General book blog.

Chamoiseau, Patrick. French Guiana: Memory Traces of the Penal Colony. Middletown. 2020. Wesleyan University Press. 9780819579300. Translated from the French by Matt Reeck. Photographs by Rodolphe Hammadi. 120 pages. paperback. 

9780819579300FROM THE PUBLISHER -


Hailed by Milan Kundera as "an heir of Joyce and Kafka," Prix Goncourt winner Patrick Chamoiseau is among the leading Francophone writers today. With most of his novels having appeared in English, this book opens a new window on his oeuvre. A moving poetic essay that bears witness to the forgotten history of the French penal colony in French Guiana, French Guiana—Memory Traces of the Penal Colony accompanied by more than sixty evocative color photographs by Rodolphe Hammadi and translated, here for the first time, deftly by Matt Reeck.



Chamoiseau PatrickPatrick Chamoiseau is an award-winning Francophone author from Martinique distinguished as a towering figure in the créolité movement. He is author of twelve novels, as well as several films and essays. His literary honors include the Prix Carbet and the Prix Goncourt. His novel Texaco was chosen as a New York Times notable book of the year. He lives in Martinique.






Guido, Beatriz. End of a Day. New York. 1966. Scribners. Translated from the Spanish by A. D. Towers. 278 pages. hardcover. Cover: Georgette De Lattre. 


end of a day scribners 1966FROM THE PUBLISHER -


Written with passion, intelligence and irony, this compelling novel tells of the downfall of a wealthy and aristocratic Argentinian family under the Peron dictatorship. Proud of their European Culture and their immense landholdings, the Praderes find the meaning of their lives lost in the violent and contradictory times of their country. Their world is crumbling, unwilling to recognize its own ruin. To avoid the expropriation of their lands, they sacrifice their reputation to the government; the father, Alejandro, accepts a diplomatic post, thereby implicating them in a social-political order they abhor. Caught hard in the dilemma are the two younger Praderes, the daughter Inés and her brother Jose Luis, who attempt to find through the revolutionary student Pablo Alcobendas a valid meaning to life. As it moves to its fatal conclusion, END OF A DAY assumes the substance of classic tragedy. It also reveals the social and political schisms of modern Latin America in a story of universal poignancy and power. Beatriz Guido is a native of Buenos Aires, her family belonging to the Argentinian upperclass represented by the Praderes in END OF A DAY. She is the author of many novels and short stories, several of which have won literary awards, and three of her works - END OF INNOCENCE, SUMMERSKIN, and THE TERRACE - have been made into motion pictures by her husband, film director Leopoldo Torre Nilsson. END OF A DAY (Spanish title: El Incendio y Las Visperas) has been one of the most successful novels published in Argentina in recent years.


Guido BeatrizBeatriz Guido (13 December 1924 – 4 March 1988) was an Argentine novelist and screenwriter. Guido was born in Rosario, Santa Fe Province, the daughter of architect Ángel Guido (renowned as the creator of the National Flag Memorial) and of Uruguayan actress Berta Eirin. She studied at the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the University of Buenos Aires. She wrote her first novel, La casa del ángel, in 1954. She also wrote a short story named Usurpacion. Because of her outspoken anti-Peronism, she was branded a 'right-wing writer' and a 'false aristocrat' by the government of Juan Perón. In 1959 she married film director and screenwriter Leopoldo Torre Nilsson. She started working with her husband, who took several of her works to the screen. In 1984 she won the Konex Merit Diploma on Letters. That year she was appointed cultural attaché of the Argentine Embassy in Spain. She died of a heart attack in Madrid four years later, at the age of 63.





Hale, Janet Campbell. Bloodlines: Odyssey of a Native Daughter. New York. 1993. Random House. 0679415270. 187 pages. hardcover.




