Thursday, February 12, 2004

Friday Morning Roundup 

(posted late Thursday evening because of breaking developments which I'll discuss later on Friday.)

Ian Rankin, who's been everywhere in the news of late because his latest book is just out in the US and he's a crime writer God in the UK, was in the unusual position of attending a crime scene in his neighborhood. The dismembered remains of a convicted sex offender were found in a garden in the affluent Merchiston suburb of Edinburgh, though the victim was likely killed elsewhere. It remains to be seen whether the murder will figure in a future novel of Rankin's, but one has to say that it makes for excellent first-hand research...

Greek author Panos Karnezis is interviewed in the Independent about why, after studying engineering, he switched gears at 30 to write fiction and became a literary success. His debut novel, THE MAZE, is out now, and being a sucker for many things Greek, I'm looking forward to reading the book. In other Greek-set novel related news, one of my favorite crime writers, Paul Johnston, will (allegedly) have a new book out this fall after all. THE GOLDEN SILENCE, the third Alex Mavros novel, is slated for a September release. I'm still drooling over the cover.

Oh, that Michiko. She's rather charmed by Lucy Ellman's DOT IN THE UNIVERSE, which is only now getting its US release.

And hey, look at this! THE DA VINCI CODE has been unseated from the top spot of the Times' Bestseller List? Who could be the culprit? Oh....it's Grisham's latest, THE LAST JUROR. What fun is that? Other debuts making the list: The latest in Laurell K. Hamilton's paranormal bonkfests starring Meredith Gentry is at #4, yet another Star Wars book is at #9, and newest HypeMonster (TM) candidate Cecelia Ahern jumps in at #18.

Who's the queen of English libraries? Not Catherine Cookson. After 17 years, she's lost the title of most-borrowed author to Jacqueline Wilson. Talk about tides turning.....

HarperCollins UK is on a serious roll. They were buoyed by last fall's success of David Beckham's autobiography, and are flush from signing ex-BBC chief Greg Dyke and now a new biography of John Lennon.

Newsday's Book Review is already up for the most part: among the featured books are Brad Land's harrowing memoir of fraternity life; an interview with Lynne Cox, author of SWIMMING TO ANTARCTICA; and a review of Yasmina Khadra's Afghanistan-set novel.

Another Joe Ezsterhas profile, this one courtesy of the SF Chronicle.

Carmen Bin Laden, the former wife of Osama's brother, has written a memoir that's a bestseller in France. It's now found an English publisher as Virago has signed the book up to be released next year.

Bookninja reports that David Berlin, the editor-in-chief of WALRUS Magazine, is stepping down due to health reasons. He'll be replaced by Paul Wilson.

And finally Lawrence Block's tour schedule for THE BURGLAR ON THE PROWL is now up at his website. What distinguishes this from most other author tours is that Larry will be spending the bulk of his time at local libraries across the country. If you've never had a chance to hear him read from his work, you must. He's really one of the best. A couple of months before the publication of his controversial novel SMALL TOWN last year, he participated in a reading at the 5th Avenue Church with many other literary and acting folk like Malachy McCourt and Eli Wallach. Block read a portion of the book which described the genesis of a particular restaurant where many of the characters meet in pivotal scenes. The fictional restaurant bears some relation to Elaine's (87th and 2nd Avenue) but the sheer narrative and panache with which the passage was read got, by far, the longest and loudest applause of the afternoon. Sadly I had to dash out right away but at least I got the chance to witness the crowd's enthusiastic reaction.

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