New Jersey-based antiquarian bookseller Between the Covers (BTC) Rare Books recently published a full-color catalogue devoted to women. One of the high spots includes a letter written and signed by Helen Keller (1880-1968) when she was seven years old. Believed to be one her earliest missives, this one was composed only two months after she began instruction with Anne Sullivan (1866-1936) the woman who would become her lifelong instructor and friend. Read it at Remember the Ladies: Between the Covers Rare Books Catalog – The Fine Books Blog
Photographer Mathew Brady (1822-1896) is mostly remembered today for his Civil War images–wounded soldiers resting under trees, prisoners awaiting transportation, scores of dead combatants lying in bloody fields–and is considered one of the pioneers of photojournalism. Yet Brady had already secured his status as a premier photographer prior to the outbreak of war, having founded a flourishing daguerreotype studio in New York in 1844 where he photographed the best and the brightest of the Antebellum Era, such as Martin Van Buren, former first lady Dolly Madison, and then-presidential hopeful Abraham Lincoln. Read all about Brady’s Antebellum Portraits on the Fine Books Blog.
Magpie Murders, by Anthony Horowitz, Harper; $27.99, 464 pages.
Looking for a sophisticated whodunnit to read during the dog days of summer? British screenwriter Anthony Horowitz has you covered with Magpie Murders, a two-in-one murder mystery. A book within a book, part one is called Magpie Murders, a classic crime caper written by a contemporary fictional novelist, Alan Conway. Set in 1950s England, acclaimed crime solver Atticus Pünd attempts to solve multiple murders in a sleepy country village. Fans of the British t.v. series Midsomer Murders, also written by Horowitz, will find many similarities–multiple deaths, plenty of suspects, not much time to crack the case–but, just when it looks like the crime will be solved, the storyline jumps back to modern times, where Conway’s editor Susan has just learned of her star author’s suicide. Now there’s a new mystery to solve, with clues peppered throughout Conway’s manuscript. Some may be frustrated by the sudden break in the narrative, but stick with it; Horowitz deftly navigates the terrain with wit and style.
Young adult readers may recognize Horowitz’s name from the well-received Alex Rider spy series. Magpie Murders nicely segues into adult readership territory, and as classic summer reading fare, is best enjoyed on a quiet afternoon, preferably on shady porch, and definitely accompanied with something cool to drink. Cheers!
The Godmersham Lost Sheep Society is on the hunt for wayward books out on the lamb that once belonged to Jane Austen’s brother, Edward Austen Knight and has put out the call for help. Read the details on the Fine Books Blog.
Garth Williams (1912-1996) probably illustrated many of your favorite books from childhood. The National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature in Abilene, Texas, is hosting a exhibition dedicated to his work and life. Read all about it on the Fine Books Blog.
On July 6, 1917, the disparate Bedouin tribes of the Arabian Peninsula joined forces against the Ottoman Empire in the Battle of Aqaba, made famous by the 1962 motion picture Lawrence of Arabia. The battle represented a turning point in the war in the Middle East, and the story and images of Lawrence on camelback with Bedouin cavalry charging across the desert have captivated the public imagination ever since.
Thursday marked the centennial of the Battle of Aqaba, and antiquarian bookseller Maggs Bros. Ltd. is exhibiting material relating to Lawrence and his exploits while also celebrating the firm’s move to 48 Bedford Square, a stone’s throw away from the British Museum. Read all about it on the Fine Books Blog.