These autobiographical essays by a member of the Coeur d'Alene tribe interweave personal experiences with striking portraits of relatives, both living and dead, to form a rich tapestry of history, storytelling, and remembrance. Hale's is a story of intense and resonant beauty. Breathtaking in its range and authority, Bloodlines is an important addition to the literature of women of color. 'In this set of eight brooding but brave essays, she confronts the painful facts not only of her life but of the tragically difficult lives of several generations of her female relatives. . . . As Hale delves into her past, she perceives the deep roots of her struggle for survival and achievement, and recognizes the unseverable bond that connects her to her culture.' -Booklist.



Hale Janet CampbellJanet Campbell Hale (born January 11, 1946, Riverside, California) is a Native American writer. Her father was a full-blood Coeur d'Alene, and her mother was of Kootenay, Cree and Irish descent. In a sparse style that has been compared to Hemingway, Hale's work often explores issues of Native American identity and discusses poverty, abuse, and the condition of women in society. She wrote Bloodlines: Odyssey of a Native Daughter (1993), which includes a discussion of the Native American experience as well as stories from her own life. She also wrote The Owl's Song (1974), The Jailing of Cecelia Capture (which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1985), Women on the Run (1999), and Custer Lives in Humboldt County & Other Poems (1978). Janet Campbell Hale has taught at Northwest Indian College, Iowa State University, College of Illinois, and University of California at Santa Cruz, and has served as resident writer at University of Oregon and University of Washington. Hale currently lives on the Coeur d'Alene Reservation in De Smet, Idaho.





Táíwò, Olúfẹ́mi O. . Reconsidering Reparations. New York. 2022. Oxford University Press. 9780197508893. Philosophy of Race. 424 pages.


9780197508893FROM THE PUBLISHER -


Reparations for slavery have become a reinvigorated topic for public debate over the last decade. Most theorizing about reparations treats it as a social justice project - either rooted in reconciliatory justice focused on making amends in the present; or, they focus on the past, emphasizing restitution for historical wrongs. Olúfemi O. Táíwò argues that neither approach is optimal, and advances a different case for reparations - one rooted in a hopeful future that tackles the issue of climate change head on, with distributive justice at its core. This view, which he calls the "constructive" view of reparations, argues that reparations should be seen as a future-oriented project engaged in building a better social order; and that the costs of building a more equitable world should be distributed more to those who have inherited the moral liabilities of past injustices. This approach to reparations, as Táíwò shows, has deep and surprising roots in the thought of Black political thinkers such as James Baldwin, Martin Luther King Jr, and Nkechi Taifa, as well as mainstream political philosophers like John Rawls, Charles Mills, and Elizabeth Anderson. Táíwò's project has wide implications for our views of justice, racism, the legacy of colonialism, and climate change policy.


Taiwo Olufemi OOlúfemi O. Táíwò is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University. His theoretical work draws liberally from the Black radical tradition, contemporary social science, histories of activism and activist thinkers. He also regularly writes public philosophy, including articles exploring intersections of climate justice and colonialism.









Amis, Kingsley. The King's English: A Guide To Modern Usage. New York. 1999. St Martin's Press. 0312186010. 270 pages. hardcover.  Jacket photograph of Kingsley Amis by H. Kilmarnock.



Throughout his notable career as a novelist, poet, and literary critic, Kingsley Amis was often concerned - the less understanding might say obsessed - with the use and abuse of English. Do we know what the words we employ really mean? Do we have the right to use them if we don’t? Should an ‘exciting’ new program be allowed to ‘hit’ your television screen? Is ‘disinterest’ a word, or is it ignorance? And just when is one allowed to begin a sentence with ‘and’? The enemies of fine prose may dismiss such issues as tiresome and pedantic, but Kingsley Amis, like all great novelists, depended upon these very questions to separate the truth from the lie, both in literature and in life. A Parthian shot from one of the most important figures in postwar British fiction, THE KING’S ENGLISH is the late Kingsley Amis’s last word on the state of the language. More frolicsome than Fowler’s MODERN USAGE, lighter than the OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY, and replete with the strong opinions and acerbic wit that have made Amis so popular – and so controversial - this book is essential for anyone who cares about the way English is spoken and written.


