March 2010 Archives

I'm on vacation this week and find myself in Tampa, Florida, looking for something bookish to do. By a stroke of luck, the Henry B. Plant Museum is currently hosting "Facing the Late Victorians: Portraits of Writers and Artists from the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection."

HenryBPlant-exhibit.jpgThe exhibit features portraits of dozens of well-known figures -- in drawings, lithographs, photographs, manuscripts, books, even a bookplate. My favorite was probably an albumen photograph of a brooding Alfred Lord Tennyson (pictured here at left), taken by his neighbor, Julia Margaret Cameron, famous in her own right. The delicate etching of Sarah Bernhardt from 1887 looks as fragile as her figure. A lithograph of a boyish William Butler Years  from 1898 is charming.

Several of the images come from English Portraits: A Series of Lithographed Drawings (1898), a limited edition of 750 copies that proved very successful. John Singer Sargent is there, as is George Bernard Shaw. A drawing of George Gissing, author of New Grub Street (an exceptional Victorian novel about writing and publishing), makes him look positively cowboy-ish.  

legallienne-wrightlegallienne-wright.jpgAnother highlight is the personalized bookplate of Richard Le Gallienne (at right), showing him and his wife surrounded by books and bearing the words, "He loved bookes day/ and night to pore/But yet he loved his wife more."

I felt one of the pieces poking fun at me, literary tourist that I was. The Home and Early Haunts of Robert Louis Stevenson by Margaret Armour (Edinburgh Riverside Press, 1895) shows a frontispiece of the famous author. The exhibit label calls attention to "literary tourism" as a "full-blown business by the end of the nineteenth century."

The Lasner exhibit, curated by Margaret D. Stetz of the University of Delaware, is open until June 5; for more information, visit the exhibit's website. The Henry B. Plant Museum is located in the historic, Moorish-style Tampa Bay Hotel (now Plant Hall, part of the University of Tampa's campus) and is open year-round. The Museum interprets the life of railroad and hotel magnate Henry B. Plant and resort life in the Gilded Age.

A lovely afternoon all around. If you're in the Sunshine State, it's well-worth a visit.

The Bookbinding Monks

GMathison.jpgMeet Br. Gerald Mathison (pictured on right). He is a Cistercian (Trappist) monk who has devoted his life to contemplation in a cloistered atmosphere deep in the heart of Oregon. His day is balanced, at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey, with prayer, spiritual study, reflection, and bookbinding.

Yes, bookbinding. The Trappist Abbey Bookbindery, according to their Web site, "specializes in thesis, dissertation, family history, genealogy, bible, periodical and monograph binding for individuals as well as for university and other libraries." Their volumes are hardcover binding with buckram fabric, "according," the site continues, "to norms set by the Library Binding Institute for Class A Library Binding, including the requisite acid-free materials."

The monks, however, are in a bit of bind themselves. The Catholic Sentinel notes that as the trend for digital archiving grows, and the economy continues to perform poorly, it's detrimental to the monks' way of life, so they must learn to adapt.

Review-Minskybook.jpgRichard Minsky--renowned book artist and founder of the Center for Book Arts in New York--is publishing a new volume of decorated commercial bindings, The Art of American Book Covers, 1875-1930. It is the first time Minsky's work is available in a trade edition, published by George Braziller Publishers, with color illustrations and a decorated cloth binding. As a treat, I assigned myself to review the book for our April e-letter (which will arrive in your inbox on Thursday), and I'll tell you this, it is a stunning book. It will be available to purchase through your favorite indie bookshop, online, and in the Fine Books store.

However, Minsky is also offering a signed and slip-cased first edition of the book on his website. He created 100 of these special editions. Through Wednesday, March 31, there is a pre-pub special price of $90, and there are, he tells me, only 25 left right now. Go get 'em!
Thumbnail image for espbook4.jpgCaroline Seebohm, author of At Home With Books: How Booklovers Live with and Care for Their Libraries once told me, "The library has always been an essential element of a house's make-up, even for people who don't read a lot." She added, "The idea of a library is very compelling."

