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California Book Fair

The 35th annual Florida Antiquarian Book Fair

Swann Galleries

23rd Vermont Book, Postcard & Ephemera Show


Booksellers

R & A Petrilla


Christian Science Monitor

 Connecticut Book Auctions

Always something to discover at Quill & Brush

www.sovereignty.org.uk

The Economist

Long Island Book and Paper Show

Flamingo Eventz

PRB&M

Greenwich Village Antiquarian Book Fair

Freeman’s Auction


PBA Galleries

Biblio


Hobart Book Village


Jekyll Island Club Hotel

www.antiwar.com

Book Fair Calendar

San Francisco Book, Print & Paper Fair.  San Mateo, CA.   February 5–6, 2016.     (more information)

California International Antiquarian Book Fair.  Pasadena, CA.   February 12–14, 2016.     (more information)

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   February 14, 2016.

Greenwich Village Antiquarian Book Fair.  New York, NY.   February 19–21, 2016.     (more information)

PBFA Antiquarian Book Fair.  Cambridge, England.   February 19–20, 2016.

Edinburgh Book Fair.  Edinburgh, Scotland.   March 4–5, 2016.

Washington Antiquarian Book Fair.  Arlington, VA.   March 4–5, 2016.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   March 6, 2016.

Florida Antiquarian Book Fair.  St. Petersburg, FL.   March 11–13, 2016.     (more information)

Westmount Antiquarian Book Fair.  Westmount (Montreal), PQ, Canada.   March 12, 2016.

Papertown.  Boxborough, MA.   March 12, 2016.     (more information)

Ephemera 36.  Old Greenwich, CT.   March 18–20, 2016.

Albuquerque Antiquarian Book Fair.  Albuquerque, NM.   March 18–19, 2016.

Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair.  Sacramento, CA.   March 19, 2016.

Akron Antiquarian Book & Paper Show.  Akron, OH.   March 25–26, 2016.

Long Island Antiquarian Book Fair.  Brookville, NY.   April 2–3, 2016.     (more information)

Vermont Spring Antiquarian Book Fair.  Burlington, VT.   April 2, 2016.     (more information)

Wychwood Book & Paper Show.  Toronto, ON (Canada).   April 3, 2016.

New York Antiquarian Book Fair.  New York, NY.   April 7–10, 2016.

Manhattan Vintage Book, Ephemera & Fine Press Book Fair.  New York, NY .   April 9, 2016.     (more information)

New York City Book Fair.  New York, NY.   April 9, 2016.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   April 10, 2016.

Boston Book & Ephemera Fair.  Lee, MA.   April 17, 2016.

PBFA Antiquarian Book Fair.  Oxford, England.   April 23–24, 2016.

Virginia Antiquarian Book Fair.  Richmond, VA.   April 29–30, 2016.

Westfield Book & Paper Show.  Westfield, NY.   May 7, 2016.

St. Louis Fine Press & Rare Book Fair.  St. Louis, MO.   May 7–8, 2016.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   May 8, 2016.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   May 22, 2016.

Ann Arbor Antiquarian Book Fair.  Ann Arbor, MI.   May 22, 2016.

London International Antiquarian Book Fair.  London, England.   May 26–28, 2016.

PBFA Antiquarian Book Fair.  London, England.   May 27–28, 2016.

Granite State Book Fair.  Concord, NH.   June 5, 2016.

Chicago Book & Paper Fair.  Chicago, IL.   June 11, 2016.

Twin Cities Antiquarian Book Fair.  St. Paul, MN.   June 24–25, 2016.

Cooperstown Antiquarian Book Fair.  Cooperstown, NY.   June 25, 2016.

PBFA Antiquarian Book Fair.  Bristol, England.   July 8–9, 2016.

Tennessee Antiquarian Book Fair.  Sewanee, TN.   July 9–10, 2016.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   July 10, 2016.

Rocky Mountain Antiquarian Book Fair.  Denver, CO.   August 5–6, 2016.

Arkansas Book & Paper Show.  Jacksonville, AR.   August 6–7, 2016.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   August 14, 2016.

Papermania.  Hartford, CT.   August 20–21, 2016.

Rochester Antiquarian Book Fair.  Rochester, NY.   September 10, 2016.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   September 11, 2016.

PBFA Antiquarian Book Fair.  York, England.   September 16–17, 2016.

