Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Happy world book day!

I've returned from my travels around Ireland but the demands of work and study have kept my blogging (and my reading!) at bay these past few days. But now that my assignment is in and my group report is moving along nicely, I thought I'd snatch a few minutes to wish everyone a happy Unesco World Book Day! I've never understood why in Britain & Ireland World Book Day is celebrated in early March, when the rest of the world is celebrating in different ways on the 23 April. And since the full title is World Book and Copyright Day (clunky I know) and since I work in the copyright/IP sphere, I also like to mark that.

As well as seeing too many amazing things in Ireland to list (the beehive hut on Inis Mór, which we explored on a sunny day, alone but for a white pony looking over the dry stone wall from the next field, and Newgrange, which I've wanted to visit just about all my life, were real highlights), I picked up some excellent books too, including Thomas Kinsella's translation of the Táin Bo Cailnge (the Cattle Raid of Cooley). The Táin is the centre piece of the 8th century Ulster cycle of epic tales. These stories, with Cuchulainn as the star of the show, are familiar to me from childhood but I'm excited at the prospect of reading Kinsella's attempt at creating a living version of these ancient myths.

I'm also happy to see that Francisco Goldman's The Art of Political Murder: Who killed Bishop Gerardi? won Index on Censorship's TR Fyvel Book Award 2008. I've not read this yet, but it's been on my list since Index announced the shortlist back in March. I hadn't heard of it before the shortlist but a bit of digging turned up reviews that make this book sound not just important for freedom of speech but an excellent read at the same time (check out this review from the NYT).

Goldman's book is on an ever-expanding list of non-fiction books that sound interesting. I really want to check out Torture Team by Philippe Sands. There's an excerpt on the Guardian's website (see here) that shows what a gripping and important book this will be (it's not published until 1 May). The fact that a TV show (24) inspired interrogators at Guantanamo to use torture is horrifying. Another hardback that's caught my eye is Bruce Dover's Rupert's Adventures in China, about Murdoch's quest to conquer the Chinese media market.


Anonymous said...

The last time I was in Ireland I was lecturing in a room overlooking the Isle of Innisfree - not the best way to encourage concentration on what I was supposed to be teaching, especially as it wasn't W B Yeats.

Logophile said...

Ann, how jealous am I! What a lovely view to have while lecturing...I left Ireland at 16, so this was one of the first chances I've had as an adult to see things. And while we came close to Yeats country we just didn't have enough time to explore it (the Aran Islands, Synge's inspiration, were enough for this trip!).

verbivore said...

I'd love to visit Ireland and do a tour of the literary places. It can be so enlightening to visit the geographies that different writers found inspiring.

TJ said...

Hello! I was fortunate to be in Ireland a few years ago and also fortunate to visit Newgrange which I found truly amazing. I am a little bit claustrophobic, but I forced myself to go in and the light was remarkable. I will never forget it.

My you read such interesting things. I have been meaning to read from the Ulster cycle since hearing a lecture on it in Ireland. Now maybe I will get to it. Thank you. TJ

paddybrown said...

Read the Ulster Cycle, you won't regret it. Finest body of heroic mythology outside of Greece. Visit this page for links to all the stories from the cycle I've been able to find on the web, plus some of my own translations.

Logophile said...

Verbivore, I'd love to do a literary tour of all my favourite writers!

TJ, glad you enjoyed Newgrange - it's quite spectacular.

Paddy, thanks so much for sharing your link. I'm adding it to my sidebar as just the brief look I've had is impressive!