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(01/12/2015) A Plague of Pythons by Frederik Pohl. New York. 1965. Ballantine Books. 158 pages. September 1965. paperback.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   FREDERIK POHL - At somewhere in his forties, Fred Pohl should hardly qualify for grand old man of anything. But he could. For at least thirty of those forty-odd years he has been writing, reading, agenting, editing, collaborating, commenting and generally holding the field of science fiction together with an enthusiasm that remains unabated. Which is all very well but it does mean that full-length, original novels from Fred Pohl have become a relatively rare thing. (A PLAGUE OF PYTHONS is much expanded from the magazine version). It is a book about a future development which, hopefully, will never, ever come to pass. But with Fred Pohl, you never know. Look what happened to THE SPACE MERCHANTS (we understand advertisers still read it to pick up tips on far out slogans). Or SLAVE SHIP (all kinds of developments in ethology indicate we’ll soon be talking to the animals). And so on. Watch out. 

 

Pohl Frederik  Frederik George Pohl, Jr. (November 26, 1919 – September 2, 2013) was an American science fiction writer, editor and fan, with a career spanning more than seventy-five years—from his first published work, the 1937 poem ‘Elegy to a Dead Satellite: Luna’, to the 2011 novel All the Lives He Led and articles and essays published in 2012. From about 1959 until 1969, Pohl edited Galaxy and its sister magazine If; the latter won three successive annual Hugo Awards as the year's best professional magazine. His 1977 novel Gateway won four ‘year's best novel’ awards: the Hugo voted by convention participants, the Locus voted by magazine subscribers, the Nebula voted by American science fiction writers, and the juried academic John W. Campbell Memorial Award. He won the Campbell Memorial Award again for the 1984 collection of novellas Years of the City, one of two repeat winners during the first forty years. For his 1979 novel Jem, Pohl won a U.S. National Book Award in the one-year category Science Fiction. It was a finalist for three other years' best novel awards. He won four Hugo and three Nebula Awards. The Science Fiction Writers of America named Pohl its 12th recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award in 1993 and he was inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 1998, its third class of two dead and two living writers. Pohl won the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer in 2010, for his blog, ‘The Way the Future Blogs’.

 

 

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(01/11/2015) Sor Juana Ines De La Cruz: Selected Works by Sor Juana Ines De La Cruz. New York. 2014. Norton. 216 pages.  hardcover. Jacket photograph by Susan Fox. Jacket design by Tiani Kennedy.  Translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman. Introduction by Julia Alvarez.  9780393241754 

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

9780393241754   Latin America's great poet rendered into English by the world's most celebrated translator of Spanish-language literature. Sor Juana (1651–1695) was a fiery feminist and a woman ahead of her time. Like Simone de Beauvoir, she was very much a public intellectual. Her contemporaries called her "the Tenth Muse" and "the Phoenix of Mexico," names that continue to resonate. An illegitimate child, self-taught intellectual, and court favorite, she rose to the height of fame as a writer in Mexico City during the Spanish Golden Age. This volume includes Sor Juana's best-known works: "First Dream," her longest poem and the one that showcases her prodigious intellect and range, and "Response of the Poet to the Very Eminent Sor Filotea de la Cruz," her epistolary feminist defense - evocative of Mary Wollstonecraft and Emily Dickinson - of a woman's right to study and to write. Thirty other works - playful ballads, extraordinary sonnets, intimate poems of love, and a selection from an allegorical play with a distinctive New World flavor - are also included.

 

De La Cruz Sor Juana Ines  Sister (Spanish: Sor) Juana Inés de la Cruz, O.S.H. (English: Joan Agnes of the Cross) (12 November 1651 – 17 April 1695), was a self-taught scholar and poet of the Baroque school, and nun of New Spain. Although she lived in a colonial era when Mexico was part of the Spanish Empire, she is considered today a Mexican writer, and stands at the beginning of the history of Mexican literature in the Spanish language.

 

 

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(01/10/2015) The Zone of Interest by Martin Amis. New York. 2014. Knopf. 306 pages. September 2014. hardcover. Jacket design by Peter Mendelsund.  9780385353496 

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   From one of England's most renowned authors, an unforgettable new novel that provides a searing portrait of life-and, shockingly, love-in a concentration camp. Once upon a time there was a king, and the king commissioned his favorite wizard to create a magic mirror. This mirror didn't show you your reflection. It showed you your soul-it showed you who you really were. The wizard couldn't look at it without turning away. The king couldn't look at it. The courtiers couldn't look at it. A chestful of treasure was offered to anyone who could look at it for sixty seconds without turning away. And no one could. The Zone of Interest is a love story with a violently unromantic setting. Can love survive the mirror? Can we even meet each other's eye, after we have seen who we really are? In a novel powered by both wit and pathos, Martin Amis excavates the depths and contradictions of the human soul.

 

  Martin Amis is the author of eleven previous novels, the memoir Experience, and two collections of stories and six of nonfiction, most recently The Second Plane. He lives in London.

 

 

 

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(01/09/2015) On Earth: Last Poems and an Essay by Robert Creeley. Berkeley. 2006. University of California Press. 89 pages.  hardcover. Jacket design by Sandy Drooker.  0520247914 

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

0520247914   Robert Creeley, one of the most significant American poets of the twentieth century, helped define an emerging counter-tradition to the prevailing literary establishment--a postwar poetry originating with Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and Louis Zukofsky and expanding through the lives and works of Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Allen Ginsberg, Denise Levertov, and others. When Robert Creeley died in March 2005, he was working on what was to be his final book of poetry. In addition to more than thirty new poems, many touching on the twin themes of memory and presence, this moving collection includes the text of the last paper Creeley gave--an essay exploring the late verse of Walt Whitman. Together, the essay and the poems are a retrospective on aging and the resilience of memory that includes tender elegies to old friends, the settling of old scores, and reflective poems on mortality and its influence on his craft. On Earth reminds us what has made Robert Creeley one of the most important and affectionately regarded poets of our time.

 

  Robert Creeley (May 21, 1926 – March 30, 2005) was an American poet and author of more than sixty books. He is usually associated with the Black Mountain poets, though his verse aesthetic diverged from that school's. He was close with Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Allen Ginsberg, John Wieners and Ed Dorn. He served as the Samuel P. Capen Professor of Poetry and the Humanities at State University of New York at Buffalo. In 1991, he joined colleagues Susan Howe, Charles Bernstein, Raymond Federman, Robert Bertholf, and Dennis Tedlock in founding the Poetics Program at Buffalo. Creeley lived in Waldoboro, Maine, Buffalo, New York, and Providence, Rhode Island where he taught at Brown University. He was a recipient of the Lannan Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.

 

 

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(01/08/2015) The Bride Wore Black by Cornell Woolrich. New York. 2001. I-Books. 246 pages. May 2001. paperback. Cover illustration & design by Steranko.  0743413164 

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

  No one knew who she was, where she came from, or why she had entered their lives. All they really knew about her was that she possessed a terrifying beauty-and that each time she appeared, a man died horribly.

 

  Cornell George Hopley-Woolrich (4 December 1903 – 25 September 1968) was an American novelist and short story writer who sometimes wrote under the pseudonyms William Irish and George Hopley. His biographer, Francis Nevins Jr., rated Woolrich the fourth best crime writer of his day, behind only Dashiell Hammett, Erle Stanley Gardner and Raymond Chandler. A check of film titles reveals that more film noir screenplays were adapted from works by Woolrich than any other crime novelist, and many of his stories were adapted during the 1940s for Suspense and other dramatic radio programs. Born in New York City, Woolrich's parents separated when he was young. He lived for a time in Mexico with his father before returning to New York City to live with his mother, Claire Attalie Woolrich. He attended Columbia University but left in 1926 without graduating when his first novel, Cover Charge, was published. Cover Charge was one of six Jazz Age novels inspired by the work of F. Scott Fitzgerald. He soon turned to pulp and detective fiction, often published under his pseudonyms. For example, William Irish was the byline in Dime Detective Magazine (February, 1942) on his 1942 story ‘It Had to Be Murder’, (source of the 1954 Alfred Hitchcock movie Rear Window) and based on H. G. Wells' short story ‘Through a Window’. François Truffaut filmed Woolrich's The Bride Wore Black and Waltz Into Darkness in 1968 and 1969, respectively, the latter as Mississippi Mermaid. Ownership of the copyright in Woolrich's original story ‘It Had to Be Murder’ and its use for Rear Window was litigated before the United States Supreme Court in Stewart v. Abend, 495 U.S. 207 (1990). Woolrich was homosexual and sexually active in his youth. In 1930, while working as a screenwriter in Los Angeles, Woolrich married Violet Virginia Blackton (1910–65), daughter of silent film producer J. Stuart Blackton. They separated after three months, and the marriage was annulled in 1933. Woolrich returned to New York where he and his mother moved into the Hotel Marseilles (Broadway and West 103rd Street). He lived there until her death on October 6, 1957, which prompted his move to the Hotel Franconia (20 West 72nd Street). In later years, he socialized on occasion in Manhattan bars with Mystery Writers of America colleagues and younger fans such as writer Ron Goulart, but alcoholism and an amputated leg (caused by an infection from a too-tight shoe which went untreated) left him a recluse. He did not attend the premiere of Truffaut's film of his novel The Bride Wore Black in 1968, even though it was held in New York City. He died weighing 89 pounds. He is interred in the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. Woolrich bequeathed his estate of about $850,000 to Columbia University, to endow scholarships in his mother's memory for writing students. Woolrich's novels written between 1940 to 1948 are considered his principal legacy. During this time, he definitively became an author of novel-length crime fiction which stand apart from his first six works, written under the influence of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Most of Woolrich's books are out of print, and new editions have not come out because of estate issues. However, new collections of his short stories were issued in the early 1990s. Woolrich died leaving fragments of an unfinished novel, The Loser; fragments have been published separately and also collected in Tonight, Somewhere in New York (2005).

