Archive for September, 2012

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

“The Casual Vacancy” Review Contest

J.K. Rowling’s new novel, The Casual Vacancy, hits shelves (and mailboxes) today, and I’m going to bet it doesn’t take very long at all before the LibraryThing reviews start appearing.

We figured it was a good time to have another review contest! We did this before when Breaking Dawn and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out, and it was great fun.

The prizes:

That’s right, there will be FIFTY winners.

How the winners will be chosen:

  • The top three reviews—with the most thumbs-up—will get the big prize. The next seven will get the next prize.
  • The remaining forty winners will be randomly picked from all members who both wrote a review and voted for others’ reviews.

So, when you finish reading, get writing! When you’re done writing, take some time to read other reviews, and give the thumbs-up to the ones you think deserve it.

The contest ends on Friday, October 19th Tuesday, October 30th. Have fun!

We’re also assembling the published reviews for The Casual Vacancy as they roll in. See this thread for discussion. Warning: don’t read these reviews if you don’t want to see spoilers.

Fine Print: The review you post must be your review (as per the Terms of Use). LibraryThing staff and family can enter, but can only be honored as prize-less runners-up.

Labels: contest, contests, reviews

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Spine Poetry Contest Winners!

Thanks to everyone who entered our Book Spine Poetry Contest! We were happily overwhelmed at the number of entries we received (373 total!), and all of the judges agreed that it was very difficult to choose just a few winners. You can check out all of the entries in the gallery. Click on the images in this post to see the full-size versions.

Without further ado ….

We’ve decided to award two grand prize awards: the first goes to HouseholdOpera for “Dark and Stormy Night” (pictured at left). The poem reads “The dark is rising / under Milk Wood. / A wave / travels / the forest, / tempest-tost.”

The second grand prize goes to klx, for the only poem that made almost all of us laugh out loud when we read it (pictured at right). Here’s the poem as captioned by the author: “My goat ate its own legs, / Weird by true, / A moveable feast. / The idiot.”

Along with the honor and fame, HouseholdOpera and klx have both won an LT t-shirt, stamp, and sticker, plus a CueCat and three lifetime gift memberships to LibraryThing!

We picked two runners-up: both will win their choice of an LT t-shirt, stamp, or CueCat, plus two lifetime gift memberships. The runners-up are trippingpencil, for “Feed / the white tiger / or she dies, / Asshole. / How good do we have to be?” (at left) and opheliaskiss, for “The Bookseller” (at right).

We also chose a few Honorable Mention winners; each will receive a lifetime gift membership. These are:

  • eelee for Cameras
  • jorlene for Such a long journey …
  • Sylak for The Library / Thing of Beauty (which, the author writes, “will never be broken up by me and now sits in pride of place at the top of my bookshelf for visitors to admire”)
  • Rating an Honorable Mention (but not winning another prize) is HouseholdOpera for Steampunk Internet.

    I’ll be contacting the winners today to claim their prizes. And let me just reiterate how really difficult choosing the winners was: we had a great range of really amazing material to work with!

    Congratulations to our winners, and a big thanks again to all the entrants and to our special guest judge, Nina Katchadourian! Watch for a collection of Nina’s Sorted Books projects, coming in 2013 from Chronicle Books. And stay tuned; this was a good success, so I think we’ll do it again next year!

    Labels: book pile, contest, contests

    Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

    Flash-mob: Help catalog Rudyard Kipling’s library!

    As part of our Legacy Library 5th-birthday celebrations, we’re kicking of a flash-mob cataloging party for the library of Rudyard Kipling. We’ll be working from the shelf-list of Kipling’s library at his home, Bateman’s.

    Kipling (1865-1936), is well known for his fiction and poems, and he accumulated quite a neat library, judging by a somewhat cursory glance at the inventory. It’ll be fascinating to see what it looks like when all the books are in LT.

    We’d love to have your help! See the Talk thread or jump right to the project wiki page to get started and claim your section of the library list. No worries if you haven’t worked on a Legacy Libraries project before – this is definitely a good introduction to them! I’ll be helping out too, and will answer any questions you have on the Talk thread.

    [UPDATE: We’re done! Thanks to the eighteen volunteers who helped out!]

    Labels: flash mob, flash-mob cataloging, legacies, legacy libraries

    Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

    September LTER batch is up!

    The September 2012 batch of Early Reviewer books is up! We’ve got 77 books this month, and a grand total of 2,011 copies to give out.

    First, make sure to sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, please check your mailing address and make sure it’s correct.

    Then request away! The list of available books is here:

    The deadline to request a copy is Monday, October 1st at 6PM EDT.

    Eligiblity: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to the US, Canada, the UK, and more. Make sure to check the flags by each book to see if it can be sent to your country.

    Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

    Taylor Trade Publishing Archipelago Books Tundra Books
    Henry Holt and Company Monarch Books Riverhead Books
    Putnam Books Mulholland Books William Morrow
    Light Messages WaterBrook Press Random House
    Demos Health Plume Wilderness House Press
    Frances Lincoln Children’s Books Ballantine Books Two Harbors Press
    The Permanent Press Coelacanth Books Bethany House
    Random House Trade Paperbacks Blue Steel Press Gotham Books
    Greenleaf Book Group Bitingduck Press Spiegel & Grau
    MSI Press Crown Publishing HighBridge
    Human Kinetics Unbridled Books Gray & Company, Publishers
    BookViewCafe Clarion Publishing Exterminating Angel Press
    f/64 Publishing Palgrave Macmillan Bridgeross Communications
    Bloomsbury Savage Press Small Beer Press
    P.R.A. Publishing Prufrock Press Bellevue Literary Press
    Eerdmans Books for Young Readers JournalStone

    Labels: early reviewers, LTER

    Monday, September 3rd, 2012

    Legacy Libraries, Five Years On …

    Five years ago today we launched the Legacy Libraries group (formerly and affectionately known as “I See Dead People[‘s Books]”. The project, now with its own homepage, has grown far beyond what we originally intended when a small group of volunteers started cataloging Thomas Jefferson’s library. Some numbers:

  • 157: Legacy Libraries completed to date, with 60 more currently in progress (the full list)
  • 19: libraries of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence cataloged so far
  • 16: libraries of Mayflower passengers documented
  • 8: libraries of actors added or suggested
  • 1,401: Libraries of Early America on which data has been collected to date
  • 153,232: books added to Legacy Library catalogs so far
  • 8: flash-mob catalog projects, including Frederick Douglass and the H.M.S. Beagle (see below for the next one!)
  • 433: members of the Legacy Libraries group
  • ~160: members who have contributed to at least one Legacy Library
  • 59: Legacy Library catalogs which contain a copy of the works of Shakespeare

    To mark the occasion of the fifth birthday, some announcements:

    Badges! All LibraryThing members who’ve helped with a Legacy Library should now find on their profile page a new “award,” which we’ve named the Legacy Lagniappe. If you don’t have one and should, email me ( with your LT username and the Legacy catalog you worked on (some of the early records are a bit hazy). We’re glad to finally be able to recognize those members who’ve helped out, at least in some small way. The project wouldn’t be what it is without your contributions and your help! I’ve also been working on trying to connect a few LT libraries which should probably be brought into the Legacies fold, so if you were involved with one of those, please be in touch.

    Boswell Completed. One huge project has recently reached completion: the library of James Boswell, underway since early October 2008, now contains 5,047 titles! Congratulations and thanks to LTers moibibliomaniac, larxol, and aynar. Jerry Morris (moibibliomaniac) sent along this note:

    “When, after thirteen long months of cataloging, Boswell cataloging team member larxol declared the cataloging of the library of James Boswell complete in November 2009, he included the following proviso:
    ‘… “complete,” in the sense that all the books we know about at this time have an entry.’

    Little did he know …

    In Feb 2010, James Caudle, the Associate Editor Yale Editions of the Papers of James Boswell, read my announcement in a recent issue of The Johnsonian News Letter that both the Samuel Johnson and James Boswell Libraries could be viewed online at Library Thing. He congratulated us for our efforts and offered his assistance in the form of additional catalogues and lists we and probably most of the rest of the world were unaware of.

    In May 2010, we began the cataloging of the 1893 Auchinleck Sale (books owned by generations of Boswells), to be followed in rabid, if not rapid, succession with the cataloging of the 1916 Sotheby Sale, the 1917 Dowell Sale, the 1810 Catalogue of Greek and Latin Classics (written by Alexander Boswell), the c.1770 Catalogue of Books Belonging to James Boswell (written by James Boswell himself), and finally, Boswell’s Curious Productions, a catalogue of chapbooks belonging to James Boswell.

    Thanks go to the Boswell cataloging team: larxol, aynar, and myself (moibibliomaniac); to James Caudle; to Yale undergraduates Jing fen-Su (c.1770 catalogue) and Jacob Sider Jost (Curious Productions); to Boswell researcher Terry Seymour; to Boswell collector Paul T. Ruxin; to James Boswell himself; and to Library Thing and its Legacy Libraries for making these least four years enlightening and enjoyable.”

    A Selected Catalogue. In 1793, the librarian at Harvard College, Thaddeus Mason Harris, published a pamphlet titled A Seleced [sic] Catalogue of some of the most esteemed Publications in the English Language. Proper to form a Social Library: with an introduction upon the choice of Books (Printed at Boston, by I. Thomas and E. T. Andrews, Faust’s Statue, No. 45, Newbury Street, 1793). Harris wrote in the introduction of his choices:

    “As it has been my endeavour to form a catalogue for a small and cheap library, intended to suit the tastes and circumstances of common readers, many valuable works, in the higher departments of science, have been intentionally omitted. And imperfect as the list may be found, in other respects, yet I trust it will appear that there are sufficient under each head to give a satisfactory and comprehensive (though in some instances very short) view of that particular department of knowledge.”

    This weekend I added Harris’ catalog to LT: see it at SocialLibrary1793. How does your library stack up to the Harvard Librarian’s recommendations from more than two centuries ago? See my overlap (17 titles), or yours (if you’re logged in).

    Coming soon: Kipling Flash-mob! We’ve got a great list of books from Rudyard Kipling’s library, and this week we’ll be starting a flash-mob to catalog them into LibraryThing. Watch the blog for an announcement about details tomorrow or Wednesday, and save some time to join in!

    Finally, from me, a big and very heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who’s helped out with these projects over the last five years, and to Tim for taking an interest and letting us run with the idea way back then! We’ve got a lot more work to do, but it’s great fun, so if you’re interested in helping out with a current project, know of another library we ought to add, or want to begin a project of your own, please be in touch (, jbd1 on LT, or @JBD1 on Twitter). Here’s to many more years of this important, endlessly-fascinating project!

    If you want to discuss the state of the Legacy Libraries at five years, head over to the Talk thread.

  • Labels: flash-mob cataloging, legacies, legacy libraries