Yes, home libraries are compelling for what they are, and, sometimes, for what they aren't. Dark paneling and uniform shelving? One bookcase and a chaise? Anna Miller sent this fun list of 100 Tips & Tools to Create the Ultimate Home Library to help you figure it out. A sampling: #2 Book plates, #10 Ladders, #34 Do not eat in the library, #75 Use incandescent bulbs. My personal favorite: #96 Consider a minibar. 

From the BBC today a preview of the Arcana Collection: Exceptional Illuminated Manuscripts and Incunabula, to be sold by Christie's in July: A collection of manuscripts previously owned by kings, bishops and members of the aristocracy is expected to fetch up to £16m when it is sold at auction. Read on
Check out Robert Darnton's engaging piece on pre-cursors to blogs over at the New York Review of Books' Blog.

He points our, for example, how 18th century newspaper reporting little varied from modern day gossip blogs:

"Here, for example, is a recent post on The Superficial:

RadarOnline reports "traditional marriage" crusader and former Miss California Carrie Prejean is living in sin with her fiancé Kyle Boller of the St. Louis Rams where they're no doubt eating shellfish. BURN THEM!

And here is a typical entry from Le Gazetier cuirassé ou anecdotes scandaleuses de la cour de France (1771):

Mlle. Romans is soon to marry M. de Croismare, Governor of the Ecole Militaire, who will use six aides de camp to take his place in performing the conjugal service."

- Bonhams London had a Printed Books, Maps and Manuscripts sale on 23 March. Full results arehere. The high seller was a presentation copy of a first edition Wind in the Willows, which made a whopping £32,400. A sketchbook by Ellis Cornelia Knight, containing 37 watercolor drawings of the Mediterranean from 1800 made £30,000, and an illuminated book of hours made £27,600. An archive of English Civil War documents sold for £20,400. Coverage on the Grahame sale in The Guardian.

- I'll have a full preview of the 14 April Sotheby's sale of a "first selection" from the James S. Copley Library soon, but to tide you over there's been press coverage in the Boston Globe (with gallery) and the New York Times. This is going to be quite a sale (the first of several from the Copley Library).
Our Fine Maps columnist, Jeffrey Murray, sent this engaging article to me this morning. It's a piece by John McKinney in Miller-McCune magazine about the decline of the map paper in the age of GPS. From the article:

But the rush to online mapping is causing some problems. Studies by the British Cartographic Society show that high-tech maps get the user from Point A to Point B but leave off traditional features such as historical landmarks, government buildings and cultural institutions; this could lead to a loss of cultural and geographic literacy, the august body warns.
MontagueSummers-185x300.jpgAs a follow up to my January blog about the lost papers of Montague Summers, in which Gerard O' Sullivan told me they were looking for a home for the newly discovered papers, readers will find a recent blog post from Lux Mentis Booksellers very interesting. A snippet:

There is more than hope, there is certainty. I have been exploring and cataloguing the archives of Montague Summers, thought to be lost in the 1950s. Father Sewell wrote an interesting article in 1970 in The Antigonish Review about the loss of the collection and what might be contained within it. Having rediscovered its location, scholar Gerald O'Sullivan wrote a new article in The Antigonish, The Manuscripts of Montague Summers, Revisited. He and I had been following each other on Twitter for some time and one thing led to another and the archive is now with  me.

There's an App for That

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The Chicago Tribune's Printers Row blog offers some suggestions for book lovers far and wide. They list a small sampling of iPhone apps perfect for literary-minded folks. Happy (iPhone) reading!


Book Makers - British Publishing in the Twentieth Century.jpgTwo recent books may be of interest to book collectors, dealers, and historians. Book Makers: British Publishing in the Twentieth Century was just released by the British Library. In the press release, the author, Iain Stevenson, commented:

"Publishing people are fascinating, interesting, occasionally horrifying and astounding.  This book shows that their contribution to twentieth century British history and intellectual life was enormous and my research has forced reassessments of people like Robert Maxwell and Allen Lane as well as re-introducing many lesser-known individuals whose roles were important in shaping what we read."

