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One of the Guardian Unlimited Books' top 10 literary blogs: "A home-grown treasure ... smart, serious analysis"

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Blog entries on '27 October 2005'

Thursday 27 October 2005

I’ll get my coat

Nice, tiny (52 pages, 210 x 115 mm) psychogeography book which I thoroughly enjoyed: I’ll Get My Coat (Book Works):


A writer, an archivist and a painter set out on foot to explore the landscape of Britain. Eschewing the heritage trail they walk the streets of Dalston and Stoke Newington, the cemetery in Ilford, and through Manningham, journeying after the Muslim vernacular across the landscape–mapping Asian history, culture and ruins in Britain. I’ll Get My Coat is a collaborative artists’ book, the end product of walks and talks between Sukhdev Sandhu, Sara Wajid, and Usman Saeed. Two share a similar culture and similar memories, of being Asian Britains, of aspirations and shame. The other, a painter and fashion photographer from Pakistan, is drawn to the license and possibilities that Britain offers, to a glamour that the others find themselves rejecting for an anthropology of Asian ruins.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Thursday 27 October 2005

Confessions of a Book Reviewer

I've just hugely enjoyed reading George Orwell's 1946 essay Confessions of a Book Reviewer:


The great majority of reviews give an inadequate or misleading account of the book that is dealt with. Since the war publishers have been less able than before to twist the tails of literary editors and evoke a paean of praise for every book that they produce, but on the other hand the standard of reviewing has gone down owing to lack of space and other inconveniences. Seeing the results, people sometimes suggest that the solution lies in getting book reviewing out of the hands of hacks. Books on specialised subjects ought to be dealt with by experts, and on the other hand a good deal of reviewing, especially of novels, might well be done by amateurs. Nearly every book is capable of arousing passionate feeling, if it is only a passionate dislike, in some or other reader, whose ideas about it would surely be worth more than those of a bored professional. But, unfortunately, as every editor knows, that kind of thing is very difficult to organise. In practice the editor always finds himself reverting to his team of hacks —his “regulars”, as he calls them.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

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Serendipoetry

Omens, after Alexander Pushkin

I rode to meet you: dreams
like living beings swarmed around me
and the moon on my right side
followed me, burning.

I rode back: everything changed.
My soul in love was sad
and the moon on my left side
trailed me without hope.

To such endless impressions
we poets give ourselves absolutely,
making, in silence, omen of mere event,
until the world reflects the deepest needs of the soul.

-- Louise Gluck
Averno (Carcanet Press)

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Word of the Day

The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or two

Pre-order Anu Garg's new book: The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two: The Hidden Lives and Strange Origins of Common and Not-So-Common Words (ISBN 9780452288614), published by Penguin more …

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October's Books of the Month

The New Spirit of Capitalism The New Spirit of Capitalism
Luc Boltanski; Eve Chiapello
Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM
Steve Lake, Paul Griffiths

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