1. The Daphne Awards (for the best books published 50 years ago)

    An award that a classics series can finally stand up tall and participate in!
    Read why Bookslut wants to award a prize for the best book of 1963 here. And they’re accepting nominations.

    Let’s see, what have we got from 1963?

    FICTION
    One Fat Englishman by Kingsley Amis
    The Expendable Man by Dorothy B. Hughes
    The Old Man and Me by Elaine Dundy (copyright 1963, 1964—but apparently published in ’64)
    The Tenants of Moonbloom by Edward Lewis Wallant
    The Day of the Owl by Leonardo Sciascia*
    Chaos and Night by Henry de Montherlant

    NONFICTION
    Memoirs of a Revolutionary by Victor Serge*
    Miserable Miracle: Mescaline by Henri Michaux*
    Born Under Saturn: The Character and Conduct of Artists by Rudolph and Margot Wittkover

    KIDS
    Three Ladies Beside the Sea Rhoda Levine, illustrated by Edward Gorey

    *First translated into English in 1963

  2. "We are not supposed to use the word 'hysteric' anymore, but they still exist, and it sounds like you have one on your hands." →

    It’s the triumphant return of the only literary advice column that matters, “Dear Reader,” at the Blog of a Bookslut.

  3. "These are years of a turning in human affairs which can never be changed again"


    In their immense vanity, Satan’s own have overreached themselves, and now they are in the net, and they will never free themselves again. That is the fact, and this it is that rejoices my heart. I hate you. I hate waking and sleeping; I hate you for undoing men’s souls, and for spoiling their lives; I hate you as the sworn enemy of the laughter of men…. Oh, it is God’s deadly enemy which I see, and hate, in you.

    —From Fredrich Reck’s Diary of a Man in Despair, which goes on-sale today. This is from the June 1941 entry, describing his reaction to the Nazis after he has heard Goebbels “declaring war on yesterday’s allies.” Check out a review of Diary on Bookslut and a podcast on the book at The Mookse and the Gripes.

  4. "Judge me for my own merits"

    Judge me for my own merits, or lack of them, but do not look upon me as a mere appendage to this great general or that great scholar, this star that shines at the court of France or that famed author. I am in my own right a whole person, responsible to myself alone for all that I am, all that I say, all that I do. It may be that there are metaphysicians and philosophers whose learning is greater than mine, although I have not met them. Yet, they are but frail humans, too, and have their faults; so, when I add the sum total of my graces, I confess I am inferior to no one.

    —The French Englightenment scientist Emilié du Châtelet writing to Frederick the Great, quoted in Jenny McPhee’s review in Bookslut of Nancy Mitford’s Voltaire in Love, a book about the productive and scandalous relationship between Châtelet and Voltaire.

  5. Jan Morris’s Hav in Bookslut

     Hav, by Jan Morris, got a great review in Bookslut, one of our favorite literary blogs. Here’s an excerpt:

    "The reader follows Morris as she tries to navigate this unreal city, with its multifarious architectural styles, Babel of languages, mélange of smells and sounds. She familiarizes herself with its cafes, its music, its trademark urchin soup and snow raspberries. She attends the Roof Race (which is exactly what it sounds like), and her descriptions of the frenzy of the crowd tearing through the city to follow the athletes running and jumping across alleyways above is among the more riveting parts of the novel.

    One could go on for some length and is tempted to, for Morris’s prose is so resplendent and exacting in its erudition and craftsmanship. Her knowledge of Mediterranean history and culture shines through on every page, and her attention to seemingly minor details, such as witnessing two elderly Buddhist monks alone in a crowd of merchants purchasing saffron, for instance, preserve the veneer of an ‘official’ travel narrative.

    Ultimately, though, Hav is a place utterly fluid, where identity is consistent only in its Heraclitean flux. History swirls around Hav, yet always inchoate, subject to the whims, distortions, and sedimented agendas of countless peoples of countless factions over countless years. And like that other fictional city Bellona, Hav is a mystery in which nothing is as it seems — or maybe everything is exactly as it seems until it changes into something else, until over time everything possible in human history has already happened, is still happening, and will happen again. Last Letters from Hav, indeed, ends with a cataclysm known as the Intervention, the details of which the reader is never entirely informed.”