Friday 24 February 2023

Abraham Lincoln's law office bookcase

This five-shelf bookcase was once owned and used by the future president in his law office in Springfield, Illinois. Though simplistic in design, it is accented by a thin midnight-blue velvet trim. The two doors of the bookcase are missing.  

Currently at auction with Heritage Auctions

Thursday 1 December 2022

The Library at Elsinore

Bookcase installation by Tom Phillips, who died earlier this week.
Books, acrylic and pigment ink 
151.7 x 114 x 20 cm

"The mock bookcase contains real books overpainted in grey with titles borrowed from Hamlet in black. These are titles of actual books by actual authors in order of the apprearance of their words in the play. There must of course be more no doubt being borrowed as I write but these are all that my research has turned up. Most are (rightly I presume) obscure but others are by known writers from Lloyd George to Graham Greene with, most recently, Alan Bennett's Single Spies (Simon Callow suggested, he claims, this brilliant choice of title)."

More details here and here

Monday 28 November 2022

Dachshund bookcase

The "Dachshund" sideboard. A wooden sideboard with a twist. This sideboard develops a rotated tail end where you can store books or other items in a more special way. 

Deniz Aktay

Wednesday 16 November 2022

A bookish blade

A knife, with metal blade and fitting, the handle of carved fruitwood, Northern European, 18th/17th century or earlier. 8 5/8 in. (22 cm.) length, 3 1/4 in (8 cm.) circumference. The handle in an unusual design of four stacked books, showing carved covers, clasps, banded spines, and fore-edges with traces of red staining still visible. (Wear commensurate with age and frequent use.)


Friday 14 October 2022

The Book Lover's Joke Book

My latest book is out now! Here's the blurb from the publisher (the British Library):

The Book Lover’s Joke Book is the funniest book about books you’ll ever read. You’ll find jokes about writers, agents, publishers, librarians, grammar, poetry, bookcases, and lightbulbs. There are rib-ticklers for typographers, crackers for critics, and badly foxed quips about antiquarian bookshops. Here too are the best literary April Fool’s (the joke’s on you), rejection letters (the joke’s on the publisher), cookbook jests (the joke’s a bit crumby) and wardrobe puns (the joke’s Narnia business). This delightful literary celebration will make every bibliophile laugh out loud, even in the library.

And here are some examples:

His new novel is called Nagb. It’s pretty controversial. In fact it’s bang out of order.

A man talks into a bar. You’ll have to leave, says the landlord, we don’t serve your typo in here.

My enormous plate of spaghetti got into the Guinness Book of Records. I’m having a devil of a job cleaning it off.

What do cows shout if they don’t like a play? Moo

How many Dylan Thomases does it take to change a bulb? None. They just rage, rage against the dying of the light.

- I fancy a curry tonight I think I’ll go for a Tarka Masala.

-  Don’t you mean a Tikka Masala?

- Nope, it’s quite similar, but it’s just a little ‘otter

This morning I forgot the French word for strawberry, so I had to look it up in a fraise book.

Louise Gl├╝ck, Patrick Modiano and Kazuo Ishiguru go into a pub and order three pints of beer.

“That’ll be £21 please,” says the barman. “You know,” he says proudly, “we don’t get many winners of the Nobel prize for literature in here.”

“At £7 a pint I’m not surprised,” says Ishiguru.

I couldn't find the Mills and Boon section at the library so I asked the librarian and she told me I’d been looking for love in all the wrong places.

Available wherever good books are sold but ideally from your local independent bookshop.


Thursday 6 October 2022

Bookshelves in the Age of the COVID-19 Pandemic brings together perspectives from literary studies, book history, and publishing; investigates the complex relationship between the material book and its digital manifestation; deals with the cultural phenomenon of visible bookshelves brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some open access material.

Palgrave Macmillan