The pub details: Book Makers: British Publishing in the Twentieth Century by Iain Stevenson, Hardback, 336 pages, 244 x 172 mm, £25.00. It can be purchased from the British Library Shop (tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7735 / e-mail: bl-bookshop@bl.uk) and online as well as other bookshops throughout the UK.

herrmann-lexique-glossary.jpgAnother just-issued title will be of particular interest to Francophiles -- it's a new English-French, French-English glossary of terms by Roland Herrmann. From the press release: "More complete, more precise, more realistic than anything that exists so far, it contains approx. 1300 entries each way. A handy and elegant volume, it will prove of considerable help in your understanding and/or drafting of book descriptions."

Available at: Librairie de l'Amateur, Strasbourg (France), or e-mail: libamat@wanadoo.fr. Price 23 € plus postage. 
If you find yourself driving through New Jersey and have a couple of free hours on your hands, you might consider visiting the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange, a truly remarkable concentration of material objects from the golden age of invention, and for scholars and researchers the repository of what is estimated to be five million papers and documents relating to the work of a self-educated creative genius. As national parks go, this one might not share top billing with the Grand Canyon, Yosemite or Niagara Falls, but it lacks nothing in the form of illuminating the can-do spirit of the American Industrial Revolution and showcasing the marvels of gee-wizardry. Most of the 1,093 patents granted to Edison were for inventions that were developed here

edison_exterior.jpgRecently reopened after a six-year $13 million renovation that included the installation of an elevator and various interactive displays, the complex--known informally in its time as Edison's "invention factory"--is now welcoming the public once again, and allowing visits throughout the various working spaces and laboratories, where teams of innovators once worked to develop such modern marvels as the phonograph, a fluoroscope to view x-ray images, machines to extract iron from ore, processes to streamline the manufacture of cement, cylinder recorders for office dictation, and nickel-iron-alkaline storage batteries. A motion picture projector synchronized with a phonograph that he called the kinetophone was developed here as well; it led to the opening of the world's first movie studio, which visitors can see on the third floor, complete with an original Steinway piano used to audition show-biz hopefuls.

edison_bed.jpgBuilt in 1887, this facility was ten times larger than the one Edison had used for ten years at nearby Menlo Park, where he invented the electric light system. If you had no idea what is contained on these grounds--and if there were no signs to identify it as a national park--the temptation would be to drive right by the three-story brick structure, assuming it to be one of many nineteenth-century industrial sites so typical of the northeast.

Schooled at home as a child by his mother, Edison was a largely self-taught autodidact, and among the many fascinating holdings here is a 10,000-volume library still shelved in his personal working area. Between two book cases in an alcove off to one side is a small bed, placed there by Edison's wife so the great thinker could take an occasional catnap. An inveterate note-taker and doodler, Edison was forever sketching away in his notebooks, of which 3,500 survive; seeing some of these, in fact, was my primary interest in a recent visit, graciously arranged and hosted by Leonard  DeGraaf, archivist for the Thomas Edison National Historical Park.

edison_bookplate.jpgThe Edison site is one of three National Park Service properties that maintains substantial collections of original manuscripts and archives, and functions as a research facility for scholars; others include the Colonial home of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in Cambridge, Mass., and the house of master garden architect Frederick Law Olmsted in the Boston suburb of Brookline. Also part of the Edison complex--which was presented to the National Park Service by the Edison family in 1962--is the family mansion, Glenmont, set atop a scenic hill just a couple blocks away, and open to visitors as well. Well worth a trip.

An update to Rebecca's post from Monday:

The New York Times has posted a series of emails between accused archives thief William John Scott and Norm Conrad, described by the Times as "the curator of the Christian Heritage Museum and marketing director of an affiliated dealer in religious artifacts called 'Rare Bibles and More,' both in Hagerstown, Md." You can read the annotated emails here.

In the tenth email uploaded by the Times, Conrad asks Scott to provide provenance information about the letters (Scott had claimed to have inherited them from his grandfather). Scott replies saying that he's "unsure where he acquired them, sorry."

Conrad told the Times he learned only Monday (when Scott was arrested) that the documents had been stolen, and that they would be returned to Drew University. The FBI is planning to retrieve the items from Maryland. "Calling Mr. Scott 'too bright for his own good,' Mr. Conrad said, 'he definitely has to do some time because it's a major mistake. But, man, what a waste of a life.'"

