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Archive for the category “Books”

From Mimi Matthews blog – Jane Eyre and the Legendary Gytrash

An excellent demon for your next horror story. And a literary one, with contacts in Jane Eyre and Harry Potter.

Mimi Matthews

Snarling dog from Darwin's Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals, 1872.(Image Courtesy of The Wellcome Library, CC BY 4.0.)Snarling dog from Darwin’s Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals, 1872.
(Image Courtesy of The Wellcome Library, CC BY 4.0.)

According to Charlotte Brontë’s 1847 novel, Jane Eyre, a Gytrash is a goblin or spirit which takes the form of a horse, mule, or large dog.  Typically found in the North of England, the Gytrash “haunted solitary ways” and often surprised unwary travelers as they journeyed alone in the dusk.  Jane Eyre herself encounters what she believes to be a Gytrash one bleak, January evening as she is walking from Thornfield Hall to post a letter in the nearby village of Hay.  Alerted to its arrival by a loud, clattering noise, Jane observes:

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Found poem – The Grandeur of Imperial China

3032-1I’ve been reading The Art of The Chinese Gardens published by China Travel & Tourism. It’s a beautiful book with photos and descriptions of some of the most important gardens in China.

Chinese gardens contain many named features – pavilions, rocks, viewpoints, hills, studios, temples and others – the Chinese seem to have a talent for inventing evocative and beautiful names. There are scores here.

Such titles lend themselves to found poems, and I’ve gleaned several from this book. I believe that for true found poetry I should have only used the findings, but I can’t help adding and, in this poem, the short connectors are mine.

The Grandeur of Imperial China

On
The Hill of Accumulated Elegance
Beneath
The Imperial Vault of Heaven
Sits
The Palace of Nostalgia
This is
The Mansion of the Prince
The Mansion of the Prince of Gong

In
The Circular Grace Mountain Villa
House of Year Round Delight
Are
The Wafting Fragrance Chamber
The Ten Thousand Volume Hall
And
Lady Young’s Pool

From
The Throne for Viewing the Waterworks
In the
Mansion of the Sacred Lord of Yan
He sees
An Ancient Theatre
The Grand Theatre of the Garden of Harmonious Virtue
And
The Tower of Heavenly Emperors

Across
The Five-Pagoda Bridge
Between
The Park of the Grand View Pavilion
And
Shuanqing Villa
We reach
The Villa of Secluded Beauty
The Emerald Grace Garden
The Hall of Happiness and Longevity

The Wellcome Book Prize 2016

A good summary of the books shortlisted for this prize. Thank you Little Blog of Books for the info.

The winner should be announced today, but I think all these books are worth knowing about.

A Little Blog of Books

2016 Wellcome Book Prize shortlist

Yesterday, I went to an event at the Wellcome Collection in London to hear the six authors nominated for this year’s Wellcome Book Prize discuss their shortlisted books. The annual award is open to works of fiction and non-fiction which engage with some aspect of health, illness or medicine, or “the ultimate human subject” as chair Anne Karpf said in her introduction.

The books on this year’s shortlist are:

  • Signs for Lost Children by Sarah Moss
  • The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink
  • NeuroTribes by Steve Silberman
  • Playthings by Alex Pheby
  • It’s All in Your Head by Suzanne O’Sullivan
  • The Outrun by Amy Liptrot

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The Petrona Award 2016 Shortlist (from Crimepieces)

For anyone keen on Scandinavian crime writing, this list of the crême de la crime could be a good guide to what to put on your wish list. The award is in memory of blogger Maxine Clarke.

crimepieces

Petrona LogoWe’re announcing today the shortlist for the 2016 Petrona Award.

Six top quality books from Finland, Sweden and Norway have made the shortlist. They are:

 THE DROWNED BOY by Karin Fossum tr. Kari Dickson (Harvill Secker; Norway)

THE DEFENCELESS by Kati Hiekkapelto tr. David Hackston (Orenda Books; Finland)

THE CAVEMAN by Jorn Lier Horst tr. Anne Bruce (Sandstone Press; Norway)

THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB by David Lagercrantz tr. George Goulding (MacLehose Press; Sweden)

SATELLITE PEOPLE by Hans Olav Lahlum tr. Kari Dickson (Mantle/Pan Macmillan; Norway)

DARK AS MY HEART by Antti Tuomainen tr. Lola Rogers (Harvill Secker; Finland)

The winning title will be announced at the Gala Dinner on 21 May during the annual international crime fiction event CrimeFest, held in Bristol 19-22 May 2016.

The award is open to crime fiction in translation, either written by a Scandinavian author or set in Scandinavia and published in…

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Prose Poems

9781784101688img01The current quarterly book from the Poetry Book Society is Measures of Expatriation by Vahni Capildeo. The poetry is varied and includes several prose poems, some quite long.

Prose poems aren’t my favourite type of literature, but I am enjoying these. The rich descriptions and some quirky viewpoints are refreshing.

Apparently prose poetry is a relatively recent genre. A Japanese form, haibun, was in vogue in the 17th century, but in the west it was over a hundred years later that poets started to use it in its full form.

Reading about the early prose poets reminded me of a ‘tale’, which I read years ago – Landor’s Cottage by Edgar Allan Poe.

