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Sunday, November 02, 2003

Sunday night roundup 

An interesting retrospective of crime novels with a library setting in today's Boston Globe Ideas section. As well, Leonard Cassuto, who is currently working on a cultural history of 20th century crime fiction (this could be really cool or really dry) highlights the life and career of the late, great Ross MacDonald, who has influenced a multitude of crime writers since.

Late to the Palahniuk party is the Toronto Star, as they are rather disappointed with his latest book, DIARY. Meanwhile, Jack Batten's biweekly crime column focuses on Karin Slaughter's new book, or more specifically, on the trials and tribulations of Lena Adams, one of the three main protagonists but really the heart and soul of the books so far.

Then there's their take on Tama Janowitz's new novel PEYTON AMBERG. The opening paragraph cracked me up:

Tama Janowitz is the kind of writer one expects to find in a People magazine "Whatever Happened To?" round-up, along with the casts of The Facts Of Life and Car Wash.

The rest of Lynn Crosbie's review is similarly arch, and in the end she deems the book "a fabulous disaster."

At the Observer, Peter Guttridge looks at a number of major mystery releases, Mario Vargas Llosa has a new book out, and Robert MacCrum's weekly column focuses on how it's really no fun to be an A-List author: cramped deadlines, editors beating down on the author's door to make sure that manuscript is delivered last week, and super-accelerated publication dates. Like Ms. Fielding's upcoming book, which was evidently only handed in to her publishers a scant few weeks ago, or Thomas Harris's HANNIBAL; he'd given in the manuscript in March of '99, and the book was out in June. Of course, having no pesky editors around to do their work in making sure the book was actually readable did speed up the process considerably. A shame, really, to make the publication process even quicker than it already is, because in the mad rush to get that book in time for a holiday or book conference or whatnot, the quality almost invariably suffers. OLIVIA JOULES may turn out to be a great romp, but I suspect that when Fielding is interviewed a few years later for her next book (which may not need to be rushed to press so quickly, but I doubt it) she'll be shaking her head a lot at the horrors of trying to get this book finished.

And finally, I can't seem to find the link but the Ottawa Citizen's Weekly section had a small article about literary blogs. They asked Ottawa writer Peter Darbyshire what were the best "litblogs" around. He mentions Moby and Bookslut as those that are keeping up-to-date with the latest news and actively breaking stories, as well as featuring writers like Steve Almond and Neal Pollack. Obviously, I wondered why several other sites (you know who they are) weren't mentioned, but I'm sure Darbyshire will be checking them out in due course. And "litblogs"? Um, no. If someone thinks of a better acronym, drop me a line.

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