December 2022

Words of the Month

maundered (v): talked in a rambling, foolish, or meaningless way.

Interesting Stuff

Today in AWWWW: Reading out loud to dogs improves literacy in kids.

Professional cornhole world rocked by ‘BagGate’ cheating scandal

Jazz the dog helps victims of crime as they navigate court system

Milwaukee Police Will Stop Using Gun That Keeps Going Off by Mistake

There Are Still Codes Throughout Ancient Roman Literature

How Well Do You Know Sherlock’s London?

What I’ve Learned: John Grisham

On Bonding With Damaged Books

Jack Ruby’s wallet, JFK’s rocking chair will go up for sale in vast 1963 auction

A Detroit woman is on a mission to promote literacy with this erotic ABC for adults

This 2,000-Year-Old Inscription Changes Our Understanding of the Basque Language

‘Wizard of Oz’ Hourglass, Chris Evans’ ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Shield Go Up for Auction (oh man does JB want that shield!!

Hand-Colored ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ Strip Sells for $480,000

Favorite Children’s Book ‘Goodnight Moon’ Comes To Life With New Immersive Experience — Here’s Where To See It

Serious Stuff

37 governments band together against ransomware

Feds Seize One of the Largest Sites for Pirated Books and Articles, Z-Library

}The FBI alleges TikTok poses national security concerns

}Autonomous Vehicles Join the List of US National Security Threats

}Opinion | Why artificial intelligence is now a primary concern for Henry Kissinger

A Cartel Used Armed Drones and a Plane to Bomb Police

Judge blocks Penguin Random House-Simon & Schuster merger

Paramount scraps $2.2bn sale of Simon & Schuster publishing to Penguin

Opinion: Sam Bankman-Fried doesn’t read. That tells us everything.

“Slasher Mary”: A Brief Introduction To Political Vandalism In Museums

Censorship Terrorism

Tulsa Donut Shop Hit with Molotov Cocktail After Hosting Drag Show

The Right-Wing Mothers Fuelling the School-Board Wars

To make matters worse, an iconic L.A. bookstore was targeted by arsonists this weekend.

Help! I’m a Librarian. Local Conservatives Think I’m an Ally in Their Book Wars

Why Read a Book When You Can Ban It Instead? Inside Florida’s Clay County School District

Jamestown Library Defunded (Again) Over LGBTQ Books, Will Likely Close

A Small Town Librarian Spoke Against Censorship. Then the Dark Money Came for Her

It Only Takes One Parent to Get All The Graphic Novels Removed From a School Library

Local Stuff

Husband of ‘Lady of the Dunes’ killed in Provincetown in 1974 was also suspected of Seattle double slaying in 1960

10 bookseller-approved giftable books this holiday season

Phillip Margolin on writing “a novel that contained every cliché from the mysteries of the Golden Age”

Vancouver playwright wins Governor General’s Literary Award

Beautiful books are important historical records of Northwest Coastal art

Ruth Hayler, longtime programmer for Seattle moviehouses and SIFF, dies at 74

Oregon senator’s fiery words test free speech limits

WA attorney general seeks $1.5M to combat organized retail crime

Words of the Month

sesquipedalian (adj): a word with many syllables; to use big words habitually

Odd Stuff

Are Chemicals From Dead Bodies Oozing Into Tap Water?

Serial Killer John Wayne Gacy’s clown painting sells for $10k at spooky auction

Why is Everyone Fighting Over the Skull of ‘Brigand Villella’?

El Chapo’s Hometown Is Building a Narco Museum

‘George Kaplan’ Based On Hitchcock Character Opens At New Ohio Theatre

Oldest known sentence written in first alphabet discovered – on a head-lice comb

Delphi Murder Suspect Says He’s Flabbergasted by ‘Expensive’ Private Attorney Fees

FAMOUS ARTIST DIES PENNILESS AND ALL ALONE: The Met Museum’s Fascinating Archive of Artists’ Death Notices

Michael Lewis is writing a book about crypto hamburglar Sam Bankman-Fried, who doesn’t read books.

