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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 '20 December 2006'

Wednesday 20 December 2006

Onfray watch

I first came across Michel Onfray back last December. Then, in September, I noted that Serpent's Tail will be publishing Atheist Manifesto, his first book to be translated into English, early next year (Traité d'Athéologie, Grasset).


And I've just noticed that, in the Toronto Star last Sunday, Brad Spurgeon ran a piece about "France's best-selling philosopher". I remain intrigued.


He is a self-described hedonist, atheist, libertarian, and left-wing anarchist ... in Atheist Manifesto he dismantles and condemns as dangerous and archaic not only Islam, but Christianity and Judaism as well ... And after more than 30 books, he is finally seeing his ideas spread far beyond his native Normandy. His 2005 book, Traité d'Athéologie, became a best-seller not only in France, where it has sold 230,000 copies, but also in Italy and Spain, and has sold well in other Latin countries, and even in Germany and Asia ... he says that believing in religion's "children's stories for comfort" deflects from the real problems of existence and thus exacerbates them, he does not despise the believers. As a rebel against all manner of authority, he aims his ire at those who impose and organize religion and its ethics, morals and customs.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Wednesday 20 December 2006

Underrated Writers 2006

The guys over at Syntax of Things have just posted their Underrated Writers 2006 list:


We asked ... readers to name writers they feel aren't getting the attention they deserve, those writers they feel are "underrated" — however they choose to define it ... The results, as with last year, are delightful, in the most literal sense of the word. We have writers from almost every continent, poets from the past, essayists who are concerned for the future, and novelists desperate to understand the now. Only two writers were nominated only twice, which tells us we asked the right group of people to give us as broad a list as possible.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Serendipoetry

Memorial Tablet

Squire nagged and bullied till I went to fight,
(Under Lord Derby’s Scheme). I died in hell—
(They called it Passchendaele). My wound was slight,
And I was hobbling back; and then a shell
Burst slick upon the duck-boards: so I fell
Into the bottomless mud, and lost the light.

At sermon-time, while Squire is in his pew,
He gives my gilded name a thoughtful stare:
For, though low down upon the list, I’m there;
‘In proud and glorious memory’... that’s my due.
Two bleeding years I fought in France, for Squire:
I suffered anguish that he’s never guessed.
Once I came home on leave: and then went west...
What greater glory could a man desire?

-- Siegfried Sassoon
Collected Poems (Faber and Faber)

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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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