Monday, March 29, 2010

Where have all the bookshops gone? Dublin, a city which prides itself on being on of the literary capitals of the worls is scheduled to loose another bookshop. Murder ink, the home of American and European crime fiction in Dawson Street is scheduled to close. One of the few specialist bookshops in Dublin, Murder Ink's departure will be missed.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Below are three recent reads all of which have an Asian theme. I was in The Philippines in January with my fiance. Finally after three years I got to meet her family. Of course I picked up some reading material there and was pleasantly surprised. Included in this post is Connecting Flights a collection of writings by various Filipino authors. More reviews of Filipino books will follow. In the mean time enjoy.

The events in described in Alex Garland's second novel The Tesseract take place over a single night in Manila. An Englishman, fearful of his life, is scheduled to meet a Filipino gangster in a seedy hotel. A young mother ponders the love she has lost and the roads her life has turned. A homeless boy, who can only barely recall his family, wanders the streets of Manila. Weaving back and forth through time the three separate stories in The Tesseract intersect for a few brief moments marking the different participants forever. Thought provoking, fast moving and complex, The Tesseract shows that Garland has moved well beyond The Beach.

Born a German aristocrat in Estonia in the 19th century who throughout his life remained a willing servant and true believer in the Russian monarchy the biography of Roman Ungern von Sternberg reads like something akin to a horror story. From landed estates in the Baltic Von Sternberg travelled through Siberia to Mongolia. Here he would fight the Soviets in the Russian Civil War and help found an independent Mongolia. Along the way he name would be a byword in brutality, the very evocation of which was akin to conjuring up a demon. Predating the nazi's by a decade in both his interest in esoteric mysticism and depravity, von Sternberg would eventually meet with a gruesome end. James Palmer with The Bloody Baron creates a terrifying picture of a monster.

Connecting Flights Filipinos Write From Elsewhere is a collection of short stories, poetry and prose with travel as the theme. As the name suggests each of the participants in the anthology hails from the Philippine Republic. With the writer we travel to Barcelona (memoir), San Francisco (memoir), Amsterdam (poetry), Hong Kong (fiction) and Montmarte in Paris among other destinations. Filipinos writers collected here such as Dean Francis Alfar, Yvette Tan and Lourd De Veyra will be virtually unknown beyond beyond the Philippines. And mores the pity. Such is the quality of the writing that this collection deserves a much bigger audience. Connecting Flights is edited by Ruel S. De Vera.


Monday, March 08, 2010

Immerse yourself in Ulysses. Novel available just about everywhere, lemon soap available from Sweny's Chemist on Lincoln Place. Read more about it here.


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