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...and welcome to the website for Raven Books, Blackrock. You'll find a variety of books, book-related news, a posting celebrating writers and writing, and plenty of suggestions for what to read next.  We hope you enjoy browsing! (This site is best viewed using Firefox)

July 13th

Today is the birthday of John Clare, born in Northamptonshire in 1793.  He was the son of a farm labourer, who went on to became one of the most important poets of the 19th century.  Clare had a foundation of schooling until he was about twelve years old but then was expected to work, first as an agricultural labourer, later as a pot-boy in a public house.  His early life was dogged by poverty and bouts of malnutrition.  Clare married and fathered seven children but his alcoholism and general dissatisfaction resulted in erratic behaviour and his wife was eventually forced to have him committed to an asylum.  In 1864 he died while at Northampton General Lunatic Asylum where he had written some of his most famous poems.  Clare’s poetry belies his lack of education, his mental instability and the hardship he suffered throughout his life.  Much of it shows his delight in nature and the beauty that surrounded him even as he felt in conflict with the land and those who loved and supported him.

Currently Reading

The Meursault Investigation,
Kamel Daoud

He was the brother of ‘the Arab’ killed by the infamous Meursault, the antihero of Camus’s classic novel. Angry at the world and his own unending solitude, he resolves to bring his brother out of obscurity by giving him a name – Musa – and a voice, and by describing the events that led to his senseless murder on a dazzling Algerian beach. A worthy complement to its great predecessor, The Meursault Investigation is not only a profound meditation on Arab identity and the disastrous effects of colonialism in Algeria, but also a stunning work of literature in its own right, told in a unique and affecting voice.

Camus, Art, Cold-blooded Murder

A very diverse selection for Raven Readers to take us through the summer and into autumn... read on

And I Quote...
The writer in Western civilization has become not a voice of his tribe, but of his individuality. This is a very narrow-minded situation.
Aharon Appelfeld (1932-)

Listen back to our Summer Reads recommendations on The Green Room with Orla Barry on Newstalk.

Alice Gregory and Pankaj Mishra discuss whether moral preoccupations have a place in good fiction.

The Guardian children's fiction award 2015 longlist highlights eight very different tales.

  Poetry Corner

Autumn Birds
John Clare

The wild duck startles like a sudden thought,
And heron slow as if it might be caught.
The flopping crows on weary wings go by
And grey beard jackdaws noising as they fly.
The crowds of starnels whizz and hurry by,
And darken like a clod the evening sky.
The larks like thunder rise and suthy round,
Then drop and nestle in the stubble ground.
The wild swan hurries hight and noises loud
With white neck peering to the evening clowd.
The weary rooks to distant woods are gone.
With lengths of tail the magpie winnows on
To neighbouring tree, and leaves the distant crow
While small birds nestle in the edge below.

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