Montreal Antiquarian Book Fair.  Montreal, PQ (Canada).   September 24–25, 2016.

Pasadena Antiquarian Book Fair.  Pasadena, CA.   October 1, 2016.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   October 9, 2016.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   November 13, 2016.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   December 11, 2016.

Book Auction Calendar

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   February 4, 2016.     (more information)

National Book Auctions.  Ithaca, NY.   February 7, 2016.

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   February 11, 2016.     (more information)

Bonham’s.  Los Angeles, CA.   February 14, 2016.

PBA Galleries.  Pasadena, CA.   February 14, 2016.     (more information)

Bonham’s.  London, England.   February 17, 2016.

National Book Auctions.  Ithaca, NY.   February 21, 2016.

Connecticut Book Auctions.  Enfield, CT.   February 22, 2016.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   February 25, 2016.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   March 3, 2016.     (more information)

National Book Auctions.  Ithaca, NY.   March 6, 2016.

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   March 8, 2016.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   March 10, 2016.     (more information)

Bonham’s.  London, England.   March 16, 2016.

Sotheby’s.  London, England.   March 22, 2016.

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   March 24, 2016.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   March 31, 2016.     (more information)

Phillips.  New York, NY.   April 4, 2016.

Christie’s.  New York, NY.   April 4, 2016.

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   April 7, 2016.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   April 7, 2016.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   April 12, 2016.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   April 19, 2016.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   April 28, 2016.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   May 5, 2016.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   May 10, 2016.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   May 12, 2016.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   May 18, 2016.     (more information)

Phillips.  London, England.   May 19, 2016.

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   May 26, 2016.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   June 9, 2016.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   June 14, 2016.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   June 21, 2016.     (more information)

Uncommon Books Offered by Various Booksellers

(Fine Binding - Shakespeare)  The Comedies, Histories, Tragedies, And Poems of William Shakespeare, With Memoir, Introduction And Notes By Richard Grant White.  Boston: Little, Brown & Co. 1912. Limited edition, 1/1000 sets, an out-of-series set. 18 vols, 8vo; three quarter brown morocco and marbled boards, patterned endpapers, spines lettered in gilt, top edges gilt; Illustrated... $850.00 (more on this and other books available from Austin's Antiquarian Books)

Dumas, Alexandre. The Count of Monte-Cristo. M. Valentin.  New York: Burgess, Stringer Company, 1846. First U.S. edition. Two volumes, as issued, newly rebound in one volume. Being one of two editions published in America in 1846. The other was published in Boston; priority not established (though we believe this to be the first)... $7,500.00      (more on this and other books available from Quill and Brush)

Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution Poster: "Portraits of Demons"  aka "Pictures of Ghosts".  Mao Zedong.   Tianjin, Hebei Province, China: Tianjin Physical Sports Commune, 1967. First Edition.  Large broadside, printed in red and blue on white stock, featuring 18 illustrations from photographs, text in Jilu Mandarin characters... $500.00.  (more on this and other books available from R & A Petrilla)

Harris, Thomas Lake. God’s Breath in Man and in Humane Society.  Santa Rosa, Fountaingrove, Published by the Author, 1891. 8vo., 314pp., ads. Tipped-in and signed albumin photograph of Harris, poet-mystic-utopian, and founder of the Brotherhood of the New Life. Very good copy in green cloth with 1" wrinkle at bottom of front cover; 2-½” inch split along top of rear inner hinge. Inscribed “To Miss Annie Anderson with the compliments of the Author. Given by her to Sunshine.” Two 3-½” x 5" advertisements for Brotherhood of the New Life publications laid in. Includes four original paper-covered lead or tin corner protectors and the worn brown shipping wrapper with Thomas Lake Harris’s return label affixed and which states “If not delivered, the postmaster will please notify T.L. Harris, Publisher, Santa Rosa, Cal., and stamps will be sent for return postage.”  A unique association copy of a very scarce book by one of the early practitioners of California dreamin’...  $1000.00  (more on this and other books available from John C. Huckans Books)

(Fishing Classic, Important Lives, & Two Fore-Edge Paintings)  Walton, Izaak.  The complete angler [and] The lives of Dr. John Donne, Sir Henry Wotton, Mr. Richard Hooker, Mr. George Herbert, and Dr. Robert Sanderson. London: John Major, 1824–25. 8vo (17.1 cm, 6.75"). 2 vols. I: lviii, 416 pp.; 14 plts. II: xviii, [2], 503, [1] pp.; 11 plts... $900.00 (more on this and other books available from Philadelphia Rare Books & Manuscripts) ...more

