Friday, 25 July 2008
Friday, 18 July 2008
Have you ever spent the pre-dinner conversation moments at someone's house browsing their bookshelves? Ever waited, at your new friend's or new date's home, for the first opportunity to be alone, so that you could go through their books? And, most importantly, have you ever wondered what was on the bedside tables of Sylvia Plath, ee cummings, or WH Auden?
I See Dead People's Books, the latest project by LibraryThing, gives you the possibility to find some answers for this last question: yes, you can actually have a look at the bookshelves of some of your favourite authors. Of course, as Graeme Allister points out in the Guardian blog, "many of the books are predictably familiar", and the lists cannot actually be read as a complete representation of anyone's literary preferences - they have been put together through various different methods, mainly with the help of American academic libraries, and they cannot account for those books that were sold or disposed of by the authors or by their families. But the idea still has an undeniable charm.
And you might find out, for example, that Guy de Maupassant's short stories featured in Faulkner's library, or that Ernest Hemingway was a fan of Rudyard Kipling's Plain Tales from the Hills. Or, even, that he shared with Francis Scott Fitzgerald an interest in G.K. Chesterton - but while Hemingway himself preferred The Incredulity of Father Brown, Fitzgerald was keener on The Napoleon of Notting Hill.
The website even tells you about what state the copies are in - whether, for example, they are pocket editions or leather-bounds, and whether their owners wrote anything in them (apparently, Sylvia Plath and Ezra Pound were very active scribblers). It might not be the most academically accurate way of learning about your favourite writer's influences, but it is hard to resist the curiosity...
Monday, 14 July 2008
And just in case you were looking for more good reasons to visit our website, we've just started a 3 for 2 offer on all online orders.
(This is our online preview of another similar offer starting at the end of summer... keep reading our blog and we'll keep you updated!)
Back in the days when we didn't have our own blog, we were nonetheless keeping track of our fellow bloggers' comments, ideas and discussions on our books.
So, before anything else, here are our belated thanks to all those who enjoyed our books and were kind enough to tell the web about them:
- Back in March, in the middle of the Hesperus week, stuck-in-a-book Simon found out about Capuchin Classics. His interview with our châtelaine Emma Howard can be read here, and makes for an excellent introduction to our series. We also really enjoyed Simon's reviews of Michael Arlen's The Green Hat (particularly the "witty treacle" metaphor!) and of Pamela Hansford Johnson's An Error of Judgement.
- In April, the bookaholic Dovegreyreader was impressed by An Error of Judgement; she also anticipated our publication of her "old favourite" Green Dolphin Country by Elizabeth Goudge, which has since then come out with a new introduction by best-selling author Eileen Goudge (you can get the new edition here).
- In his blog for the Times Online, Peter Stothard, Editor of the Times Literary Supplement, mentioned our new edition of Bram Stoker's Dracula - and, more specifically, the new introduction written for it by award winning broadcaster, journalist and author Anthony Lejeune. Download it here to find out more about Bram Stoker's interest in Irish actors, Sheridan Le Fanu's "dreamy tale of Lesbian vampires" Carmilla, and The Sublime Society of Beef Steaks.
We can't wait to hear more from the book-lovers' online community, and we hope that this blog will provide the opportunity for a many good chats on the books we love (as well as a chance for you to tell us about that one book you have desperately been looking for and would like to keep alive).