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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 '08 February 2007'

Thursday 08 February 2007

Tribute to Thomas Bernhard at KGB

On Sunday, February 18th at the KGB bar in New York there is going to be a tribute to the fiction of Austrian novelist, playwright and poet Thomas Bernhard (1931-1989). Readers will include poet Wayne Koestenbaum, Ben The Age of Wire and String Marcus and Dale Hatchet Jobs Peck. Needless to say, I shall not be there, but rather will be tucked up by the fire here in snowy Stockport, perhaps vicariously joining in by reading Jonathan Long's The Novels of Thomas Bernhard.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Thursday 08 February 2007

Saad Eskander the Baghdad Librarian

Via the HUP publicity blog, a story from the New York Times about Saad Eskander, the director of Iraq’s National Library and Archive in Baghdad, who has kept a diary (hosted at the website of the British Museum Library -- thanks Catriona!) of his efforts to keep the library open amid the increasing violence:


I received bad news, as soon as I arrived to my office. In my absent, INLA was bombed twice and snipers' bullets broke several windows. Fortunately, no body was hurt. My staff withheld these information from me, when I contacted them. They claimed that they did not want me to be worried and to spoil my visit.

I spent the rest of the week trying to advise a number of my employees what to do, as they got death threats. The Sunnis, who lived in Shi'i dominated districtwere given an ultimatum to abandon their homes and the Shi'is, who lived in a Sunni dominated district, had to leave their homes. So far, two of my employees were murdered, the first worked in the Computer Department, and the second was a guard. Three of our drivers, who worked with us by contract, were murdered and three others were injured.

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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