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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 '07 July 2006'

Friday 07 July 2006

Elif Shafak faces charges in Turkey

Bad news about the Turkish writer Elif Shafak from the highly appealing (if a little confusing) website The Ledge ("an independent platform for international literature. At the heart of the site is a series of interviews with authors, translators and critics from around the world" -- thanks Wah-Ming):

Turkish ultranationalists have once again filed a complaint against the Turkish writer Elif Shafak (1971), author of The Saint of Incipient Insanities, The Gaze and The Flea Palace, charging her with ‘insulting Turkishness.’ The complaint focuses on two passages from Shafak’s latest novel, The Bastard of Istanbul. Like Orhan Pamuk, whose statements about ‘the Armenian question’ in a newspaper interview raised the ire of the nationalists, Shafak is being charged with transgressing Article 301 of the Turkish penal code, which makes denigrating Turkishness a criminal offense.

For more information, please contact Fran van den Bogaert at

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Friday 07 July 2006

Summer reading and idiocy

In an idiotic, and supposedly ironic/funny, post entitled Big up your shelf, Sarah Crown, from whom I would have expected much better, has a swipe at the books that authors pick on the (certainly rather silly) summer reading lists that appear with regrettable regularity this time of year. She berates Alain de Botton for claiming he is "'looking forward to reading Gabriel Josipovici's new collection of essays The Singer on the Shore'. Essays: tick. Little-known (but highly respected) author: tick. Foreign (Josipovici was born in Nice): tick."

Josipovici may have been born in Nice, but he's lived here for the past fifty years! And anyone who has bothered to read The Singer on the Shore will know how essential it is: a superb -- and very readable, even welcoming -- collection.

So, what's the deal here? Just because it is slightly warmer in July/August than in April/May, I'm suddenly supposed to pretend that reading utter rubbish is somehow hip and ironic? I do wish the Guardian would stop coming out with this rubbish.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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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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