November 2022

Bookish DIY Kits To Buy and Make for Holiday Gifting

Calling Dr. Hiaasen: Pro Fishing Roiled by Wild Walleye Cheating Scandal

Chess star Hans Niemann accused of cheating by rival has likely done so in more than 100 games, report claims

Mad magazine’s oldest active artist still spoofs what makes us human

Michael Jordan Fleer rookie card sells for record $1 million

The Rosetta Stone: The real ancient codebreakers

A film scholar uncovered the oldest footage from a Black film company at the Library of Congress

Rediscovered Hollywood Film Archive Offers Collectors the Chance to Own a Piece of Cinematic History

A Medieval Manuscript Has Revealed the Oldest Known Map of the Stars

Looking at Enheduanna, the World’s First Known Author, and the Women of Mesopotamia

“Rogue” Employee Replaces Pro-Choice Book Orders with Christian Books

New York Post Fires Staffer Who Posted Racist, Violent Messages to Website and Twitter Account

Two Ultra-Rare Calvin & Hobbes Works Head to Auction

Serious Stuff

Publishing Company Starts School Year by Removing Over 1,000 E-Textbooks

Did American Business Leaders Really Try to Overthrow the President, Like in Amsterdam?

The Globetrotting Con Man and Suspected Spy Who Met With President Trump

U.S. Supreme Court mulls line between art and theft in Warhol case

Self-Proclaimed Incel Plotted to Murder 3,000 Ohio Sorority Women

It’s Time for Moralistic True Crime to Die

Is this the sign of something bad happening in the book industry? Barnes & Noble is Offering Buy One, Get One 50% Off on Hundreds of Books

Following Supreme Court’s Lead, Judge Finds Right to Remove Serial Numbers From Guns

Analysis shows women who publish physics papers are cited less often than men

How the FBI Stumbled in the War on Cybercrime

Salman Rushdie has lost vision in one eye and the use of his hand.

Japanese bookstores are closing at a much faster rate than here in America.

The Neglected Tale of the Tougaloo Nine and their 1961 Read-In

Defense Team for Ex-Black Panther Discover Evidence Withheld from Trial

Lost John Steinbeck essay about American democracy published

The Killer Robot Future is Already Here

China Operates Secret ‘Police Stations’ in Other Countries

Scientists Discover Unmarked Coffins During Search For 1921 Tulsa Massacre Victims

Words of the Month

danger (n.) mid-13th c., daunger, “arrogance, insolence;” c. 1300, “power of a lord or master, jurisdiction,” from Anglo-French daunger, Old French dangier “power, power to harm, mastery, authority, control” (12th c., Modern French danger), alteration (due to association with damnum) of dongier, from Vulgar Latin *dominarium “power of a lord,” from Latin dominus “lord, master,” from domus “house” (from PIE root *dem- “house, household”).

Modern sense of “risk, peril, exposure to injury, loss, pain, etc.” (from being in the control of someone or something else) evolved first in French and was in English by late 14th c. For this, Old English had pleoh; in early Middle English this sense is found in peril. For sound changes, compare dungeon, which is from the same source. (etymonline)


New Right to Read Bill Expands School Library Access, Students’ Rights to Read

He’s known as Chile’s greatest poet, but feminists say Pablo Neruda is canceled

Battling over books

Conservative Muslims join forces with Christian right on Michigan book bans

Today’s book bans echo a panic against comic books in the 1950s

Libraries Are Beefing Up Security After a Series of Violent Threats (which means less money for books…)

Booker Prize Winner: Attack on Salman Rushdie caused me to self-censor

Book Ban Vote Unleashes Mayhem at Michigan School Board Meeting

Florida Puts Raging MAGA Moms on Book-Banning Council

A reporter’s memoir of her jail time gets banned in Florida prisons

Jay Ashcroft, potential Missouri governor candidate, floats library book ban proposal

Anti-LGBTQ Groups Are Helping Enforce a ‘Book Ban’ Law in Florida

Local Stuff

Magus Books Is Coming to Wallingford

This Week in History, 1977: Frank Baker invites you to dine with James Bond and his Aston Martin

Moira Macdonald returns with her mystery column, The Plot Thickens

Pegasus Book Exchange is where the past and future of bookselling collide in West Seattle

Shelf Talkers: What the Booksellers Are Reading at Elliott Bay Book Company

The Young Woman Behind a Last Mystery of the Green River Killer

NPR reporting on Oregon theater death threats prompt local and national response

Odd Stuff

King Charles Hired A Former Top Editor At The Tabloids That Published Critical Kate Middleton Columns And The Story That Was An Impetus For The Breakdown Of Meghan Markle’s Relationship With Her Father

What We Know About ‘The Watcher’ Case Four Years Later (seriously spooky!)