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(01/07/2015) Picturing Dogs, Seeing Ourselves: Vintage American Photographs by Ann-Janine Morey. University Park. 2014. Penn State University Press. 176 pages. July 2014. hardcover.  123 duotones. 8 × 9.  9780271063317 

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

9780271063317   ‘Ann-Janine Morey’s book is a treasure trove of postcard photographs created by ordinary people. Together these document what Morey calls the ‘romance’ of dogs and humans—a story of love, domination, primitivism, and ‘Edenic longings’—embodied in the presence of the dog among humans.’ —Teresa Mangum, University of Iowa. ogs are as ubiquitous in American culture as white picket fences and apple pie, embracing all the meanings of wholesome domestic life—family, fidelity, comfort, protection, nurturance, and love—as well as symbolizing some of the less palatable connotations of home and family, including domination, subservience, and violence. In Picturing Dogs, Seeing Ourselves, Ann-Janine Morey presents a collection of antique photographs of dogs and their owners in order to investigate the meanings associated with the canine body. Included are reproductions of 115 postcards, cabinet cards, and cartes de visite dating from 1860 to 1950. These photographs feature dogs in family portraits, childhood snapshots, hunting pictures, and a variety of studio settings. They offer poignant testimony to the American romance with dogs and show how the dog has become part of cultural expressions of race, class, and gender. Animal studies scholars have long argued that our representation of animals in print and in the visual arts has a profound connection to our lived cultural identity. Other books have documented the depiction of dogs in art and photography, but few have reached beyond the subject’s obvious appeal. Picturing Dogs, Seeing Ourselves draws on animal, visual, and literary studies to present an original and richly contextualized visual history of the relationship between Americans and their dogs. Though the personal stories behind these everyday photographs may be lost to us, their cultural significance is not.

 

  Ann-Janine Morey is Associate Vice Provost for Cross Disciplinary Studies at James Madison University.

 

 

 

 

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(01/06/2015) My Wife's The Least of It by William Gerhardi. London. 1938. Faber & Faber. 544 pages.  hardcover.    

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   William Gerhardi originally intended to call this novel MY WIFE: A STUDY IN INSANITY, a title which horrified his publisher Faber & Faber. It is the story of an elderly man by the name of Charles Baldridge and his efforts to write a successful film script to save himself from insolvency in a journey from comedy to tragedy, nightmare and then farce. Michael Holroyd praised the book as ‘an illustration, detail by dire detail, minute by minute, of our life in time. The film world symbolizes the visible surface of things divorced from all poetic implications. It is actual, but unreal.' 

 

  William Alexander Gerhardie (1895-1977) was a British (Anglo-Russian) novelist and playwright. Gerhardie (or Gerhardi: he added the ‘e’ in later years as an affectation) was one of the most critically acclaimed English novelists of the 1920s (Evelyn Waugh told him ‘I have talent, but you have genius’). H.G Wells was a ferocious champion of his work. His first novel Futility, was written while he was at Cambridge and drew on his experiences in Russia fighting (or attempting to fight) the Bolsheviks, along with his childhood experiences visiting pre-revolutionary Russia. Some say that it was the first work in English to fully explore the theme of ‘waiting’ later made famous by Samuel Beckett in WAITING FOR GODOT, but it is probably more apt to recognize a common comic nihilism between those two figures. His next novel, THE POLYGLOTS is probably his masterpiece (although some argue for DOOM). Again it deals with Russia (Gerhardie was strongly influenced by the tragi-comic style of Russian writers such as Chekhov who he wrote a study of while in College). He collaborated with Hugh Kingsmill on the biography ‘The Casanova Fable’, his friendship with Hugh being both a source of conflict over women and a great intellectual stimulus. After World War II Gerhardie’s star waned, and he became unfashionable, and although he continued to write, he had nothing published after 1939. After a period of poverty-stricken oblivion, he lived to see two ‘definitive collected works’ published by Macdonald (in 1947-49 and then revised again in 1970-74). More recently, both Prion and New Directions Press have been reissuing his works. Asked how to say his name, he told The Literary Digest ‘Pronounced jer (as Ger in Gerald) hardy, with the accent on the a: jer-har’dy. This is the way I and my relatives pronounce it, tho I am told it is incorrect. Philologists are of the opinion that it should be pronounced with the g as in Gertrude. I believe they are right. I, however, cling to the family habit of mispronouncing it. But I do so without obstinacy. If the world made it worth my while I would side with the multitude.’ (Charles Earle Funk, What’s the Name, Please?, Funk & Wagnalls, 1936).

 

 

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(01/05/2015) The Happy-Go-Lucky or Leaves From The Life of a Good For Nothing by Joseph Freiherr Von Eichendorff. Philadelphia and London. 1906. J. B. Lippincott Company. 117 pages.  hardcover.  Translated from the German by Mrs. A. L. Wister. With illustrations in color and tint by Philipp Grot Johann and Professor Edmund Kanoldt and marginal drawings by Eva Nagel Wolf.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Despaired of by his father and impatient with his lot, a young man hears the enticing call of life on the road. Leaving his home and all that he knows, he embarks on a journey in search of adventure and glory. One day enjoying fortune and plenty, the next at the mercy of villains and rogues, his is a life of chance and wonder that, despite its strange twists and turns, ultimately leads him to his heart’s desire. Primarily a lyrical poet, Joseph von Eichendorff is a key figure in Germany’s literary heritage.

 

Von Eichendorff Joseph Freiherr  Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff (10 March 1788 – 26 November 1857) was a German poet and novelist of the later German romantic school. Eichendorff is regarded as one of the most important German Romantics and his works have sustained high popularity in Germany from production to the present day. Eichendorff was born in 1788 at Schloß Lubowitz near Ratibor (now Racibórz, Poland) in Upper Silesia, then part of the Kingdom of Prussia. His parents were the Prussian officer Adolf Freiherr von Eichendorff and his wife, Karoline (née Freiin von Kloche), who came from an aristocratic Roman Catholic family. He studied law in Halle (1805–1806) and Heidelberg (1807–1808). In 1808 he travelled through Europe, visiting Paris and Vienna. In 1810, he returned home to help his father run the family estate. The same year he met Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Achim von Arnim, Clemens Brentano, and Heinrich von Kleist in Berlin. From 1813 to 1815 he fought in the Napoleonic Wars as a volunteer in the famous Lützow Corps. From 1816, Eichendorff worked in various capacities in the administrative service of the Prussian state. He started with a judicial office in Breslau. In 1821, Eichendorff became school inspector in Danzig, in 1824 Oberpräsidialrat (chief presidential councillor) in Königsberg. He moved with his family to Berlin in 1831, where he worked for several ministries, until he retired in 1844. Eichendorff died in Neisse, Upper Silesia (now Nysa, Poland), in 1857. Eichendorff's guiding poetic theme was that Man should find happiness in full absorption of the beauties and changing moods of Nature. In later life he also wrote several works of history and criticism of German literature. The lyricism of Eichendorff's poetry is much praised, and his poems have been set to music by many composers, including, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Hugo Wolf, Richard Strauss, Friedrich Nietzsche, Hans Pfitzner, Hermann Zilcher, and Alexander Zemlinsky. His later poetic work is generally cast in narrative form (Julian, 1853; Lucius, 1857), and is tinged with his increasingly clerical views. His translations from the Spanish, Der Graf Lucanor (1845) and Die geistlichen Schauspiele Calderons (2 vols., 1846–53), were prompted by the same tendency. Eichendorff's best known work, Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts (English: Of the Life of a Good-For-Nothing) is typical romantic novella, whose main themes are voyage and love. The protagonist leaves his father's mill and becomes a gardener at a Viennese castle where he falls in love with the daughter of the duke. Because she is unattainable he travels to Italy but then returns and learns that she had been adopted by the duke, so nothing stands in the way of a marriage between them.

