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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
Thomas Mann Villa Opening
Literature

Opening of the Thomas Mann Villa in Los Angeles

Published on 26 July 2018
On June 18, 2018, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier inaugurated the Thomas Mann House in Los Angeles. More than 250 guests from the worlds of culture, science, politics and the media gathered in the house on San Remo Drive in Pacific Palisades, a borough of Los Angeles. 
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Literature

Collecting - Postwar Germany in the Works of W.G. Sebald

Published on 15 Aug. 2016
Whose role is it to write postwar German fiction? Since World War II ended, numerous writers of great acclaim have come out of West Germany and the GDR, and later from reunified Germany. For instance, you might be familiar with the works of the West German novelists Heinrich Böll and Günter Grass, or with the GDR literature of Christa Wolf. While many writers of the immediate postwar period returned to the rise of Nazi Germany and its aftermath in their works, W.G. Sebald is a bit of an interesting case.
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Literature

Collecting - Ten Facts About Caldecott Winner, James Thurber

Published on 05 Aug. 2016
James Thurber was a short story writer, cartoonist, and humorist. Much of his work was published in The New Yorker, where he began working as an editor in 1927. His most famous short story is The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, recently adapted to film. Combining his talents for writing and illustration, Thurber had a successful career writing children's books, and won the Caldecott Medal for the book Many Moons. Below, read ten facts about Thurber's fascinating life and career.
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Literature

‘I never have any luck with my books’ – Collecting the works of Friedo Lampe

Published on 21 July 2016
Lampe was born on 4 December 1899, in the northern city of Bremen, a place which would exert a particular influence on his writing. At the age of five, he was diagnosed with bone tuberculosis in his left ankle and was sent to a children's clinic over 100 miles away, on the East Frisian island of Nordeney; he spent a total of three years there, away from his family, before being pronounced cured, but it left him disabled for the rest of his life. As a teenager, Lampe was a voracious reader (E.T.A. Hoffmann, Kleist, Büchner, Rilke, Thomas Mann, Kafka, Boccaccio, Cervantes, Dostoevsky, Shakespeare, Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe) and an insatiable book buyer: 'It really is an illness with me. I just have to buy every book, even if I don't have the money.'
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Literature

Collecting - The Life of the Great Creator of Sherlock Holmes

Published on 21 July 2016
On the 7th of July, 1930, Arthur Conan Doyle died at age 71 from a heart attack. On this the 86th anniversary of his death, we'd like to look at this famous author, spiritualist & physician and his lifetime contribution to so many different fields! Conan Doyle (as he is often called, though Conan Doyle is a combination of his middle and last names, as Conan is not a surname, as people often think!) was not born under auspicious circumstances. His father, Charles Altamont Doyle, was an alcoholic and when Arthur was only 5 years old he and his siblings were dispersed to live with family and friends across Edinburgh. A few years later the family moved back together and for numerous years lived in near-poverty. Luckily, Doyle had wealthy family to support him and to send him to Jesuit boarding school in England for seven years beginning when he was nine years old. Despite a difficult home life and upbringing, Doyle apparently struggled leaving home for school – as he was incredibly close with his mother (and would remain so throughout his life) and cherished the stories she would tell him during his childhood. It is even said that his favorite part of school was writing letters home to his mother, and telling stories to his schoolmates that she had once told him!
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Literature

Collecting - The Russian taste for Edgar Allan Poe

Published on 14 June 2016
'"Edgar Poe - the underground stream in Russia." So the Russian Symbolist poet Aleksandr Blok noted in his journal for November 6, 1911, a topic for a future critical study. The article was never written, but the prospect has remained an enticing one. For Poe's fame, however clouded by conflicting interpretation, is of long standing in Russia' (Joan Delaney Grossman, Edgar Allan Poe in Russia: a study in legend and literary influence, p. 7).
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Literature

Collecting – Arthur Conan Doyle: Social Justice Warrior

Published on 07 March 2016
Arthur Conan Doyle was hardly a meek man, nor one prone to seeking diplomatic solutions when dramatic alternatives were available. When he attempted to enlist in the military forces he wrote that "I am fifty-five but I am very strong and hardy, and can make my voice audible at great distances, which is useful at drill." This audible voice proved to be very significant for two individuals in particular; George Edalji and Oscar Slater. My interest in these two men was sparked by our recent celebration of "Arthur Conan Doyle Week" at the end of May in honour of his birthday. Fortunately or otherwise, the Olympia bookfair has prevented me from typing up some of the more fascinating aspects of Doyle's life that I discovered during that week.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Librarian Liberators

Is this your notion of a librarian - a gray-haired, bun-coiffed woman? Of course, this one does not appear to have the requisite spectacles. When I was teaching and tired of constantly putting on and taking off my glasses (I can see distance like a hawk, but can't read a menu without help) I started wearing an eyeglass necklace. One day after school my principal saw me walking out the door wearing them. He laughed and teased me about how "only librarians wear those". I pointed to my husband (a librarian) who had come to pick me up, and said, "He doesn't." My principal blushed, but that seems to be one of the common perceptions about librarians. Far from being the mousy, shushing, bespectacled, gray women of most people's perceptions, librarians come in a variety of packaging (including "guybrarians") and can be ardent defenders of their beliefs. Take the ALA (American Library Association), for example.
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Article

From Bauhaus to Penguin Books - Jan Tschichold’s Influence on Modern Typography and 20th Century Book Design

"As a teacher, theoretician and advocate of Die Neue Typographie (the title of his historic tract from 1928), a fiery young Tschichold enthusiastically took up the banner of strict Modernist design after exposure to early Weimar Bauhaus exhibits. In it he effectively denounces the "decay"—the clutter and filigree—prevalent in common German design and typography at the time, promoting exclusive usage of sans serif (Grotesk) typefaces and asymmetrical layouts."
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Article

CABS 2018 - The Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar

This week, the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar will take place - an unmissable opportunity for booksellers to learn about the rare book trade and get hands on advice from experienced and highly respected booksellers.
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Article

The National Library of Ireland - James Joyce and Oliver St. John Gogarty

Thomas W. Lyster had been director of the National Library of Ireland since 1895. He was famous for his researches about Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and translated H. Düntzer's biography about the German poet into English. Lyster edited the anthology ‚English Poems for Young Students' – and became a key figure in the most important 20th century novel: "Ulysses", by James Joyce. In his article for the German "Literaturblatt", Rainer Pörzgen describes the library and its characters, and compares fiction with reality.
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Article

Jen Campbell: Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops

"I love working in book shops", Jen Campbell says. "They attract especially strange comments and requests." Over the years she has written down all these strange questions customers ask when they drop in. The best of them have recently been published by Constable & Robinson with wonderful illustrations by The Brothers McLeod. An awesome and unbelievably witty book on the eccentricities which make bookselling one of the most fascinating professions on earth. A must for booklovers!
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