Three chimpanzees kidnapped and held to six-figure ransom in first known case of its kind

We’re getting a Wrinkle in Time stage musical

Liam Neeson to bring his very particular set of skills to Naked Gun reboot (?!?!?!)

My Eight Deranged Days on the Gone Girl Cruise

Scientists Found a Way to Predict Your Death by How You Walk

On TikTok, Charles Manson Is a Cozy Fall Vibe

Strip Club Death Trial Delayed by Lawyer Dying in Same Strip Club

Forget bank robbery. These men stole $9 million in meat, feds say.

Turkish garbage collectors have created a library from discarded books.

Words of the Month

peril (n.) “danger, risk, hazard, jeopardy, exposure of person or property to injury, loss, or destruction,” c. 1200, from Old French peril “danger, risk” (10th c.), from Latin periculum “an attempt, trial, experiment; risk, danger,” with instrumentive suffix –culum and first element from PIE *peri-tlo-, suffixed form of root *per- (3) “to try, risk.” (etymonline)


All the ways Amazon’s home gadgets are spying on you

“Get Big Fast.” How Amazon Accelerated the Commodification of Literature

France sets minimum book delivery fee in anti-Amazon struggle

This Seattle woman is fighting Amazon to help domestic violence survivors

Amazon Changes Kindle eBook Return Policy, Ends Lending Between Kindle Users, and More

Russia’s Wave of Ridiculous Fines Finally Comes for Amazon

Words of the Month

alarm (n.) late 14th c., “a call to arms in the face of danger or an enemy,” from Old French alarme (14th c.), from Italian all’arme “to arms!” (literally “to the arms”); this is a contraction of phrase alle arme.

Alle is itself a contraction of a “to” (from Latin ad; see ad-) + le, from Latin illas, fem. accusative plural of ille “the” (see le); with arme, from Latin arma “weapons” (including armor), literally “tools, implements (of war),” from PIE root *ar- “to fit together.”

The interjection came to be used as the word for the call or warning (compare alert). It was extended 16th c. to “any sound to warn of danger or to arouse,” and to the device that gives it. From mid-15th c. as “a state of fearful surprise;” the weakened sense of “apprehension, unease” is from 1833. The variant alarum (mid-15th c.) is due to the rolling -r- in the vocalized form. Sometimes in early years it was Englished as all-arm. Alarm clock is attested from 1690s (as A Larum clock).

alarm (v.): 1580s, “call to arms for defense,” from alarm (n.) or from French alarmer (16c.), from the noun in French. The meaning “surprise with apprehension of danger” is from 1650s. Related: Alarmed; alarming. (etymonline)


BBC unveils winner of National Short Story Award Story

Annie Ernaux wins the 2022 Nobel prize in literature

Here’s the shortlist for the 2022 T. S. Eliot Prize.

Here are this year’s literary MacArthur fellows

The 6 2022 Booker Prize Finalists On Their 3 Favourite Books Of All Time

TS Eliot prize announces a ‘shapeshifting’ shortlist

Sri Lankan writer Shehan Karunatilaka wins 2022 Booker Prize

Book Stuff

Early Interviews With Cormac McCarthy Rediscovered

Prelinger Library keeps print alive for 19 years and counting

France’s royal library welcomes families after majestic makeover

Publishing Wants To Cash In On BookTok. Creators Say No

Book Cover Confidential: A Roundtable with Designers

Denise Mina: ‘All my reading is comfort reading’

Reintroducing Book World

Watchmen author Alan Moore: ‘I’m definitely done with comics’

Jon Land: My First Thriller

The NY Art Book Fair Returns Home to Chelsea

Shelf Talkers: What the Booksellers Are Reading at Boswell Book Company

Meet the Man Who Wants to Build You a $200,000 Library of Books

Bored with a book, I set off for New York, where I … bought more books

Seventy-five years of richly illustrated literary classics – in pictures

How Dynamic Shelving Can Change Your Library

How a Tiny British Publisher Became the Home of Nobel Laureates

Book prices set to rise as production costs soar, say UK publishers

Costco’s Decision To Stop Selling Books In Hawaii Is A Blow To Local Authors

So You’re Stuck in a Cozy Mystery: A Survival Kit

Fifty Forgotten Books: An original take on the joys of second-hand books

Mother who bought Harry Potter books signed by JK Rowling for £5 in the 1990s is stunned to discover they are now worth up to £11,000 after an expert revealed they were BOTH rare first editions