Important Photography Auction

On Thursday, February 25, Swann Galleries will offer Art & Storytelling: Photographs & Photobooks, an auction highlighting photography’s unique ability to be a medium of both art and information. Headlining the sale is a mural-sized silver print of Ansel Adams’s iconic Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941 (reprocessed in 1948), printed in the early to mid-1950s. This rare print was originally a gift from Adams to Edwin Land, the inventor who co-founded the Polaroid Corporation. Land later presented the print to Edward Mills Purcell, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who served with Land on President Eisenhower’s Science Advisory Committee (the precursor to NASA). The photograph, which has remained in the Purcell family since, is the only 1950s print of Moonrise known to appear at a public auction. Moonrise is estimated at $200,000 to $300,000. ...more

by John Huckans
Sorry Cassandra

Not too long ago I caught a PBS broadcast of a production of one of the grandest of French operas, Hector Berlioz's “Les Troyens”.  Berlioz himself wrote the libretto based on the Aeneid, a sort of Roman-centered epic poem that Virgil concocted from various sources, including a rip-roaring tale by a blind poet named Homer who may or may not have been blind or who may or may not have even existed.  Either way it doesn't much matter because the story is a good one.

The first two acts of the opera center around Cassandra, the daughter of Priam who had received the gift of prophecy and then, according to which story you believe, was cursed by Apollo when she refused his attentions which turned out to be more than Platonic.  The curse ran something like this – she could predict, prophesy, rant and otherwise warn about all sorts of bad things to come until she was blue in the face, but no matter what she might say no one would believe her. But that was only the half of it – for her troubles she would be insulted, branded as a liar, a mad woman or all three.

In one of her delusions she thought there was something fishy and not quite right about the gigantic wooden horse that the Greeks had wheeled up right in front of the gates of the city. Right off she smelled a rat (or maybe it was the fish) and set out with an axe and a torch to destroy the thing ...more

Swann's First Poster Sale of 2016

On Thursday, February 11, Swann Auction Galleries will offer Vintage Posters, with nearly 600 lots in a wide range of collecting sub-categories, including ski, travel, ocean liner, propaganda and war posters, early American theatrical, Art Nouveau and more.
 
Among the Art Nouveau posters are several works by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec including [Aristide Bruant dans son Cabaret], 1893, depicting performer and nightclub owner Aristide Bruant in his signature black cape and red scarf (estimate $60,000 to $90,000). Other works by Toulouse-Lautrec include Caudieux, 1893 ($30,000 to $40,000) and Reine de Joie, 1893 ($20,000 to $30,000). Works by Art Nouveau master Alphonse Mucha include his 1896 advertisement for Job cigarette rolling papers ($20,000 to $30,000), and La Dame aux Camelias, 1896, featuring Sarah Bernhardt in Alexandre Dumas’s masterpiece ($15,000 to $20,000).

Ski and winter resort posters promote the crisp snow and groomed runs of chic destinations. Wilhelm Friedrich Burger’s Pontresina, 1914 ($7,000 to $10,000), and Winter: Sport /  Heiden ($4,000 to $6,000) are both rare examples of his work, as is Augustus Moser’s Sun Valley, 1936 ($4,000 to $6,000). Pierre Fix-Masseau’s Bon Voyage / Bonne Neige, 1938 shows stylish skiers on their way to the slopes ($3,000 to $4,000), while Alex Walter Diggleman’s Chateau d’Oex, 1933 depicts a downhill skier at full speed ($3,000 to $4,000).
 
Travel posters advertise the highlights of various cities like Leslie Ragan’s New York / The Upper Bay from Lower Manhattan, 1935  ($6,000 to $9,000), as well as showcasing natural wonders like Maurice Logan’s Redwood Empire Tour / Southern Pacific, 1928  ($3,000 to $4,000). Roger Broders’s Marseille / Point de Départ de la Cote d’Azur, circa 1929, pairs the deep cerulean of the ocean with a crisp clear blue sky to entice travelers ($2,000 to $3,000), while James Northfield’s Australia / The Blue Mountains, circa 1930s, beckons viewers to the quiet mists of mountain passes ($2,000 to $3,000). Ocean liner images boast luxurious travel on mammoth ships such as Willem Frederick Ten Broek’s Holland – America Line, 1936 ($4,000 to $6,000), and Edward Wright’s Cunard Line / Liverpool - New York – Boston, 1905 ($3,000 to $4,000).  ...more

