Thursday, October 15, 2009

Vanity, vanity, all is vanity

Nothing mysterious about this item, just great fun: A test from Vanity Fair.

The idea is to see what famous people you most think and behave like. Oddly enough, my own list starts with Karl Rove! But Martin Scorcese is a close second...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Love Steig Larsson? Here's his successor...

BOX 21, by Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom

“What is it with Scandinavians and great crime writing? Something to do with the long nights, I guess. Box 21, with its sharply drawn cast of jaded cops, junkies, thugs, and victims, is a gripping tale of modern-day slavery, damage, and revenge, shocking and compelling in equal measure.” says Simon Lewis, author of Bad Traffic, which was nominated for an L.A Times Book Prize last year.

Box 21 is about two girls from Lithuania who are now sex slaves, lured to Sweden with the promise of better jobs and then trapped in a Stockholm brothel, forced to repay their “debt.” Suddenly they are given an unexpected chance at freedom, and with it the opportunity to take revenge on their enslavers and reclaim the lives and dignity they once had. Anyone who loves Steig Larsson and Henning Mankel should eat this up...

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Reviewer's Tale

My friend and fellow mystery enthusiast Drew Lebby sends this lovely description of unpacking review copies by German philosopher, book critic and man of many parts Walter Benjamin, who died in 1940, at age 48:

I am unpacking my library. Yes, I am. The books are not yet on the shelves, not yet touched by the mild boredom of order. I cannot march up and down their ranks to pass them in review before a friendly audience. You need not fear any of that. Instead, I must ask you to join me in the disorder of crates that have been wrenched open, the air saturated with the dust of wood, the floor covered with torn paper, to join me among piles of volumes that are seeing davlight again after two years of darkness, so that you may be ready to share with me a bit of the mood - it is certainly not an elegiac mood but, rather, one of anticipation - which these books arouse in a genuine collector. For such a man is speaking to you, and on closer scrutiny he proves to be speaking only about himself. Would it not be presumptuous of me if, in order to appear convincingly objective and down-to-earth, I enumerated for you the main sections or prize pieces of a library, if I presented you with their history or even their usefulness to a writer? I, for one, have in mind something less obscure, something more palpable than that; what I am really concerned with is giving you some insight into the relationship of a book collector to his possessions, into collecting rather than a collection. If I do this by elaborating on the various ways of acquiring books, this is something entirely arbitrary. This or any other procedure is merely a dam against the spring tide of memories which surges toward any collector as he contemplates his possessions. Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector's passion borders on the chaos of memories. More than that: the chance, the fate, that suffuse the past before my eyes are conspicuously present in the accustomed confusion of these books. For what else is this collection but a disorder to which habit has accommodated itself to such an extent that it can appear as order? You have all heard of people whom the loss of their books has turned into invalids, or of those who in order to acquire them became criminals. These are the very areas in which any order is a balancing act of extreme precariousness. "The only exact knowledge there is," said Anatole France, "is the knowledge of the date of publication and the format of books." And indeed, if there is a counterpart to the confusion of a library, it is the order of its catalogue.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Comments about my new blog, ARCs 'R' Us, and my reply:

Blogger Ray said...

Isn't it a little off to sell ARCs? I mean, didn't Mr Adler get them for free?

12:16 PM
Blogger Brian said...

Yeah, I'd agree. If I can't place my extras with another blogger/reviewer then I donate mine to a local cancer center for the patients undergoing chemotherapy and have to spend hours there.

3:40 PM
Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

It says right on arcs that they aren't to be sold, so yeah, it's off. There have been these debates before, and not all will see eye to eye on it, but in light of the FTC regulations that have been discussed at blogs (It's a Crime) recently, this is an interesting move. When the regulations take effect this is like providing a list for the FTC to cross-check, and prove what you've received for free, isn't it? Never mind the obvious interest the IRS will take.

On the flip side of the coin, there is a potential advantage to authors. Readers who are prepared to buy an arc from someone who got it for free, and take the trouble of ordering it, are probably more likely to be vocal about the book, to review it on amazon or tell friends if they liked it. I'm prepared to acknowledge that, while saying that personally, I could never sell arcs, and Brian's already mentioned what happens to ours when we're done with them. We didn't even sell all the leftover books from B'con last year -we donated them.

4:20 PM
dick adler said...

I of course donate a lot of books to libraries, but they won't take ARCs. The idea about giving them to cancer patients is a very good one. And even though it does say they're not for sale, ABE and Alibris have no compunctions about listing ARCs.

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the site?

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Book You Have To Read

Check out my review on today's Rapsheet, aka The Mother Ship, of John Shannon's CRACKED EARTH.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Arcs Are Us

Mostly because libraries don't accept Advance Review Copies (they are glad to take the many free hardcovers and paperbacks I give them), I've begun an offshoot to specialize in this category. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Enter the Criminalist

Sarah Weinman begins her first Criminalist column today on My Los Angeles Times Book Awards colleague writes about
FALLING ANGEL by William Hjortsberg, first published in 1978.

"As for the future direction of The Criminalist," Sarah says, "the opening salvo should provide a clue to its dual linked aims: to talk about new books that I love and hope others will love as well, and to shine a light on unjustly neglected books and authors from the past. My focus will always be crime, but it might not always be fiction, nor always for adults, nor books entirely in prose. And expect a few other surprises as the column develops over the next little while, too."

As Mel Brooks said to a very young and beautiful Frank Langella in The 12 Chairs, "You're not only smart, you're gorgeous, too" -- as this illustration by Thea Brine proves.