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    The Economist, front cover - September 27th 2014

    The Economist, front cover - September 27th 2014

    — 2 days ago with 2 notes
    #tf cover  #the economist  #2014 

    American poet Carrie Etter has lived in England since 2001 and taught creative writing at Bath Spa University since 2004. She has published three collections of poetry: The Tethers (Seren, 2009), winner of the London New Poetry Prize, Divining for Starters (Shearsman, 2011) and Imagined Sons (Seren, 2014); she also edited the anthology Infinite Difference: Other Poetries by UK Women Poets (Shearsman, 2010). Individual poems have appeared in Boston Review, The New Republic, The New Statesman, Poetry Review, The Times Literary Supplement, and many other journals worldwide. She also reviews contemporary poetry, most recently for The Guardian and Warwick Review. As Bernard O’Donoghue wrote of her latest collection, “This quite extraordinary book by a writer of great imagistic power and skill leaves a mark on the reader which is ineradicable. These are poems of the utmost importance.”

    — 2 days ago with 3 notes
    #Carrie Etter  #tf books  #poets  #tf usa  #The Tethers  #Imagined Sons  #Divining for Starters  #Infinite Difference: Other Poetries by UK Women Poets 

    Hans Christian Andersen - European Witness by Paul Binding
    Hardcover: 496 pages
    Publisher: Yale University Press (June 24, 2014)
    ISBN-10: 030016923X
    ISBN-13: 978-0300169232
    Rarely does an American or European child grow up without an introduction to Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling,” “The Princess and the Pea,” or “Thumbelina.” Andersen began publishing his fairy tales in 1835, and they brought him almost immediate acclaim among Danish and German readers, followed quickly by the French, Swedes, Swiss, Norwegians, British, and Americans. Ultimately he wrote more than 150 tales. And yet, Paul Binding contends in this incisive book, Andersen cannot be confined to the category of writings for children. His work stands at the very heart of mainstream European literature.
    The author considers the entire scope of Andersen’s prose, from his juvenilia to his very last story. He shows that Andersen’s numerous novels, travelogues, autobiographies, and even his fairy tales (notably addressed not to children but to adults) earned a vast audience because they distilled the satisfactions, tensions, hopes, and fears of Europeans as their continent emerged from the Napoleonic Wars. The book sheds new light on Andersen as an intellectual, his rise to international stardom, and his connections with other eminent European writers. It also pays tribute to Andersen’s enlightened values—values that ensure the continuing appeal of his works.
    Photo III: illustration by Vilhelm Pedersen
    Hans Christian Andersen: European Witness by Paul Binding. Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) was a Danish author who left an indelible mark on Western culture with stories that transcend age and nationality such as “The Ugly Duckling,” “The Princess and the Pea,” “The Little Mermaid,” “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” “The Snow Queen,” “The Steadfast Tin Soldier,” “Thumbelina,” and “The Little Match Girl.” His earliest writings were based on stories he heard as a child, but he soon brought the genre to a new level with bold and original stories that he labored over, meticulously constructing each phrase, image and theme. His most famous story, “The Ugly Duckling,” while universal in theme, reflected his own struggle to overcome his ungainly looks and humble background.
    From the Book:
    “‘The book is selling like hot cakes!’ declared Andersen in an 1843 letter translated by historian Maria Tatar. It was shortly after the release of his new collection, which included this popular, heartwarming tale. The similarities between Andersen’s life and the ugly duckling are irresistible: Andersen — gangly, poor, and uneducated — became a literary star despite the under-estimation he suffered. In a similar fashion, the hatchling is mistaken for a common duck and mistreated before discovering that he is a beautiful swan. It took Andersen a year to write ‘The Ugly Duckling,’ and nineteen years later, he opened up about the process, calling the tale ‘the hardest to compose, perhaps because it was the most directly autobiographical.’ This classic example of an animal tale also spawned one of Andersen’s famous quotes: ‘Being born in a duck yard does not matter, if only you are hatched from a swan’s egg.’ In Andersen’s day, the definition of artistic genius was shifting and was less bound to class than it had been before. He was part of an exciting new breed, and the tale’s inspiring and hopeful message continues to make it one of Andersen’s most beloved stories to this day.” - Paul Binding

