Monday, January 12, 2004

Monday Monday 

40 years ago, Paul Theroux met a couple in a bar in Zambia. He went home with them, and found he couldn't leave. He spent four days as their sex slave, and describes the rather bizarre time in his life for the Guardian.

Jaime Byng, the flashy owner of Canongate, is promoting Giller-prizewinning novelist M.G. Vassanji as the publisher's main pick for the 2004 Booker prize. This is not making Scottish authors happy and accusations are flying around that Byng doesn't care about homegrown authors.

On a related note, current Scottish lit might be changing its tone, from bleak and depressing to well, more lighthearted and satiric. We'll see if this is actually true. Rosemary Goring at the Herald looks at the lack of Scot in the recent awards, but finds a common thread anyway: independent publishers like Faber and, well, Canongate.

And even sort of related to that (is everything vaguely continuous this morning? Not sure) is the imminent reissues of various novels by Georgette Heyer and Dorothy L. Sayers in the UK. Lesley MacDowall of the Independent is one very excited reader.

Janet Maslin really, really digs the new Walter Mosley novel, which I must stress is literary fiction. Thankfully he's good at that sort of thing and I'm looking forward to reading the book. The New Yorker also catalogue's Mosley's diverse output in the last 10 years or so. (link from Maud, who's back with a vengeance. We missed you!)

Meanwhile, Allan Laing rounds up crime novels for the Herald: he raves about Pete Dexter, enthuses about Alafair Burke, finds Ian Rankin's early novel WATCHMAN had potential but was, well, early, and comments on new releases by Peter Robinson, Ed McBain, Donald Westlake, and more.

January Magazine jumps on the Audrey Niffenegger bandwagon.

Patrick Anderson calls John Le Carre's ABSOLUTE FRIENDS "a polemic." Although he's not sure how it will hold up, the fact that the author took on the White House is of literary merit.

Elm Street Magazine, which tried to be an "intelligent women's mag" (or at least, that's what some people tell me; I barely remember the magazine) is shutting down for good. Will it be missed? Hell if I know.

What's the next big thing? Why, big books, literally. Just be prepared to pay a pretty penny for these mammoth tomes.

And finally, Rick Mercer is coming back to TV with a satiric half-hour show on the CBC. I'm psyched, even if it's just the CanCon version of the Daily Show.

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