Lit Hub officially endorses “Goblin mode” as Oxford’s Word of the Year.

Gaslighting: Merriam-Webster picks its word of the year

Scrabble: The Last Real American Dictionary

The Fake Scorsese Film You Haven’t Seen. Or Have You? Tumblr is obsessed with the mafia film “Goncharov.” The problem is it isn’t real.

How Leonardo’s “Monstrous” Drawings Inspired Modern Caricature

Ex-Mobsters Can’t Escape Their Criminal History — So They Promote It on YouTube

Emperor Charles V’s secret code cracked after five centuries

Gold coin proves ‘fake’ Roman emperor was real

Surrounded by Beauty – Can an Object Ask you to Commit a Crime?

Words of the Month

sedulous (adj): diligent in application or attention; persevering; assiduous; persistently or carefully maintained

SPECTRE

Amazon Drivers Are Still Peeing in Bottles

A Drug Cartel Is ‘Selling’ Lawn Decorations on Amazon to Hide Their Meth Shipments

Amazon plans to invest $1 billion a year in movies for theaters

It’s not your imagination: Shopping on Amazon has gotten worse

Words of the Month

tergiversation (n): The act of abandoning something or someone, of changing sides; desertion; betrayal; to change repeatedly one’s attitude or opinions with respect to a cause, subject, etc

Awards

2022 Ursula K. Le Guin Prize for Fiction

Actor wins 2022 Bruntwood Prize for debut play

Book Stuff

Judge blocks Penguin Random House-Simon & Schuster merger

A $10 million gift to the Library of Congress brings a new exhibition space

Denby Fawcett: We Should Support Independent Bookstores. They Open New Worlds To Us

Parliamentary report calls for government to support and modernise libraries

On Ed Lacy’s Room to Swing and Early Representation of Black Sleuths in Crime Fiction

My First Thriller: S.A. Cosby

Simenon in America

Megan Abbott on Writing for the Reader

The Unspoken Criminality of the Female PI

What is Roman Noir? A Brief History of the Genre

The Story of a Cheat Deserves to be Remembered

HarperCollins union goes on strike over wages and benefits, diversity policy and union protection

8 Great Thrillers with Effective Twists

The Struggle to Unearth the World’s First Author

Noir Detective Comic Books Are In A Great Place

Anthony Horowitz calls for investment in school libraries as he receives CBE

Fans aren’t happy about their $600 autopen-signed copies of Bob Dylan’s new book.

To find great female novelists, stop looking in Jane Austen’s shadow

For Emily Dickinson’s Birthday, Visit Her New England Home

Types Of Customers You Find In Bookstores

The Art of the Cozy Mystery: Six Cozy Mysteries Featuring an Art Theme

The world’s most extraordinary libraries

Is Mick Herron the Best Spy Novelist of His Generation?

John le Carré’s Letters Show the Author at His Witty, Erudite and Pugilistic Best

Washington Post: The 12 best thriller and mystery novels of 2022

Recently discovered Wind in the Willows illustration to be sold at auction

Author Events (In Person)

Dec. 9: John Straley presents Blown by the Same Wind, Third Place/Ravenna 7pm

Words of the Month

depauperate (adj): lacking a variety of species, or enough of them; badly developed

007

Spectre’s Original Story Brought Back Craig’s Best James Bond Plot

James Bond exhibit features 25 cars from 007 movies

PPK Rubber Band Gun

After acquiring James Bond, Amazon wants to spend over $1 billion on theatrical release movies every year, sources say