    — 1 week ago with 2 notes
    #Hans Christian Andersen  #tf books  #paul binding  #tf uk 

    The Long Way Home
    By Louise Penny, Minotaur, 384 pages, $29.99
    A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel #10
    Published: August 26 2014
    Review: Margaret Cannon, Special to The Globe and Mail - Friday, September 05 2014
    When a series hits book 10, it often starts to falter. Happily, that’s not the case with Louise Penny’s new Inspector Gamache novel. It is, in fact, the best story so far, thanks to strong characters, a deep and sophisticated plot, and just a soupçon of Joseph Conrad. Fans know that Chief Inspector Gamache barely survived his last adventure, which ended with him wounded in body and mind and out of a career. The Long Way Home has him and his wife happily retired to Three Pines, Quebec’s own Eden. There, surrounded by lovely people, great food, and beautiful sights, he’ll heal. Enter the serpent. Peter Morrow, husband of artist Clara, who departed Three Pines a year ago, is missing. He was supposed to return to Clara to discuss their failing marriage but he hasn’t. Clara asks Gamache for help and so begins a journey, first to Scotland and then back to the St. Lawrence River and a place the early settlers described as “the land God gave to Cain.” Storms and trials accompany Gamache and his group as they travel, following the clues in Peter’s art. Absolutely not to be missed.
    Notes: Louise Penny
    Born: July 1, 1958, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    She is a Canadian author of mystery novels set in the Canadian province of Quebec centred on the work of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec. Penny’s first career was as a radio broadcaster for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. After she turned to writing, she won numerous awards for her work, including the Agatha Award for best mystery novel of the year for four consecutive years (2007–2010) and the Anthony Award for two novels. Her novels have been published in 23 languages.

    The Chief Inspector Gamache Novels
    1 - Still Life
    2 - A Fatal Grace/Dead Cold (same book, different title)
    3 - The Cruelest Month
    4 - A Rule Against Murder/The Murder Stone (same book, different title)
    5 - The Brutal Telling
    6 - Bury Your Dead
    7 - A Trick of the Light
    8 - The Beautiful Mystery
    9 - How the Light Gets In
    10 - The Long Way Home.

    — 2 weeks ago with 2 notes
    #Chief Inspector Gamache  #The Long Way Home  #tf books  #TF Book Reviews  #Margaret Cannon  #novel  #crime  #mystery  #tf canada 

    Garment of Shadows (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #12)
    by Laurie R. King
    Published September 04 2012 — ISBN 978-0-553-80799-8 —
    Laurie R. King’s “New York Times” bestselling novels of suspense featuring Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, comprise one of today’s most acclaimed mystery series. Now, in their newest and most thrilling adventure, the couple is separated by a shocking circumstance in a perilous part of the world, each racing against time to prevent an explosive catastrophe that could clothe them both in shrouds.
    In a strange room in Morocco, Mary Russell is trying to solve a pressing mystery: “Who am I?” She has awakened with shadows in her mind, blood on her hands, and soldiers pounding on the door. Out in the hivelike streets, she discovers herself strangely adept in the skills of the underworld, escaping through alleys and rooftops, picking pockets and locks. She is clothed like a man, and armed only with her wits and a scrap of paper containing a mysterious Arabic phrase. Overhead, warplanes pass ominously north.
    Meanwhile, Holmes is pulled by two old friends and a distant relation into the growing war between France, Spain, and the Rif Revolt led by Emir Abd el-Krim—who may be a Robin Hood or a power mad tribesman. The shadows of war are drawing over the ancient city of Fez, and Holmes badly wants the wisdom and courage of his wife, whom he’s learned, to his horror, has gone missing. As Holmes searches for her, and Russell searches for her”self, ” each tries to crack deadly parallel puzzles before it’s too late for them, for Africa, and for the peace of Europe.
    With the dazzling mix of period detail and contemporary pace that is her hallmark, Laurie R. King continues the stunningly suspenseful series that Lee Child called “the most sustained feat of imagination in mystery fiction today.”
    Praise for “Garment of Shadows”
    "As always, the relationship between Holmes and Russell is utterly understated yet traced with heat and light."—"Booklist" (starred review)
    "[A] taut tale … original and intriguing … This tantalizing glimpse into the life and times of a rapidly evolving Arabic society has remarkable resonance for our own uncertain times."—"Publishers Weekly"
    "Those new to the series are in for a treat."—Bookreporter(less)

    Review: Garment of Shadows: A Novel of Suspense

    Review – Garment of Shadows

    Review: Garment of Shadows – Laurie R King — Review by Scot Kris.

