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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)

April 14th

Today is the birthday of Henry James, born in New York City in 1843.  Though best known for his novels, James was a prolific writer producing short fiction and novellas, travel writings, literary criticism, visual arts criticism, journals, plays, biographies and three volumes of memoirs, one of which was unfinished and published posthumously.  Having travelled in Europe with his family from the age of twelve, James left home in 1869 for Rome, stayed for two years in Paris, and finally settled in London.  When the First World War started, he applied for and was granted British citizenship, relinquishing his American citizenship in protest at the United State's failure to actively support Britain in the war effort.

Much of his work contrasts characters from the Old World (Europe) and the New World (the United States).  James explores this clash of cultures, and of personalities in personal relationships, observing the balance of power and how that power is exercised.  Some of his best known stories are The American (1877), The Europeans (1878), Daisy Miller (1878), Washington Square (1880), The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Bostonians (1886), The Turn of the Screw (1898), The Wings of the Dove (1902), The Ambassadors (1903) and The Golden Bowl (1904).

Currently Reading

My Brilliant Friend,
Elena Ferrante,
Ann Goldstein (translator)

A modern masterpiece from one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is a rich, intense, and generous-hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila. Ferrante’s inimitable style lends itself perfectly to a meticulous portrait of these two women that is also the story of a nation and a touching meditation on the nature of friendship.

The story begins in the 1950s, in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets the two girls learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else. As they grow, as their paths repeatedly diverge and converge, Elena and Lila remain best friends whose respective destinies are reflected and refracted in the other. They are likewise the embodiments of a nation undergoing momentous change. Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her protagonists, the unforgettable Elena and Lila.

Ferrante is the author of three previous works of critically acclaimed fiction: The Days of Abandonment, Troubling Love, and The Lost Daughter. With this novel, the first in a quartet, she proves herself to be one of Italy’s great storytellers. She has given her readers a masterfully plotted page-turner, abundant and generous in its narrative details and characterizations, that is also a stylish work of literary fiction destined to delight her many fans and win new readers to her fiction.

Dear James Patterson

Thank you for allowing us to dream... read on

And I Quote...
Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other. ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

The 2015 Bailey's Prize shortlist has been released, details of the six titles are here.

Author David Nicholls declares that showrooming is a "genteel form of shoplifting". For the record, we agree.

The next DLR Lexicon bookclub meeting will be on Tuesday April 21st when we will be discussing Andrew Sean Greer's The Story of a Marriage, and getting competitive with a quiz to test readers' literary knowledge.

A wide-ranging discussion revolving around the figures just released by VIDA relating the gender disparity in literary criticism. Hosted by Hugh Linehan with contribution from Una Mullally, Laurence Mackin, and yours truly (from 24:15)

  Poetry Corner

from Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:
And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
The Sultan's Turret in a Noose of Light.

Dreaming when Dawn's Left Hand was in the Sky
I heard a Voice within the Tavern cry,
"Awake, my Little ones, and fill the Cup
Before Life's Liquor in its Cup be dry."

And, as the Cock crew, those who stood before
The Tavern shouted—"Open then the Door.
You know how little while we have to stay,
And, once departed, may return no more."

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