Amis KingsleyKingsley Amis was born in South London in 1922 and was educated at the City of London School and at St John’s College, Oxford, of which he is an Honorary Fellow. Between 1949 and 1963 he taught at the University College of Swansea, Princeton University and Peterhouse, Cambridge. He started his career as a poet and has continued to write in that medium ever since. His novels include LUCKY JIM (1954). TAKE A GIRL LIKE YOU (1960), THE ANTI-DEATH LEAGUE (1966), ENDING UP (1974), THE ALTERATION (1976), JAKE’S THING (1978) and STANLEY AND THE WOMEN (1984). His novel, THE OLD DEVILS, won the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1986. Among his other publications are NEW MAPS OF HELL, a survey of science fiction (1960), RUDYARD KIPLING AND HIS WORLD (1975) and THE GOLDEN AGE OF SCIENCE FICTION (1981). He published his COLLECTED POEMS in 1979, and has also edited THE NEW OXFORD BOOK OF LIGHT VERSE and THE FABER POPULAR RECITER. Kingsley Amis was awarded the CBE in 1981.





Okorafor, Nnedi. Noor. New York. 2021. DAW Books. 9780756416096. 214 pages. hardcover. Jacket art by Greg Ruth. Jacket design by Jim Tierney. 


9780756416096FROM THE PUBLISHER -


From Africanfuturist luminary Okorafor comes a new science fiction novel of intense action and thoughtful rumination on biotechnology, destiny, and humanity in a near-future Nigeria. Anwuli Okwudili prefers to be called AO. To her, these initials have always stood for Artificial Organism. AO has never really felt...natural, and that's putting it lightly. Her parents spent most of the days before she was born praying for her peaceful passing because even in-utero she was "wrong". But she lived. Then came the car accident years later that disabled her even further. Yet instead of viewing her strange body the way the world views it, as freakish, unnatural, even the work of the devil, AO embraces all that she is: A woman with a ton of major and necessary body augmentations. And then one day she goes to her local market and everything goes wrong. Once on the run, she meets a Fulani herdsman named DNA and the race against time across the deserts of Northern Nigeria begins. In a world where all things are streamed, everyone is watching the "reckoning of the murderess and the terrorist" and the "saga of the wicked woman and mad man" unfold. This fast-paced, relentless journey of tribe, destiny, body, and the wonderland of technology revels in the fact that the future sometimes isn't so predictable. Expect the unaccepted.


Okorafor NnediNnedi Okorafor was born in the United States to two Igbo (Nigerian) immigrant parents. She holds a PhD in English and was a professor of creative writing at Chicago State University. She has been the winner of many awards for her short stories and young adult books, and won a World Fantasy Award for Who Fears Death. Nnedi's books are inspired by her Nigerian heritage and her many trips to Africa.









Holton, Woody. Forced Founders: Indian, Debtors, Slaves, & the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia. Chapel Hill. 1999. University of North Carolina Press. 0807825018. 231 pages. hardcover. Jacket illustrations: Library of Congress. 




In this provocative reinterpretation of one of the best-known events in American history, Woody Holton shows that when Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and other elite Virginians joined their peers from other colonies in declaring independence from Britain, they acted partly in response to grassroots rebellions against their own rule. The Virginia gentry's efforts to shape London's imperial policy were thwarted by British merchants and by a coalition of Indian nations. In 1774, elite Virginians suspended trade with Britain in order to pressure Parliament and, at the same time, to save restive Virginia debtors from a terrible recession. The boycott and the growing imperial conflict led to rebellions by enslaved Virginians, Indians, and tobacco farmers. By the spring of 1776 the gentry believed the only way to regain control of the common people was to take Virginia out of the British Empire. Forced Founders uses the new social history to shed light on a classic political question: why did the owners of vast plantations, viewed by many of their contemporaries as aristocrats, start a revolution? As Holton's fast-paced narrative unfolds, the old story of patriot versus loyalist becomes decidedly more complex.