Aaron Taylor-Johnson May Be The Frontrunner To Play The Next James Bond

[ There’s the Marvel Universe, the Star Wars Universe, and any number of other Universes – why then isn’t there be a “00” Universe? There are so many actors who could be a great 00, whether they are Bond or not, so why can’t there be other 00 movies in between Bond? Why can’t Lashan Lynch have her own 00 movie, or Tom Hardy, Regé-Jean Page, Charlize Theron, Henry Cavill?? Sorry, but Idris Elba is now too old, but he’d make a great M. I don’t think other 00 movies would dilute the brand. If anything, it’d enlarge the brand. It appears that there will be room as we’re not likely to get any more Bourne movies and how many more Mission:Impossibles does Tom have left before one of the magnificent stunts kills him? I assume there are nine OOs: 001-009. Take out 007 and that leaves EIGHT other 00s open for their own movies. I listed five actors and it’d be pretty easy to add three more. Besides, we have to wait too damn long between Bonds! – JB]

Other Forms of Entertainment

[Somehow, we think we missed including it in the Sept. newzine!] The 80 Greatest Con Artists in Movies and TV, Ranked

Recommended listening: If Books Could Kill, a podcast about terrible airport books

‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ Sequel Flopped After Dropping Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig

Mean, moody and magnificent: film noir studio portraits – in pictures

And then there were more: Knives Out, Agatha Christie and nonstop murder mystery boom

Hollywood Is Trying to Remake Escape From New York Again

The Best Cars in the History of Fictional Detectives

14 Horror Noirs To Watch If You Loved Angel Heart

TV’s True Crime Obsession Is Reaching a Tipping Point

Revisiting a movie that told the story of a fixer in South Central LA, with a Marvin Gaye score that changed the game.

Libraries Are Launching Their Own Local Music Streaming Platforms

Meanwhile, Elon Musk’s sister has a romance adaptation and streaming company called Passionflix.

A Beginner’s Guide to Identifying Movie MacGuffins

Harrison Ford Will Be De-Aged to Fight Nazis in ‘Indy 5’ (don’t worry, only for a flashback scene, not the entire movie)

‘Narcos’ Revenue Split Battle Between Executive Producers Settles

Agatha Christie’s ‘The Mousetrap’ to Debut on Broadway in 2023

Alan Rickman Almost Turned Down Die Hard But One Thing About The Script Changed His Mind

Walter Mosley on Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet

>“Three Pines” Puts a Darker Lens on Louise Penny’s Series

>Alfred Molina Thinks He May Have Found the Best Role of His Career

How accurately does ‘Alaska Daily’ portray journalists and Alaska Natives? We asked some journalists.

Words of the Month

friable (adj): easily reduced to powder, fragile and easy to crumble

RIP

Nov. 1: Julie Powell, Food Writer Known for ‘Julie & Julia,’ Dies at 49

Nov. 3: Andrew Prine, Actor in Westerns Including ‘Chisum’ and ‘Wide Country,’ [tied to infamous unsolved Hollywood homicide] Dies at 86

Nov. 3: George Booth, whose cartoon dogs became a New Yorker staple, dies at 96

Nov. 9: Paul Schrade dies; union leader injured in RFK assassination

Nov. 7: Ernie Lazar, Who Trawled for Secret Government Documents, Dies at 77

Nov. 11: Kevin Conroy, Longtime Voice of Batman, Dies at 66

Nov. 16: Robert Clary, Corporal LeBeau on ‘Hogan’s Heroes,’ Dies at 96

Nov. 19: Sci-fi Novelist Greg Bear Has Passed Away

Nov. 29: Clarence Gilyard, ‘Walker, Texas Ranger,’ and ‘Die Hard’ Actor, Dies at 66

Nov. 30: Christine McVie, Keyboardist and Singer for Fleetwood Mac, Dead at 79 (not mystery related – other than how they created that incredible music through all of their internal chaos – but it seemed to be a great omission to leave her off the list)

Words of the Month

isohyet (n): a line drawn on a map connecting points having equal rainfall at a certain time or for a stated period.

