Fine Books’ Most-Read Posts of 2015

It’s always fun--and edifying--at this time of year to take a “backward glance” at the most popular reads on our site. From stolen books to Sherlock Holmes to the sale of a Gutenberg fragment, here are 2015’s top posts. See what you’ve missed!

#1 FBI Seizes Rare Books Presumed Stolen from the NYPL. According to New York Public Library (NYPL) officials, eight books--seven bibles published between 1692 and 1861 and Benjamin Franklin’s printshop accounts book, known as “Work Book No. 2”--have been seized pursuant to a grand jury subpoena.  

1 Fig 26 copylg-thumb-500x370-8399.jpg#2 Missing Ruskin Photographs Discovered. The largest collection of daguerreotypes of Venice in the world--and probably the earliest surviving photographs of the Alps--have been officially confirmed as taken by John Ruskin, the famous 19th-century art critic, writer, and artist.

#3 Fifty Sherlock Holmes Works Officially in the Public Domain. An ongoing copyright case closed after the US Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal about Holmes stories in the public domain. 

#4 Bookfinder’s Most Sought Books in 2014. The 2014 list was unveiled and it holds a few familiar names--and a few surprises as well. For years, Madonna’s book, Sex, topped the list, however the queen was toppled this year.

#5 Extremely Rare Apple Computer Dropped Off at Recycling Center. A woman dropped off a box of electronics at Clean Bay Area, a Silicon Valley recycling firm. Included in the box was an Apple I computer, hand-built by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in Jobs’ garage in 1976.

#6 Mystery Novel from 1930s is Surprise Christmas Bestseller. Mystery in White: A Christmas Crime Story, first published in 1937, was re-released in 2014 as part of the British Library’s Crime Classics series.

#7 Philadelphia Goes ‘Wilde’ with Exhibit, Opera. A history of a long-lasting relationship between Oscar Wilde and the City of Brotherly Love.

#8 “Books about Books” Spring Roundup. Five books that bibliophiles will enjoy. Topics include illustrated letters, marginalia, King Penguins, and WWI writers.

#9 Eight Pages of the Gutenberg Bible for Sale. A complete copy hasn’t been seen at auction since 1978, so this sizable section of the famous Bible, offered by Sotheby’s for its consignor, the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, was big news.

#10 A Bibliophile’s Visit to France. The famous bouquinistes, or open-air antiquarian booksellers, still manned their hunter-green stalls along the river quayside, offering passersby the pleasure of searching for literary treasure while simultaneously taking in the city sights.

If you’d like to revisit the top stories of 2014 (e.g., Shakespeare’s dictionary, Sylvia Plath’s journals), click here.

Image: Courtesy of Bernard Quaritch.
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