#BookTok: A hashtag changing the book industry

Read 7,000 Historic Children’s Books for Free in This Online Archive

Phyllis Nagy: ‘Knowing Patricia Highsmith changed my thinking about how a female writer could live’

Inside a New York Literary Golden Age

Lee Child and Andrew Child on Discipline, Dread, and Writing Late at Night

Veteran Reporter Margaret Sullivan’s Favorite Books About Journalism

Open letter to top publisher condemns $2m Amy Coney Barrett book deal

Charles Darwin’s Rare Autographed Manuscript Could Sell for $800,000

Author Events

Nov. 2: Cherie Priest, Island Books, 7:30pm

Nov. 3: Cherie Priest with Seanan McGuire, Third Place/Seward, 7pm

Other Forms of Entertainment

The 15 Best Film Noir Movies, Ranked According To Letterboxd

Kenneth Branagh Sets Impressive Cast For His Supernatural Thriller A HAUNTING IN VENICE

Charlie Cox Says His DAREDEVIL: BORN AGAIN Series Might Start From the Beginning and Do a True to Comic Reboot

Edward Zuckerman On Writing the Funny Episodes of “Law & Order”

Martin Scorsese to Helm ‘Gangs of New York’ TV Show

Harrison Ford Joining ‘Captain America 4’

Reassuring, timeless, safe: how Angela Lansbury set the style for female TV sleuths

“Magpie Murders,” a new series on “Masterpiece,” is a mystery within a mystery, based on a book by Anthony Horowitz

Reservoir Dogs at 30: Tarantino’s canny contained act of provocation

‘The Name of the Game’: The Vintage Show That Asked, What if People Magazine Writers Solved Crimes

TikToker Lands the Role of a Lifetime: Playing Dead on TV

Why a Brilliant New Doc Will Make You Radically Rethink “Blaxploitation”


Iconic 007 posters up for sale as James Bond celebrates 60th anniversary

Perfectly ridiculous explanation of the iconic “James Bond Chord”

‘Dr No’ at 60: Who Was the Real James Bond?

The Search for the New James Bond Is Officially Underway, and It’s Gonna Be a Long One

How maverick genius who inspired James Bond’s Q helped PoWs to escape from Colditz in Second World War

‘No Time to Die’ Aston Martin DB5 Raises $3.2 Million at Auction

The Ultimate James Bond Sticker Set Arrives

Iconic Aston Martin DB5 similar to one driven by James Bond in 1964 film – but painted gold instead of silver – is expected to fetch £550,000 at auction

007 Director Reveals Which Rock Stars Have Secret James Bond Songs

Ten Years on, the Next Bond Film Has a Lot to Learn From ‘Skyfall’

Every James Bond villain’s sports owner counterpart

Words of the Month

warn (v.) Old English warnian “to give notice of impending danger,” also intransitive, “to take heed,” from Proto-Germanic *warōnan (source also of Old Norse varna “to admonish,” Old High German warnon “to take heed,” German warnen “to warn”), from PIE root *wer (4) “to cover.” Related: Warned; warning. (etymonline)


Oct. 3: Robert Brown, ‘Here Come the Brides’ Actor, Dies at 95

Oct. 6: Lenny Lipton, “Puff the Magic Dragon” Lyricist and 3D Filmmaking Pioneer, Dies at 82

Oct. 10: Austin Stoker, Star of John Carpenter’s ‘Assault on Precinct 13,’ Dies at 92

Oct. 10: Michael Callan, Actor in ‘West Side Story’ and ‘Cat Ballou,’ Dies at 86

Oct. 11: Angela Lansbury, Entrancing Star of Stage and Screen, Dies at 96

Oct. 14: Robbie Coltrane, Comic Performer Who Played Hagrid in ‘Harry Potter’ Movies, “Cracker”, and Two Bond Films. Dies at 72

Oct. 17: Benjamin Civiletti, 87, Attorney General in Iran Hostage Crisis, Dies

Oct. 28: Jerry Lee Lewis, Influential and Condemned Rock & Roll Pioneer, Dead at 87 [ok, it’s a stretch, but he needs to be honored and, after all, he was called The Killer!]