 

 

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(01/04/2015) Echoes by Robert Creeley. New York. 1994. New Directions. 116 pages.  hardcover. Jacket photograph by Denny Moers; design by Hermann Strohbach.  0811212637 

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   In his ECHOES, Robert Creeley continues to explore the limits and resonances, public and personal, of age. Indeed, the title itself, ECHOES, recurs throughout his poetry of the previous two decades leading up to this collection. Thus ‘Sonnets’ speaks out against the waste of human violence and dogmatism (‘Come round again the banal/belligerence almost a/flatulent echo of times’), while the book’s closing sequence, ‘Roman Sketchbook,’ contemplates with wit and affection the measure of one’s literal body in echoing time and place. Creeley as ever articulates the givens of life, its daily fact and possibility, with careful, concise invention. About ECHOES - ‘Echoing the themes and voice of his ground- breaking and immensely important early work, Creeley’s most recent book is touching, resonant, and never lets the good reader forget the fact that we cannot be as beautiful or as powerful when we age as when we are young. In one sense it is more than an echo; it is a reminder of Creeley’s original stature in American letters.’ - Diane Wakoski (from Creeley’s citation as finalist for the 1995 Paterson Poetry Prize). ‘But for all of his complexity, the poet’s responses to his own sense of aging are surprisingly witty, lyrical and grounded.   ECHOES succeeds beautifully.’ - Publishers Weekly (starred review).

 

  Robert Creeley (1926-2005) published more than sixty books of poetry, prose, essays, and interviews in the United States and abroad. His many honors included the Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award, the Frost Medal, the Shelley Memorial Award, and the Bollingen Prize for Poetry. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Distinguished Professor in the Graduate Program in Literary Arts at Brown University

 

 

 

 

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(01/03/2015) The Progress of a Biographer by Hugh Kingsmill. London. 1949. Methuen & Company Ltd. 194 pages.  hardcover.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Nowadays it is generally assumed that a writer must be either a Communist or a Catholic. Hugh Kingsmill is neither, nor does he belong to any other body, secular or religious. The idea which underlies this book is that there are absolute truths, which the individual can in some degree apprehend and live by, but which churches and institutions can only obscure and pervert. Most of the sketches in this book were written between the end of the war and the spring of 1948. The subjects range from P. G. Wodehouse to Karl Marx, W. B. Yeats to Thackeray, and from Rainer Maria Rilke to Lloyd George. Believing that to understand a man’s work, one must form a coherent impression of the man, the author has tried to suggest the leading characteristics and governing impulses of his subjects. His intention has been to clarify rather than to criticize, though doubtless the effect may sometimes be one of criticism falling short of clarification.

 

  Hugh Kingsmill Lunn (21 November 1889 – 15 May 1949), who dropped his last name for professional purposes, was a versatile British writer and journalist. Writers Arnold Lunn and Brian Lunn were his brothers. Hugh Kingsmill Lunn was born in London and educated at Harrow School and the University of Oxford. After graduating he worked for a brief period for Frank Harris, who edited the publication Hearth and Home in 1911/2, alongside Enid Bagnold; Kingsmill later wrote a debunking biography of Harris, after the spell had worn off. He began fighting in the British Army in World War I in 1916, and was captured in France the next year. After the war, he began to write, initially both science fiction and crime fiction. In the 1930s he was a contributor to the English Review; later he wrote a good deal of non-fiction for this periodical's successor, the English Review Magazine. His large output includes criticism, essays and biographies, parodies and humour, as well as novels, and edited a number of anthologies. He is remembered for saying 'friends are God's apology for relations', with a notable flavour of Ambrose Bierce. The dictum was subsequently used by Richard Ingrams for the title of his memoir of Kingsmill's friendships with Hesketh Pearson and Malcolm Muggeridge, two intimate friends whom he influenced greatly.Muggeridge drew a darker attitude from Kingsmill's sardonic wit. Dawnist was Kingsmill's word for those infected with unrealistic or utopian idealism — the enemy as far as he was concerned. Kingmill’s works include: The Will To Love (1919) novel, The Dawn's Delay (1924) stories, Blondel (1927), Matthew Arnold (1928) biography, After Puritanism, 1850-1900 (1929), An Anthology Of Invective And Abuse (1929), The Return of William Shakespeare (1929) novel, Behind Both Lines (1930) autobiographical, More Invective (1930) anthology, The Worst of Love (1931) anthology, After Puritanism (1931), Frank Harris (1932) biography, The Table Of Truth (1933), Samuel Johnson (1933) biography, The Sentimental Journey (1934) biography of Charles Dickens, The Casanova Fable: A Satirical Revaluation (1934) with William Gerhardi, What They Said At The Time (1935) anthology, Parents and Children (1936) anthology; Brave Old World (1936) humour, with Malcolm Muggeridge, A Pre-View Of Next Year's News (1937) humour, with Malcolm Muggeridge, Skye High: The Record Of A Tour Through Scotland In The Wake Of The Samuel Johnson And James Boswell.(1937) travel, with Hesketh Pearson, Made On Earth (1937) anthology on marriage, The English Genius: a survey of the English achievement and character (1938) editor, essays by W. R. Inge, Hilaire Belloc, Hesketh Pearson, William Gerhardi, E .S. P. Haynes, Douglas Woodruff, Charles Petrie, J. F. C. Fuller, Alfred Noyes, Rose Macaulay, Brian Lunn, Rebecca West, K. Hare, T. W. Earp, D. H. Lawrence (1938) biography, Next Year's News (1938) humour, with Malcolm Muggeridge, Courage (1939) anthology, Johnson Without Boswell: A Contemporary Portrait of Samuel Johnson (1940) editor, The Fall (1940), This Blessed Plot (1942) travel, with Hesketh Pearson, The Poisoned Crown (1944) essays on genealogies, Talking Of Dick Whittington (1947) travel, with Hesketh Pearson), The Progress Of A Biographer (1949), The High Hill of the Muses (1955) anthology, The Best of Hugh Kingsmill: Selections from his Writings (1970) edited by Michael Holroyd, Bernard Shaw, His Life and Personality.

 

 

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(01/02/2015) The Early Pohl by Frederik Pohl. Garden City. 1976. Doubleday. 183 pages.  hardcover. Jacket by Peter Rauch.  0385110146 

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER - 

 

   ‘In the winter of 1933, when I was just turned thirteen, I discovered three new truths. The first truth was that the world was in a hell of a mess. The second was that I really was not going to spend my life being a chemical engineer, no matter what I had told my guidance counselor at Brooklyn Technical High School. And the third was that in my conversion to science fiction as a way of life I Was Not Alone.’ With these words, a highly acclaimed writer and editor begins his tale of early life and adventures in science fiction. Together with eight stories and one poem (all of which appeared during the period of 1940-44) is his delightful autobiographical commentary on each of them—as well as revealing anecdotes about his fandom associations, his friends and enemies, his many wives. Awards? Frederik Pohl has had dozens. Criticism? Plenty. But as Pohl says, ‘if I could go back in time.   and have the chance to do it over, knowing everything I know now about the pains and the problems, the disappointments, and the slow-coming rewards.   I would do it exactly the same way, and exult at the chance.’ When you read this book you’ll understand. Frederik Pohl was just a high school student when his first poem was published by Amazing Stories. He was editor of two science fiction magazines before he was even twenty years old. And from there, Frederik Pohl went on to become one of this country’s most prolific and widely read science fiction authors.

