The Book Grocer

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Ahoy hoy, book grocery shoppers! The metaphorical book grocer aisles are stocked high with choice meats and sweet confections this December, so whatever your tastes, fill up your shopping cart and gorge yourself on this week’s selection of literary events – they’ll give you much less of a stomach-ache than mince pies.

Monday: Revisit Sylvia Plath by attending the aptly named Sylvia Plath Revisited, at the ICA (7pm in the Nash Room £10 nonmembers/£9 concessions/£8 members). Plath’s been much on the radar again lately, in light of the recent publication of Eye Rhymes, a collection of her little-known visual art, which forms the basis for tonight’s talk.

Tuesday: Head over to Arthur Probsthain for the launch of Sasha Su-Ling Welland’s A Thousand Miles of Dreams, a biography of Chinese sisters pursuing modern lives in 20th-century America and China, 6–8pm. E-mail the bookstore to reserve a place at the launch, then drop smug hints to your book-geek friends about all the literati you know.

Wednesday: As part of its Breaking the Rules: The Printed Face of the European Avant-Garde 1900–1937 exhibit, the British Library hosts a “special evening of absurd poetry, song and film” with Pushkin Prize-winning writer Ludmilla Petrushevskaya. It would be absurd of you not to attend (6.30–8.30pm, £6 tickets/£4 concessions).

Thursday: Happy 150th Birthday, Joseph Conrad! Actually, your birthday was Monday, but we didn’t think you’d mind if we delayed the celebration until tonight, seeing as how you’ve been dead for 83 years now. To pay you your just respects, we’ll pop over to the National Portrait Gallery for The Secret Agent – Conrad, London and Contemporary Fiction, a talk hosted by authors Giles Foden and Ian Sinclair (7pm, £5 tickets/£3 concessions). The Secret Agent, Conrad’s novel about a foiled “terrorist” attack in Victorian England, proves that the great novelist remains relevant centuries after his birth. If only he could shake that misconception about Playboy Bunnies in his other works

Spent all your money at holiday sales this weekend? Oxfam Marylebone hosts its winter poetry reading at 7pm. Ten poets for the price of none will surely get you your money’s worth, especially when the line-up includes Susan Grindley, Stephen Gyllenhaal, and David Morley (click on the links for selections of their poetry).

Friday: As a tie-in to its The Art of Lee Miller exhibit, the V&A sponsors Lee Miller – The Angel and the Fiend, a performance with words and images based on Miller’s photographs and writings and compiled by her son, Antony Penrose (7.15pm, £7.50 tickets, concessions available).

Spent all your money on mulled wine this weekend? Two free lunch-time events may interest you, then. If you missed Michael Palin on Wednesday, here’s another chance: he’ll be signing books at the Jubilee Place Borders, Canary Wharf, 1–2pm. Or you can drop into the British Library for a gallery talk on ancient Chinese poetry, 1.15pm, Room 33.

Happy feasting…

Image courtesy of Sifter’s Flickr photostream

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