In other news, another former employee of the United Methodist Archives at Drew, Swetha Iyengar, has an essay at CNN.com about the case, which includes quotes from several other former archives employees.
Yale Alumni Magazine has a very cool little essay about the bookplate, subtitled "Why book owners mark their literary territory with personalized art," written by Alex Beam in its current issue. 
51MF01XFHSL._SL500_AA240_-1.jpgThe Museum of American Finance in New York City is giving away books! It's an online special sale on books and exhibit catalogues, some of which may be of interest, particularly to collectors of financial books, documents, stock/bond certificates, etc. The only cost to buyers is $7.75 for shipping & handling. I can personally vouch for one of the books -- I relied on Scripophily: The Art of Finance by Keith Hollender when I wrote a feature on scripophily in the May/June 2008 issue of FB&C (a version of which can still be read online at the International Bond and Share Society's website.) The other titles include Financing the American Revolution by Udo Hielscher, Document Stories by Sanford Mock, America, Money and War: Financing the Civil War (catalogue), and Rags to Riches (catalogue).
Today I am shocked to learn that a Drew University student is accused of stealing several historic letters from Drew University. Not only is Drew my graduate alma mater, but I worked in the preservation department and university archives for a number of years. I know those collections, those vaults, those librarians, and I am aghast.

According to yesterday's New York Times, the student, a freshman named William John Scott, had a part-time job in the archives when he began stealing letters. An antiques dealer in England alerted library officials after he bought ten Charles and John Wesley letters from the student and was suspicious of the way the delicate letters had been packaged and mailed. Scott was arrested on Sunday, after the F.B.I. found more stolen documents in his dorm room, including letters from Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Richard Nixon.

What is unclear from the NYT report is that the student did not work in the university archives; he worked in the Methodist Archives. At Drew, there is the Library, which houses the university archives and special collections, and then there is a separate structure, the United Methodist Archives Center, that holds the records of the Methodist Church as well as related rare and historical collections. In any case, the student was given a key to a locked special collections room, which, unfortunately, raises a BIG security question. The press release issued by the university is brief.  
Thumbnail image for the-sea-the-sea-murdoch.jpgIt is said Ireland's greatest contribution to the world of arts and culture has been its literature. Always known for a rich oral and storytelling tradition, Ireland transformed into a literate island with the coming of Christianity in 400-500 AD (heralded by St. Patrick himself). Monks were hard at work illuminating Gospel manuscripts, such as the Book of Kells, while the rest of Europe began its descent into the Dark Ages...

Featured this week in ABE's Rare Books Room is Literature from the Emerald Isle just in time for St. Patrick's Day later this week. There's a short feature on Collecting the Irish, from Jonathan Swift to Roddy Doyle, James Joyce to Edna O'Brien. Are you a collector of Celts? Perhaps you'll find a pot of gold waiting for you here. 

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The ABA and PBFA joined forces for the sixth annual Edinburgh Premier Book Fair held at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh's New Town.  The fair, which began yesterday and concludes today, saw about 60 dealers exhibiting.

I visited the fair yesterday afternoon, near to closing time, and it was very quiet.  The morning had seen a flurry of activity which died down as the day went on.  I'm happy to say that McNaughtan's Bookshop, where I work, did very well - enough to send me on a run back to the shop to fetch some more books to fill empty shelves.  But overall the fair was rather quiet and opinion of the fair's success amongst booksellers seemed to vary widely.

Today is hoped to be busier.

In the meantime, I'm happily pouring over my two purchases - first editions of the first two volumes in F. Marian McNeill's "Silver Bough" series, a classic, and increasingly scarce, study of Scottish folklore.



jack_kerouac_1960-thumb.jpgToday is Jack Kerouac's birthday. Read/listen about him on NPR's "Writer's Almanac." Or, if you missed it, read about him and his troubled estate, from our January issue
Spare an hour or two to browse Harvard's new interactive "Reading" website:

Reading: Harvard Views of Readers, Readership, and Reading History is an online exploration of the intellectual, cultural, and political history of reading as reflected in the historical holdings of the Harvard Libraries. For Internet users worldwide, Reading provides unparalleled digital access to a significant selection of unique source materials--more than 250,000 pages from 1,200 individual items, including 800 published books and 400 manuscript selections.

