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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 '19 January 2006'

Thursday 19 January 2006

National Book Critics Circle awards

The (American) National Book Critics Circle (founded in 1974 and consisting "of nearly 700 active book reviewers who are interested in honoring quality writing") have announced the 2005 National Book Critics Circle Award finalists (not to be confused with the (American) National Book Awards).

Good to see Svetlana Alexievich's Voices From Chernobyl, last month's RSB Book of the Month Robert Fisk's The Great War for Civilisation, Jonathan Coe's Like a Fiery Elephant: The Story of BS Johnson and Eliot Weinberger's What Happened amongst the shortlisted titles.

On the fiction shortlist they have EL Doctorow's The March and Andrea Levy's Small Island, both reviewed here on RSB.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Thursday 19 January 2006

WS Merwin

The poetry of 2005 National Book Award Winner WS Merwin has just arrived on my horizon. I've not read anywhere near enough to make a judgement yet, and what I have read I am, so far, rather cool about. But I'm interested enough to read more and, happily, I can: Copper Canyon Press have been kind enough to send on copies of Merwin's Migration: New & Selected Poems and his most recent collection Present Company and Shoemaker & Hoard have sent on his memoir Summer Doorways (in 1948, aged twenty-one, Merwin made his first trip to Europe ... and, amongst other things, he met the young Samuel Beckett).

About Merwin, the Copper Canyon website tells me:

WS Merwin was born in New York City in 1927. From 1949 to 1951 he worked as a tutor in France, Mallorca, and Portugal; for several years afterward he made the greater part of his living by translating from French, Spanish, Latin, and Portuguese. His many awards include the 2005 National Book Award in Poetry for Migration: New & Selected Poems, the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, the Tanning Prize for mastery in the art of poetry, the Bollingen Award, the Ruth Lily Poetry Prize, as well as fellowships from the Rockefeller and the Guggenheim Foundations and the National Endowment for the Arts ... For the past thirty years he has lived in Hawaii.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

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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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