Holton WoodyWoody Holton teaches Early American history, especially the American Revolution, with a focus on economic history and on African Americans, Native Americans, and women. Professor Holton teaches graduate seminars on Colonial America and on the American Revolution. At the undergraduate level, he teaches the first half of the U.S. history survey and upper-level classes on Early American Women, the American Revolution, and Early African Americans. In the near future he will teach seminars on slave rebellions and on the history of capitalism in North America. Holton’s 2009 book, Abigail Adams, which he wrote on a Guggenheim fellowship, won the Bancroft Prize. Holton is the author of Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution (2007), a finalist for the George Washington Book Prize and the National Book Award. His first book, Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves and the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia (1999), won the Organization of American Historians’ Merle Curti award.





Bradley, Patricia. Slavery, Propaganda, and the American Revolution. Jackson. 1998. University Press of Mississippi. 1578060524.  184 pages. hardcover. 




Under the leadership of Samuel Adams, patriot propagandists deliberately and conscientiously kept the issue of slavery off the agenda as goals for freedom were set for the American Revolution. By comparing coverage in the publications of the patriot press with those of the moderate colonial press, this book finds that the patriots avoided, misinterpreted, or distorted news reports on blacks and slaves, even in the face of a vigorous antislavery movement. The Boston Gazette, the most important newspaper of the Revolution, was chief among the periodicals that dodged or excluded abolition. The author of this study shows that The Gazette misled its readers about the notable Somerset decision that led to abolition in Great Britain. She notes also that The Gazette excluded antislavery essays, even from patriots who supported abolition. No petitions written by Boston slaves were published, nor were any writings by the black poet Phillis Wheatley. The Gazette also manipulated the racial identity of Crispus Attucks, the first casualty in the Revolution. When using the word slavery, The Gazette took care to focus it not upon abolition but upon Great Britain's enslavement of its American colonies. Since propaganda on behalf of the Revolution reached a high level of sophistication, and since Boston can be considered the foundry of Revolutionary propaganda, the author writes that the omission of abolition from its agenda cannot be considered as accidental but as intentional. By the time the Revolution began, white attitudes toward blacks were firmly fixed, and these persisted long after American independence had been achieved. In Boston, notions of virtue and vigilance were shown to be negatively embodied in black colonists. These devil's imps were long represented in blackface in Boston's annual Pope Day parade. Although the leaders of the Revolution did not articulate a national vision on abolition, the colonial antislavery movement was able to achieve a degree of success but only in drives through the individual colonies.


Bradley PatriciaPatricia Bradley is the former director of the American Studies program at Temple University and is currently Chair of the Temple University Department of Journalism, Public Relations, and Advertising.









Middlemarch by George Eliot. New York. 2003. Penguin Books. Edited and with an introduction and notes by Rosemary Ashton. 853 pages. Cover: Detail from ‘Cheltenham from Leckhampton Hill’, 19th-century English School, in Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museums. 9780141439549.


9780141439549FROM THE PUBLISHER -


   ‘People are almost always better than their neighbours think they are.’ George Eliot’s most ambitious novel is a masterly evocation of diverse lives and changing fortunes in a provincial community. Peopling its landscape are Dorothea Brooke, a young idealist whose search for intellectual fulfillment leads her into a disastrous marriage to the pedantic scholar Casaubon; the charming but tactless Dr Lydgate, whose pioneering medical methods, combined with an imprudent marriage to the spendthrift beauty Rosamond, threaten to undermine his career; and the religious hypocrite Bulstrode, hiding scandalous crimes from his past. As their stories entwine, George Eliot creates a richly nuanced and moving drama, hailed by Virginia Woolf as ‘one of the few English novels written for grown-up people.’ This edition uses the text of the second edition of 1874. In her introduction, Rosemary Ashton, biographer of George Eliot, discusses themes of change in MIDDLEMARCH, and examines the novel as an imaginative embodiment of Eliot’s humanist beliefs. ‘The most profound, wise and absorbing of English novels. and, above all, truthful and forgiving about human behavior.’ - HERMIMONE LEE. 


