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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)

June 21st

Today is the birthday of Ian McEwan, born in Aldershop, England, in 1948.  His father was an army officer and the family moved a lot during his childhood, living in East Asia, Germany and North Africa.  In 2002 he discovered that he had an older brother who had been conceived before his parents were married and had been given up for adoption. 

Since his first collection of short stories, First Love, Last Rites (1975), McEwan's work has received huge critical and popular acclaim, being nominated for and winning numerous literary awards.  He won the Booker Prize for
First Love, Last RitesAmsterdam (1998), though his subsequent novel, Atonement (2001), is widely considered to be his best work.  Many of his stories have been adapted for the big screen, including The Comfort of Strangers (1981), The Cement Garden (1978), The Innocent (1990), Solid Geometry (2002), Enduring Love (1997) and Atonement (2001)He was given the nickname "Ian McAbre" due to the recurring dark themes in his novels dealing with violence, incest, sadism, sexual perversion and death.  He said, "I want my readers to be wholly engaged, gripped rather than shocked..... In that respect, writers are like jealous lovers: 'I just want you to think of me.'"

Currently Reading (for Junior Bookclub)

Geek Girl,
Holly Smale

“My name is Harriet Manners, and I am a geek.”

Harriet Manners knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a “jiffy” lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. She knows that bats always turn left when exiting a cave and that peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite.

But she doesn’t know why nobody at school seems to like her.

So when Harriet is spotted by a top model agent, she grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her best friend's dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of impossibly handsome model Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves.

Veering from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, Harriet begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn't seem to like her any more than the real world did.

As her old life starts to fall apart, will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything?

Women In Translation

With the buzz for Women In Translation Month gaining momentum, you may be wondering, "Where do I begin? I don't know of any female translated authors"... read on

And I Quote...
Nothing overtly significant need be happening in a poem. The doors of perception may be no bigger than a speck of dust, but when any one of them opens it is as if the whole of life were swirling behind it ~ George Szirtes

Let NPR transport you: by literary train, plane, car, bike, boat, foot, city transit, horse, baloon, rocket ship, time machine and even the odd giant peach. Bon voyage! (Taxes and fees not included)

Read Haruki Murakami's short story Yesterday in the current issue of The New Yorker.

Olivia Laing looks back on the great female writers who sought refuge in the bottle and salvation on the page.

  Poetry Corner

The Eagle
Alfred, Lord Tennyson

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

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