Friday, October 20, 2017

Any Street Corner in Philly in the early Sixties, some guys were singing this.


Friday's Forgotten Books, Friday, October 20, 2017


 (From the archives)

I am reluctantly finishing this book, which I have so enjoyed. I can't imagine any of you would not. More than 100 current writers choose a crime fiction book they admire and write an essay about it. Each one approaches it a bit differently. Some of the essays are scholarly. Some are personal. Some discuss the author more than the book. But nearly every one is worth reading. It is interesting to see how one writer has influenced another's work too. Some of them make perfect sense. With some the connection is less clear.

I had a hard time thinking of a book I would have included that wasn't here. In a review in the Washington Post, the reviewer asks where is Nicholas Blake and a few other golden age writers, but on the whole there are not too many great books not represented. Most of the books chosen do not come from the cozy sub-genre though.

I had read only half the books essayed here. Some I had never heard of. A few of the essayists were new to me too. But I sure went over to my TBR pile for three books I own but haven't read.

What book would you have chosen for your "book to die for?"

I would have chosen THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY. Although Highsmith is remembered for STRANGERS ON A TRAIN-a very clever novel, I think Tom Ripley is a more memorable and important character. Perhaps a book of characters to die for would be fun. 

Sergio Angelini, SINGLE AND SINGLE, John LeCarre
Yvette Banek, THE FRIGHTENED STIFF, Kelly Roos
Les Blatt, INSPECTOR FRENCH'S GREATEST CASE, Freeman Wills Crofts
Elgin Bleecker, TRUE GRIT, Charles Portis
Brian Busby, BLACK FEATHER,  Benge Atlee
Bill Crider, THE BODY LOOKS FAMILIAR and THE LATE MRS. FIVE, Richard Wormser
Richard Horton, MR. FORTUNE'S MAGGOT, Sylvia Townsend Warner
Martin Edwards, TOO MANY COUSINS, Douglas G. Browne
Jerry House, CHASING THE BEAR, Robert B., Parker
Nick Jones, SCIENCE FICTION ODYSSEY 3 
George Kelley, SECRET AGENT X, Paul Chadwick
Margot Kinberg, THE BLIND GODDESS, Anne Holt
Rob Kitchin, A DANGEROUS MAN, Charlie Houston
B.V. Lawson, WIDOW CHERRY,  Benjamin Leopold Farjean
Evan Lewis, CHARLIE CHAN in LAND OF THE LEOPARD MAN
Steve Lewis, WHO IS SIMON WARWICK, Patricia Moyes
Todd Mason, THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION (1976) Edward Ferman
Steven Nester,(THE RAP SHEET) THE BIG FIX, Roger L. Simon
Matt Paust, Maigret Double Feature, Georges Simenon
James Reasoner, SLAVE RUNNER. Gordon MacCreigh
Richard Robinson, TIMELESS, Armand Baltazar
Gerard Saylor, THE HIGHWAY KIND, ed. Patrick Milliken
Katherine Tomlinson, AN EXCESS MALE, Maggie Shen King
TomCat, THE GUEST WITH THE SCYTHE, Gret Lane
TracyK, THE NIGHTRUNNERS, Michael Collins
Westlake Review, ASK THE PARROT

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

FOR THOSE SEEKING A SHORT, CHARMING BOOK: THE RED NOTEBOOK






Oh, if every book was only as charming as this one. Set in Paris, a book shop owner finds a handbag and sets out to find its owner using clues from the items found in the bag. If I told you more, I would lessen your pleasure. Short, sweet, perfect for an hour or two's read. Have you read a charming book recently?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Taking a Week Off: Behave Yourselves.

                                                             Wish me luck.I will need it.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Friday's Forgotten Books, October 6, 2017

Todd will have the links next week. Thanks, Todd.
25714590

from the archives of Randy Johnson.

I’ve posted about Pono Hawkins before HERE.He’s tilting at Wind mills again, literally. This time on the other side of the world. Maine. He’s there to help an old comrade who’s in jail for murder.
Buddy Franklin is his name and Pono doesn’t even like him. He once testified at a trial where Pono was accused of shooting an Afghani girl. He did, but the fifteen year old had been set on fire by her husband for daring to lay eyes on another man, an honor killing. Dying anyway and begging for someone to kill her, he’d ended her pain. The Bush government made him a scapegoat and Pono got twenty years, a sentence vindicated a few months later. Franklin had also married the woman Pono loved.
Why help him then?
A thing called honor. Franklin was Special Forces like Pono and the testimony was by rules of law. One didn’t desert a comrade in trouble. Oh, forgot to mention, Franklin had saved his life in a firefight as well.
The Wind Mafia was at it again in Maine. Pono had managed to beat them in Hawaii and they were now making billions, off the public dollar, building useless wind turbine towers, blotting the landscape, killing wildlife, ruining property values, and getting obscenely rich, along with the politicians, judges, and cops they paid off.
Pono was only there for a few days before the harassment started, shots were fired at him, and the cops were trying to pin murders, arson, and destruction of property on him.
A wonderfully written novel that wouldn’t let me stop until I finished it. Read the whole thing in less than a day.