News & Notes

Boxborough Paper Town Rescheduled to March 12, 2016

Due to the major snowstorm that struck the Northeast on January 11 & 12, Flamingo Eventz rescheduled the popular Boxborough Paper Town – The Vintage Paper, Books & Advertising Collectibles Show.  This decision was made to ensure the safety of  exhibitors, customers, and service providers.  The new date for the show is Saturday, March 12 – the location and all else remains the same.

On Saturday March 12, 2016 at the Holiday Inn in Boxborough, MA, exhibitors from across the Northeast and Canada will be offering an outstanding array of fine, rare & unusual old books, maps, postcards, autographs, prints, posters, advertising, and more. Plus there will be appraisals by John Bruno, of the PBS series Market Warriors, and guest appraisers from 12 noon to 2pm.

Exhibitor Specialties include: Advertising Covers, African American, Americana, Architecture, Art, Art Deco, Auctions, Autographs, Aviation, Baseball, Books, Bibles, Black History, Calendars, Calling Cards, Christmas, Circus, Civil War, Cook Books, Charts, Children’s Books, Design, Dogs, Die Cuts, Documents, Engineering, Engraving, Erotica, Esoterica, Fantasy, Fashion, Fishing, Floridiana, Folklore, Folk Music, Foreign Language, Furniture, Games, Gardens & Horticulture, Graphics, Historic Documents, Horses, Hunting, Illustrated Books, Interior Design, Japan, Judaica, Letters, Logbooks, Manuscripts, Maps, Maritime, Medicine, Middle East, Military, Modernism, Music, Native American, Natural History, Nautical, Naval, New York City, New York State, New Jersey, Novelties, Olympic Games, Pacifica, Photographs, Photography, Polar, Moveable Books, Poetry, Postcards, Posters, Presentation Copies, Presidential Archives, Press Books, Prints, Pulitzer Prize Winners, Puppetry, Puzzles, Railroad, Reference, Revolutionary War, Russia, Scholarly, Science, Science Fiction, Sports, Theatre, Theology, Trade Cards, Trade Catalogues, Travel & Exploration, Travel Brochures, Typography, U.S. Coastal History, Vanity Fair Prints, Valentines, Voyages, Watercolors, Whaling, Wine, Yachting and more. 

The hours on Saturday on January 23, 2016 are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the Boxborough Holiday Inn is located at 242 Adams Place, Boxborough, MA 01709, directly off I-495, exit 28. Admission for adults is $7, young collectors (12-21) is $4, and there is plenty of free parking with food & refreshment available at the Hotel restaurant during show hours. For more information please contact Flamingo Eventz at (603) 509-2639 or info@flamingoeventz.com.

Hobart Book Village

Hay-on-Wye established itself as the first book town in the world and remains the most famous thanks to the pioneering efforts and promotional talents of Richard Booth.  Other rural villages have tried to emulate that model but few have had lasting success.  Book towns are essentially cooperative efforts and the fact that many have been launched to great fanfare and later faded to oblivion points out the obvious – initial passion needs to be sustained by dedication and hard work.  One success that was featured over the summer in the Guardian, delves into the interesting back story about how the Hobart Book Village came to be  ...more

by John Huckans / Robert Kemp
Global Warming and the Greenland Question

Is climate change and global warming really happening?  Robert Kemp thought so in 2005 and correctly points out that since change, any kind of change, is the only real constant, a better question would be is it a good or bad thing?  The entire subject has become so politically-charged nowadays that calm and rational discussion has become nearly impossible, with name-calling often the response to people who question the accepted political orthodoxy.  And since the science has been declared to be settled, scepticism is no longer permissable in polite company.  Apart from climate change true-believers and the folks who run the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, I don't know of anyone who believes science, of whatever kind, is ever completely settled.  