 

Pohl Frederik  Frederik George Pohl, Jr. (November 26, 1919 – September 2, 2013) was an American science fiction writer, editor and fan, with a career spanning more than seventy-five years—from his first published work, the 1937 poem ‘Elegy to a Dead Satellite: Luna’, to the 2011 novel All the Lives He Led and articles and essays published in 2012. From about 1959 until 1969, Pohl edited Galaxy and its sister magazine If; the latter won three successive annual Hugo Awards as the year's best professional magazine. His 1977 novel Gateway won four ‘year's best novel’ awards: the Hugo voted by convention participants, the Locus voted by magazine subscribers, the Nebula voted by American science fiction writers, and the juried academic John W. Campbell Memorial Award. He won the Campbell Memorial Award again for the 1984 collection of novellas Years of the City, one of two repeat winners during the first forty years. For his 1979 novel Jem, Pohl won a U.S. National Book Award in the one-year category Science Fiction. It was a finalist for three other years' best novel awards. He won four Hugo and three Nebula Awards. The Science Fiction Writers of America named Pohl its 12th recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award in 1993 and he was inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 1998, its third class of two dead and two living writers. Pohl won the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer in 2010, for his blog, ‘The Way the Future Blogs’. 

 

 

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(01/01/2015) Heavenly Breakfast by Samuel R. Delany. New York. 1979. Bantam Books. 128 pages. September 1979. paperback.  0553127969 

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   SAMUEL R. DELANY takes a long, searching look back at the mythic scenes of his youthful adventures, the launching pad for the psychedelic voyages that shaped his phenomenal science fiction. This is the story of a mind being born, the dawn of a new awareness that set loose the fantastic imagination of ‘the best science fiction writer in the world.’ – Galaxy.

 

 Samuel Ray Delany, Jr., also known as ‘Chip’, is an American author, professor and literary critic. His work includes a number of novels, many in the science fiction genre, as well as memoir, criticism, and essays on sexuality and society. His science fiction novels include BABEL-17, THE EINSTEIN INTERSECTION (winners of the Nebula Award for 1966 and 1967 respectively), NOVA, DHALGREN, and the RETURN TO NEVÈRŸON series. After winning four Nebula awards and two Hugo awards over the course of his career, Delany was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2002. Between 1988 and 1999 he was a professor of comparative literature at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Between 1999 and 2000 he was a professor of English at SUNY Buffalo. Since January 2001 he has been a professor of English and Creative Writing at Temple University in Philadelphia, where he is Director of the Graduate Creative Writing Program..

 

 

 

 

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(12/31/2014) In the Problem Pit by Frederik Pohl. New York. 1976. Bantam Books. 194 pages.  paperback.  0553088572 

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

  A jarrinq adventure into alternative worlds by Frederik Pohl. WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO US? When we can replace ourselves with unfailing machines just like us? When we can experience the ultimate ecstasy from a little pill? When we can trip back in time to ‘correct’ the errors of history? When all our problems are solved—except the deadly ones we never thought of? 

 

Pohl Frederik  Frederik George Pohl, Jr. (November 26, 1919 – September 2, 2013) was an American science fiction writer, editor and fan, with a career spanning more than seventy-five years—from his first published work, the 1937 poem ‘Elegy to a Dead Satellite: Luna’, to the 2011 novel All the Lives He Led and articles and essays published in 2012. From about 1959 until 1969, Pohl edited Galaxy and its sister magazine If; the latter won three successive annual Hugo Awards as the year's best professional magazine. His 1977 novel Gateway won four ‘year's best novel’ awards: the Hugo voted by convention participants, the Locus voted by magazine subscribers, the Nebula voted by American science fiction writers, and the juried academic John W. Campbell Memorial Award. He won the Campbell Memorial Award again for the 1984 collection of novellas Years of the City, one of two repeat winners during the first forty years. For his 1979 novel Jem, Pohl won a U.S. National Book Award in the one-year category Science Fiction. It was a finalist for three other years' best novel awards. He won four Hugo and three Nebula Awards. The Science Fiction Writers of America named Pohl its 12th recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award in 1993 and he was inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 1998, its third class of two dead and two living writers. Pohl won the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer in 2010, for his blog, ‘The Way the Future Blogs’.

 

 

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(12/30/2014) Unmasking the African Dictator: Essays on Postcolonial African Literature by Gichingiri Ndigirigi (editor). Knoxville. 2014. University Of Tennessee Press. 312  pages. September 2014. hardcover.  6’x 9’. Tennessee Studies in Literature, Volume 46.  9781621900559 

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

9781621900559  With A Foreword By Ngugi Wa Thiong’o. In Africa, the development of ‘dictatorship fiction’ as a vehicle for depicting the authoritarian state arose more slowly than in other parts of the world. The dictator novel emerged earlier in Latin America, as the region’s anticolonial disengagement preceded that of Africa. Thus, the Latin American variant of this literary genre has been extensively studied, but until now there has been no comparable exploration of the fictional and dramatic representations of tyrannical regimes in Africa. In Unmasking the African Dictator, Gchingiri Ndigirigi redresses that imbalance with a collection of essays that fully examine the figure of the ‘Big Man’ in African arts. This volume features twelve articles from both established and emerging scholars who undertake representative readings of the African despot in fiction, drama, films, and music. Arranged chronologically, these essays cover postcolonial realities in a wide range of countries: Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, the Congo, Nigeria, the Central African Republic, Somalia, Kenya, and Uganda. Included here are a variety of voices that illuminate the different aspects of dictator fiction in Africa and in the process enrich our understanding of the continent’s literature, politics, and culture. This work features a foreword by formerly exiled Kenyan novelist, poet, and critic Ngugi wa Thiong’o. Ndigirigi’s own extended introduction reviews the overarching themes found in the collection and summarizes each of the artistic works being examined while placing the individual essays in context. A pioneering study, Unmasking the African Dictator examines the works of several major authors of dictator fictions like Achebe, Ngugi, Farah, and Tamsi, among others. It is an ideal resource for both undergraduate and graduate courses on African literature, culture, and politics.

 

Ndigirigi Gichingiri  Gchingiri Ndigirigi is an associate professor of English at the University of Tennessee. He is the author of Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Drama and the Popular Theater Experiment.

 

 

 

 

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(12/29/2014) If I Were Writing This by Robert Creeley. New York. 2003. New Directions. 103 pages.  hardcover. Jacket photograph by Denny Moers, 'Directing Passage' (1996, Yugoslavia). Jacket design by Erik Rieselbach.  0811215563 

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

0811215563   The poems of If I Were Writing This, Robert Creeley's first major collection since the highly praised Life & Death (1998), have an ‘aching sweetness’ that speak to the preciousness of life as the poet both faces his own mortality and simultaneously looks on a world suddenly more precarious and fragile. In these poems there is longing, a twinge of regret sometimes, a bit of nostalgia, the sadness of passing time, but finally no regrets and no self-pity, just an understanding that this is what it is to be human, an acknowledgment that life is uncertain but also bracing and positive. Creeley himself comments: ‘Given the bleak vulnerability of the world and of our own country's dogmatic commitment to violence, what can either poet or poetry do? For one thing, insist on feeling—insist on witness—insist on being here, in this 'phenomenal world,' as Lawrence called it, 'which is raging and yet apart.' Age brings experience, not wisdom; age makes time actual—each day another—until there is no more. These poems have been my company, my solace, my feelings, my heart. When they cannot speak, it will all be silence.’

 

  Robert Creeley (1926-2005) published more than sixty books of poetry, prose, essays, and interviews in the United States and abroad. His many honors included the Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award, the Frost Medal, the Shelley Memorial Award, and the Bollingen Prize for Poetry. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Distinguished Professor in the Graduate Program in Literary Arts at Brown University

 

 

 

 

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(12/28/2014) Quack! Quack! by Leonard Woolf. New York. 1935. Harcourt Brace & Company.  hardcover.   

 

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   'Leonard has just finished his book, called Quack Quack which will be out in June. I expect it will get him into hot water with all classes, as it is a very spirited attack upon human nature as it is at present. I think you'll enjoy it.' - Virginia Woolf to Margaret Llewelyn Davies, April 28, 1935. 

