Hatching eggs

The Orwell Prize is publishing a special blog containing the 1939-1942 diaries of George Orwell. The blog is updated each day, with entries on subjects that include Orwell’s recuperation in Morocco, his return to the UK, and his opinions on the descent of Europe into war.

What impression of Orwell will emerge? From his domestic diaries (which start on 9th August), it may be a largely unknown Orwell, whose great curiosity is focused on plants, animals, woodwork, and – above all – how many eggs his chickens have laid. From his political diaries (from 7th September), it may be the Orwell whose political observations and critical thinking have enthralled and inspired generations since his death in 1950. Whether writing about the Spanish Civil War or sloe gin, geraniums or Germany, Orwell’s perceptive eye and rebellion against the ‘gramophone mind’ he so despised are obvious.

Masters of the Baltic

0008 The Open Library is, among other things, a useful repository of older books which have been scanned in their entirety, and can be read online free of charge. The books are mostly in English, but there are over one million of them, and they include almost everything, from long out-of-print editions of the classics through works of history and philosophy to travel studies and political memoirs. I came across this enormous library via a recent post at the German-language Estland blog, which contains links to a number of fascinating books about the early development of the Baltic States. New Masters of the Baltic  by Arthur Brown Ruhl (Dutton, 1921) take a detailed look at the situation of Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia in the period immediately following their independence, while The main issues confronting the minorities of Latvia and Eesti (1922) is a consideration of precisely that subject.

The Unknown Soldier

At Nordic Voices in Translation, I’m serializing some excerpts from my new translation of Tuntematon sotilas (The Unknown Soldier), Väinö Linna’s classic novel about the Finnish Continuation War of 1941-1944. The third excerpt is here, and you can access the earlier excerpts at the foot of the page. I’ll be publishing more of these over the next week or two.

Books from Finland on the Web

Books from Finland, the English-language literary magazine which has been published quarterly since 1977, is now available in a new Web format. The style of the magazine’s contents continues to be the same as before, with translated extracts from recent Finnish and Finland-Swedish fiction, non-fiction and poetry, as well as plenty of book reviews, illustrations and short bibliographical summaries. Soila Lehtonen writes:

BfF, a weblication:

Spread the word, please!

Soila Lehtonen
Books from Finland, the online journal
of writing from and about Finland:

P.O. Box 250, FI-00171 Helsinki
+358 (0)20 131 345