January 2015 | Rebecca Rego Barry

TBR 2015

One of my favorite annual holiday gifts is a bag/box of about ten books that I placed on a running wish list sometime in the previous year. They are, essentially, the books I never got to when they were new, or that I only just learned about. They are all "reading" books, not collectible books, although most pertain to the book/art/collecting world in some way. The stack becomes my 'to be read' pile. In between all of the other work-related reading (and the few impulse buys), I pull one of these from the pile to savor each month. I think most of these will appeal to FB&C readers...

9780199951048.jpgThe Newton Papers: The Strange & True Odyssey of Isaac Newton's Manuscripts by Sarah Dry. Published in May 2014, this account details why and how Newton's papers were kept from the public eye. The writeup in Wired caught my attention.

Used Books: Marking Readers in Renaissance England by William H. Sherman. First published in 2007, this is not a new book but one that has long been on my radar as one to read about marginalia, provenance, and early books.

Three Things You Need to Know about Rockets: A Real-Life Scottish Fairytale by Jessica A. Fox. I came across this 2013 memoir about moving to remote Scotland to work in a secondhand book shop while researching the book I'm writing. So reading it is like research, only more entertaining.

Warner copy.jpgTough Day for the Army by John Warner. This is a book of short stories by a McSweeney's editor, aka Biblioracle, who has been known to successfully recommend a book to a complete stranger after he/she has revealed five previous reads. He also recently wrote about buying first editions in the Chicago Trib.

The Art of the English Murder by Lucy Worsley. The subject is intriguing, and we interviewed the author, chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces, for an article on Queen Victoria's collections a couple of years back. Why not?

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. This novel, set in seventeenth-century Amsterdam, has landed on many 'best of' lists, and I look forward to finding out why.

Edgar Allan Poe The Fever Called Living by Paul Collins. It might be enough to say that I'll read anything by Collins, author of Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books, The Book of William: How Shakespeare's First Folio Conquered the World, etc. And Poe is endlessly fascinating.

The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6,000 Miles in the City by William B. Helmreich. This is the least "bookish" book on my list. This guy spent four years schlepping down every block in all five boroughs of NYC, studying the city's present and not-so-distant past.

9781472116666.jpg+There are two more, which, to be honest, would have been amongst this year-end pile if I had had more patience.

The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell, an overview of the world's bookstores, was given to me early, and I've been enjoying nibbles of it ever since.

The Public Domain Review: Selected Essays, 2011-2013, is a collection of neat and unique articles from one of the web's best magazines. (I couldn't wait for Santa; I hastily ordered mine.)