 

   Leonard Sidney Woolf (25 November 1880 – 14 August 1969) was an English political theorist, author, publisher and civil servant, and husband of author Virginia Woolf. Woolf was born in London, the third of ten children of Solomon Rees Sidney Woolf (known as Sidney Woolf), a barrister and Queen's Counsel, and Marie (née de Jongh). His family was Jewish. After his father died in 1892 Woolf was sent to board at Arlington House School near Brighton, Sussex. From 1894 to 1899 he attended St Paul's School, and in 1899 he won a classical scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was elected to the Cambridge Apostles. Other members included Lytton Strachey, John Maynard Keynes, GE Moore and EM Forster. Thoby Stephen, Virginia Stephen's brother, was friendly with the Apostles, though not a member himself. Woolf was awarded his BA in 1902, but stayed for another year to study for the Civil Service examinations. In October 1904 Woolf moved to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) to become a cadet in the Ceylon Civil Service, in Jaffna and later Kandy, and by August 1908 was named an assistant government agent in the Southern Province, where he administered the District of Hambantota. Woolf returned to England in May 1911 for a year's leave. Instead, however, he resigned in early 1912 and that same year married Virginia Stephen (Virginia Woolf). Together Leonard and Virginia Woolf became influential in the Bloomsbury group, which also included various other former Apostles. In December 1917 Woolf became one of the co-founders of the 1917 Club, which met in Gerrard Street, Soho. After marriage, Woolf turned his hand to writing and in 1913 published his first novel, The Village in the Jungle, which is based on his years in Sri Lanka. A series of books followed at roughly two-yearly intervals. On the introduction of conscription in 1916, during the First World War, Woolf was rejected for military service on medical grounds, and turned to politics and sociology. He joined the Labour Party and the Fabian Society, and became a regular contributor to the New Statesman. In 1916 he wrote International Government, proposing an international agency to enforce world peace. As his wife began to suffer from mental illness Woolf devoted much of his time to caring for her (he himself suffered from depression). In 1917 the Woolfs bought a small hand-operated printing press and with it they founded the Hogarth Press. Their first project was a pamphlet, hand-printed and bound by themselves. Within ten years the Press had become a full-scale publishing house, issuing Virginia's novels, Leonard's tracts and, among other works, the first edition of T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land. Woolf continued as the main director of the Press until his death. His wife's mental problems continued, however, until her suicide in 1941. Later Leonard fell in love with a married artist, Trekkie Parsons. In 1919 Woolf became editor of the International Review. He also edited the international section of the Contemporary Review from 1920 to 1922. He was literary editor of The Nation and Atheneum, generally referred to simply as The Nation, from 1923 to 1930), and joint founder and editor of The Political Quarterly from 1931 to 1959), and for a time he served as secretary of the Labour Party's advisory committees on international and colonial questions. In 1960 Woolf revisited Sri Lanka and was surprised at the warmth of the welcome he received, and even the fact that he was still remembered. Woolf accepted an honorary doctorate from the then-new University of Sussex in 1964 and in 1965 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He declined the offer of CH in the Queen's Birthday honours list in 1966.

 

 

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(12/27/2014) Starchild by Frederik Pohl. Middlesex. 1970. Penguin Books. 148 pages.  paperback. Cover design by Franco Grignani.  0140031030

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Steve Ryland knew more about his future than he did about his past. His past was a fog of forgetfulness. Especially the three days when he committed the crime that made him a prisoner of the Plan of Man. His future was much more certain. If he didn’t develop ‘jetless drive’ he would suffer the horrors of the body bank. His body would be dismantled piece by piece, for ‘spares’ surgery, while he was still alive. Around his neck, a collar containing explosive made escape a deadly risk. Unfortunately, the impossibility of his task made it necessary.

 

Pohl Frederik  Frederik George Pohl, Jr. (November 26, 1919 – September 2, 2013) was an American science fiction writer, editor and fan, with a career spanning more than seventy-five years—from his first published work, the 1937 poem ‘Elegy to a Dead Satellite: Luna’, to the 2011 novel All the Lives He Led and articles and essays published in 2012. From about 1959 until 1969, Pohl edited Galaxy and its sister magazine If; the latter won three successive annual Hugo Awards as the year's best professional magazine. His 1977 novel Gateway won four ‘year's best novel’ awards: the Hugo voted by convention participants, the Locus voted by magazine subscribers, the Nebula voted by American science fiction writers, and the juried academic John W. Campbell Memorial Award. He won the Campbell Memorial Award again for the 1984 collection of novellas Years of the City, one of two repeat winners during the first forty years. For his 1979 novel Jem, Pohl won a U.S. National Book Award in the one-year category Science Fiction. It was a finalist for three other years' best novel awards. He won four Hugo and three Nebula Awards. The Science Fiction Writers of America named Pohl its 12th recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award in 1993 and he was inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 1998, its third class of two dead and two living writers. Pohl won the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer in 2010, for his blog, ‘The Way the Future Blogs’.

 

 

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(12/26/2014) Droll Tales: The Second Decade by Honore de Balzac. New York. 1929. Covici Friede. 279 pages.  hardcover.  Illustrated by Jean De Bosschere. Translated from the French by J. Lewis May.

 

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   Droll Stories, collection of short stories by Honoré de Balzac, published in three sets of 10 stories each, in 1832, 1833, and 1837, as Contes drolatiques. Rabelaisian in theme, the stories are written with great vitality in a pastiche of 16th-century language. The tales are fully as lively as the author’s masterful Comédie humaine series, but they stand apart for their good-humoured licentiousness and historical wordplay. Droll Stories -  Volume 2, The Second Ten Tales. CONTENTS: The Three Clerks of Saint Nicholas; The Continence of King Francis I; The Merry Quips of the Nuns of Poissy; How the Chateau D’Azay Came to Be Built; The Sham Courtesan; The Danger of Being Too Innocent; A  Dear Night of Love; The Sermon of the Merry Vicar of Meudon; Love’s Despair; The Succubus; Epilogue.

 

  Honoré de Balzac (20 May 1799 – 18 August 1850) was a French novelist and playwright. His magnum opus was a sequence of short stories and novels collectively entitled La Comédie humaine, which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the 1815 fall of Napoleon. Due to his keen observation of detail and unfiltered representation of society, Balzac is regarded as one of the founders of realism in European literature. He is renowned for his multifaceted characters, who are complex, morally ambiguous and fully human. His writing influenced many subsequent novelists such as Marcel Proust, Émile Zola, Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Gustave Flaubert, Benito Pérez Galdós, Marie Corelli, Henry James, William Faulkner, Jack Kerouac, and Italo Calvino, and philosophers such as Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx. Many of Balzac's works have been made into or have inspired films, and they are a continuing source of inspiration for writers, filmmakers and critics. An enthusiastic reader and independent thinker as a child, Balzac had trouble adapting to the teaching style of his grammar school. His willful nature caused trouble throughout his life and frustrated his ambitions to succeed in the world of business. When he finished school, Balzac was an apprentice in a law office, but he turned his back on the study of law after wearying of its inhumanity and banal routine. Before and during his career as a writer, he attempted to be a publisher, printer, businessman, critic, and politician; he failed in all of these efforts. La Comédie humaine reflects his real-life difficulties, and includes scenes from his own experience. Balzac suffered from health problems throughout his life, possibly due to his intense writing schedule. His relationship with his family was often strained by financial and personal difficulties, and he ended several friendships over critical reviews. In 1850 he married Ewelina Hanska, his longtime love; he died five months later.

 

 

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(12/25/2014) Selected Poems by Robert Creeley. Berkeley. 1991. University Of California Press. 366 pages.  hardcover. Cover photos: top left, Jonathan Williams; top-right and lower left, Elsa Dorfman; lower-right, Chris Felver. Jacket design: Barbara Jellow.  0520069358 

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Here, in a new selection of 200 poems from over four decades, is the distinctive voice of Robert Creeley, reminding us of what has made him one of the most important and affectionately regarded poets of our time. Since the publication of For Love, Robert Creeley has been a popular and frequently controversial force in American poetry. He has challenged established canons of literary taste, prompted the most avant-garde writers of his gene ration, and, with his spare, subtly colloquial poems, defined a literary style to which today’s ‘language’ poets trace their inspiration. In opposition to established literary tastes, Creeley’s idiosyncratic lyrics have shaped the legacy of a ‘new American poetry’ for an entire generation of younger poets. Creeley published his first poem in the Harvard magazine Wake in 1946. In 1949 he began corresponding with William Carlos Williams and Ezra Pound. Creeley’s acquaintance with the poet Charles Olson dates from the following year. In 1954, as rector of Black Mountain College (an experimental arts school in North Carolina), Olson invited Creeley to join the faculty and to edit the Black Mountain Review. Through the Review and his own incisive essays, Creeley helped define an emerging counter-tradition to the literary establishment - a postwar poetry originating with Pound, Williams, and Zukofsky and expanding through the lives and works of Olson, Robert Duncan, Allen Ginsberg, Denise Levertov, Edward Dorn, and others. Like many of these experimental poets, Creeley broke into the literary establishment by stealth, and he still views himself as something of an outsider. ‘I began with fugitive publication,’ he says, ‘and have been variously on the run ever since.’ Creeley’s poems are distinctive for their precise, terse - almost minimalist-language. The syncopated rhythms and silences of his verse have been compared to the jazz improvisations of Charlie Parker. From the initial lyrics of personal exploration to the recognitions of adamant daily life, Selected Poems offers an introduction to the singular inventiveness that has established Creeley as a major contemporary poet.

