Library of Wales News
- These tender, gently-delivered annals of teenage life with all its hesitancy, petulance and bubbling sexuality constitute one of the genuinely unexpected pleasures of perusing the Library of Wales series. Add to that the fact that it is one of very few fictions that take Llandudno as its backdrop and the case for its inclusion in the series is well nigh complete.It’s little wonder then that this novel, first published in 1960, is novelist Lloyd Jones’s favourite in the series, and that the historian Merfyn Jones supplies a paean of praise by way of preface. For it is a little wonder, full of delicate insight and shot through with the optimism and hormones of life on the cusp of adulthood, which will come all too soon for the young characters who populate its pages because of the war and its recruitments.Author, Broadcaster and Raconteur Jon Gower has undertaken the challenge to read all the titles in the current Library of Wales series, and review them. Are you joining in too? Do let us know.Catch up: Read his review of Rhapsody
Buy: Jampot Smith from the Parthian online bookshop for £7.99. This title is also available on ebook from all good online retailers.
- The Library of Wales is a Welsh Government project designed to ensure that all of the rich and extensive literature in Wales that has been written in English will now be made available to readers in and beyond Wales. The series is published by Parthian Books. See the full catalogue at http://thelibraryofwales.com/Our April 2013 enewsletter contains updates on news, events, book launches and special offers on classic titles in the Library of Wales range as well as related titles also published by Parthian Books.
- The Likes of Us by Stan Barstow was favourably reviewed in The Guardian on Friday 5 April. On our new title The Likes of Us: Stories of Five Decades, Hickling wrote:Among the highlights, "A Season with Eros" is a hilariously candid account of newlywed passion doused by a sour-faced mother-in-law, while the hooligan protagonist of "The Desperadoes" ("Sometimes you feel you just can't rest until you've smashed summat") is a reminder that Barstow's fury made most other angry young men seem only mildly annoyed.Also available in ebook format from all good retailers.
- Dates between Sunday 30 June – Sunday 28 July 20136.00 – 8.00 pmBeginning at an undisclosed pub in Bloomsbury, London (see below)Tickets: £12.00 (£10.00 concessions).The stories of Arthur Machen (1863-1947) teem with sinister ancient pre-Christian horrors – troglodyte races and malevolent fauns – that lurk just beneath the surface of modern life. Yet for Machen, these folklore evils were the flip side of a positive theology that invited the visionary to step through the veil of illusion into another world; a magical world. Sometimes the lifting of the veil occurs on ancient tumuli in the Welsh countryside of his childhood; often it can be found in a back street of London.The Thin Veil of London, a series of literary walks and talks, takes up this theme. It is a journey into the silent corners of Holborn and Bloomsbury, and it is a journey into the worlds of Faery and science, madness and ecstasy, and what Machen called ‘the eternal beauty hidden beneath the crust of common and commonplace things; hidden and yet burning and glowing continually if you care to look with purged eyes’.The walks will begin at an undisclosed pub in Bloomsbury, and ending at a pub that serves food.At this year's Caerleon Festival (5 - 14 July), Arthur Machen's 150th birthday will be celebrated. Talks on The Thin Veil of London will take place at the festival, as well as the launch of a beautiful limited edition of Machen's part-London-based autobiography, Far Off Things, printed by The Three Impostors.For full dates, details and to book tickets please click here.
- In a recent Guardian interview the British novelist Rupert Thomson suggested that:'Fiction essentially teaches you to understand and empathise with other people. That’s important. I think fiction is related to ethics in that you step out of your skin and become someone else for the period you are reading the book. And it is a short step to extrapolate from that to the teaching of compassion.'I took these thoughts with me into a reading of the artful, economical short stories marshalled into Dorothy Edwards’s Rhapsody, first published in 1927. These terse and ironic tales seem to teach us very little about compassion, or much about human warmth and connectedness for that matter.The ten stories that make up Rhapsody – with an additional three bonus tales in this LOW edition – do not make for empathetic fiction, yet they are undoubtedly fine works, taut and elegantly wrought narratives with never a single word wasted. They are always, unutterably refined, yes, that’s the word, very refined.Author, Broadcaster and Raconteur Jon Gower has undertaken the challenge to read all the titles in the current Library of Wales series, and review them. Are you joining in too? Do let us know.Catch up: Read his review of The Withered RootBuy: Rhapsody from the Parthian online bookshop for £7.99. This title is also available on ebook from all good online retailers.
