Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lost Classics

While ploughing through my LOST DVD Box-set I came across this Mama and Papa’s classic song “Make Your Own Kind of Music” used to surreal effect in Season 2’s exploration of what lies beneath The Hatch and the mysterious Desmond, and the 108 minute push-button. I am enjoying watching LOST in a continuous sequence, as it poses many quirky questions and observations about life. I was amused [but not surprised] to see how some people have gotten totally obsessed by Lost, some even attending a cinema marathon screening in London.

Another aspect like the music references, is the plethora of literary observations and winks to many works, including of course Stephen King who is an advocate of the series, and also an influence on the writers.

"Make your own kind of music"
© 1968 written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil

Nobody can tell ya;
There's only one song worth singin'.
They may try and sell ya,
'cause it hangs them up
to see someone like you.

But you've gotta make your own kind of music
sing your own special song,
make your own kind of music
even if nobody else sings along.

So if you cannot take my hand,
and if you must be goin',
I will understand.
You're gonna be knowing

the loneliest kind of lonely.
It may be rough goin',
just to do your thing's
the hardest thing to do.

But you've gotta make your own kind of music
sing your own special song,
make your own kind of music
even if nobody
else sings along.

So if you cannot take my hand,
and if you must be goin',
I will understand.
You gotta make your own kind of music

sing your own special song,
make your own kind of music even if nobody
else sings along.

A superb song to kick start anyone’s day

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Library Journal Best Crime and Thrillers

Considering the problems facing our libraries in the US and UK, with budget squeezing, cutbacks, and the like - I am pleased to see LJ battling on. It does seem that Minotaur Books seem to be dominating the L J Selection of the best of the genres 2010, with three nominated books in the crime fiction genre and also I am delighted to see Gayle Lynd’s remarkable ‘The Book of Spies’ selected in the Thriller List, another Minotaur publication.

All these LJ Selections would make excellent presents of Christmas gifts -

Casey, Kathryn. The Killing Storm. Minotaur: St. Martin's. ISBN 9780312379520. $25.99.As Texas Ranger Sarah Armstrong investigates the ritualistic killings of prize cattle, a four-year-old boy is kidnapped, and a hurricane heads straight for Houston. Riveting suspense and nifty plot twists in an outstanding series. (LJ 10/1/10)

Elias, Gerald. Danse Macabre. Minotaur: St. Martin's. ISBN 9780312541897. $24.99. The execution of a man convicted of killing a famous concert violinist draws blind violin teacher Daniel Jacobus into an impromptu investigation. Musical know-how, an intricate plot, and fresh characters elevate Elias's second series title above standard fare. (LJ 7/10)

Harris, Gardiner. Hazard. Minotaur: St. Martin's. ISBN 9780312570163. $25.99.A safety inspector probes a fatal mining disaster in Hazard, KY, that may not have been an accident. This outstanding debut boasts vivid details, insider knowledge of the mining industry, spot-on characterizations, and an engrossing mystery. (LJ 1/10)

Larsen, K.J. Liar, Liar: A Cat DeLuca Mystery. Poisoned Pen. ISBN 9781590587256. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781590587270. $14.95.Cat DeLuca, owner of Chicago's Pants on Fire Detective Agency, is up to her eyebrows in trouble when she tries to prove a man's infidelity. Her family of police officers and busybody relatives add comic relief in this cozy debut. (LJ 8/10)

Parker, I.J. The Masuda Affair: A Sugawara Akitada Novel. Severn House. ISBN 9780727869258. $28.95.Sugawara attempts to help an abused boy, reconnect with his wife, come to terms with the death of a son, and solve a murder. Eleventh-century Japan is a perfect setting for this perceptive sleuth and complex crime novel. (LJ 11/1/10)

Connelly, Michael. The Reversal. Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316069489. $27.99.Two Connelly protagonists, Mickey Haller (The Lincoln Lawyer) and Harry Bosch (Nine Dragons), team up in a cold case that gets stranger as more evidence is unveiled. Connelly's latest solidifies his reputation as the master of the modern crime thriller. (LJ 9/1/10)

Dugoni, Robert. Bodily Harm. Touchstone: S. & S. ISBN 9781416592969. $25.A lawsuit against a toy company becomes a gut-wrenching journey for attorney David Sloan. With an intriguing premise and plenty of in- and out-of-the courtroom action, Dugoni's legal thriller will satisfy fans of the genre. (Xpress Reviews, 5/14/10)

Jacobson, Alan. Velocity. Vanguard: Perseus. ISBN 9781593156213. $25.95.FBI profiler Karen Vail (The 7th Victim) must put her personal feelings aside to rescue the man she loves from a killer in Jacobson's best book to date. (LJ 9/15/10)

Land, Jon. Strong Justice. Forge: Tor. ISBN 9780765323361. $24.99.In tackling a case involving a Mexican slave trade with strange ties to her grandfather, fifth-generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong has to face her own O.K. Corral. Land is in top form mixing elements of a modern action thriller with the fine tradition of Western novels. (LJ 4/1/10)

