" Books, glorious books — confessions of a bibliomaniac"
As a Radio 4 documentary about book collectors airs, the Times deputy literary editor, James Marriott, who lives in a room full of volumes, admits to his problem.
Sandra Hindman is owner and founder of "Les Enluminures" with galleries in Chicago, Paris and New York specialising in manuscripts and miniatures from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the gallery also handles rings and jewelry from the same periods.
In this podcast Sandra has invited collector Benjamin Zucker and looks at their roles and relationship as dealer and collector. While this podcast focusses on the current "Diamonds" exhibition, it also reveals the fascination to collect, the handling of manuscripts and the knowledge needed to deal in historical items.
Indeed, “Books don’t just furnish a room,” Michael Dirda writes in Browsings. “. . . Digital texts are all well and good, but books on shelves are a presence in your life. As such, they become a part of your day-to-day existence, reminding you, chastising you, calling to you. Plus, book collecting is, hands down, the greatest pastime in the world.”
The Paris Review, 7th September 2018: In 2017, Honey & Wax Booksellers established an annual prize for American women book collectors, aged 30 years and younger. The idea took shape when Heather O’Donnell and Rebecca Romney, the bookstore’s owners, observed that “the women who regularly buy books from us are less likely to call themselves 'collectors' than the men, even when those women have spent years passionately collecting books."
The Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA), member association of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, ILAB has just announced a new book collecting prize for young collectors, recognizing the next generation of bibliophiles! Deadline: 1 December 2018!
“I belong to that class of unfortunate beings who are addicted to a habit which it is not easy to break off. This sounds alarming, but let me assure you that neither drug nor dram is the cause of my undoing, and that I have no intention of following in the foot-steps of the English Opium-Eater. The truth is that I am a bibliophile, and I suffer a complaint common to the tribe, namely a feverish appetite which can only be assuaged by choice tit-bits in the form of ancient quartos and duodecimos”.
The 2017-18 Colin Franklin Prize for book-collecting has been awarded to Ekaterina Shatalova (Keble College), for her collection of works by and about Edward Lear (1812-1888), the poet and illustrator famous for limericks in "A Book of Nonsense", and for poems recounting the nautical adventures of "The Owl and the Pussycat" and the "Jumblies" ('who went to sea in a sieve').
"Man has a long history of creating 'famous' animals. Some are mythical or literary, like the Minotaur or Toto. Others are real animals, elevated to celebrity status like Rin Tin Tin, or more recently, Internet sensation Maru the Cat. A fascinating new exhibit at Cornell University's Carl A. Kroch Library uses rare books, manuscripts, photographs, and artifacts to explore 'how and why humans choose to elevate certain individual animals or species to the status of divinities, emblems, mascots, heroes, or celebrities'."
"Bookish digressions and odd cultural details are two reasons why we read Umberto Eco. He takes great pleasure in showing readers the monastic care of books in "The Name of the Rose," the kabbalah in "Foucault's Pendulum" and day-to-day life in Mussolini's Italy in "The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana." Without such layers, without his plunging into the minutiae of other eras, it just wouldn't be an Eco novel."
Regardless of where you live, maintaining the ideal environmental conditions in your personal library presents specific challenges. Conservation of rare books requires keeping your library at a certain temperature and humidity. Paper products are hygroscopic, meaning that they easily absorb and release moisture. This means that your rare books respond to even the most minute variations in temperature and humidity by contracting and expanding. If temperature and humidity aren't controlled over time, visible damage like warped covers and flaking ink can occur. The paper itself also begins to break down more rapidly.
Book Sizes, also known as a book's format, at first sight come across as a bit pointlessly arcane: Folio: Fo. or 2° (try and imagine the 2 as really big and the O as really small). Quarto: Qto. or 4to or even 4°. Octavo: Oct. or 8vo. Duodecimo: 12mo (usually spoken as twelvemo). Sextodecimo: 16mo (sixteenmo). Vicesimo-quarto: 24mo (twentyfourmo). Tricesimo-secundo: 32mo (thirtytwomo). They are the most commonly used. There are a myriad of variations within each theme "Crown Octavo", "Elephant Folio" , "Royal Quarto", "Small..", "Squat.." etc. These are usually tied to bibliographical descriptions from SOMEONE OLD AND DISTINGUISHED tm. who wrote about this book eighty years ago and whose word has been taken ever since.