Barbara Basbanes Richter

Victor Hugo was exiled from France in 1851 after unsuccessfully blocking Louis Napoleon Bonaparte’s coup d’etat, which left him bumping around Europe for a few years until finding sanctuary on the island of Guernsey, located off the Normandy coast. Of Hugo’s nineteen years spent in banishment, fifteen of those were at Hauteville House, a majestic property built in the hills of Saint Peter Port.

Author-illustrator Maira Kalman’s bibliography is an impressive one. In addition to creating whimsical covers for the New Yorker, Kalman claims dozens of books to her credit: she debuted in 1985 with the picture book debut, Stay Up Late, and since then titles have included instant classics like Last Stop, Grand Central (1999), Looking at Lincoln (2012), Fireboat (2002), and, even an illustrated picture book called Cake (2018).

Wait, another book on Paris? Mais oui, mes amis. This one doesn’t need translation, however; photographer Nichole Robertson’s lighthearted visual tour of the City of Lights highlights the various bookstores, libraries, and cafes infused with a rich literary history—think the Abbey Bookshop, Librarie Jules Verne, and les Deux Magots. Peppered throughout are witticisms opined by the likes of Gustave Flaubert: “Do not read as children do, for amusement, or as the ambitious do, to educate themselves.

On June 12, New York’s Lion Heart Autographs, Inc. will offer at auction the prison diary kept by a British Royal Air Force Officer imprisoned by the Nazis during World War II.

As part of a 175-piece sale, this diary belonged to Joseph Gueuffen (1914-2009), a POW held at the Luftwaffe’s Stalag Luft III camp. The Belgian-born Gueffen was shot down by the Germans three months after he joined the RAF.  He spent the remainder of the war at Stalag Luft III until being returned to England in May 1945.

After the 2013 publication of Nick Basbanes’ On Paper, book artist Tim Ely called the author and requested the unbound sheets of the book, just as they appeared off the press. Basbanes’ editor kindly obliged, and off On Paper went to Washington State to Ely's art studio where he forges one-of-a-kind, handmade books that have been compared to illuminated manuscripts for their impeccable detail and expression.