For a quick wow, click on the Collection Highlights, where you can literally flip through 15 fantastic finds, including Dibdin's Library Companion (1824), The Country Book-Club (1788), or the manuscript charging record from the Harvard library showing which books Henry D. Thoreau checked out from 1836-37.

Said FB&C columnist (and assistant reference librarian at the Massachusetts Historical Society) Jeremy Dibbell: "It's really a perfect example of how libraries can use current technology to highlight their collections and make things available at the same time. Really nicely done."

I couldn't agree more.

200px-Alice-In-Wonderland-Theatrical-Poster.jpgI had Alice (or maybe more precisely, Johnny Depp) on my mind when I wrote this month's Dear Reader, which I titled "Mad March Hare." But it's not just me. The Alice in Wonderland film (directed by Tim Burton, starring Depp) had its U.S. premiere over the weekend (it's now the #1 movie in America...). So everyone's talking Alice. Print Magazine had four designers storyboard their favorite scenes. The Private Library blog had a guest editorial about Alice. The Folio Club sent out an email about its new deluxe manuscript facsimile. Even the British Library held festivities last month.

Want to join in the Alice madness? Actually, the British Library is the best place to start. You can read about the original manuscript, leaf through it using their "Turning the Pages" software, and go down your own rabbit hole.     
In case anyone missed yesterday's New York Times (myself included), this fun little essay about book collecting, e-books, Walter Benjamin, and the Kindle. An excerpt:

Beholding "the several thousand volumes that are piled up around me," Benjamin exclaims: "O bliss of the collector! Bliss of the man of leisure!" With nothing piled up around me but the Kindle and its charger, I may be missing out. But even Benjamin, who managed to see the future of media and technology more than once, knew he was writing an elegy for a way of experiencing books. I like to think he would be the first to recognize that the Kindle delivers a new kind of bliss.
WASHINGTON -- Everyone who runs a business knows that it takes a long time to win a customer for life but that you can lose one in five seconds. That's about all it took today for an organizer of the Washington Antiquarian Book Fair to tempt me to cross it off the list of events I support. Worse, it could kill the interest in the entire hobby for a visitor who took home her first rare books.

I hope the experience I share today along with two other mistakes organizers made serve as reminders for WABF and of any fair to remember the basics of solid customer communications.

What happened?

My friend Won-ok and I had finished our shopping around 3 p.m. today after we spent five hours shopping. We bought a ton of treasures. One of the volunteers with Concord Hill School -- the Maryland school that organizes the fair as a fundraiser -- nastily told us that "You can't have all those bags." She was referring to the grand total of three that another hard-working volunteer had filled with our goods. The woman then snatched some contents from one of our bags and overloaded them in the other two. 

It was a shocking display of rudeness that left me biting my tongue to avoid lashing back. 

My experiences to date with every single Concord Hill School volunteer had been nothing but outstanding. This event, by the way, is the first fair I ever attended and its friendly, helpful volunteers played a key role in giving me my seemingly incurable rare book collecting fever. 

But today I was ticked. The fair would close in only two hours, more empty bags were on the table, and I was standing there with piles of books in hand.

"Excuse me," I wanted to say, "I just spent a thousand dollars on books that I'd rather not have crash onto the ground in the parking lot. I think you can spare another two-cent bag."

The volunteer was oblivious to how she sounded and made no effort to soften it the way people do when they realize they've been rude. I knew it wasn't my imagination, either. The volunteer standing next to the first looked horrified. She recognized the need to administer  some emergency room customer service and was sweet as pie. 

I stood frozen for a minute longer. I reflected on the otherwise delightful time I had over the past two days and how much I love the books -- and etchings -- I bought. "It's certainly not the book dealers' fault this volunteer was so rude," I thought. "Don't form your opinion of the fair based on the last five seconds."

Still, this wasn't the first ball organizers dropped this week. They stated on the Web site that there would be lectures by book dealers (there were none), and a request for additional information sent through the site went unreturned.

I chose not to say anything to the rude volunteer. Won-ok and I got in my car and pulled out of the garage. She is a lot more understanding than I am so it didn't even occur to me that she might have been irritated, too.

