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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 '23 February 2006'

Thursday 23 February 2006

Jewish Book Week

Jewish Book Week kicks off this Saturday with David Grossman in conversation with Maya Jaggi. The rest of the programme looks full of good stuff. Realistically, I can't see me getting to much of it though: more likely is that I get over to the Huddersfield Literature Festival (March 16th to March 19th) which features Joanne Harris, Sarah Hall, Julie Myerson, George Szirtes and Paul Farley (thanks to Linda at Poets and Players for the link).

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Thursday 23 February 2006

Melville musings

Widely linked to this, but worth another shout I think: Robert Birnbaum interviews Andrew Delbanco, author of the very fine Melville: His World and Work.

Moby Dick astonished, delighted and thrilled me when I read it a few years back, but if you haven't got the time or inclination (I mean, really, you should have!) do find time to read Melville's astonishing Bartleby the Scrivener (our friends at Melville House publish a lovely edition).

Jodi, over at her wonderful I Cite blog has been talking about Bartleby recently, with reference to Žižek's new book, The Parallax View:

At the end of The Parallax View, Žižek presents Bartleby's "I prefer not to" as the key figure of a new politics, a politics that moves past "the politics of 'resistance' or 'protestation,' which parasitizes upon what it negates, to a politics which opens up a new space outside the hegemonic position and its negation."

You can read all of Jodi's on Žižek at Long Sunday.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Thursday 23 February 2006

Farting and thinking of Dante

Beckett once said to a friend, "All I want to do is sit on my ass and fart and think of Dante". "Ass"? Surely Beckett would have said "arse"? Anyway, Beckett centenary a timely reminder of a lifetime of artistic integrity, by Rachel Campbell-Johnston, in today's Times (via the literary saloon) reminds me, again, of the upcoming Beckett centenary events and that James Knowlson's Beckett Remembering: Remembering Beckett: Uncollected Interviews with Samuel Beckett and Memories of Those Who Knew Him (Bloomsbury) is out in the UK March 6th (Arcade's version has been out in the US since January).

Thinking of Dante, fans of Italy's finest son should certainly remember The William and Katherine Devers Series in Dante Studies (issuing out of the University of Notre Dame Press). Part of that excellent series is John A Scott's remarkable Understanding Dante, which was Book of the Week here on RSB a month ago.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Thursday 23 February 2006

Book sniffing

According to The Times:

The decay of Britain’s most treasured books will be halted with the help of a device developed to help police to detect drugs and bombs. The British Library is buying an “electronic nose”, with the help of a £200,000 grant from an American foundation, to sniff out books in urgent need of conservation. An electronic sensor can determine whether paper is breaking down at a molecular level from the musty smell, caused by acids, which is the first sign of decay.

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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