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

The Bookaholics' Guide to Book Blogs: "Mark Thwaite ... has a maverick, independent mind"

Blog entries on '06 April 2006'

Thursday 06 April 2006

Books that move men

A year ago, Lisa Jardine and Annie Watkins conducted a survey of women readers to find a "watershed" women's novel, "the book which, above all others, had sustained individual women through key moments of transition or crisis in their lives." The winner was Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, with Pride and Prejudice not too far behind. Jardine and Watkins have now repeated the exercise (more details of which can be found in the Guardian) with men. A very different list has emerged with The Outsider by Albert Camus coming out top. Other favourites for the men were Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye and Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five. One reason advanced for the kind of books these men chose was that "men's formative reading was done between the ages of 12 and 20 - indeed, specifically around the ages of 15 and 16. For men, fiction was a rite of passage into manhood during painful adolescence. Many men admitted that they had read little fiction since".

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Thursday 06 April 2006

Worpole on Ian Hamilton Finlay

RSB interviewee Ken Worpole takes a look at Ian Hamilton Finlay’s world: "The landscape artist Ian Hamilton Finlay created an extraordinary fusion of sculpture, inscription and philosophy in his Little Sparta garden."


Ian Hamilton Finlay, who died at the age of 80 on 27 March 2006, was one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century. His output was marked by intense political controversy.

His early works, poetry and short stories, developed in the early 1960s into an engagement with the world of concrete poetry, an artistic form first popularised in Brazil, though Finlay's variant was self-generated and contemporaneous (like that of his Scots compatriot Edwin Morgan, whose 1966 poem observed of his friend "you give the pleasure / of made things"). Some of this was exhibited at an international exhibition of concrete poetry at the Brighton festival in 1967, where I first saw it, and it made an immediate impact then – principally one of delight.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Serendipoetry

Augustus

As you sow, so shall you reap. The bags packed,
Umbers and gold swollen between the purse-strings,
Getaway cars nose on a hot scent.
Under striped canvas the patrons gather,
Staring at blue, incorrigible seas.
The stubble burns a hole in summer's pocket;
Upon the baked crust of their world, the mice
Scatter their ashes to the harvest moon.

-- Peter Scupham
(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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