Lynds, Gayle. The Book of Spies. St. Martin's. ISBN 9780312380892. $25.99.A rare book dealer is framed for murdering her husband and ends up working with a former intelligence officer to uncover the legendary Library of Gold in this thrilling spy-laden, history-rich actionfest. (LJ 2/1/10)

Click Here for the complete list of all 2010 genre favourites from Library Journal

Photo © 2010 Ali Karim
Hector DeJean – Publicity Manager Minotaur Books with Jeff Peirce of
The Rap Sheet taken at the Minotaur Books Cocktail Party, October 2010 San Francisco

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Larsson Gift for the Reader in your Life

Word is getting out, about the prefect gift for the reader in your family. In my case – myself, as the Stieg Larsson Millennium Series Box-Set is a must purchase and beautifully produced. This collectors set from MacLehose / Quercus consists of 4 volumes [slipcased] hardcover versions of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest as well as a fascinating fourth volume of correspondence between Stieg Larsson, and Eva Gedin, the author’s editor at Swedish publisher Norstedts, as well as many other snippets for the Larsson reader, placing the adventures of Salander & Blomkvist into context.

Also included is a huge poster featuring the international covers of the Larsson novels, this will be pride of place in many homes this winter.

Just so the US collectors are not left out; an American Edition is also planned for release shortly for the festive season.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Existential 'Lost'

I just can’t get to watch scheduled TV due to time pressure, and the complexity of modern life. So when something interesting comes along, I often have to wait for the DVD boxset, and watch the series in a long sequence. The shows that have captivated me most recently are BBC’s ‘Spooks’ [aka MI5 in the US], the re-worked / re-tooled Battlestar Galactica, and to a lesser extent the BSG Spin-off Caprica.

I have waited for some time for LOST series 6 [the final season] to be released on DVD, with the previous 5 seasons in a boxed-set; as several people have been raving about it. I waited until the boxed-set was reduced in price, and this happened this week. So I watched the first four episodes last night and became captivated by this existentially surreal TV series, with its links to the ‘weird’.

I became interested in LOST after discovering a link between a obscure quasi-SF South American novel ‘The Invention of Morel’ by Adolfo Bioy Casares. This little known novel has been referenced by the writers of the ‘Lost’ [which I discovered after viewing the first few episodes]. The introduction to this novel can be downloaded as a .pdf here]. I strongly recommend this slim mind-flipping little book, which also seems to have influenced Christopher Nolan in “Inception” and also Alain Robbe-Grillet, the screenwriter of Alain Resnais’ ‘Last Year at Marienbad’; a film that Nolan acknowledges as an influence on ‘Inception’.

What made me sit up to attention last night, was the close of episode III ‘Tabula Rasa’ which featured a tremendously disturbing song entitled ‘Wash Away’ by Joe Purdy, which like a Leonard Cohen lament has a cheerful tone, which may underpin something far more sinister. The meaning[s] for ‘Wash Away’ are ambiguous; indicating that it is either a song [or lament] about someone changing the direction of their life, or perhaps something far more sinister; a troubled soul preparing for their suicide.

The sequence that the song plays on ‘Tabula Rosa’ is very moving, and one that makes one consider ones’ place in what we term reality.

I got troubles oh, but not today
Cause they're gonna wash away

They're gonna wash away

And I have sins Lord,

but not today

Cause they're gonna wash away

They're gonna wash away

And I had friends oh,

but not today

Cause they done washed away

They done washed away

And oh I’ve been cryin

And oh I’ve been cryin

And oh no more cryin No,

no more cryin here

We get along Lord,

but not today Cause we gonna wash away

We gonna wash away

And I got troubles oh,

but not today

Cause they gonna wash away

This old heart gonna take them away

‘Wash Away’ © Joe Purdy taken from Julie Blue

Friday, November 12, 2010

Withnail and Ali

I had a very enjoyable week with the highlight being the Galaxy National Book Awards, recorded at BBC Broadcasting House in Wood Lane, London on Wednesday. The only disappointment was that Award Nominated crime writers Peter James, Lee Child, Kate Atkinson and the late Stieg Larsson did not win their categories.

But it was a fun event, meeting up with Shots Editor Mike Stotter and Roger [RJ] Ellory as well many colleagues such as Oliver Rhodes from MIRA UK, Barry Forshaw and many others from the UK publishing industry as well as the world of film and TV. One of the delights was meeting and having a drink with Richard E. Grant, and we was very gracious talking about Bruce Robinson’s Withnail and I [considering he must get asked all the time about this iconic film]. Grant was a good sport even posing for a Withnail and I style drinking photograph, which I find most amusing.

I’ll leave you with some of the witty dialogue from ‘Withnail and I’ -

Withnail: I've some extremely distressing news.

Marwood: I don't want to hear it. I don't want to hear anything! Oh God, it's a nightmare, I tell you, it's a nightmare.

Withnail: We just ran out of wine. What are we gonna do about it?

Marwood: I don't know, I don't know. Oh God, I don't feel good. Look, my thumbs have gone weird! I'm in the middle of a bloody overdose. Oh God. My heart's beating like a fucked clock! I feel dreadful, I feel really dreadful!

Withnail: So do I, so does everybody. Look at my tongue; it's wearing a yellow sock. Sit down for Christ's sake, what's the matter with you? Eat some sugar.