Arcimboldo_Librarian_.jpgThe Bibliothecary Blog

a blog of literary endeavour                                       



Penguintastic Sets (more great items for my Xmas list)

While we're at it, Santa, I know a certain lit blogger who would also love these great reissue sets from Penguin (thanks to Swierczy for pointing them out):

The Complete Cases of Sherlock Holmes with fantastic cover pulp covers also comes with the great Hound of the Baskervilles poster on the right

The Red Classics Gothic Series (even though it contains a Lovecraft volume)

Classic Boys' Adventures Set (also good for girls)  This one might be my favorite.

Philip Marlowe Mysteries (another great poster)

And George Orwell's Animal Farm and 1984 with TWO posters by Shepard Fairey

Man, someone could make this a Penguintastic Christmas.


Klinger's Sherlockian Apocrypha (or, the start of my Xmas list)

Gasogene Books presents the tenth and final volume of their Sherlock Holmes Reference Library, The Apocrypha of Sherlock Holmes edited by Leslie Klinger:

(Hint to Santa: All 10 books would make a great Christmas gift for a certain Sherlockian)


This Week's Books

Well, I guess it's last week's books because I didn't get to post this on Saturday.

Books acquired this week (it was a big week)

Spade & Archer by Joes Gores, a much coveted ARC of a prequel to Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon to be published next year (I won't disclose who gave this to me, but he knows I'm very grateful).

One Night Stands and Lost Weekends by Lawrence Block, another ARC, this one of Block's early stories.

The Face on the Cutting Room Floor by Cameron McCabe, the 1986 Penguin edition

Crockett on the Loose by Brad Lang, with the cover copy: "He's young, hip, long-haired--a private detective.

Blood Runs Cold by Alex Barclay (ARC)

The Man in the Picture, a ghost story by Susan Hill

Rashomon and 17 other stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, the new Penguin Deluxe Edition with great graphic cover art and an intro by Haruki Murakami

Fall of Frost by Brian Hall, a biographical novel about Robert Frost

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale

Bryson's Dictionary for Writers and Editors by Bill Bryson

The Crimes of Dr Watson by Duane Swierczynski, because the spine broke on my original copy

Dracula's Heir by Sam Stall (although I wish this one was written by Swierczy)

From the Library (I love my library card)

The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss

Dispatches by Michael Herr (never read it and one of Ken Bruen's characters in Once Were Cops refers to it)

Books read this week

Deception's Daughter by Cordelia Frances Biddle (look for a review in next week's Sunday Bibliothecary Review of Books)

Once Were Cops by Ken Bruen (look for a review in the near future in the Las Vegas Weekly)

Dope Thief by Dennis Tafoya (to be published next year by St Martin's Minotaur)


BSRB No. 9: Short but sweet

Today, an abbreviated version of the Bibliothecary Sunday Review of Books, featuring a couple lists, a couple reviews and a couple essays.  Come back next week for the full panoply of book reviews including a new one from me on Cordelia Biddle's Deception's Daughter.

The Guardian Review's best of 2008 list is chosen by writers and politicians.

The NYTimes list of 100 Ponderous, er . . . I mean, Notable, Books of 2008 features links to their reveiws of each book. 

Roger Scruton, in a review I missed last week of Kingsley Amis' Everyday Drinking, on the "inimitable rudeness" and "decent heart" of the author. 

Ed Park's Astral Weeks column is Part 2 of his look at "stories within stories" from recent sci-fi collections he's reviewed. (Part 1)

Lesley Chamberlain on the lists of Dr Roget.

Laura Miller on the culling of bookshelves.


Santa arrives

Santa knows how to relaxBlogging will be light this weekend, as your Bibliothecary puts on the red suit at his wife's toy store, Rhinoceros Toys, in Jenkintown.  Every Saturday I'll be playing Santa, talking to the kids and enjoying myself. 

Hopefully, I'll be able to post Sat night and Sunday. 

Merry Christmas!  Ho Ho Ho!


A book lover's delight

When you can't visit the rare book room, let the rare book room come to you: via BooksInq comes this wonderful site, Rare Book Room, where you can page through some of the great books of the world:

Over the last decade, a company called "Octavo" digitally photographed some of the world ’s great books from some of the greatest libraries. These books were photographed at very high resolution (in some cases at over 200 megabytes per page).