Links of Interest

Sept. 26: Archive of Ernest Hemingway Writings, Photos Opens to the Public for the First Time

Sept. 28: ‘Womaniser’ May Have Fed Wife to Pigs to Be With Another Woman, Court Hears

Sept. 30: Mexican government suffers major data hack, president’s health issues revealed

Oct. 2: Tylenol murders: daughter tells of toll of unsolved killings, 40 years on

Oct. 6: The Journalist and the Psychopath: The Story Behind Edward Howard Rulloff’s Crimes

Oct. 11: The Founder of 8chan Is Facing Death Threats for Going After QAnon

Oct. 13: When $500,000 Disappeared from a Small Town

Oct. 14: The Trouble with Amateur Hired Killers

Oct. 15: California governor blocks parole of Charles Manson cult follower

Oct. 15: The Geoffrey Chaucer News That Rocked Academia This Week

Oct. 16: Postal worker holdup leads to muscle car theft ring arrests

Oct. 16: Cops Say They Nabbed Stockton Serial Killer as He Was ‘Out Hunting’

Oct. 16: Kansas City Police Called Reports of Serial Killer Targeting Black Women ‘Unfounded.’ Then a Woman Escaped.

Oct. 16: Inmate Stole $11 Million in Gold Coin Scheme While in Prison, Officials Say

Oct. 19: A Fabled Map of the Cosmos Lost for Thousands of Years Has Been Found

Oct. 21: How Entomologists Use Insects to Solve Crimes

Oct. 25: The Manhattan Well Mystery: On America’s First Media Circus Around a Murder Case

Oct. 25: Iowa daughter accuses her dead father of being America’s most prolific SERIAL KILLER, killing up to 70 women and forcing her to dump their bodies in 100ft well: Sheriff says ‘I believe her 100%’

Oct. 26: Evidence ‘Invalidated’ in Explosive Report on Mexico’s 43 Missing Students

Oct. 26: MAGA Conspiracy Tours Plagued With ‘Grifter’ Allegations

Words of the Month

safe (adj.) c. 1300, sauf, “unscathed, unhurt, uninjured; free from danger or molestation, in safety, secure; saved spiritually, redeemed, not damned;” from Old French sauf “protected, watched-over; assured of salvation,” from Latin salvus “uninjured, in good health, safe,” which is related to salus “good health,” saluber “healthful” (all from PIE *solwos from root *sol- “whole, well-kept”). For the phonological development of safe from sauf, OED compares gage from Old North French gauge.

From late 14th c. as “rescued, delivered; protected; left alive, unkilled.” The meaning “not exposed to danger” (of places, later of valuables) is attested from late 14th c.; in reference to actions, etc., the meaning “free from risk,” is recorded by 1580s. The sense of “sure, reliable, not a danger” is from c. 1600. The sense of “conservative, cautious” is from 1823. It has been paired alliteratively with sound (adj.) from c. 1300. In Middle English it also meant “in good health,” also “delivered from sin or damnation.” Related: Safeness.

safe (n.) “chest for keeping food or valuables” safe from risk of theft or fire, early 15c., save, from French en sauf “in safety,” from sauf (see safe (adj.)). Spelling with -f- is by 1680s, from influence of safe (adj.). (etymonline)

What We’ve Been Up To


Raquel V. Reyes – Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking

The second installment of the Caribbean Kitchen Mystery series is fantastic! Set during Halloween and the trials and tribulations that plague a household with a five-year-old during said month of the perpetual sugar rush, Miriam finds herself juggling her on-air cooking show career with her mother-in-law’s demands upon her time. So when a body magically appears on her front lawn, amongst the fake plastic tombstones, our intrepid sleuth decides to sit this mystery out. Until…You’ll need to read the book to find out what happens next!

I enjoyed reading Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking very much. The food, the hook of this cozy, is written seamlessly into the story — adding to the narrative without detracting, distracting, or diverting one from the actual focus of the story — murder. (And if you enjoy this particular subgenre of mysteries, you understand how difficult this feat can be to achieve.) Above and beyond, watching Miriam making dishes I’ve not attempted before in her home kitchen (in my mind’s eye) makes them feel more accessible and far less daunting to attempt in my own kitchen.

(Don’t ask me why I find guava paste intimidating. I just do.)

Now, unlike Mangos, Mambo, and Murder, whose final pages succumbed slightly into the realm of saccharin (which one could ignore because the rest of the book was so splendid), Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking does not possess this flaw. Even featuring both Halloween and Thanksgiving between the pages, Reyes found an outstanding balance between the holidays and criminal intent.