Landor’s Cottage reads like the start of a story, but it doesn’t get to be one. Elegant and detailed description lead to no action; it comes to a halt as the author says:

It is not the purpose of this work to do more than give in detail, a picture of Mr. Landor’s residence – as I found it.

I think it comes close to modern prose poetry, in its intent and richness, but it misses by being definitely prose. Mr Poe, leader in several literary genres, lost an opportunity to be a major model for, what was in his time, a new poetic form.

Today the form is popular with a lot of poets, but Ms Capildeo is the first I’ve come across who makes me want to take my interest further.

 

Calling to animals

I’ve recently been reading Landmarks by Robert MacFarlane; a book recording the wide range of words used to describe landscape in the British Isles.

Cover artThe meat of the book is a series of glossaries of the words the author has gathered, in most of the native languages and dialects. He gives us words not only in English and its regional dialects, but in Gaelic, Irish, Welsh, Scots and its dialects, Anglo-Romani, Cornish, and the French of the Channel Islands. I haven’t seen any words in Manx but they’re probably there.

Also included are some technical terms and poetic ones, particularly those of Gerard Manley Hopkins, who apparently went in for creating new words to describe the countryside.

Between the glossaries are a series of essays-cum-memoires on various landscape writers.

Browsing through the glossary on Livestock, I came across báini-báini, an Irish word for calling pigs to eat. Later in the list is chook-chook-chook, a Herfordshire call to chickens. In the same county you call your ducks with dilly-dilly-dilly and your poultry generally with kepp-kepp-kepp.

Horses, cattle, sheep all have their own calling words.

This made me think about the way we speak and call to animals generally, and it’s true that we use different calls for different creatures. Do they understand us? If you yell ‘Dilly-dilly-dilly!’ to hens, do they ignore you? Or do they come anyway hoping for a treat?

Many’s the time I’ve stood in a garden calling ‘Puss, puss, puss’ with no result. Is that because she doesn’t understand or is it because she doesn’t want to come? I suspect the latter.

Oddly, in my experience, we use general terms for most animals but call our dogs by name. I think that if we kept monkeys we’d call them by name too. It would be interesting to hear if anyone knows.

Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction LongList 2016

The Bailey’s Prize Long List from that fascinating blog Word by Word.

It’s great to see a list of successes; so many great titles grouped together. If I had time I’d read them all – but, of course, I don’t and won’t.

Word by Word

Baileys logo 2016Today is International Women’s Day, this year the theme is #PledgeForParity and the Baileys Women’s Prize certainly does a lot to advance that challenge, with their ambition to bring the best women’s writing and female storytellers to ever-wider audiences.

In selecting the following 20 titles for the longlist the Chair of Judges Margaret Mountford shared that:

“We had a hugely enjoyable and stimulating meeting, as there were a great many strong novels in contention. We are delighted with the quality, the imaginative scope and the ambition of our chosen books, a longlist which reflects the judges’ interests and tastes. We hope readers will enjoy the variety of outstanding work on offer.”

Half the longlist are debuts, they represent seven nationalities, four previous shortlisted authors and the first Zimbabwean author to be longlisted for the prize.

The longlisted books are as follows:

Kate AtkinsonA God in Ruins – Teddy, would-be poet, heroic…

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Support Solstice Shorts come to a booklaunch

If you can look past the Christmas/New Year festivities, you may be interested in this event. I love book launches (or at least I loved the two I’ve been to), but can’t make this one.

Arachne Press

If you’ve never been to a book launch but always wondered what really happens you are invited to Arachne’s next one, which will be for The Dowry Blade, Arachne founder Cherry Potts‘ Fantasy epic. there are a handful of invitations up for grabs as part of our crowd fund for Solstice shorts Longest Night,

The Dowry Blade is around 170,000 words long, so is coming out in support of its smaller siblings the short story, generally weighing in (for Solshorts anyway) at around 2000 words.

The booklaunch will be in late February, in London – either central or South East, so if you’d like to come along, support our festival! You only have until 1st December to grab an invitation! It may look a bit like this. There will be drink, there may be cake…

meeting authors and eating cake at an Arachne event meeting authors and eating cake at an Arachne event

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‘Pages of Pain’ from Kimberly Wilhelmina Floria

Great poetry for free!

silentlyheardonce

Beginning tomorrow November 1 until November 5 Pages of Pain Kindle edition is available for free.

Just wanted to let you know. I’m still putting 100% of myself into Hidden Temptation and I’m feeling good about it.  See you all soon.

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Black Mist and other stories 7

With Hallowe’en fast approaching, this looks like appropriate reading.

Sharmishtha Basu

black mist and other stories

Sharmishtha Basu is an unemployed artist, writer who is out to test her works, see if they can help her to build an “unorthodox” career, a path followed by many before, some has been blessed with success, most have not, let us see what you make of her attempts! A failure or success- it all depends on you. These are pieces from her book, the book is available on createspace and amazon- It is a collection of dark stories, paranormal mostly but not gothic, it prefers scaring by creating eerie images not blood, gore, violence. She will certainly love to see it in your Halloween collection!

Black Mist and other stories
https://www.createspace.com/5058824
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ontgsbe

The car started to move forth.

The village team huddled together in the backseat talking in a hushed tone. Both Rajan and Mitesh could guess their disappointment but chose to pretend that they were not aware of…

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