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Nebuchadnezzar’s stone book goes to auction

Fine Books magazine reports that a Babylonian cuneiform cylinder from the rule of Nebuchadnezzar II is going to be auctioned on April 9 in New York. The clay cylinder is also offered for sale on AbeBooks at just over £1 million. The book/stone details the rebuilding of a temple by Nebuchadnezzar II around 604-562 BC. The cylinder is […]

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Book of Margery Kempe, the first autobiography in English

The British Library has digitised the sole surviving original copy of the first autobiography written in English – The Book of Margery Kempe, reports The Guardian. It owns the only known copy of the book, describing  Kempe’s life and travels in England and abroad, including her pilgrimages to the Holy Land and Santiago de Compostela […]

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16th century warfare manual shows rockets strapped to cats and doves

Textbooks on the art of war have been around for centuries in one form or another. One of the most interesting examples is Armamentarium Principale Oder Kriegsmunition und Artillerey=Buch by Frank Helm. This 16th century book details the manufacture of bombs, canons and other types of artillery involving gunpowder.  Instructions include strapping rockets to the […]

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10 facts you didn’t know about Beatrix Potter

We still sell piles of her books more than 70 years after her death. Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) does not seem to be going out of fashion. Did you know her most iconic character, Peter Rabbit, was named after a real-life beloved pet rabbit? The Tale of Peter Rabbit was Potter’s first and most famous story. […]

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The legend of William S Burroughs lives on

Lots to read today about William S. Burroughs, who was born 100 years ago on 5 February 1914. Harvard graduate, drug fiend, genre-challenging author – his life was not dull. Very few men accidentally shoot their wife in a drunken haze. Very few authors receive this much attention long after their death. The BBC has […]

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Holocaust book repeats the word ‘Jew’ six million times

It’s a book that contains just a single word, repeated six million times across 1,250 pages. Gefen Publishing, a Jerusalem-based published, has produced And Every Single One Was Someone and it’s a book that was worthy of the front page of the New York Times at the weekend. That one word is ‘Jew’ and this […]

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Prime smuggling real estate – Jamaica Inn is for sale

Jamaica Inn is for sale. No, not the book, I mean the actual building in Cornwall and it’s going to cost £2 million, according to the BBC. The inn, made famous by Daphne du Maurier’s fantastic smuggling novel, has been owned by John and Wendy Watts for the last 40 years and they are now […]

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Mantel to Hugo: 50 essential historical fiction novels

Our latest feature is 50 essential historical fiction novels. This genre has never been bigger. Hilary Mantel has twice won the Booker with historical novels based in Tudor times and Eleanor Catton’s acclaimed novel, The Luminaries, which is set amid in the New Zealand gold rush, has won just about everything in 2013. This feature […]

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Rare collection of Black Beauty author Anna Sewell letters discovered

The BBC reports a rare collection of letters signed by Black Beauty author Anna Sewell have been purchased by a local historian in Norfolk, Sewell’s home county. The letters, written between 1820 and 1860, were discovered on an internet auction site. Also included are letters written to Sewell from her family, as well as a […]

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Ten interesting facts about Charles Dickens

The world has seen many talented wordsmiths in literature, but few can hold a candle to the skill of Charles Dickens (1812-1870), especially when it comes to bleakness, hardship and injustice. After all, how many famous figures can boast that their name became an adjective (in this case ‘Dickensian’) meaning squalid, grim and poverty-stricken? That’s […]

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