Eliot GeorgeMary Anne (alternatively Mary Ann or Marian) Evans (22 November 1819 – 22 December 1880), better known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, journalist and translator, and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She is the author of seven novels, including Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Middlemarch (1871–72), and Daniel Deronda (1876), most of them set in provincial England and known for their realism and psychological insight. She used a male pen name, she said, to ensure her works would be taken seriously. Female authors were published under their own names during Eliot's life, but she wanted to escape the stereotype of women only writing lighthearted romances. An additional factor in her use of a pen name may have been a desire to shield her private life from public scrutiny and to prevent scandals attending her relationship with the married George Henry Lewes, with whom she lived for over 20 years. Her 1872 work, Middlemarch, has been described as the greatest novel in the English language by Martin Amis and by Julian Barnes.



Fireworks by Angela Carter. London. 1974. Quartet Books. hardcover. 122 pages. Jacket design by The Green Bay Packers Art Co. 0704320436.





 Here is the ritualism of Tokyo where lovers ponder the intangible reflections of themselves, ‘reflections of nothing but appearances, in a city dedicated to seeming’, and ‘the velvet nights spaked with menace’ of a wasted London, poised on the brink of destruction. In these extraordinary tales Angela Carter pinpoints the symbolism of the city streets and weaves allegories around forests and jungles of strange and erotic landscapes of the imagination.




Carter AngelaAngela Carter (7 May 1940 – 16 February 1992) was an English novelist and journalist, known for her feminist, magical realism, picaresque and science fiction works. In 2008, The Times ranked Carter tenth, in their list of ‘The 50 greatest British writers since 1945’ Born Angela Olive Stalker in Eastbourne, in 1940, Carter was evacuated as a child to live in Yorkshire with her maternal grandmother. As a teenager she battled anorexia. She began work as a journalist on the Croydon Advertiser, following in the footsteps of her father. Carter attended the University of Bristol where she studied English literature. She married twice, first in 1960 to Paul Carter. They divorced after twelve years. In 1969 Angela Carter used the proceeds of her Somerset Maugham Award to leave her husband and relocate for two years to Tokyo, Japan, where she claims in NOTHING SACRED (1982) that she ‘learnt what it is to be a woman and became radicalised.’ She wrote about her experiences there in articles for New Society and a collection of short stories, FIREWORKS: NINE PROFANE PIECES (1974), and evidence of her experiences in Japan can also be seen in THE INFERNAL DESIRE MACHINES OF DOCTOR HOFFMAN (1972). She then explored the United States, Asia and Europe, helped by her fluency in French and German. She spent much of the late 1970s and 1980s as a writer in residence at universities, including the University of Sheffield, Brown University, the University of Adelaide, and the University of East Anglia. In 1977 Carter married Mark Pearce, with whom she had one son. As well as being a prolific writer of fiction, Carter contributed many articles to The Guardian, The Independent and New Statesman, collected in SHAKING A LEG. She adapted a number of her short stories for radio and wrote two original radio dramas on Richard Dadd and Ronald Firbank. Two of her fictions have been adapted for the silver screen: The Company of Wolves (1984) and THE MAGIC TOYSHOP (1987). She was actively involved in both film adaptations, her screenplays are published in the collected dramatic writings, The Curious Room, together with her radio scripts, a libretto for an opera of Virginia Woolf's Orlando, an unproduced screenplay entitled The Christchurch Murders (based on the same true story as Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures) and other works. These neglected works, as well as her controversial television documentary, The Holy Family Album, are discussed in Charlotte Crofts' book, Anagrams of Desire (2003). Her novel NIGHTS AT THE CIRCUS won the 1984 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for literature. At the time of her death, Carter was embarking on a sequel to Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre based on the later life of Jane's stepdaughter, Adèle Varens. However, only a synopsis survives. Angela Carter died aged 51 in 1992 at her home in London after developing lung cancer.





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