Links of Interest

Nov. 1: Amanda Knox Media Circus Hits Peak Weird on 15th Anniversary of Murder

Nov. 2: US authorities bust catalytic converter theft ring that raked in over $545m

Nov. 4: A Woman Accidentally Killed Her Rich Husband In The ’50s. A New Book Uncovers What Came Next

Nov. 4: Boston’s Combat Zone: Why Two Authors Were Drawn to the Same 45 Year-Old Crime

Nov. 7: ‘It’s him’: Lord Lucan hunt continues 48 years after nanny murder

Nov. 7: ‘Era-defining scandal’: Ireland revisits ‘Gubu’ murders 40 years on

Nov. 7: Feds Seize Over $1 Billion in Crypto Originally Stolen from Dark Web Drug Marketplace Silk Road

Nov. 9: The Macho Theater of Spies for Hire

Nov. 15: The Truth About Snitching Our legal system is intensely reliant on informants and the unregulated, mostly unknown deals that guide them into an ever-more dangerous life.

Nov. 15: First “Star Trek” comic book sells for record $46,500

Nov. 16: Shakespeare portrait said to be only one made in his lifetime on sale for £10m

Nov. 16: Trending crimes: “Check washing” and “mailbox fishing”

Nov. 16: How ‘Dexter-inspired’ Delhi murderer was tracked down by victim’s friend

Nov. 20: He wiped out his entire family — and changed California criminal law forever

Nov. 20: Bob Dylan’s teenage love letters sell for over $650,000 at auction

Nov. 21: Book review ~ J. Edgar Hoover, Public Enemy No. 1

Nov. 22: How wild was this city near Miami? Check out the ‘sin strip’ and the steakhouse mob hit

Nov. 22: An iCloud Feature Is Enabling a $65 Million Scam, New Research Says

Nov. 22: Richmond locals are not happy with a new Virginia Woolf statue

Nov. 22: French tax inspector killed during visit to antique dealer

Nov. 22: How a Forgery of a Forgery Began a Career in the Artistic Underworld

Nov. 22: Woman Who Flew 3,000 Miles for Online Date Killed, Allegedly for Her Organs

Nov. 23: Police Finally Arrested This 65-Year-Old Transnational ‘Drug Queen’

Nov. 25: Charles Darwin: Autographed document could fetch record price

Nov. 26: Grifter Boasts of Fraud ‘More Wild’ Than ‘Inventing Anna’

Nov. 26: The 100-Year Mystery of Missing Perfume Heiress Dorothy Arnold

Nov. 28: Brett Favre files motion to dismiss Mississippi welfare lawsuit

Words of the Month

scissile (adj): capable of being divided easily

What We’ve Been Up To

Amber

Sarah Addison Allen – Other Birds

I read Sarah Addison Allen’s Other Birds back in September, and I’ve struggled to figure out how to review it ever since then. Not because it’s terrible — but because I enjoyed it so very much. And the fact that Sarah Addison Allen’s style, magical realism, is done with such a deft hand, I don’t want to ruin the book for you! 

What can I tell you? 

Well, there’s a peculiar death, a series of strange occurrences unrelated to the four ghosts who also call Dellawisp home, and a cantankerous flock of birds flitting about the property. Add in the living human happenings in the small block of apartments, and you’ve got a riveting read! 

Seriously, Sarah Addison Allen is one of my all-time favorite writers. Who, in fact, penned my all-time favorite novel, The Sugar Queen. In Other Birds, as with Allen’s other novels, she brushes up against several writing styles, like mystery and urban fantasy — which creates a story that’s more than a sum of its parts. (Or literary techniques in this case.)

Sitting here writing this review, I realized all the nice things I wish to say about this book boil down to this: I enjoyed every page of Other Birds. And I cannot wait to revisit the Dellawisp apartments and its inhabitants again and again. 

Seriously, if you’re looking for a mysterious and lovely read this festive season, you cannot go wrong with Other Birds.

Fran

Out of the loop

There are a lot of things I miss about the shop – and I do keep dreaming about it (last night it was where Diva Dolls is/was) – but one of the things I really miss is being in the know about what’s going on.