    — 3 weeks ago with 3 notes
    #Garment of Shadows  #TF Books  #TF Book Reviews  #Laurie R. King  #Mary Russell  #Sherlock Holmes  #tf reading now 

    Any Questions
    Written and Illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay, Groundwood Books, 60 pages, $19.95
    Reviewed by Frida, Phoenix and Andrew Kaufman, Special to The Globe and Mail — Friday, September 05 2014
    Marie-Louise Gay has been knocking it out of the park since 1984, publishing more than 25 books and winning the Governor General’s Award for children’s illustration twice. Still, she’s probably best known because two of her characters, Stella and Sam, were turned into a cartoon kids show. Her latest, Any Questions, takes a big risk with its premise. Set after a reading, the author takes questions and the kids want to know how she makes her stories. From here it gets all meta as Gay writes and illustrates both the fictional story she’s telling and the process that allowed her to create it. What’s even better is that the story Gay uses as her example completely held my kid’s attention. Both levels of this book were so well done that the moment we closed Any Questions, Frida exclaimed, “It’s a story inside a story!” Take that professors of post-modern deconstructionist theory: she’s six and she got it.

    — 3 weeks ago with 3 notes
    #Any Questions tf books  #TF Book Reviews  #Marie-Louise Gay  #Groundwood Books 

    By Scott Magoon, Simon & Schuster, 40 pages, $19.99
    Reviewed by Frida, Phoenix and Andrew Kaufman, Special to The Globe and Mail — Friday, September 05 2014
    Frida picked this book and Phoenix didn’t want to read it because he thought that the calm simple pictures and the low number of words per page made it too young for him. So Frida and I started reading it while Phoenix sat on his bed across the hall, pretending not to listen. Less than a third of the way through Breathe, Phoenix had joined us. The book is more a meditation than a narrative, although there is a story here. It’s basically a day in the life of a whale, swimming, making friends, and repeatedly going to the surface to breathe. I’d say by the midway point of the book all three of us were unconsciously taking deep breaths every time the whale did. There’s also a really sweet piece of Zen-ish advice near the end. An absolutely perfect way to slow down and get ready for sleep.

    Scott Magoon, children’s book illustrator and art director at Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

    — 3 weeks ago with 2 notes
    #Breathe  #Scott Magoon  #Andrew Kaufman  #Simon & Schuster 


