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Thursday, April 22, 2004

Earth Day Roundup 

The New Republic recently launched a new column called "Pulps" which focuses on what America is really reading--which means, if you read between the not-so-thinly veiled lines, means tripe and trash. This edition features Sascha Zimmerman ripping on John Grisham's THE LAST JUROR, and frankly, I don't know what upsets me more--the fact that TNR is devoting space to the megasuccessful Grisham or the fact that what America reads is, well, mostly trash.

Maureen Corrigan's semi-regular mystery column on NPR's Fresh Air focuses on Andrew Taylor's AN UNPARDONABLE CRIME and Ian Rankin's A QUESTION OF BLOOD. But it also plugs a couple of upcoming standalones by Robert B. Parker and the already much-buzzed about ABSENT FRIENDS by S.J. Rozan, who reported on Corrigan's piece first.

Yesterday I linked to the Sunday Telegraph's interview with Boris Akunin. Today I spotlight Taylor's review of Leviathan at the Independent. Taylor finds the book to be, on the surface, rather absurd-but in Akunin's assured hands, everything works.

Ed Siegel writing for the Boston Globe is quite impressed with Henning Mankell's RETURN OF THE DANCING MASTER, which seems to launch a new series that doesn't feature Inspector Kurt Wallander.

Israeli author A.B. Yehoshua recently spoke at Stanford University about Jewish identity, Israeli literature and the roots of Anti-Semitism. The Stanford Reader was there and reports back.

Famed evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins argues the point for science writing: sure, novelists may have the command of language and gift of gab, but who has all the fun stories? Actually, Dawkins has a really good point, considering that some of the things I come across in forensic science or medical journals are truly stranger, and funnier, than fiction....

Ian Ferguson is the winner of the Leacock Award for best humorous writing by a Canadian author. The Globe and Mail reports on the award and its benefiting author.

Andrew O'Hagan is the first Scot in 15 years to win the oldest Scottish literary prize, the James Tait Award, which will be given to the author tonight in a ceremony.

Melissa Panarello, whose roman a clef ONE HUNDRED STROKES OF THE HAIRBRUSH BEFORE BED has been a smash success in her native Italy, speaks to the Bookseller about the salacious past that informs the book, which is due for a UK release later this summer.

E. Annie Proulx will headline next year's edition of the Northern Arizona Book Festival, which is currently going on right now.

USA TODAY groups together a whole bunch of chick-lit novels in their review roundup. Getting the short end of the stick is Meg Cabot's BOY MEETS GIRL, which I enjoyed for what it was--harmless popcorn. I do think a heroine with an actual backbone would have worked better, but it was all about the funny emails, IMs and text messages anyway.

More new reviews over at the Agony Column by Rick Kleffel and his Girl Friday, Terry D'Auray: nice notices for Robert Heilbrun and Blake Crouch, and a flat-out rave for Joe Lansdale's SUNSET AND SAWDUST.

And finally, this headline is such a misnomer, as Dylan Thomas's pub was bought by....well, not the singer.

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