"You know," she began, softly -- knowing how much I love book collecting and how much I had talked about the WABF -- "That was pretty interesting for my first time. I enjoyed it, actually. But I didn't like being treated like that. It kind of leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth."

I cringed. 

Even though they were well out of earshot, I suspected about 75 book dealers did, too. 


 
Fine Books Hebenstreit wabf.jpgWASHINGTON -- I busted out of cabin fever Friday night ... heading straight to the Washington Antiquarian Book Fair to hunt for a few new prizes to add to my collection of 18th and 19th century books related to the American Revolution. I'll be there again Saturday (March 6) not long after the doors open at 10 a.m. If you're within reach of the nation's capitol, you should come join me. The event runs until 5 p.m. so you've got time.

The event here is a great way to dump your blizzard blues, warm up your noggin' and even do your part to stimulate the economy. Whether you're a rare book collecting champion who attends fairs all the time or someone who has only heard of the hobby but never given it a try, the Washington fair is a great one to get out and see. The fair is big enough to give you a chance to touch and browse a wide array of rare reads yet not so big you have to hit the gym to train for taking it all in. It's just as right for your wallet. You can buy a beautiful book for less than $20 or you can drop tens of thousands of dollars if you're so inclined.

The Washington fair also gives me the chance to talk to dealers and ask questions ... everything I wanted to know about book collecting or my specialty area but couldn't ask google. The dealers like it, too.

"It's so easy to do things remotely on the computer," Sharlan Douglas told me. "It's nice to meet face to face." Her bookseller husband Ken Hebenstreit (booth 11) agreed. "We hope to sell some things, of course," he said, "but this gives us a chance to meet new people. We also have a very good customer in D.C. and we're going out to dinner with him."

The neatest item Hebenstreit brought down from Michigan? A first edition, advanced reading copy of To Kill A Mockingbird ($19,500).

Across the aisle in booth 38, new friend Ronald Cozzi of Old Editions Book Shop & Cafe told gave me some good news -- becoming the latest bookseller to tell me that his business is surviving the economic slump. He shared a very interesting take on why he's still doing well.

"Collectors find a lot of comfort in this hobby," the Buffalo resident told me. "They turn to their books even more."

I then helped myself to a double scoop of comfort by adding The Pulpit of the American Revolution to my collection. It was only $200 and covered an element of America's founding not yet represented in my library.

I kept my eyes on my niche but I enjoyed watching people smile when they spotted something that fit theirs. You can't help but shake off winter when you see a first edition copy of Charlotte's Web signed by the author. You can find that in Peter L. Stern & Co. booth (26 A) for $8,500. Booth 31 (Jeff Bergman Books) will lead you to a copy of the only authorized biography of Babe Ruth. 

Jett W. Whitehead Rare Books in booth 42 B is a beacon for poetry lovers. Gibson Galleries has a gorgeous set of something that every nature lover would love to own but you'll have to get there quick on Saturday in case some writer-type decides to snatch it up. (Hint: Fine Books has written a lot about him recently, including a review of a novel about him that I wrote.) Hemingway makes several key appearances in various booths.

I could go on but it's closing in on midnight and I've got to get my biblio rest. My first stop tomorrow is at booth 18, where I'll hand The Book Corner $125 for the memoir of Revolutionary War Major-General Heath. I'm still kicking myself for not buying a book from that dealer last year. The book about a Hessian's view of the war was rare yet inexpensive. It would have been perfect for my collection but I got so distracted I forgot to go back and get it. The owner, Bill, event spent a half an hour teaching me about books on that subject.

You should visit him, too. Be sure to tell him I sent you -- but keep your paws off books about the Revolution!
 








Film buffs & poster collectors, take note. Film historian Ira M. Resnick has just published Starstruck: Vintage Movie Posters from Classic Hollywood, which features the best of Resnick's personal collection of more than 2,000 vintage movie posters and 1,500 stills. It contains 250 posters and forty stills from the golden age of Hollywood -- 1912 to 1962.  The publishers bills it as "A one-of-a-kind art book, Starstruck combines cinematic history, a guide to poster collecting, firsthand account, and dramatic full-color artwork--a blend of genres that is unlike any other movie poster book. Resnick offers entertaining anecdotes about how he managed to acquire such stellar examples of movie poster art, as well as historical information about the stars and films shown on the pieces he collected. Bonus material includes a list of Resnick's fifty favorite one-sheets, advice for the movie poster collector, and a glossary of terms and poster sizes. A must-have book for every collector and film buff, Starstruck offers a beautifully illustrated, personal tour of a bygone age of the motion picture advertising industry."