In Yale's E360 2009 interview with Freeman Dyson, the renowned theoretical physicist at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study supports the view that science - especially predictive science - is never settled.  The lengthy comments thread that erupted turned out to be more fun than the imagined spectacle of Sunni and Shia having at each other in a mixed martial arts cage match. ...more

Prices Achieved at Recent Auctions

Historic Ocean Liner Posters Perform Well

Swann Galleries’ November 19 auction of select Rare & Important Travel Posters brought over $482,000 and set auction records for several artists and posters.  Nicholas D. Lowry, Swann Galleries’ President and Director of Vintage Posters, said, “This robust sale, with an enviable 80% sell-through rate, saw many records broken–setting new highs for both posters and, in four cases, for the artists themselves.  Every auction has its surprises, and in this auction the Internet drove bidding especially high in the Italian posters being offered..."

A new auction record was set for artist Leslie Ragan, whose The New 20th Century Limited, 1939 sold for $22,500 and was the top lot of the sale. Ragan’s Rockefeller Center New York / New York Central Lines, circa 1936, also sold well, bringing $8,750.  Other artist records included Percival Albert (Percy) Trompf, with Australia, 1929, realizing $15,000; and Cecil King, whose LMS / The Merseyside Express, circa 1937, sold for $5,750.

Two rare posters advertising the Titanic and her sister ship the Olympic saw a great deal of interest and competitive bidding. James Scrimgeour Mann’s White Star Line / R.M.S. Olympic & Titanic, circa 1911, which shows the Olympic powerfully coursing through the water, brought $10,625 and set an auction record for the poster.  A poster depicting both the sister ships passing at sea, Montague Birrell Black’s [White Star Line /  Olympic & Titanic], circa 1910, sold for $8,450.  A poster of another doomed ocean liner also sold among the top lots; Odin Rosenvinge’s Cunard Line / Liverpool • New York • Boston / [Lusitania], circa 1907, which shows the ship in a nocturnal seascape brought $15,600 and set a record for the artist at auction.

Other ocean liner images were popular in the sale, with Adolphe Mouron Cassandre’s United States Line, 1928, realizing $17,500; while his dramatic Normandie, 1935, sold for $6,240. Posters touting travel by air were also favorites, with David Klein’s bright New York / Fly TWA, 1956, bringing $7,250; while another TWA poster, Paul Colin’s TWA / Trans World Airlines, circa 1950, showing a TWA Constellation circumnavigating a half-shadowed globe, sold for $5,500. Jean Carlu’s striking typography caught attention as his CAF / Voyages Aériens, circa 1926, fetched $5,000.

Posters showcasing fabulous destinations performed well, with Percy Trompf’s Australia, 1929, a scene of a bustling Bondi Beach, selling for $15,000 and setting a record for the artist at auction.  Additional  bright beach images included Maurice Lauro’s rare Trouville, 1927, depicting a day on the boardwalk, which sold for $10,625; and Roger Broders’s Sur la Cote D’Azur, circa 1931, which brought $8,125. Viero Migliorati’s Santa • Margherita • Ligure, 1934, with a stylish group lounging in the heart of the Italian Riviera, realized $8,450 and set an auction record for the poster.

Complete results are available online via www.swanngalleries.com.  For more information, please contact Nicholas D. Lowry at 212-254-4710, extension 57, or via email at posters@swanngalleries.com.

 

Records Set at Recent Auction of Genre Fiction
 
Swann Galleries’ November 10 auction of 19th & 20th Century Literature featuring the Lawrence M. Solomon collection of mystery, science fiction and detective novels saw records set for several books, as well as an impressive auction debut for a rare Jules Verne text. 

John D. Larson, Swann Galleries’ 19th & 20th Century Literature Specialist, said, “Genre fiction of the crime, mystery, detective and science-fiction variety is alive and well in the wake of the strong results from the Solomon sale. Records for several of the benchmarks of the genre were established including works by Rex Stout, Dashiell Hammett, Gaston Leroux and the first edition of Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon, which appeared at auction for the first time..."

The top lots were flush with Hammett texts, including a first edition of his first book, Red Harvest, New York, 1929, in its original dust jacket, which brought $65,000.  A first edition of Hammett’s second book, The Dain Curse, New York, 1929, also in its original dust jacket, sold for $40,000 and set an auction record, while a first edition his iconic and influential novel The Maltese Falcon, New York, 1930, also with original dust jacket, realized $27,500. ...more

by John Huckans
Some Thoughts on the Morgan's Hemingway Exhibit

Not long after returning from Scotland, we attended the Morgan's Hemingway exhibition that remains on view until the end of January 2016.  The Morgan Library and Museum, on Madison Avenue at 36th Street in mid-town Manhattan, has put on many important events over the years and I have to think this is one of the most instructive on many levels.

