2010 Bookseller Resource Guide
At Fine Books & Collections, we believe a book (and a book review) remains timeless. For your enjoyment, we've posted online most of the reviews found in Fine Books from recent years.
Essays on Books and Bibliophiles
Essays on Books and Bibliophiles
Aspects on the History of Books and Book-Collecting in America
By Robert A. Shaddy
Old Books Are Best” reads the title of Beverly Chew’s poem, one of the many examples of booklore Robert Shaddy collects in Essays on Books and Bibliophiles. Chew, a founding member of the Grolier Club, continues with verse touching on his true love, “What though the prints be not so bright, / The paper dark, the binding slight? / Our author, be he dull or sage, / Returning from that distant age / So lives again, we say of right: / Old Books are best.” [read more]
History of the Book in Canada:
History of the Book in Canada:
Volume One, Beginnings to 1840
By Edited by Patricia Lockhart Fleming, Gilles Gallichan, and Yvan Lamonde
Crossing the border from the United States into Canada, one discovers a multicultural mosaic of literary voices and a vibrant community of authors with international stature, like Margaret Atwood, Austin Clarke, Alice Munro, and Michael Ondaatje. Step back in time one hundred years and the literary landscape in Canada becomes much thinner. During the early twentieth century, Canadian publishers were mainly branch-plant operations, acting on an agency basis for parent companies in Great Britain or America. With the exception of Robert Service’s Songs of a Sourdough and L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, published in 1907 and 1908 respectively, there are few Canadian books and even fewer authors who have endured. Writers such as Stephen Leacock and Ralph Connor, who were household names in the United States for most of their careers, are now largely forgotten outside of Canada. If one turns the clock back before Canadian confederation in 1867 or before the movement in British North America towards responsible government in 1840, it would appear that hardly any literature of significance was being produced at all in this northern country. When he sailed into the Gulf of St. Lawrence on his first voyage five hundred years ago, the explorer Jacques Cartier expressed the bleak opinion: “I am rather inclined to believe that this is the land…God gave to Cain.” [read more]
Pablo Neruda
Pablo Neruda
A Passion for Life
By Adam Feinstein
The festivities in honor of the centennial of the birth of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda have already exceeded those that surrounded his receipt of the Nobel Prize for literature in 1971. Although the birthday party will soon end, a flurry of books published in connection with the anniversary will enlighten current and future fans of the life and work of Neruda for years to come. [read more]
Shelf Life
Shelf Life
Romance, Mystery, Drama and Other Page-Turning Adventures from a Year in a Bookstore
By Suzanne Strempek Shea
Books about books is a misnomer of a genre name. If these titles were strictly about books, and nothing else, they would be title catalogs threaded with wisps of narratives: “And then I bought this. And then I sold that.” Such flat enumerations would numb the soul of the most passionate bibliophile. The best books about books are about books and people, specifically, about the sellers, collectors, enthusiasts, and oddballs, including the authors themselves. The people must be as interesting as the books. Shelf Life is primarily about people, emphasizing the relationships that a bookstore can foster among employees and customers, and even bridging the canyon between sellers and buyers. [read more]
Memoirs of a Book Snake
Memoirs of a Book Snake
Forty Years of Seeking and Saving Old Books
By David Meyer
The malapropism “book snake” is applied to David Meyer by an acquaintance reaching for the word “bookworm.” “Snake” suggests a creature that navigates hazardous terrain and tight corners in a single-minded pursuit of its prey. “You have to be willing to go anywhere, and climb over, dig through, and move around all manners of obstacles to get to the books,” Meyer writes. [read more]
ABC for Book Collectors
ABC for Book Collectors
Eighth Edition
By John Carter and Nicholas Barker
ABC for Book Collectors is the standard primer and glossary for book collecting in the English-speaking world. It enumerates the terminology used, commonly and uncommonly, among collectors, booksellers, auction houses, librarians, and scholars. It describes the life of the book, from the original holograph manuscript, through galley proofs, to issue as parts in wrappers, until binding and distribution. The history of books and book collecting in the West is indirectly retold in the biographical entries for major printers, binders, collectors, and notable figures such as Roger Payne, Edwards of Halifax, and William Lowndes. ABC also delineates the canon of bibliographical literature, frequently abbreviated or referenced only by surname: ABPC, ISTC, NUC, McKerrow and Gaskell. Reading ABC is a course in Book Collecting 101. [read more]
Collecting Books
Collecting Books
By Matthew Budman
Recently, a friend was asked for advice on how to start collecting books. Although he has collected for many years, he was struck dumb by the question, his head filled with a jumble of thoughts about issues, states, original boards, and a hundred other bits of book arcana. Matthew Budman, a magazine editor by trade, helps answer the question with what may be the first true beginner’s handbook for book collectors. [read more]
Magna Commoditas
Magna Commoditas
A History of Leiden University Library, 1575–2005
By Christiane Berkvens-Stevelinck. Foreword by Nicholas Basbanes
This new English-language history of one of Europe’s oldest libraries, at Leiden University, demonstrates that freedom of ideas has been central in the development of libraries from the beginning. The University of Leiden was founded during a long period of warfare between Catholics and Protestants. As might be expected, theology dominated its collections initially, but from the start the librarians embraced humanism and acquired books and manuscripts in a wide variety of subjects. Joseph Scaliger’s donation in 1609 of 208 books in Eastern languages—Hebrew, Arabic, Syriac, Ethiopian—cemented the tradition and encouraged Leiden’s librarian Daniel Heinsius to acquire important books with abandon. During most of his fifty-year reign, Heinsius rebuffed all attempts by university officials to curtail his spending, and the library grew from 442 books and manuscripts to 3117. Its holdings in Eastern languages were possibly the best in Europe at the time. [read more]
Who Murdered Chaucer?
Who Murdered Chaucer?
A Medieval Mystery
By Terry Jones, Robert Yeager, Terry Dolan, Alan Fletcher, and Juliette Dor
Terry Jones’s interest in the Middle Ages dates to his days at Oxford, before he became famous as a member of British comedy troupe Monty Python. After the huge financial success of the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which Jones starred in, co-wrote, and directed, he took a year off to write a well-received book about The Canterbury Tales. That study left him wondering about the details of Geoffrey Chaucer’s life and the story of his death. [read more]
A Splendor of Letters: The Permanence of Books in an Impermanent World
A Splendor of Letters: The Permanence of Books in an Impermanent World
The Permanence of Books in an Impermanent World
By Nicholas Basbanes
The arrival of the last volume in Nicholas Basbanes’ trilogy of books about books is cause for celebration. Basbanes’ trilogy is actually a quartet: in addition to A Gentle Madness and Patience and Fortitude, he also wrote Among the Gently Mad, a kind of foreword to the series, even though it arrived third in the chronology. This book quartet serves three purposes. It is a concise history and survey of book culture. It’s a current snapshot of the state of books, and the people who love and work with them. And it offers insights from the world’s leading authorities on trends, past and present, in the book world. [read more]