Books · European Art

The Mystery of the Disappearing Velasquez (maybe)

I just finished reading a book that told a wild, but true story about a work of art. Laura Cumming's The Vanishing Velasquez: A 19th-Century Bookseller's Obsession with a Lost Masterpiece tells the story of an English bookseller who believed that he owned a lost masterpiece by Spanish artist Diego Velasquez. It ends with a huge, still-unsolved mystery.

Books

First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare (an eyewitness account)

As some of you may know, the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C. has taken several of its 82 copies of the First Folio on tour this year, bringing one to each of the fifty U.S. states and Puerto Rico to honor the four-hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare's death. Drew University, my alma mater, was the tour's only stop in New Jersey, most likely due to the… Continue reading First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare (an eyewitness account)

Books

Happy Hobbit Day! (Biblio.com)

Bilbo Baggins, the titular protagonist of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, and his nephew Frodo Baggins, hero of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, shared a September 22nd birthdate. Accordingly, that day is annually celebrated as Hobbit Day, and the entire week is deemed to be "Tolkien Week". In honor of this year's festivities, Biblio.com just published my article "Beyond the Hobbit… Continue reading Happy Hobbit Day! (Biblio.com)

Books

“The Fortsas Bibliohoax” (Biblio.com)

   "The Fortsas Bibliohoax, or how a Belgian collector fooled book lovers for the fun of it" I wrote this article for Biblio.com's Book Collecting blog a few months ago now, but I only just found out that it was published. The Fortsas Bibliohoax, an elaborate prank perpetrated by a mid-nineteenth century book lover, is a hilarious story that… Continue reading “The Fortsas Bibliohoax” (Biblio.com)

Books

Behind the Scenes at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair

Last week, I attended the New York Antiquarian Book Fair as an exhibitor for the third year in a row. The fair is an elaborate and exciting four-day event in which over 200 dealers from five continents display and sell antiquarian books, historic documents and autographs, ephemera, illuminated manuscripts, maps, and other collectible works on paper. It is probably the largest and… Continue reading Behind the Scenes at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair

Books

Historical Fiction and the Historian, or why I’m not as different from fiction writers as I thought

I’m currently taking an online class about historical fiction. For whatever reason, writing fiction of any kind has never appealed for me; I’m taking the class because I’m interested in learning about the genre, not attempting to join it. However, the class has spent a lot of time discussing the relationship between historical fiction and… Continue reading Historical Fiction and the Historian, or why I’m not as different from fiction writers as I thought

Books

Lost Languages and conversations about them

It's been a long time since I've been as excited about a book as I was about Andrew Robinson's Lost Languages: The Enigma of the World's Undeciphered Scripts (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2002), and I get excited about books almost every day. Lost Languages is a really excellent and informative introduction to the world's un-deciphered writing… Continue reading Lost Languages and conversations about them

Books

I Want to be a Tolkienologist — my review of David Day’s The World of Tolkien: Mythological Sources of The Lord of the Rings

The fact that it is still December and I'm already writing a review of a book I got for Christmas should tell you everything you need to know about how wonderful this book was. David Day's The World of Tolkien: Mythological Sources of The Lord of the Rings. (New York: Chartwell Books, Inc., 2013) is a 184-page-long,… Continue reading I Want to be a Tolkienologist — my review of David Day’s The World of Tolkien: Mythological Sources of The Lord of the Rings