    Photo I: Valérie Trierweiler with François Hollande // Photo II: Ségolène Royal - Julie Gaye- Valérie Trierweiler // Photo III: Cover of ‘Thank You for This Moment’ (Merci pour ce moment)
    Former First Lady of France Colors In Details of an Affair
    By MAÏA de la BAUME - September 3, 2014 -
    PARIS — Now she has her say.
    The jilted lover of President François Hollande of France has written a tell-all book about her days as France’s onetime unofficial first lady and of her version of events that led the couple to separate after the president was exposed as having an affair by a French gossip magazine.
    The book by Valérie Trierweiler, 49, who separated from Mr. Hollande in January, describes how news of the affair pushed her to the edge. She acknowledges that she “cracked” and attempted suicide by trying to overdose on sleeping pills when she learned of Mr. Hollande’s affair with an actress, Julie Gayet.
    While the book, “Thank You for This Moment,” in many ways merely confirms the outlines of an episode much speculated about in the French news media, it is the first time that a sitting French president has been the object of a “kiss and tell” book. Its lurid details, and sometimes belittling tone toward Mr. Hollande, have provoked both sensation and some criticism here after excerpts were published by the magazine Paris Match before the book’s official release on Thursday.
    Many commentators described it as an act of revenge from a humiliated woman that would further tarnish the image of Mr. Hollande, whose popularity is already at record lows. A spokesman for the Élysée Palace said he did not wish to comment.
    After learning of the affair, Ms. Trierweiler, a longtime journalist for Paris Match, had an “emotional collapse,” according to her spokesman at the time, and spent more than a week in a hospital.
    “The information about Julie Gayet is top of the morning news,” Ms. Trierweiler wrote in her first public account of her immediate reaction to the reports that Mr. Hollande, 59, had multiple liaisons with Ms. Gayet, escaping from the presidential palace disguised in a helmet on his scooter.
    “I’ve had enough. I can’t listen to this anymore,” she wrote. “I run into the bathroom. I grab the little plastic bag which contains sleeping pills. François followed me. He tries to snatch the bag out of my hand. I ran into the room. He gets hold of the bag, and it rips. Pills fall all over the bed and the floor. I get hold of some of them. I swallow what I can.”
    Olivier Royant, the chief editor of Paris Match, said the book had been published in great secrecy and acknowledged that he was “dumbfounded” when he found out that she had dared to write it. “In France, political life is sacred,” Mr. Royant said.
    The book drew a barrage of criticism for revealing secrets about the president, whose office embodies the nation and is rarefied like that of a monarch. Renaud Dély, the managing editor of the magazine Nouvel Observateur, said the book reflected “indecent behavior.”
    “She challenged the presidential function,” Mr. Dély said in a video. “The consequences of that can be terrible.”
    Mr. Hollande, who has never married, was involved for many years with Ségolène Royal, a former presidential candidate for his Socialist Party. The two have four children together. He eventually left her for Ms. Trierweiler, and they were together for nine years.
    Ms. Trierweiler, a twice-divorced mother of three who grew up modestly in a housing project in Angers, in western France, never gained popularity in France, and was often vilified for her seeming aloofness.
    During the legislative campaign in 2012, Ms. Trierweiler, angered at Mr. Hollande’s public support for Ms. Royal, sent a message effectively endorsing Ms. Royal’s opponent.
    She was described by a former chief editor of Le Monde, Laurent Greilsamer, in his book “La Favorite,” as “unconventional, imperial, amorous, explosive, unpredictable. And clearly dangerous.”

    — 3 weeks ago with 9 notes
    #tf books  #Valérie Trierweiler  #merci pour ce moment  #thank you for this moment  #les arenes  #François Hollande  #Ségolène Royal  #Julie Gaye  #TF France 

    Rolling Stone magazine - September 11 2014 - issue 1217
    Robin Williams 1951 - 2014 - Photo by Peggy Sirota

    — 3 weeks ago with 5 notes
    #Rolling Stone  #TF Magazines  #Robin Williams  #Peggy Sirota  #September 11  #2014 

    How Paris Became Paris: The Invention of the Modern City
    Author: Joan DeJean
    Hardcover – March 4, 2014
    Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

