THE BIBLIO FILE is one of the world's leading podcasts about "the book" and an inquiry into the wider world of book culture. Hosted by Nigel Beale it features wide ranging conversations with authors, poets, book publishers, booksellers, book editors, book collectors, book makers, book scholars, book critics, book designers, book publicists, literary agents and other certified bibliophiles.
On The Biblio File Book Club: Is Nick Carraway Gay?
Marc Côté is President of Cormorant Books, a literary publishing house noted for its discovery and development of Canadian writing talent and the publishing of Quebecois fiction translated into English. He has won Canada's Libris Award for editor of the year twice, and Cormorant has won the Libris Award for small presses three times. At Cormorant Marc has acquired and edited many award-nominated books.
The Great Gatsby is a novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, published by Scribner's in 1925. Set in the Jazz Age on Long Island it depicts narrator Nick Carraway's relationship with mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby, and Gatsby's obsessive desire to reunite with his former lover Daisy Buchanan.
The Biblio File Book Club is series of book discussions with smart people about books that they believe are important; books they would recommend to loved ones...books they consider to be essential reading.
Zoom wasn't behaving very well during our conversation, so apologies for the irritating distortions, etc.
Richard Ovenden on the fragility and importance of Libraries
Richard Ovenden has been Bodley’s Librarian (the senior executive position of the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford)
since 2014. He is a Fellow at the Society of Antiquaries and Royal Society of Arts; a member of the American Philosophical Society;
Treasurer, at the Consortium of European Research Libraries; and President of the Digital Preservation Coalition. He awarded the
OBE by The Queen in 2019.
And almost as big a deal, he joined me recently on Zoom to talk about his new book, Burning the Books, a history of the deliberate destruction of knowledge; about the threats to libraries past and present; about fire, war, violence, obsolescence, complacency and underfunding. And about the fragility of libraries, and their fundamental importance to democracy, to truth and facts, to the rule of law, in short, to our treasured Western way of life.
Dan Mozersky on how to build a successful chain of bookstores
Dan Mozersky enjoyed a long and fruitful career in the retail book industry. As a founding member of Indigo Books & Music's executive team he was instrumental in turning the company's vision into reality ( we talk about this in Part ll of our conversation).
During the 1990s he served as manager of U.S. Operations for Classic Books in New York. Prior to this he founded and owned a chain of retail bookstores in Ottawa and Montreal.
Active in the Canadian Booksellers Association, he served as director, vice president, and chair of various industry committees. In 1985 he was recognized by the Canadian Book Publishers' Professional Association as bookseller of the year.
We talk here in Part l of our conversation about how Dan built his successful chain of bricks and mortar bookstores.
Mary Newberry on the Joys of Indexing. Yes, Indexing.
Mary Newberry is a Toronto-based freelance editor, indexer, and teacher. Her early passion was dancing. The self-discipline she learned from it is today one of her greatest assets.
She works mostly with humanities-related texts: academic, government, literary, creative arts and general interest, and lately, in memoir. She has a long-term relationship with social justice and diversity, and enjoys working in these areas.
Scholarly editing is one of her specialties. She enjoys complex materials, helping to bring clarity and concision to emerging ideas. She often works with scholars for whom English is an additional language, and teaches indexing in a course she developed for Ryerson University's Publishing Program. In 2016, she won the Ewart-Daveluy Award for excellence in indexing.
We talk here about the history and practice of indexing, looking specifically at her notable work on Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, in addition to several of her award-winning books.
Johnathan A. Hill on the importance of bookseller catalogues
The son of prominent book collector Kenneth E. Hill, Jonathan A. Hill grew up in a house filled with old books. After graduating from university in 1974 he served a classic apprenticeship, working for four leading antiquarian booksellers in San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. In 1978 he started his own company and has specialized in science, medicine, natural history, bibliography and the history of book collecting, and early printed books.
For the past 20 years he has, partnering with his wife Megumi, also sold antiquarian Japanese, Chinese, and Korean illustrated books, manuscripts, and scrolls.
During the past 43 years the company has issued more than 230 catalogues devoted to these various subjects.
It is thanks to them that I contacted Jonathan. We talk here about his (and Jerry Kelly's) impressive work, and about bookseller catalogues in general.
Book Collector Miriam Borden on rescuing the Yiddish language
Miriam Borden, a teacher of Yiddish and PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto, is winner of the 2020 Honey and Wax Book Collecting Prize for “Building a Nation of Little Readers: Twentieth-Century Yiddish Primers and Workbooks for Children.”
Borden collects twentieth-century Yiddish educational materials. Language primers form the core of her collection which also includes songbooks and workbooks, flash cards, and scripts from school plays. These artifacts testify to a once-thriving Yiddish school system across North America, a network that collapsed after World War II as Jewish immigrants assimilated and Hebrew emerged as the language of the State of Israel. As a teacher of Yiddish, Borden now uses these vintage materials to instruct adults hoping to reconnect with a lost part of their heritage.
This from her winning essay: “There was no heirloom china in the house where I grew up, no silver from grandmother’s chest to be taken out and polished for holidays and family celebrations. That china had all been shattered, the silver stolen. . .The heirlooms, and most of the family, were lost. But that does not mean I am bereft of inheritance. I was raised with an heirloom language, a treasure that could be taken out and polished and used on those rare moments when no word in English or Polish or Hebrew would fit the occasion. I was raised to speak the language of the dead. But never for a moment did it ever dawn on me that it was a dead language.”
Miriam’s collection represents "an impressive effort of historical preservation and an inspiring example of how a collection that began as something personal becomes a collective resource," said the Prize judges.
You can read her winning essay and bibliography here.
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Excellent podcast! Worth your time!
It’s a great podcast about all things books and publishing. Really insightful topics, sometimes episodes are about things I didn’t even know I was interested in.