I've read a lot by and about Hemingway (one of the best biographies is the major one by Carlos Baker that was published in 1969), learned a lot at the exhibition, and came away with the sense that scholars of the future will find much less in the way of a paper trail to add to their understanding of the creative process of writers working today.  ...more

by John Huckans
The True Believer (a new appreciation of Eric Hoffer's classic book)

Events of late have made me wonder if Darwin got it only half right.  I don't quarrel with the theory, as proposed in On the Origin of Species (1859) and The Descent of Man (1871), that modern man evolved from earlier primates and the earlier primates from mammals, that in all probability, evolved from even more primitive life forms.  Even though I don't pretend to be anything close to a biologist, it all just seems to make a lot of sense.  Some of us agree with Darwin's theories, some not.  Some people argue the subject heatedly, while others simply agree to disagree. That is what civilized people do.  What uncivilized people do is kill others who do not believe as they do. ...more

by John Huckans
The Oregon Tragedy

In Another Publication Goes Digital & Narcissism's Darker Side (March 2013) I commented on the then recent mass murder of school children by a celebrity-seeking, criminal narcissist whose name I don't remember – but if you know who it was, please don't tell me.  I don't want to clutter my mind with the names of individuals best left forgotten to history.  There are plenty of good people more deserving of remembrance.

At any rate, the latest, at a community college in Oregon, happened on a gun-free campus making it a bit safer for the shooter to go about his business.  But this time, according to several witnesses, the tragedy has all the hallmarks of a religious hate crime. ...more

The Morgan Presents First Major Museum Exhibition on Life and Writings of Hemingway

In July 1918, Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961) was serving as a volunteer with the Red Cross on the Italian Front during World War I when he was seriously wounded by mortar fire.  He was just eighteen.  Later he would write, “When you go to war as a boy you have a great illusion of immortality. Other people get killed; not you . . . Then when you are badly wounded the first time you lose that illusion and you know it can happen.”  Ernest Hemingway: Between Two Wars is the first museum exhibition devoted to one of the most celebrated writers of the twentieth century.  His direct, spare style influenced successive generations of authors around the world.  And tens of millions would read his books and never forget the stories and characters in ...more

by Michael Pixley
Death of a Book Store

It was probably during the summer of 1998 that I made two important decisions. First, I would retire from the Foreign Service in July 1999 (when I turned fifty years old).  Secondly, I would start my own book business. After all, I had held on to my quite considerable academic library (accumulated in the 1970s) and that would constitute the ‘seeds’ of my yet to be realized venture. The only critical question was… what next? ...more

by Anthony Marshall
A Body in a Library

There are twelve of us in total, gathered here in the library. The usual suspects? Not exactly. But many of the faces are familiar to me, and probably also to my friend, Steve Brazil, who has a secondhand bookshop in Melbourne. I've invited him to accompany me on this investigation. His role is to play Dr. Watson, while I play Sherlock Holmes. With his military background – five years spent as a volunteer in the Australian Defence Force, as a means of dodging the Vietnam war draft – he should be handy with a revolver. Or perhaps not. Steve is frankly a weedy-looking individual, with pacifist instincts. Still, it's good to have someone along, however puny, to mind my back. This crowd looks mean, someone is dead, and things could turn ugly.

Just kidding. We're not here to investigate a murder. But there is a body. It's a body of people called the Book Collectors' Society of Australia (BCSA). And there is a library: the State Library of Victoria, smack in the middle of Melbourne, and that's where we are ...more

by Michael Pixley (from BSM of January 2011)
Keeping Fear Alive

Sometime in September (the precise date escapes me), I happened to hear a portion of a discussion on NPR discussing the latent emergence of  Islamophobia in the United States and how or if this was a partial manifestation of that fear that had already gripped significant portions of Europe.  Some symptoms of that disease in Europe were blatant: seeking to prevent Muslim women from wearing clothing that hid everything but the eyes (the hijab), or, in Switzerland, voters blocking the construction of minarets (tower from whence the summons to pray is announced) etc.  The learned speaker lamented these actions as unhelpful, unfair and counter-productive.  I found myself agreeing with all his observations.  He then suggested that much of this Islamophobia had roots in Medieval Europe and the exaggerated nature of the threat posed by Islam.  That is when I snapped. ...more

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