 

 Robert Creeley (May 21, 1926 – March 30, 2005) was an American poet and author of more than sixty books. He is usually associated with the Black Mountain poets, though his verse aesthetic diverged from that school's. He was close with Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Allen Ginsberg, John Wieners and Ed Dorn. He served as the Samuel P. Capen Professor of Poetry and the Humanities at State University of New York at Buffalo. In 1991, he joined colleagues Susan Howe, Charles Bernstein, Raymond Federman, Robert Bertholf, and Dennis Tedlock in founding the Poetics Program at Buffalo. Creeley lived in Waldoboro, Maine, Buffalo, New York, and Providence, Rhode Island where he taught at Brown University. He was a recipient of the Lannan Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.

 

 

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(12/24/2014) The Son by Jo Nesbø. New York. 2014. Knopf. 405 pages. May 2014. hardcover. 9780385351379

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

9780385351379  The author of the best-selling Harry Hole series now gives us an electrifying tale of vengeance set amid Oslo's brutal hierarchy of corruption. Sonny Lofthus has been in prison for almost half his life: serving time for crimes he didn't commit. In exchange, he gets an uninterrupted supply of heroin—and a stream of fellow prisoners seeking out his Buddha-like absolution. Years earlier Sonny’s father, a corrupt cop, took his own life rather than face exposure. Now Sonny is the center of a vortex of corruption: prison staff, police, lawyers, a desperate priest—all of them focused on keeping him stoned and jailed. When Sonny discovers a shocking truth about his father’s suicide, he makes a brilliant escape and begins hunting down the people responsible for his and his father’s demise. But he's also being hunted, and by enemies too many to count. Two questions remain: who will get to him first, and what will he do when he’s cornered?

 

Nesbø Jo  Jo Nesbø’s books have sold more than twenty million copies worldwide, and have been translated into forty-seven languages. His Harry Hole novels include The Bat, The Redbreast, Nemesis, The Devil’s Star, The Redeemer, The Snowman, The Leopard, Phantom, and Police, and he is the author of Headhunters and several children’s books. He has received the Glass Key Award for best Nordic crime novel. He is also a musician, songwriter, and economist and lives in Oslo.

 

 

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(12/23/2014) You by Zoran Drvenkar. New York. 2014. Knopf. 497 pages. August 2014. hardcover. Jacket design by Kelly Blair.  Translated from the German by Shaun Whiteside.  9780307958068 

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Take one man traveling down the highway. Imagine him without mercy. Call him the Traveler and fear him. Take five girls who open the door to chaos and watch them run. Put five kilos of heroin and a gun in their luggage. Call them the Sweet Nightmares and fear them. Take a father haunted by his past who never forgets a grudge. Call him the Kingpin and don’t go near him. All hurtle toward each other. Full of revenge, they have no idea that YOU are watching them. It’s a late-summer night in Berlin and notorious criminal Ragnar Desche isn’t too happy. He’s just found his brother, Oskar, dead, frozen stiff and sitting in his home next to a swimming pool full of marijuana plants. Someone’s flooded the pool and stolen a Range Rover, but what’s worse is that Ragnar’s huge cache of drugs is missing—and he’s going to want it back. Meanwhile, nearby, a group of teenage girls are out at the movies. Thinking about boys and worrying about acne, they notice that the prettiest member of their clique is missing. She hasn’t been seen for days, and the trouble she’s found herself in is about to set all of the girls on a collision course with the Desche gang and drag them into a fight for their lives—a fight that might turn out to be more evenly matched than it first appears. A gritty, pulsating, psychological thriller told through the eyes of an enormous cast of characters, You is an audacious and unpredictable combination of pulp, pluck, and revenge.

 

  Zoran Drvenkar was born in Croatia in 1967 and moved to Germany when he was three years old. He has been working as a writer since 1989 and doesn’t like to be pinned down to one genre. He has written more than twenty novels, ranging from children’s and young adult books to the darker literary novels Sorry and You. In 2010, Sorry won Germany’s Friedrich Glauser Prize for crime fiction. Drvenkar lives in an old mill just outside of Berlin.

 

 

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(12/22/2014) Memory Gardens by Robert Creeley. New York. 1986. New Directions. 88 pages.  hardcover. Photograph by Denny Moers; design by Hermann Strohbach.  0811209733 

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   The title of Robert Creeley’s gathering of poems, Memory Gardens, softly announces his meditative theme. As on a quiet walk through a familiar landscape, the poet leads us along paths of recollection. Thoughts turn back upon themselves, evoking half-forgotten intangibles of past moments. Childhood and family, old loves lost and new loves gained, the change of seasons, supper in the kitchen—it is such particularities as these that Creeley catches with the spare lines of his tight constructions. Though comprised of short poems in the main, the collection includes three exceptional Sequences: the poignant ‘Four for John Daley’; ‘Apres Anders,’ macaronic improvisations on work by the German poet Richard Anders; and ‘A Calendar,’ a group of twelve poems, one for each month of the year, appropriately concluding the book with a December ‘Memory’ (‘On1y us then/remember, discover,/still can care for /the human’). Some Comments About Robert Creeley’s Poetry: ‘Creeley is absolutely mesmerizing in his ability to suspend and to define the passage of thought, the process of experience in all its ironic, inexorable sadness. No poetic theories are required to support such art; it achieves its own permanence by relating at once to our own groping, semi-articulate wonder.’ - Joyce Carol Oates, The New Republic. ‘One of the very few contemporaries with whom it is essential to keep in contact.’ - Hugh Kenner. ‘[Creeley] is on anyone’s short list of the best working American poets.’ - The Washington Post. ‘His influence on contemporary American poetry has probably been more deeply felt than any other writer of his generation.’ - Terry Southern, The New York Times Book Review.

 

  Robert Creeley (May 21, 1926 – March 30, 2005) was an American poet and author of more than sixty books. He is usually associated with the Black Mountain poets, though his verse aesthetic diverged from that school's. He was close with Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Allen Ginsberg, John Wieners and Ed Dorn. He served as the Samuel P. Capen Professor of Poetry and the Humanities at State University of New York at Buffalo. In 1991, he joined colleagues Susan Howe, Charles Bernstein, Raymond Federman, Robert Bertholf, and Dennis Tedlock in founding the Poetics Program at Buffalo. Creeley lived in Waldoboro, Maine, Buffalo, New York, and Providence, Rhode Island where he taught at Brown University. He was a recipient of the Lannan Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.

 

 

 

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(12/21/2014) Eyrbyggja Saga by Hermann Palsson and Paul Edwards (translators). Toronto and Buffalo. 1973. University of Toronto Press. 198 pages.  hardcover. The cover drawing is adapted from a carving on a medieval cabinet door in the National Museum of Iceland, Reykjavik.  Translated from the Old Icelandic by Hermann Palsson and Paul Edwards.  0802019420 

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER - 

 

   ‘Of all the various records of Icelandic history and literature,’ wrote Sir Walter Scott, ‘there is none more interesting than Eyrbyggja Saga.’ Probably composed soon after 1250, this saga is part of the mainstream of medieval Icelandic literature and has been regarded as one of the most remarkable of the classical sagas of Icelanders. Its central is figure is Snorri the Priest, ‘a very shrewd man with remarkable foresight, a long memory, and a taste for vengeance,’ whose friends found in him a wise counselor, but whose enemies learned to dread his advice. During his lifetime (963-1031) Iceland officially adopted Christianity; and, although formerly a pagan priest, Snorri did more than anyone else to persuade his fellow countrymen to question the values of their ancestral faith. Eyrbyggja Saga as a complex structure in which eerie ghost-stories are interwoven with sober and realistic accounts of life in Iceland a thousand years ago. There are also antiquarian and gothic elements, unquiet graves of the malevolent dead, violent encounters with Vikings and berserks, which are recounted in a pervasive heroic spirit. On the surface, this saga reads like an historical record tracing the lives of several generations from the late ninth century to the early eleventh, but underlying that is a description of a community progressing from lawlessness to collective responsibility. The subtle and sophisticated narrative of Eyrbyggja Saga makes a searching examination of the internal conflicts which rapid social change arouses in any transitional society.

The translators both taught at the University of Edinburgh, where HERMAN PALSSON was reader in Icelandic and PAUL EDWARDS was a senior lecturer in English.