This site contains all of the books (about 400) that have been digitized to date. These range over a wide variety of topics and rarity. The books are presented so that the viewer can examine all the pages in medium to medium-high resolution.

You can read a copy of Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience (1794).  Or check out musical scores from Beethoven and Mozart.  How about Edward Burne-Jones personal copy of the Kelmscott Chaucer.  Francis Grove's Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.  Albrecht Durer on how to draw the human body.  A 9th Century manuscript of Euclid's Geometry.  Lots of Ben Franklin.  Tons of Shakespeare.   And the Dictionary of the Great Cham of Literature himself, Samuel Johnson.  A complete list of the books available.  Which one is your favorite?

Oh my god,  I'll be on this site all day. 


BSRB No. 8: Do we, indeed, suck?

Today's Bibliothecary Sunday Review of Books is short but sweet.  Read about kidnappings, live TV, Merlin, Churchill and find out if we do indeed suck. 

Sarah Weinman's Dark Passages column reviews several new crime thrillers focusing on the disappearance of children.

Ahdaf Soueif looks at another translation of 1001 Arabian Nights, this one by Malcolm C. Lyons and Ursula Lyons.

Nick Owchar is entertained by Adam Ardrey's shrill complaints of a Merlin cover-up in Finding Merlin: The Truth Behind the Legend of the Great Arthurian Mage.

Terry Teachout watches a DVD compilation of early television's "Studio One" when TV dramas were performed live.

Jim Ruland reviews the newspaper hoaxes of the 19th century in The Sun and the Moon:The Remarkable True Account of Hoaxers, Showmen, Dueling Journalists, and Lunar Man-Bats in Nineteenth-Century New York by Matthew Goodman.

Heather Havrilesky interviews Denis Leary whose new Why We Suck is already causing controversy (probably proving his point about why we suck).

John Rossi (one of my old history professors) reviews a new Churchill biography, Warlord: a Life of Winston Churchill at War 1897-1945 by Carlo D'Este.

And Frank Wilson has a new column, "That's What He Said," on Tuesdays at When Falls the Coliseum.


This week's books

Books acquired this week

Edgar Allan Poe: An Illustrated Companion to His Tell-Tale Stories (with removable memorabilia including handwritten letters, drafts and more) by Harry Lee Poe.  I love these kinds of books with pull-out facsimile stuff.  Check it out here and click on the Closer Look to see what's inside.

The Glass of Time by Michael Cox.  I reviewed Cox's first novel, The Meaning of Night and very much enjoyed it.

Skin and Bones by Tom Bale.  This is a review copy and won't be published until Jan.  If I like it, I'll let you know.

Two Serenity grapic novels, Those Left Behind and Better Days by Joss Whedon, Brett Matthews and Will Conrad.  I'm a big fan of the TV series Firefly (you can watch all the episodes here).

Picked up these three for 50¢ each at a library:

Gone Baby Gone by Dennis Lehane

The Cleaner by Brett Battles

The Blade Itself by Marcus Sakey

From the library (I love my library card)

Eddie and the Cruisers by P.F. Kluge.  Heard real god things about this book (the basis for the movie which I admit is a guilty pleasure), a gritty look at 1950s rock-n-roll at the Jersey shore. 

The Illlustrated Man by Ray Bradbury.  My copy is packed away inthe storage room and I wanted to read the short story, "The Exiles," featuring Edgar Allan Poe, Ambrose Bierce and Charles Dickens on the planet Mars.


"Exterminate.  Exterminate."

For all you Dr Whovians out there, or for that matter anyone interested in Sci-Fi, the BBC has posted a collection of documents and images about how they created their most famous time and space traveller:
The Genesis of Dr Who

I found their commissioned survey of the Science Fiction field especially interesting.


Pretty Pictures

Two pieces on illuminated books:

at NPR, a report on Huntingdon Library's exhibit "Beautiful Science: Ideas That Changed the World," featuring books with beautiful illustrations AND beautiful ideas.  Click on the illustrated video tour, as well.

the LA Times reports on another exhibit, "“The Belles Heures of the Duke of Berry,” at the J Paul Getty Museum.

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