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Classic children’s fiction: 5 reasons to read Elizabeth George Speare’s Sign of the Beaver

Last week’s bestselling book on AbeBooks was The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare. It’s good to see a revival in interest for this wonderful children’s historical novel. It was published in 1983 and remains one of the author’s best known books. The novel describes the adventures of 12-year-old American settler Matt James Halloway […]

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A little piece of Texas history sells for $6,180

A letter from Sam Houston, written when he was president of the Republic of Texas, has sold for $6,180 on AbeBooks.com. The letter, dated April 15, 1844, was one of the most expensive sales on our marketplace last month, Texas was an independent republic from 1836 to 1846 before joining the United States, and Houston […]

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The origins of The New Yorker’s dandy mascot

And here is the very first issue of The New Yorker, published on February 21, 1925. Our friends at Appledore Books just listed this copy for sale on AbeBooks priced at $2,500. For collectors of ephemera, this is a highly prized item – a little piece of magazine and journalism history. The famous cover illustration […]

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The world’s toughest librarian

“Detective 359” might not mean much to most people but to comic fans those words signify the true introduction Batgirl in 1967. Batgirl had appeared in print earlier in the 1960s. However, Detective Comics #359 is the famous issue that marks her appearance as a key superhero depicted as the daughter of Gotham City police […]

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What does scaramouche mean?

Ever wondered what Freddie Mercury and Queen were singing about in Bohemian Rhapsody when you hear ‘Scaramouche, Scaramouche. Will you do the fandango?’ I thought exactly that when I saw AbeBooks had recently sold a 1921 first edition of Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini for $3,000. What does scaramouche mean? Or rather, who was Scaramouche? Scaramouche […]

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It’s 70 years since John Hersey’s ‘Hiroshima’ New Yorker article shocked the world

Seventy years ago, The New Yorker published a ground-breaking piece of journalism from John Hersey. The 30,000-word article – published in the 31 August 1946 issue – was called ‘Hiroshima’. It detailed the horrific effects of the American nuclear attack on this Japanese city on 6 August 1945, which helped to finally end World War […]

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False alarm: no valuable magic in “1 Wand” typo in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Earlier this month there was a news story concerning copies of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone that were judged to be valuable if they contained a particular wand-related error. The story originated from a British auction company, who have a Harry Potter sale coming up in November, and it was picked up by a large […]

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Rhinoceros by Albrecht Dürer – Armour-plated Awesomeness

What’s amazing about this woodcut, apart of the artistic brilliance and the $300,000 price-tag, is that Dürer had never seen a rhinoceros when he created this image in 1515. The German artist relied upon a written description in a letter and a brief sketch provided by an unknown person. Armour was clearly on his mind. […]

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Books about Cupping: the ancient Chinese healing used by Olympic athletes

If you, like the rest of the world, are wondering about the circular purple bruises seen on Michael Phelps and other Olympic athletes, then you need to learn about the ancient Chinese therapy of cupping. It sounds rude but it’s not. The NY Times writes: In cupping, practitioners of the healing technique – or sometimes the […]

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Elon Musk recommends obscure history book, Twelve Against the Gods

Elon Musk now has something else in common with Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, like the others, can now sell books by simply revealing what he is reading. This is exactly what happened last week when Musk revealed he is reading Twelve Against the Gods by William Bolitho […]

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