An exhibit of vintage posters from his collection will be on view at the Furman Gallery at Walter Reade Theater through March 9.

Below, Resnick's book signing at Rizzoli Bookstore in Manhattan, last month.

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Photo credit: www.JessicaShaynPhotography.com

Woodstock_music_festival_poster.jpgThis was sent to me today by my local indie bookseller, in Woodstock, NY.

The Golden Notebook is housed in a building it owns right in the center of the Town of Woodstock, NY. It consists of a general bookstore with approximately 750 square feet of selling space and an upstairs stock room and office. Right next door is our children's bookstore in a rental space with approximately 600 square feet of selling space and access to a basement for storage. Both stores have garnered a well deserved reputation and have many established customers. Our goal is to find a buyer who will continue to maintain it as an independent bookstore. If interested, direct inquiries to ellen.tgn@gmail.com.

As you can imagine, Woodstock is a pretty neat place (even if the legendary concert did NOT in fact take place there).

 
As devoted readers of FB&C will know, I've been following Quirk Classics from its very quirky beginning. Last year, Quirk Books of Philadelphia published a "mash-up" of Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice called Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which became a New York Times bestseller. I interviewed the mastermind behind that book for the September 2009 issue of FB&C. It was a very cool concept, followed quickly by Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, which was about 25% less engaging its precursor, but still lots of fun. (I say 25 % because in P&P&Z, there was an ratio of 85% classic Austen to 15% "bone-crushing zombie mayhem." The follow-up had 60% real Austen and 40% bloody filler.)

The newest title in the series, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls, however, is entirely original, and has entirely failed to capture my imagination. It's meant to be a precursor to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, so most of the characters are Austen's, excepting ones like Master Hawksworth, Elizabeth's ninja instructor and love interest. For a young adult audience, this might work. Otherwise, I fear Quirk has taken a grand idea and run it aground.

Still, the jacket art is stunning. And, you've got to hand it to an indie publisher for doing something--anything--to counter the same old corporate publishing nonsense that fills superstore shelves. Their marketing campaigns are themselves worthy of awards. In the case of Dawn of the Dreadfuls, March 3--today--has been declared BlogSplosion 2010. This means that if you click here, you can enter for a chance to win one of fifty Quirk Classics prize packs. They'll also give a preview of two illustrations from the book, due out later this month. Good luck.

AK_smaller.jpgIn the meantime, I suppose we'll have to wait until June to see if the next mash-up, Android Karenina, redeems the spirit of Quirk Classics.

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The Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, aka Deborah Mitford, the last surviving Mitford sister is throwing open the doors to her country house Chatsworth in celebration of her 90th birthday.  Anyone aged 9 or 90 is allowed free entry between March 14th and March 30th to view the extensively renovated house and the new exhibition "Celebrating Deborah Devonshire," with a wide variety of personal material and photographs relating to Deborah's eventful life, which in many ways mirrored the 20th century.

While on the Mitford kick, Folio Society collectors can also add the new edition of Jessica Mitford's autobiography, Hons and Rebelsto their bookshelves.

More information on the Chatsworth House exhibition here


In this month's Preservation magazine, Eric Wills writes about the transformation of an old Colorado high school into a state-of-the-art, eco-friendly library. As in most libraries, "One of the largest challenges was configuring the new heating and cooling systems. In the end, an ecofriendly geothermal system, which operates using groundwater, proved the least intrusive option." There's also a recycled rubber floor and a fireplace made from old blackboards.

A trend for libraries? Perhaps not yet, but the Parkway Central Library of Philadelphia is also undergoing environmentally-friendly restoration. It recently got a green roof -- seriously, it's made of vegetation, which is expected to aid in waterproofing, insulation, and drainage.

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