However, because this is a review, I need to point out a minor flaw (again) in the final few pages. The penultimate summing up felt a tad muddled, in so far as untangling which crimes we could attribute to whom. Though, to be fair, I could’ve been so excited to find out whodunnit I skipped a few crucial deductions…But I don’t think so. That said, I think the slight tangling of plot threads has more to do with Reyes furthering an ongoing storyline from Mangos, Mambo, and Murder than anything else. And this minor flaw will in no way impede me from picking up this tome up for a reread in the near future or politely throwing money at my local bookseller when the next installment is published!

From the Office of Fair Warning: I do need to tell you that you do need to read Mangos, Mambo, and Murder before Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking as the latter narrative builds directly upon the bones of the former and gives away the solution to the first mystery in the second. Which, again, makes sense as background nefariousness is afoot in Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking that will hopefully burst into the foreground in Reyes’s next book!


I don’t have a review this month, but wait! Wait now. I have what I believe is a relatively good reason.

In a few days, I’m having a knee replaced. I know, right? I needed this back when the shop was going strong, but I’m very good at putting off things I don’t want to think about.

So anyway, Things have had to be done to make this work. Like, say, renovating the bathroom from tub to shower. Don’t you just love the paneling we found behind the tub wall?

But it was successful, and we’re quite pleased. However, much of my time during this process was keeping Mazikeen from freaking out every time the contractor walked through the door. You’d have thought he was a bunny or something.

Despite Mazkeen’s hyper-vigilance, we did get it done.

She does love protecting me. In fact, the other day while I was at the bathroom sink taking my multitude of pills, the heater kicked on, and she placed herself at my back, leaning against my calves, ready to take on whatever that new sound was – provided I’d guard her too. She really is a sweetheart.

But anyway, the shower now has bars and a chair, the toilet is all gussied up to make sitting there easier, and we’ve rearranged furniture to give me unobstructed access to the floors, since I’ll be walking a lot, I gather.

The weather is nice and cool down here in sunny New Mexico, and I think I’m going to enjoy my new knee during the upcoming holidays, although I’m using it as an excuse NOT to cook Thanksgiving dinner this year. *huge grin*

Happy November, everyone, and remember not to eat all yesterday’s candy at once. Take your time. But don’t wait too long! Have you noticed that Christmas candy’s already on sale?


I hate to say I was disappointed in Joe Ide’s Marlowe novel but I simply kept groaning at what he was doing.

I suppose it isn’t that big a deal to bring Marlowe into today’s world but The Goodbye Coast changes much about Marlowe’s life. First, he dropped out of the LAPD training after a very short time and became a PI. In Chandler’s books, he was an investigator for the DA before going private. That isn’t a huge deal. But then he saddles Marlowe with a father who is a cop but suspended due to drinking, never really recovering from the death of his wife. The family trauma/drama set off my soap opera alarms and they buzzed throughout the book.

But the worst part for me was describing characters by the actors or celebrities they resembled. I found that lazy. There is so much about today’s world in the book that there’s no way for it to age well, no way for it to become timeless, as Chandler’s have.

Ide is a good writer and he’s got a feel for similes. In that way, the sentences sparkle as Chandler’s did. He described a piece of fast-food orange chicken as looking like a burnt ear. OKAY! But the writing isn’t enough, to me, to save the novel from the weaknesses of how he’s presented the rest.

I was SO looking forward to reading this. The day I found out it existed I went out and bought it. Sorry I did. If you want to read it, wait for the paperback. But I hope other contemporary authors will continue to write new Marlowe novels. He’s too great a character to say goodbye to.


I believe Fran and I directed interested folks to John Connolly‘s 2020 on-line project called “The Strange Sisters”. In the midst of the first covid wave, it was to be a short story written and posted on-line in real time, that is as he wrote it daily, not once it had gone through the publishing mill. As interesting plan, he would create the story as he went, not knowing where it would go.

Now he’s released a new book called The Furies. It’s not a novel, but a volume with two “short novels”: a reworked “The Strange Sisters”, which he notes in an afterward is twice the length of the original; and “The Furies”, a new short novel.

Both are Parker stories, both full of the odd Maine characters we’ve come to know, as well as visitors. If you read “The Strange Sisters” on-line as we did, it’s worth reading this expanded version. And “The Furies” has Parker working to help two women who are at the end of their options. Both are a delight, even when dealing with otherworldly issues. Though Halloween has passed, don’t let that keep you from the on-going creepiness that is Charlie Parker’s world. You’ve got Louis and Angel to keep you safe…


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