So I had no idea that Thomas Perry‘s The Old Man was a series on Hulu. But then, I don’t have Hulu either. I’m becoming a hermit. Send cookies.

But in my lack of knowledge, there are delights to be had. You all know I’m a dedicated Thomas Perry fan, and I’d follow Jane Whitefield anywhere. When JB sent me a copy of The Old Man, I figured it’s because he knows what I love. Also he wanted to give me something to think about other than my knee, which is fine so far, thank you for asking.

The old man in question has been living his life quietly in Vermont, his dogs Carol and Dave keeping him company. He seems like a harmless older man, but obviously he’s not. Dan Chase has a past, and not your ordinary one, even when you think about thrillers. See, when Dan was stationed in Afghanistan, he saw something go wrong, and he tried to make it right.

Seems simple enough, except that by doing what he did, Dan ran counter to the US government’s wishes, so he became a fugitive. Now they’ve found him, or at least they think they have.

Yeah, that’s vague and generic, but Thomas Perry delivers an amazingly complex and twisted story. Dan Chase’s name isn’t Dan Chase, and he goes through several name changes throughout the book, but you never once lose track of who’s who. I promise you, that’s masterful writing.

And I love that I thought I knew how it was going to go, only to discover I was wrong. I love being wrong for all the right reasons!

I have no idea how the TV show plays out, and if someone has watched it and read the book, I’d love to hear from you. But in the meantime, definitely pick up The Old Man by Thomas Perry.

JB

For years I’ve been meaning to read Marc Reisner’s Cadillac Desert. I’ve had enough time; it was published originally in 1986. Considering all of the dire drought news, especially concerning the Mississippi (you may recall I read a book by Rinker Buck about drifting down to New Orleans from Pennsylvania earlier this year which made the later drought stories more vivid), it was time to get a copy. And it is a startlingly majestic book.

Reisner covers the entire history of the US government fiddling with nature to move water from areas where it flowed freely to areas that were naturally arid, the infighting between departments to get the job, the pork-barrel spending to keep the projects moving, and the folly and damage caused by it all.

The worst of it is that Reisner writes about a future he hopes will not unfold, and his future is our present. So you get to see where much of our current problems start. He’s entirely caustic about it all, the politicians, the government actors, the developers, the big farmers, and the inability of them all to look ahead at what their actions will cause.

For us in the Northwest, there were the frightening plans to cull off a fair amount of the Columbia to send it to the Colorado River system (read California), as well as to divert much of the Klamath for the same purpose. If you’ve paid attention to the news of late, you may have read of a plan to start removing dams on the Kalamath, the Mississippi has begun to flow better as we head into Winter but it is still dangerously low, and the pie-eyed math that divvied up the Colorado River is coming back to bite back hard. Reisner explains all of that with harsh and infuriating clarity (How a 100-year-old miscalculation drained the Colorado River). From the LA Times on Nov. 25: As California droughts intensify, ecosystems and rural communities will bear the brunt

Another thing he refers to is the 100th Meridian. That’s the imaginary line on the continental US map that marks the climate divide between the humid east and arid west in North America. Well, for the last half dozen years there has been thought that this divide is shifting EAST. This has massive implications for the crops grown in the Great Plains, what we eat, the health of farms, the economics of food, and where people live. Again, when he wrote the book, is was just a fear – now, apparently, it is our reality.

Reisner is a wonderful writer, sprinkling his story with an impressive vocabulary. I kept a pen nearby to write down words I did not know on the back of a shop bookmark. The Words of the Month are all from his book.

coterminous (adj): having the same boundaries or extent in space, time, or meaning.

And if you do read it – I highly recommend that you order a copy of the trade paperback from your local independent bookseller – you’ll find the machinations of the big shots of LA to “acquire” more and more water familiar: it’s the plot of Chinatown.

BUY SMALL ~ SUPPORT SMALL

We Wish and Yours Peace and Happiness in this Season of Silliness, Sales, and Shindigs

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Seattle Mystery Bookshop

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