- A lovely feature up on We Love This Book this week about Mari Stead Jones' journey to completing her father's unfinished novel Say Goodbye to the Boys.When Mari Stead Jones found the secret writing archive of her father, she resolved to finish the novel he never published.[...]Ten months after the first foray into her father’s archive, Mari – who lists Agatha Christie’s The Big Four, Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City series and Iain Banks’ Whit as some of her favourite books – had transformed into a writer herself.On 1 March this year, Parthian published her first book – Say Goodbye to the Boys, a stylish, character-rich tale set in 1947, when three young friends return from the war to their small Welsh hometown for a lazy summer, only to discover that everything has changed. It’s a whodunit, complete with a trail of clues and a bumbling detective.Jones likes to think of the book as a partnership.Buy Say Goodbye to the Boys from the Parthian online bookshop. Also available as an ebook from all good online retailers.
- 'There is something positively lysergic about this novel, set against the backdrop of the religious convulsion, the revival which brought Wales to its praying knees in 1904 and 1905. It is a book so chock full of visions, lucid dreams and hallucinations – and they are so hyper-vividly described – that one imagines the grocer’s son from Clydach Vale dropping a few tabs of acid while penning it, even though this was written in 1927, a full four decades before Timothy Leary and his West Coast chemical experiments.''Yet, that said, some passages are so hallucinatory that, taken collectively, they read like the opening craziness of Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas segued with The Book of Revelation. There is, for instance, the ‘terrible force of worship’ that sets:the mind quivering amid broken spheres of split radiance and flaming skies, that opened before the inner vision a kingdom of unearthly emotion, where landscapes were voices of strange chants, where music was carved into symbols of crystal colour, and stars opened into faces of inspired beauty…'Voices issue from throats like threads of flame, trees are red and there are ‘blood-red shadows’ about the white buildings. And in some of the dream sequences you’re really convinced that Rhys Davies, was on something: ‘He lay with a creature whose body was fibrous and damp as the thick stem of a monstrous resinous plant.’ Ah, that’s it, resin. That’s what he was smoking! Only kidding.'Author, Broadcaster and Raconteur Jon Gower has undertaken the challenge to read all the titles in the current Library of Wales series, and review them. Are you joining in too? Do let us know.Catch up: Read his review of Poetry: 1900 - 2000
- The Library of Wales is a Welsh Government project designed to ensure that all of the rich and extensive literature in Wales that has been written in English will now be made available to readers in and beyond Wales. The series is published by Parthian Books. See the full catalogue at http://thelibraryofwales.com/Our February 2013 enewsletter contains updates on news, events, book launches and special offers on classic titles in the Library of Wales range as well as related titles also published by Parthian Books.
Sian Lile-Pastore is starting a new book/reading group in St Fagans which looks really good. She says: "We will be reading and discussing novels with Welsh or historical links. We will also have talks with curators and experts to tie in with the books. Join our first ever book club and discuss The Rebecca Rioter by Amy Dillwyn. After the discussion there will also be a chance to visit the Tollhouse in St Fagans with curator Sioned Hughes. Booking essential : (029) 2057 3424"
The first session will meet at St Fagans on Saturday 16 March (11am-1pm).
This cornucopia offers up the harvest of a century’s worth of versifying by a hundred poets, running from W.H.Davies, born in 1871 to Owen Sheers, born in 1974. Poetry 1900-2000 also stands as yet another testament to the Stakhanovite energies of its editor, the indefatigable and boundlessly productive Meic Stephens, who has produced, by now, not just one but two whole centuries of books, as they now number over two hundred titles.
This anthology, with its elegant potted histories of the poets, shot through with Stephens’ perceptive take on their work, can stand proudly on the bookshelf next to the Companion to Welsh Literature and the various Artist in Wales compendia and the bite sized Corgi poets series and so on. It offers a judicious selection from an art form that is deeply in ingrained in the Welsh consciousness, indeed some go as far as suggest it has been pivotal in shaping it…Author, Broadcaster and Raconteur Jon Gower has undertaken the challenge to read all 33 titles in the current Library of Wales series, and review them. Are you joining in too? Do let us know.