Friday, December 19, 2003

Remainders of the Afternoon 

Ms. Maslin devotes an entire column to what Chapters is now calling "Tripe Fiction." I kid you not. I was in a branch in Ottawa earlier today and they had the usual bestseller-y stuff, the kind of things you'd take to a beach except that it's hard to get to a beach in below-freezing weather, sitting in a table with the designated label in the center. Tripe fiction. I couldn't stop laughing for a good minute after I saw that. Anyway, she likes Jeffery Deaver's short story collection TWISTED and John Sanford's latest Kidd novel THE HANGED MAN'S SONG, which is cool by me.

Gaza Vermes has spent the last 40 years of his life trying to put Jesus in a different kind of context: one as seen from a Jewish eye, so to speak. The Independent interviews him.

With the incredible success of Lynne Truss's EATS, SHOOTS and LEAVES (I swear, I wrote that exact same phrase in a blog post a few days ago), her backlist has been snapped up by Profile. Included is her memoir of being a single woman with cats. Uh oh.

Rachel Simhon at the Telegraph feels Minette Walters' DISORDERED MINDS is not one of her best works. At the same paper, William Leith looks at Maxim Jakubowski's British version of the Best Mystery Stories 2003. Further proof that Otto is Maxim and Maxim is Otto....

Tod Goldberg takes a look at the booming, perverse world of fan fiction. My feeling about the whole thing is that 99% of it is terrible, and the people that spend the time on the 1% that is actually good might be better off, I dunno, working on stuff they can actually get published? Or maybe it's me. (Link from Bookninja.)

Carolyn See at the Washington Post fetes John Mortimer's collection of Rumpole short stories.

And finally, the Toronto Blue Jays just signed 32 year old pitcher Miguel Batista to a 3 year deal worth $13.1 million dollars. Why am I even bothering to report this? Only because in his spare time, Batista's working on a serial killer novel:

"I write a lot," Batista said. "I'm writing about an underage serial killer.

"I know it might sound abnormal for a player . . . It's a crime fiction."

The native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic writes in Spanish, but said he did much of his thinking in English because he based the story on American law.

Batista already has about 400 pages, all hand-written, and is close to an ending. The main character is 14 years old, from the Phoenix area.

"I always have to explain that I'm not obsessed with serial killers," said Batista. "I like the detective, the guy who catches the killer and puts him away, the whole mental game of finding out who he is and why he's doing what he's doing.

"Is he mentally ill, or is just a game?"

But the question I have is, will the book be any good? And if it is, will any publisher take it on and then translate it into English?

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