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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)

August 9th

Today is the birthday of poet and novelist Philip Larkin, born in Coventry, England, in 1922.  He was widely considered to be one of the greatest English poets of his time despite only publishing four slim volumes containing a total of 117 poems.  In 2003 he was chosen as "the nation's best-loved poet" in a survey by the British Poetry Book Society.  He wrote in his spare time, working as a librarian for over 40 years.  In 1974 he began working on a 50-line poem that took him three years to complete.  Aubade is about watching the sunrise in a bedroom while contemplating the fear of death.  It was his last major poem and critically considered to be his masterpiece.  It begins:

I work all day, and get half-drunk at night.
Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.
In time the curtain-edges will grow light.
Till then I see what's really always there:
Unresting death, a whole day nearer now,
Making all thought impossible but how
And where and when I shall myself die.

Currently Reading

Kim Thy,

Ru: In Vietnamese it means lullaby; in French it is a small stream, but also signifies a flow - of tears, blood, money. Kim Thy's Ru is literature at its most crystalline: the flow of a life on the tides of unrest and on to more peaceful waters. In vignettes of exquisite clarity, sharp observation and sly wit, we are carried along on an unforgettable journey from a palatial residence in Saigon to a crowded and muddy Malaysian refugee camp, and onward to a new life in Quebec. There, the young girl feels the embrace of a new community, and revels in the chance to be part of the American Dream.

As an adult, the waters become rough again: now a mother of two, she must learn to shape her love around the younger boy's autism. Moving seamlessly from past to present, from history to memory and back again, Ru is a book that celebrates life in all its wonder: its moments of beauty and sensuality, brutality and sorrow, comfort and comedy.

The Dog

Kerstin Ekman is, according to her UK publisher Sphere, Sweden's most prominent female fiction writer... read on

And I Quote...
If you write about someone else, you can stretch the truth from here to Finland. If you write about yourself, the slightest deviation makes you realize instantly that there may be honor among thieves, but you are just a dirty liar. ~ Groucho Marx

Liz Nugent on the challenges she faced in getting published, where she writes, and what books have inspired her.

Flavorwire suggests 50 novels written by women under 50 that you should read.

Women In Translation Month is underway with readers reviewing what they've read and sharing favourite authors from every corner of the globe.

  Poetry Corner

Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

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