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Episodes

Decoding the Voynich Manuscript

9/21/2018
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The Voynich Manuscript has been confusing clever people since the 15th century. It's an illustrated document written in an unknown language that has defeated all efforts to decipher it. Herbology and pharmacy, astronomy and cosmology, and human biology appear to be the main subjects. Join AbeBooks as we consider this on-going mystery.

Duration:00:06:29

Birth of the Hobbit

9/17/2018
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The Hobbit was published on 21 September, 1937, and only 1,500 copies were printed. It was a landmark day for modern literature. Learn how the original version was altered after JRR Tolkien realized he had written a book that was going to become immensely popular.

Duration:00:05:53

Dr Zhivago & the CIA

9/10/2018
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In 2015, AbeBooks sold an original, Russian-language copy of Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak for $11,000. The bookseller's description read: "Original blue cloth. The true first edition in Russian, one of 1,160 copies, which was printed as part of a covert CIA publishing and propaganda program for distributing banned material to the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe." A dramatic claim but it's true. Learn about this epic story of love, loneliness and the CIA's desire to destablize the Soviet...

Duration:00:06:05

Amy Stewart interview

8/29/2018
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Amy Stewart is an old friend of AbeBooks. We've been following her writing career for many years and saw her move from non-fiction to historical crime fiction. She is also the co-owner of Eureka Books, a bookshop in Northern California. In September, Amy's latest novel is released. Called Miss Kopp Just Won't Quit, this book is the fourth installment in the Kopp Sisters series. A mystery set in the middle of hotly contested election in 1916, Constance Kopp, one of the America's first deputy...

Duration:00:23:30

Manual for Draft-Age Immigrants

8/27/2018
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An unlikely bestseller from 1968 was the Manual for Draft-Age Immigrants to Canada - a handbook for Americans who wanted to avoid being drafted into the Vietnam War by fleeing to Canada. Discover the origins of a book that shaped the lives of thousands of young people during a period of immense social turmoil.

Duration:00:07:32

Amy Bronee's Cookbook

8/22/2018
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Amy Bronee has a wonderful cookbook to her name. It's called The Canning Kitchen 101 Simple Small Batch Recipes, and it was published by Penguin in 2015. Amy works just around the corner from the AbeBooks HQ, and she visited our office to explain how she got noticed by a major publisher. This podcast is all about relishes, pickles, jams and jellies, and what it takes to become a publisher author.

Duration:00:19:59

Books Set in London

8/17/2018
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We go beyond Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle to recommend books set in London. From a genre-defining non-fiction book about Arsenal FC to fictional descriptions of the immigrant experience by Zadie Smith and Hanif Kureishi, we cast our eye across a wide selection of books.

Duration:00:07:44

Gruesome Fairytales

8/10/2018
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Snow White, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid. We all know and love these gentle fairytales. But are you familiar with the original versions? Many popular fairytales started as gruesome tales of violence and killing. Discover the grisly origins of these stories and that there isn't always a Prince Charming.

Duration:00:08:16

Things Found in Books

8/4/2018
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Be careful what you use as a bookmark. Thousands of dollars, a letter written by CS Lewis, a Mickey Mantle rookie baseball card, a 19th century marriage certificate, a baby’s tooth, and a diamond ring are just some of the stranger objects discovered inside used books by AbeBooks sellers over the years.

Duration:00:05:44

UBC Special Collections Library

8/2/2018
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AbeBooks visits Rare Books and Special Collections at the University of British Columbia Library to learn about how they work and who they serve. From early exploration to immigration and settlement, and the Canadian Pacific Railroad, learn about some of the remarkable books, art, ephemera and other objects that are housed in this specialized institutional library.

Duration:00:21:56

Ex Library Books

7/23/2018
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An ex-library book is a book that once belonged to a public library or institution and has been 'discarded' after being deemed no longer useful. They are humble but useful things. This podcast pays tribute to these former library books getting a second lease of life on the used book market.

Duration:00:06:29

Fahrenheit 451

7/17/2018
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Discover the background to Ray Bradbury's classic dystopian book-burning novel from 1953 and why it's still relevant today.

Duration:00:05:50

Great Gatsby's Art

7/15/2018
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F Scott Fitzgerald’s novel from 1925 can be found everywhere. It’s loved by readers for its exquisite prose but it’s also adored by collectors, primarily for its dust jacket. When complete with its original dust jacket, a first edition of The Great Gatsby is one of the most expensive modern editions. Just such a copy sold for $180,000 in 2009. Discover the story behind that beautiful blue dust jacket and why it's so valuable.

Duration:00:05:37

Angels of Mons

7/10/2018
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Of all the memorable tales to emerge from the Great War, the most remarkable one is untrue. The Angels of Mons is a legend that evolved from a ghost story. In 1914, Arthur Machen published a short story called The Bowmen in a newspaper. It described how phantom archers from the Battle of Agincourt had come to the rescue of British soldiers fighting against the Germans in the Battle of Mons a month earlier. People thought Machen's story was factual and the myth of the Angels of Mons began.

Duration:00:06:17

Savoy Cocktail Book

7/5/2018
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The Savoy Cocktail Book is the coolest book in the world. Firstly, it's a one-off, the author, Harry Craddock, never wrote another book. Secondly, cocktails, in modicum, will never go out of style. And finally, it's beautiful and perfectly captures the mood of the Art Deco era. Discover the magic of this famous cocktail recipe book from 1930.

Duration:00:08:09

PulpFest

6/30/2018
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We’re talking Pulp with Mike Chomko, programming and marketing director of PulpFest. Discover the origins of the early Pulp magazines, how authors churned out story after story, the formula behind the lurid cover artwork, and how “new” pulp is bringing crime, sci-fi and adventure writing to a new audience with modern editions.

Duration:00:29:49

Russell Books

6/27/2018
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Jordan and Andrea Minter are the husband and wife team who run Russell Books, a bookshop in Victoria, British Columbia, that now employees 50 staff and offers thousands of new, used and rare books. We learn how the shop started in the 1960s in Montreal. We learn about the odds things that customers say. We learn about the strange things that are left behind in used books.

Duration:00:25:40

Detroit Bookfest

6/15/2018
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Ryan M. Place is the creator and chairman of the Detroit Bookfest. This festival of books is a huge event on July 15, dedicated to everything bookish with a major focus on used and rare books. We ask Ryan about the Motor City's book culture, John King's epic bookstore and how the festival began.

Duration:00:18:13

Remembering Anthony Bourdain

6/12/2018
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Eleven years ago, author-chef-TV star Anthony Bourdain came to town and took a group of foodies to brunch. This episode features memories of that brief encounter and remembers the impact of his ground-breaking memoir about the New York restaurant trade, Kitchen Confidential.

Duration:00:07:20

History of LGBT Literature

6/8/2018
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Although LGBT is now a thriving literary genre, it wasn't always this way. Discover the pioneering authors who paved the way with key books in the 19th century and early decades of the 20th century. From big names like Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf and Patricia Highsmith to long forgotten authors who have faded into obscurity, we take a tour of pen names, court cases and the simple struggle to be accepted.

Duration:00:09:50