 

 

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(12/20/2014) Hrolf Gautreksson: A Viking Romance by Hermann Palsson and Paul Edwards (translators). Toronto and Buffalo. 1972. University of Toronto Press. 149 pages.  hardcover. The cover drawing is adapted from a carving on a medieval cabinet door in the National Museum of Iceland, Reykjavik.  Translated from the Icelandic by Hermann Palsson and Paul Edwards.  0802018149 

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

  HROLF GAUTREKSSON, appearing here for the first time in an English translation, is a fourteenth-century Icelandic ‘novel’ in which features of the sagas of earlier centuries are seen in the process of blending with the conventions and characteristics of the European romance. It is interesting as an example of a hybrid literary genre, and tells of the derring-do and successes of a young Viking hero who becomes a king and marries a rather unusual queen. The story takes the reader from Scandinavia to Russia to England and Ireland, through a world of primitive Christianity in which people who are still unmistakably Vikings live in a strangely chivalrous society of jousts, feasts, and courtly love. The underlying moral theme is about moderation and excess, but this is also an entertaining adventure story. The translation is preceded by an introduction by Professors Pálsson and Edwards which discusses the work as a piece of fiction and as an example of the literary tradition of which it is a part.

 

HERMANN PALSSON studied Icelandic at the University of Iceland, and Celtic at University College, Dublin. He was a Visiting Professor at University of Toronto in 1967-1968 and was also Reader in Icelandic at the University of Edinburgh, where he taught since 1950.

 

PAUL EDWARDS studied English at Durham, and Celtic and Icelandic at Cambridge. For ten years he taught in Africa, was also a Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Edinburgh, having taught there since 1963.

 

 

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(12/19/2014) Return To My Native Land by Aime Cesaire. Brooklyn. 2014. Archipelago Books. 80 pages.  paperback. Cover art: William Kentridge.  Translated from the French by John Berger and Anna Bostock. Drawings by Peter de Francia.  9781935744948 

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

  A work of immense cultural significance and beauty, this long poem became an anthem for the African diaspora and the birth of the Negritude movement. With unusual juxtapositions of object and metaphor, a bouquet of language-play, and deeply resonant rhythms, Césaire considered this work a “break into the forbidden,” at once a cry of rebellion and a celebration of black identity. ‘It was in April 1941, while passing through Martinique on his wartime journey to New York, that André Breton chanced on a long poem, “Cahier d’un retour au pays natal”, freshly printed in the magazine Tropiques. He at once declared it a masterpiece and the work of “a great black poet”. Its author was a young Caribbean writer, Aimé Césaire, and the native land of its title was Martinique, to which the author had returned after a long stay as a student in Paris. Composed in 1939, his poem would circulate in various forms until a definitive edition was issued by Présence Africaine in Paris in 1956. An explosive critique of French colonialism, it had become a central text of the Negritude movement. In 1939, the island of Martinique was still an open wound, left septic after French rule. The poem pulls no punches. Now tremulous, now grating, the improvised text drums and jabs in spasmodic phrases and slogans. Each encounter, each twist of idiom, thrusts itself into the reader’s mind as a fierce challenge to understand and to empathize. Breton saw in Césaire’s writing “a quality of mastery in his tone” and was thrilled to discover that Surrealism could erupt in the tropics, the expression of a fresh poetics that shattered the even hum of French colonial discourse. Césaire’s poetry makes for difficult reading. Its headlong progression is accretive and associative, full of repeated phrases and unsettling detours. Its ruling device is the surrealist image, in which words clash and flare, to create tantalizing moments of revelation, paradoxically offering meaning while undermining coherence. The text spills forth in searing details and tableaux, ranging from the whispered evocation of “a little line of sand” to the description of a poverty-stricken black man on a bus, whose decrepit state inspires in the poet disgust and shame, which swiftly modulate into anger. Martinique is an island lost but now found, as the young writer hammers out his portrait of a debased homeland crying out for recognition and redemption. The poem’s uncompromising delivery was thoroughly absorbed and emulated by the translators John Berger and Anna Bostock, who wrestled its outbursts into a forceful yet faithful English equivalent. Their version dates from 1969. To this reissue are added six charcoal drawings by the late Peter de Francia, showing African bodies in poses suggestive of sheer torpor: yet we may take it that tropical languor is but a prelude to decisive rebellion.’ - Roger Cardinal. ‘Return to My Native Land is a monumental tome to our times, and this new translation by John Berger and Anya Bostock possesses the tropical heat of the poet’s sonority. Though, in his refrain, Aimé Césaire intones “the small hours,” there isn’t anything small about the raw lyricism articulated into this incantation of fiery wit. The translators convey the spirit of improvisation, yet, with a deftness of image and music, they deliver this book-length poem as a seamless work of art—an existential cry against a man-made void. What translates is the speaker’s revolutionary psyche on to the page—his fierce affirmation of existence through an eloquent clarity of the real and surreal. Nowhere is Césaire’s passion sacrificed; this translation is a tribute to the poet.’ - Yusef Komunyakaa.

 

  AIME CESAIRE (1913-2008) was a poet, playwright, statesman, and cultural critic, and is best known as the creator of the concept of negritude. His books include AIME CESAIRE: THE COLLECTED POETRY, NOTEBOOK OF A RETURN TO THE NATIVE LAND, and DISCOURSE ON COLONIALISM.

 

 

 

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(12/18/2014) Slave Ship by Frederik Pohl. New York. 1957. Ballantine Books. 148 pages.  paperback.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   How men first learned the language of the animals – and the startling consequences! FIRST THEY CRACKED THE CODES.  The big electronic calculators that handled math codes, production lines, found it simple to decipher the small but racy vocabularies of the animals. Then man, had achieved the age-old dream: He could respond when his dog struggled to tell him something, and he could tell that foolish sheep that if he didn’t act right he’d be mutton; and, being man, he could create the wildest, craziest secret weapon for the war that is man’s heritage but not that of the new, now-articulate minorities. ‘Mr. Pohl is not afraid of emotion, so that his stories have a drive and power enviable in any writer, especially in one whose main outlet is science fiction.’ - The New York Times.

 

Pohl Frederik Frederik George Pohl, Jr. (November 26, 1919 – September 2, 2013) was an American science fiction writer, editor and fan, with a career spanning more than seventy-five years—from his first published work, the 1937 poem ‘Elegy to a Dead Satellite: Luna’, to the 2011 novel All the Lives He Led and articles and essays published in 2012. From about 1959 until 1969, Pohl edited Galaxy and its sister magazine If; the latter won three successive annual Hugo Awards as the year's best professional magazine. His 1977 novel Gateway won four ‘year's best novel’ awards: the Hugo voted by convention participants, the Locus voted by magazine subscribers, the Nebula voted by American science fiction writers, and the juried academic John W. Campbell Memorial Award. He won the Campbell Memorial Award again for the 1984 collection of novellas Years of the City, one of two repeat winners during the first forty years. For his 1979 novel Jem, Pohl won a U.S. National Book Award in the one-year category Science Fiction. It was a finalist for three other years' best novel awards. He won four Hugo and three Nebula Awards. The Science Fiction Writers of America named Pohl its 12th recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award in 1993 and he was inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 1998, its third class of two dead and two living writers. Pohl won the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer in 2010, for his blog, ‘The Way the Future Blogs’.

 

 

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(12/17/2014) The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth. New York. 1953. Ballantine Books. 181 pages.  paperback. Cover art by Richard Powers.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

  How would you like to live in a future world where Congress is made up of senators from large corporations,’ where armed warfare occurs between advertising agencies and where one of those agencies gets the job of ‘selling’ the idea of emigration to Venus? Mitch Courtenay, ace copywriter (or Copysmith Star Class) is given the job of convincing people that they ought to emigrate to Venus. Ranged against him are a rival agency, an underground organization, and his wife. This book crackles with action, drama - and ideas. You’ll be arguing about it (pro or con) for weeks.

 

Pohl Frederik  Frederik George Pohl, Jr. (November 26, 1919 – September 2, 2013) was an American science fiction writer, editor and fan, with a career spanning more than seventy-five years—from his first published work, the 1937 poem ‘Elegy to a Dead Satellite: Luna’, to the 2011 novel All the Lives He Led and articles and essays published in 2012. From about 1959 until 1969, Pohl edited Galaxy and its sister magazine If; the latter won three successive annual Hugo Awards as the year's best professional magazine. His 1977 novel Gateway won four ‘year's best novel’ awards: the Hugo voted by convention participants, the Locus voted by magazine subscribers, the Nebula voted by American science fiction writers, and the juried academic John W. Campbell Memorial Award. He won the Campbell Memorial Award again for the 1984 collection of novellas Years of the City, one of two repeat winners during the first forty years. For his 1979 novel Jem, Pohl won a U.S. National Book Award in the one-year category Science Fiction. It was a finalist for three other years' best novel awards. He won four Hugo and three Nebula Awards. The Science Fiction Writers of America named Pohl its 12th recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award in 1993 and he was inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 1998, its third class of two dead and two living writers. Pohl won the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer in 2010, for his blog, ‘The Way the Future Blogs’.

