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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 '31 August 2006'

Thursday 31 August 2006

Tonkin on the Germans

Last week, in his A Week in Books column Boyd Tonkin discussed German literature. Thankfully, instead of saying something pointless about "Günter Grass's teenage fling with the Waffen SS", Tonkin did a brief, but useful, overview of recent German books and brought to my attention a few names that might deserve a closer look: Michael Krüger ("distinguished as a versatile writer and equally so as a publisher with Hanser Verlag in Munich"); Daniel Kehlmann who, though favourite, failed to win the German Book Prize with Measuring the World, "his vastly successful novel about the explorer Humboldt and the mathematician Gauss (which we will see [in English translation] from Quercus Books next year)"; Bulgarian-born Ilija Trojanow (whose The World Collector is "a sweepingly ambitious novel about the Victorian adventurer, Orientalist and pornographer Sir Richard Burton" -- "sweepingly ambitious" leaves me cold, but hey ho); Ingo Schulze; Feridun Zaimoglu ("one of an increasingly influential group of Turkish-origin German writers"); and Martin Walser (who shares, with Grass, "roots in the "Gruppe 47" set of post-war firebrands"): "Now Walser is back with Angstblüte, (almost, but not quite, "The Bloom of Doom"), a tale of sex, speculation and starlets among the brutal bourgeoisie of contemporary Munich. Think Roth (or maybe even Bellow) by the Bodensee."

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Thursday 31 August 2006

Spectacular Times

Larry Law's renowned series of situationist booklets, Spectacular Times, are online over at cornersoul. I tried to take a nostalgic peak at Bigger Cages Longer Chains but, frustratingly, it took an age to download (the text seems to have been captured as images of each individual page) ...


The world is full of ideologies that claim to offer freedom, but in reality simply offer us bigger cages and longer chains. The demand for an end to cages and chains may seem idealistic to some people, but the real idealists are those who think we can carry on as we are.

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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