Sergio Angelini, THE MANNY DEWITT TRILOGY, Peter Rabe
Yvette Banek, Classic Book Covers such as A SHOW OF HANDS, Erle Stanley Gardner
Les Blatt, Two by George Bellairs
Elgin Bleecker, ROUND TRIP, W.R. Burnett
Brian Busby, "Advice from Stephen Leacock
Bill Crider, FANTASTIC SCIENCE FICTION, July 1960
Scott Cupp, RIVER OF TEETH, Sarah Galley 
Martin Edwards, THE BORNLESS KEEPER, P.B. Yuill
Curt Evans, Roger Scarlett reissues 
Richard Horton, MIDDLE MARCH, George Elliott and AMAZING STORIES review
Jerry House, SCARY STORIES THAT WILL MAKE YOU SCREAM, Peter Haining 
George Kelly, THE COMPLETE PSYCHOTECHNIC LEAGUE, Poul Anderson
Margot Kinberg, CROCODILE ON THE SANDBANK, Elizabeth Peters
Rob Kitchin, WHISKEY IN SMALL GLASSES, Denzil Meyrich 
B.V. Lawson, ONE NIGHT'S MYSTERY, May Agnes Fleming 
Evan Lewis, THE LONG RIFLE, Stewart Edward White
Steve Lewis, WYCLIFFE AND THE CYCLE OF DEATH, W.J. Burley
Brian Lindenmuth, THE TWILIGHTERS, Noel Loomis
Todd Mason, MAGAZINE OF HORROR and GAMMA, 1963
Matt Paust, A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES, John Kennedy Toole
James Reasoner, THE HELL-BORN CLAN, Phil Richards
Gerard Saylor, SHOEDOG, George Pelecanos
TomCat, BEYOND THE LOCKED DOOR, Luke Allan
TracyK, THE EMPEROR'S SNUFF BOX, John Dickson Carr
Prashant Trikannad, SNIFF, THE DETECTIVE, Richard Scarry
Westlake Review, NOBODY RUNS FOREVER, Part 2

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

First Wednesdays Book Review Club: MORNINGSTAR, Ann Hood

                                                 For more reviews, go to Barrie Summy's blog, right here. 

MORNINGSTAR, GROWING UP WITH BOOKS is a favorite type of book for me. In it, novelist Ann Hood relates the details of her formative years through the books she chose to read at various ages. I am not going to tell you the books she chose because you will enjoy seeing what she read yourself  from her first books onward. We learn a lot about her middle-class family and the town of Warwick, RI. where she watched the decline of the town through her formative years. Mills and factories closed, better stores moved out of town or disappeared. A familiar story by now.

All of the books she talks about (and it's not all that many) were books that meant something to me too. And the thing that I liked best about it was her choices were original, realistic, different. Not the sort of books found on BY THE BOOK in the TIMES each week. But instead what a girl might stumble on herself when her family were not readers. This was also the case with me. No one ever guided my reading so I read inappropriate books often. No one told me to read books like FROM THE TERRACE or BABBITT or THE DEVIL IN BUCKS COUNTY or THE IDIOT, but I did.

This is a short book and Hood confines her discussion to about a dozen books, all which resonated with the times she lived in, her age at the time, and the country itself. . I would have like a list at the back of other books she read but did not include here. Especially childhood favorites.

I enjoyed this short book, almost more memoir than literary discussion but that is just fine. 

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Tuesday Night Music


Two Movies I Have Seen This Week: BATTLE OF THE SEXES and BRAD'S STATUS






Neither of these films was a complete bust, but both of them were disappointments in a way. BATTLE OF THE SEXES was a Hollywood biopic and thus, despite very fine performances from Emma Stone and Steve Carrell, made the film duller than it had to be. The female tennis players, struggling to achieve equality in pay and respect with the men were presented as a mass of quasi-cheerleaders. Very few were even named. And how many Sarah Silverman performances must we endure before it is clear she always plays the same part. Both King and Riggs were poignant figures: he having become a clown to support his gambling addiction, and she for discovering her sexuality at the same time she was battling for women's rights. But neither is given the attention it deserves. Instead we spend too much time on meaningless scenes.The characters that evoke the most sympathy are their spouses. B-
BRAD'S STATUS presents a father who has no idea his son is a great student and has a good crack at a Harvard education despite having devoted his life to non-profits. You expect him to be a better man than he is. Are we supposed to feel sorry that his friends have greater success? Are we supposed to dislike him? But how can we when his son, a great kid, feels so sorry for him. Ben Stiller just never seems to play anyone but himself. His conversation with an older friend of his son's, a musician, is painful. "How can you be fifty and not know the world doesn't revolve around you?" she asks. Exactly. And yet you feel the movie feels sorry for him too. Again the character evoking the most sympathy is his wife. C+

Monday, October 02, 2017

Things That Make Me Happy



I really enjoyed my trip to DC where we saw a terrific play set in Detroit (THE SKELETON CREW), went to a marvelous sculpture museum and garden in Maryland, saw a great exhibit of photographs of Marlene Dietrich at the Portrait Gallery (as well as portraits of the presidents)  and a great movie COLUMBUS. It was nice to see our friends there and also enjoy a visit with my brother, about to become a grandfather in two weeks. Another Nase will enter the world.



We had lovely weather although very hot. And some great meals. A much needed getaway for us. And thanks to Todd for helping out yet again.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?