 

Kornbluth C M Cyril M. Kornbluth (July 2, 1923 – March 21, 1958) was an American science fiction author and a notable member of the Futurians. He used a variety of pen-names, including Cecil Corwin, S. D. Gottesman, Edward J. Bellin, Kenneth Falconer, Walter C. Davies, Simon Eisner, Jordan Park, Arthur Cooke, Paul Dennis Lavond and Scott Mariner. The ‘M’ in Kornbluth's name may have been in tribute to his wife, Mary Byers; Kornbluth's colleague and collaborator Frederik Pohl confirmed Kornbluth's lack of any actual middle name in at least one interview.

 

 

 

 

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(12/16/2014) Swedish Cops: From Sjöwall & Wahlöö to Steigh Larsson by Michael Tapper. Bristol and Chicago. 2014. Intellect. 377 pages.  paperback. Cover design by Stephanie Sarlos.  9781783201884 

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

  SWEDISH COPS is a history of Swedish culture and ideas in an international context, as expressed in crime fiction from 1965 to 2012. It argues that, from being feared and despised, the police emerged as heroes and part of the social project of the welfare state after World War II. Establishing themselves artistically and commercially at the forefront of the genre, Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö constructed a model for using the police novel as an instrument for social and political criticism. With varying political affiliations, their model has been adapted by authors such as Leif G. W. Persson, Jan Guillou, Henning Mankell, Håkan Nesser, Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström, and Stieg Larsson, as well as film series such as Beck and Wallander. SWEDISH COPS is the first book of its kind, and it is as thrilling as the novels and films it analyzes.

 

  Michael Tapper teaches film at Lund University. He has been a contributor to the Swedish National Encyclopaedia since 1989 and has served as film critic at the daily Sydsvenska Dagbladet in Malmö, Sweden, since 1999.

 

 

 

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(12/15/2014) The Festival Of San Joaquin by Zee Edgell. Portsmouth. 1997. Heinemann. paperback. 155 pages. Cover illustration by Derek Lockhart. Cover design by Touchpaper. keywords: Literature Caribbean Belize Women. 0435989480.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

  Luz Marina, cleared of murdering her brutal husband, is released from prison on a three-year probation. Determined to rebuild her life and gain custody of her children, she perseveres, sustained by mother love and her faith in God in her battle against the poverty, guilt, vanity, and vengeance that threaten to overwhelm her. In this novel, set in the Mestizo community in Belize, Zee Edgell explores with sensitivity and understanding the contradictory and secret territory that is domestic violence.

 

  Zelma I. Edgell, better known as Zee Edgell, MBE, (born 21 October 1940 in Belize City, Belize) is a writer. She has had four of her novels published. She was an associate professor of English at Kent State University. After attending the local St. Catherine's Academy in Belize City (the basis for St. Cecilia's Academy in Beka Lamb), Edgell studied journalism at the school of modern languages at the Polytechnic of Central London and continued her education at the University of the West Indies. She worked as a journalist serving as the founding editor of The Reporter. She has also lived for extended periods in such diverse places as Jamaica, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Somalia, working with development organizations and the Peace Corps. She has been director of women's affairs for the government of Belize, lecturer at the former University College of Belize (forerunner to the University of Belize) and she was an associate professor in the department of English at Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, where she taught creative writing and literature. Edgell also tours internationally, giving book readings and delivering papers on the history and literature of Belize. She is considered Belize's principal contemporary writer. Edgell is married to American educator Al Edgell, who had a decades long career in international development. They have two children, Holly, a journalism professor at the Missouri School of Journalism, and Randall, a physician specializing in stroke treatment and prevention. Edgell has also contributed extensively to the Belizean Writers Series, published by local publishing house Cubola Productions. She edited and contributed stories to the fifth book in the series, Memories, Dreams and Nightmares: A Short Story Anthology of Belizean women writers, published in 2004. She was made a Member of the order of the British Empire in the 2007 Queen's Birthday Honour List. In 2009 the University of the West Indies conferred upon her the honorary degree D.Litt at graduation ceremonies in Cave Hill, Barbados. Her first novel, Beka Lamb, published in 1982, details the early years of the nationalist movement in British Honduras from the eyes of a teenage girl attending high school in the colony; given that it was published a year after Belize became independent this was the first novel to be published in the new nation. Beka Lamb also gained the distinction of being Belize's first novel to reach beyond its borders and gain an international audience, winning Britain's Fawcett Society Book Prize, a prize awarded annually to a work of fiction that contributes to an understanding of women's position in society today. Her subsequent novel, In Times Like These (1991) portrayed the turmoil of nearly independent Belize from the point of view of another female protagonist, this time the adult director of women's affairs (a post Edgell once held). The Festival of San Joaquin (1997), her third novel told the story of a woman accused of murdering her husband, and in her short stories, Edgell skillfully explores the layers of Belize's complicated social and racial stratification through the lens of her female protagonists. Edgell has said she would eventually like to write about male protagonists as well as her extensive travels across the world. Edgell's fourth novel was published by Heinemann's Caribbean Writers Series in January 2007. The events of Time and the River unfold during the heyday of slavery in Belize. It focuses on the life of a young slave woman, Leah Lawson, who eventually (through marriage) becomes a slaveowner herself. She even finds herself in the position of owning her own family members. The story is told against the backdrop of the brutal forestry slavery of the time and slave revolts, true historical moments in the history of the country that is now known as Belize. Edgell released this book in Belize at the end of March with appearances at the University of Belize, Belmopan and in Belize City. Edgell's third novel, ‘The Festival of San Joaquin,’ will be re-issued by Macmillan Caribbean in October 2008.

 

 

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(12/14/2014) Talkin' Moscow Blues by Josef Skvorecky. New York. 1990. Ecco Press. paperback. 367 pages. January 1990. Cover: David Montle. Paperback Original. keywords: Essays Translated Czech Eastern Europe Literature. 0880012315.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 Josef Skvorecky’s novels have established him as a major author around the world, but his less well known essays include some of his most stimulating writing. TALKIN’ MOSCOW BLUES is the first-ever collection of Skvorecky’s essays, reviews, and interviews. Here are deeply personal stories about the friends and events that have shaped his beliefs and his writing: thoughtful examinations of the nature of art, politics, and freedom; reviews of writers such as Faulkner and Kafka, and filmmakers Jiri Menzel and Francis Coppola. And sprinkled throughout are Skvorecky’s lively commentaries on the foibles of both East and West. Skvorecky has lived under the spectrum of political regimes – from the rightist oppression of the Nazis to the leftist oppression of the Soviets – and he has resisted the influence of both sides. As a amateur musician in Czechoslovakia he slipped ‘verboten’ lyrics past the Nazi censor and played ‘degenerate’ jazz with a lookout at the door; as a lifelong film devotee and friend of top filmmakers he saw scripts written and rewritten to match the ebb and flow of party politics; as a writer he had his first major work, THE COWARDS, banned and confiscated by the authorities. As a Czech he is exiled for life, but as a Canadian he has found freedom to express his thoughts and opinions, both in fiction and non-fiction. Josef Skvorecky won the 1980 Neustadt International Prize for Literature, and the 1984 Governor General’s Award for THE ENGINEER OF HUMAN SOULS.

 

 Josef Škvorecký (September 27, 1924 – January 3, 2012) was a Czech-Canadian writer and publisher who spent much of his life in Canada. SKVORECKY was born in Bohemia, emigrated to Canada in 1968, and was for many years a professor of English at Erindale College, University of Toronto. He and his wife, the novelist Zdena Salivarova, ran a Czech-language publishing house, Sixty-Eight Publishers, in Toronto, and were long-time supporters of Czech dissident writers before the fall of communism in that country. Skvorecky’s novels include THE COWARDS, MISS SILVER’S PAST, THE BASS SAXOPHONE, THE ENGINEER OF HUMAN SOULS, and DVORAK IN LOVE. He was the winner of the 1980 Neustadt International Prize for Literature and the 1984 Governor General’s Award for fiction in Canada. Škvorecký's fiction deals with several themes: the horrors of totalitarianism and repression, the expatriate experience, and the miracle of jazz.

 

 

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22 March 2019

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