattle, and wrote about the experience. Earlier this month James Barron previewed the sale for the NYTimes, with comments from (now former) Old South Church historian Jeff Makholm. Over at Rare Books Digest, speculation on who might buy the Bay Psalm book this week (they suggest it may well be billionaire collector Steve Green).

- In Standpoint, H.R. Woudhuysen writes about the Senate House "Folio Fiasco" and the lessons it offers for librarians. It's an excellent piece; read the whole thing.

- Barry Landau's accomplice Jason Savedoff was released from prison earlier this month, after serving a year of his sentence.

- Over at Plougshares, an interview with Leah Price in their "People of the Book" series.

- In honor of the three-hundredth anniversary of Laurence Sterne's birthday, Karen Harvey posts on the OUP blog about the manuscript history of Tristram Shandy.

- Whitney Trettien discusses her work on a prototype of a digital facsimile "edition" of a Little Gidding Harmony.

- Columbia University has acquired the archive of Granary Books.

- An 18th-century Haggadah up for auction next week could fetch up to £500,000.

- The Seth MacFarlane Collection of the Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan Archive was officially opened at the Library of Congress on 12 November.

- Harvard's Colonial North America project involves digitizing a great deal of manuscript material from across the Harvard library system, reports the Harvard Gazette.

- Making the rounds this weekend, a horrifying post at Tech Technologies documenting the 2010 sale and subsequent dispersal of a Book of Hours by an eBay seller who's been taking the manuscript apart and selling it piecemeal. Scott Gwara passed along a link to Erik Drigsdahl's running list of dismembered manuscripts seen on eBay in recent years.

- The NYPL has acquired Tom Wolfe's papers for $2.15 million.

- Charles Dornan Davis, best known for his role as a major forger of Texas documents, died on 30 September, Everett Wilkie reported on Ex-Libris. See Tom Taylor's book Texfake for a full account of these forgeries; there's also a 1989 New York Times Magazine piece on the events.

- Jenny Lowe posted some updates to the Girolamini theft scandal this week: the Italian culture ministry has brought the church and library complex under the regional network of cultural institutions. The ministry has also pledged €10 to restore the site. Herbert Schauer, of the Munich auction house Zisska & Schauer, was extradited to Italy earlier this month. Trials for the conspirators have been postponed yet again. And ALAI president Fabrizio Govi has called on the Italian government to release a list of the stolen books (which may not be possible given that such a list doesn't seem to exist). Govi adds: "apparently the Italian authorities are not concerned with the production of the forgeries that De Caro has disseminated throughout the antiquarian book marketplace, especially in the United States. Our worry is that, if nobody will investigate further in this field, we will never know who physically produced those forged books, how many are still circulating, and, last but not least, how they were manufactured, in order that we might be better able to recognize them in the future. The apparent disinterest in investigating this process brings up the frightening prospect that these forgeries might continue to proliferate and appear on the market long after the authorities are no longer interested in the stolen books themselves."

- To mark the publication of the three-volume History of Oxford University Press, there were a series of interesting posts by Ian Gadd on the OUP blog: "Before Caxton? Claiming Oxford as England's first printing city", "When did Oxford University Press begin?" They also posted a slideshow of OUP-related images.

- Over at Booktryst, a profile of British type-cutter Richard Austin.

- Just over a year ago I linked to a report that scholars had identified the authors of marginalia in a 1635 Mercator Atlas at the JCB as John and Virginia Ferrar. Now Ferrar Papers editor David Ransome weighs in, suggesting that the writing is not that of Virginia at all, but merely several varieties of John's own handwriting.

- The National Book Awards for 2013 were announced this week.

- Eleanor Catton talked with the NYTimes about her Booker Prize-winning novel The Luminaries.

- New from the Department of Labor: Books that Shaped Work in America.

- Mary Norris blogged about a round of literary "Jeopardy!" at the launch of Tom Nissley's endlessly interested new book A Reader's Book of Days.


- Doris Kearns Goodwin's The Bully Pulpit; review by Michiko Kakutani in the NYTimes.

- Arlette Farge's The Allure of the Archives; review by Michael Moore in the LA Review of Books.

- Richard Holmes' Falling Upwards; review by Paul Elie in the NYTimes.

- Nicholas Basbanes' On Paper; review by Peter Lewis at Barnes & Noble Review.

- Denise Spellberg's Thomas Jefferson's Qu'ran; review by Kirk Davis Swinehart in the NYTimes.

- Graham Robb's Discovery of Middle Earth; reviews by Ian Morris in the NYTimes and Wendy Smith in the LATimes.

- Owen Matthews' Glorious Misadventures; review by William Grimes in the NYTimes.