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Sunday, December 21, 2003

Sunday, snowy Sunday 

How to solve an internet connection problem: tell the folks at the cable company to come over and tighten a screw in the outside cable box. Who'd have ever thunk it? Anyway, for all those who emailed, thanks for the well-wishes on that regard.

Before I get to the news, I suppose I might as well jump on the blogging bandwagon and pretty much take the next two weeks off. And I might, but since I don't really do the Christmas thing, and my holiday weeks will bear an uncanny resemblance to my life these past few months--well, it'll be slow here, but not dead.

First, to the crime fiction stuff: Matthew Pearl's THE DANTE CLUB gets a nice write-up in today's Observer, while at the same paper, man-about-town Peter Guttridge (who, we think, really ought to have delivered a new novel by now) rounds up the latest and best in the genre: some of the usual suspects include Andrew Taylor's Historical Dagger-winning THE AMERICAN BOY (and let's congratulate him on his spiffy new three-book deal with Penguin/Michael Joseph, where editrix extraordinaire Beverley Cousins will edit), Baltimore twin Dan Fesperman, the short story collection MEN FROM BOYS (which, grumble, I still don't own yet, but it would make a perfectly wonderful holiday present), and more.

Australia's Crime Factory rounds up their best books of the year, asking various reviewers and authors to give their lists. Craig McDonald, who pointed me to the roundup, picks James Sallis' CYPRESS GROVE and Charlie Stella's CHARLIE OPERA. Ken Bruen (who, sad to say, won't be touring in the US for the upcoming US publication of THE KILLING OF THE TINKERS after all, much to my and many others' disappointment) picks Keith Ablow's PSYCHOPATH and one of my top picks of the year, Lono Waiwaiole's debut noir novel WILEY'S LAMENT.

Speaking of McDonald, his latest interview is with Don Bruns, the author of JAMAICA BLUE and most recently, BARBADOS HEAT. They are the first two in a projected series of mysteries starring music journalist Mick Sever. Reading the interview made me scarf up the first book, which is now holding steady in Mt. TBR.

In more literary matters, what of the distinction between "serious" and "light" reading? Ought there be a separation? And if so, how to get youngsters to read the classics? The Sun-Sentinel takes a look at a new book by Susan Bauer which offers tips, however flawed, in that regard.

How much does the title have to do with getting the books off bookshelves and into readers' arms? Depends who you ask, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, which has a long feature on the complex world of book titles.

And finally, in more sobering news, I want to wish a speedy and heartfelt recovery to Barbara Franchi, webmaster of the Reviewing the Evidence site and an all-around delight to the crime fiction community. Take care of yourself, and we'll see you back to your lists, haunts and stomping grounds in no time.

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