    The Bankers of Paris
    July 29 2014 — — Copyright 2014 by Joan DeJean — Pages: 173-175
    Today’s selection — from How Paris Became Paris by Joan DeJean. The first gigantic modern fortunes in Paris originated in the early 1600s not with the profits of commerce or industry but from high finance. These financiers arose through the profligacy of the king — both in his wars (the army grew from 40,000 soldiers to 400,000) and his lifestyle. The sheer magnitude of the king’s needs meant that the bankers of Paris displaced the famed bankers of Florence as the most important in Europe:
    "In the word financier’s inaugural appearance in English, in the 1652 The State of France, John Evelyn explained the workings of ‘the king’s revenue’ and described ‘the great Financiers who suck the very blood of the French people.’
    "For the first time, Europeans could use words invented with the objective of classifying individuals according to their financial status and of singling out persons of new wealth. Such individuals had existed before but evidently not in sufficient numbers for a society to bestow official linguistic recognition on the phenomenon. And whereas previously, in European cities such as Venice and Amsterdam, most recent wealth had been accumulated through trade and the overseas trade in particular, the parvenus of seventeenth-century Paris had amassed their fortunes by dealing not in goods but solely in money.
    "The emergence of the financier began in about 1600, when the French monarchy first encountered fiscal problems that have ever since plagued the modern state.
    "Prior to the seventeenth century and early in that century, the French state lived mostly within its means: Henri IV even built up a small surplus (Adam Smith claimed he was one of the last rulers ever to do so). Then, during the first quarter of the century, spending began to outstrip revenue. As a result, the bankers, especially Italians, who had ruled over the finances of all European nations in the sixteenth century gradually ceased to play a preeminent role in France. The individuals then known as bankers dealt in foreign currency exchange and transferred funds throughout Europe. When, for example, a monarch had to pay soldiers stationed on foreign soil, he would call on a banker. But once French monarchs began to spend on a previously unheard-of scale, the need for another type of financial agent became evident. Lyon, formerly the nucleus for French finance because of its association with Italian bankers, thus lost its centrality. And by the 1630s Paris — home to the financiers, the new financial agents on whom the crown increasingly depended — had become the country’s uncontested finance hub.
    "Whereas in the sixteenth century the French monarchy’s revenue had remained stable, in the range of eight to twenty million livres annually, during the first half of the seventeenth century this situation changed dramatically. Between 1590 and 1622, for example, revenue rose from about eighteen million livres to an estimated fifty million a year; by 1653, the total had grown to roughly 109 million, and it stayed well over a hundred million throughout Louis XIV’s reign. This meant that the French monarchy had access to resources that vastly outstripped those of its major European rivals. A noted eighteenth-century economist estimated that during Louis XIV’s reign France’s revenue was four times greater than England’s and nearly three times superior to that of the Dutch Republic.
    "Relatively little of that was spent on keeping up appearances: between 1600 and 1656, court expenses rose only from three million livres to six million. However, whereas in 1600 court expenses accounted for thirty-one percent of the budget, in 1656 they represented only seven percent. During that half-century, the cost of war changed the face of French finance.
    "France was at war with foreign enemies for sixty of the years between 1615 and 1715; it was torn by civil war for another five. In addition, Europeans had begun to wage war on a scale without precedent. The Thirty Years’ War (1618- 48), the War of the Grand Alliance or of the League of Augsburg (1688-97), and the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14) made armed conflict more costly than ever before. As a result, the French military machine never ceased growing. Whereas, for example, in the 1590s the French royal army was only forty thousand strong, less than a century later Louis XIV maintained a force of about four hundred thousand. Since France’s main rivals, England and Holland, were maritime powers and the French had no navy to speak of, the country spent on a colossal scale to acquire one: in 1661 its entire ‘fleet’ consisted of eighteen near wrecks, but soon one hundred and twenty vessels sailed under French colors.
    "Such transformations were possible because those in charge of the finances of France had begun to follow a logic later presented by Adam Smith as ‘the necessity of contracting debt in times of war’: ‘An immediate and great expense … will not wait for the gradual and slow returns of new taxes. In this exigency government can have no other resource but in borrowing.’
    "The French government’s bookkeeping divided expenses into ‘ordinary’ (court expenses) and ‘extraordinary.’ Due to the rising cost of war, between 1600 and 1656, extraordinary expenses ballooned-from just seven million livres to over a hundred million. When budget deficits began to surge, the state began to borrow as never before and thus had recourse to a type of financial agent who surfaced in the late sixteenth century: the financier.
    "The original financiers signed traités, tax or loan contracts, with the crown; they also bought, sometimes at auctions organized by the crown, charges or offices that made them part of a private fiscal administration with close ties to the government, an administration that vastly expanded in size in the course of the seventeenth century. In return, they acquired the right to collect a new tax or import or export duty from which they guaranteed the government a fixed income — and from which they were allowed to retain a sizeable share of the profits. Contract terms varied with supply and demand, but financiers always lent money at a cost far above the official rate of between five and eight percent. At moments when a war was going badly and the monarchy’s need was therefore most pressing and money most scarce, a rate of twenty-five percent became standard — hence the steady rise in ‘extraordinary’ expenses, a category that included the interest on loans.
    "Tax contracts were especially useful to the crown because the deal was closed and money changed hands very quickly. Contracts for five hundred thousand livres were soon common; many involved far larger amounts. Naturally, few financial agents were able to deal for such stakes: it’s likely that, at any moment in the century, fewer than a hundred individuals virtually controlled the financial fate of France. As the monarchy became ever more dependent on credit because its needs were growing, that number shrank. And thus it was that the first gigantic modern fortunes in Paris originated not with the profits of commerce or industry but from high finance."

    — 2 months ago with 2 notes
    #How Paris Became Paris  #Joan DeJean  #TF Books  #from the book  #tf france  #TF History  #Paris