Friday, March 23, 2012


Pictured above are "Linford" and "Christie," 6-week-old owlets on the bookshelves of zookeeper Jimmy Robinson. He is raising the incubator-born burrowing owls (listen to them here) at his home, after which they will reside (and perform) at Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire, U.K. Their time snuggling up in Robinson's teacups in the evenings and commuting with him to the zoo in a large lunch box during the day will soon be over: "They will be fully fledged within the next month, their feathers are coming through nicely and they are already getting used to flapping their wings."

In other news about books:
  • A cache of banned books - thousands dating from the 1920s to the 1980s - has been uncovered in the subbasement of the National Archives of Australia building in Sydney. Literary historian Nicole Moore has found 793 boxes filled with books Australians were never allowed to read. Why they were banned by the authorities is discussed in her book The Censor's Library. Moore says the books were confiscated for a range of reasons "[M]ore than 90% of titles were banned for obscenity and the rest were banned for sedition or blasphemy." Books that customs officials and a panel of literary experts thought had no claim to literary, artistic, or scholarly merit were seized and remained stored and unread for decades.
  • Locked away in an archive in Regensburg, Germany, for over 150 years was a trove of new fairytales, in the form of 500 stories, myths, and legends that were compiled in the mid-19th c. by local historian Franz Xaver von Schönwerth. Contemporary of the Brothers Grimm, he published Aus der Oberpfalz – Sitten und Sagen, in 3 volumes (1857, 1858, and 1859), but it never gained the same prominence and faded into obscurity. Now recognized as a new canon of fables peopled with magic animals, brave young princes, and evil witches, "Schönwerth's legacy counts as the most significant collection in the German-speaking world in the 19th century," says Daniel Drascek of the University of Regensburg.
If you are not sated, please continue reading my posts about books, including Big book, little book, Marginiala, Bookmobile!, Book reviews in the news, Itty bitty books, Library jumpers, Overdue, Library leavings, Brian's books, "The whole of Egypt is crying," and Retiring holy books.


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