May 2023

Two Brain Networks Are Activated While Reading

New James Bond Story ‘On His Majesty’s Secret Service’ Commissioned to Celebrate King Charles’ Coronation [more 007 ahead ~ 007=’]

Watch the only remaining footage of the very first film adaptation of The Great Gatsby.

Baroque, Purple, and Beautiful: In Praise of the Long, Complicated Sentence

‘Explicitly queer and trans’: the 1580s play that inspired Shakespeare’s cross-dressing love plots

Artist Constructs Portraits of Famous Faces by Stacking Thousands of Books

Head of Russia’s ‘Fancy Bear’ Hackers Inundated With Sex Toys, FBI Memorabilia

The Great American Poet Who Was Named After a Slave Ship

The Most Creative and Unique Bookmobiles from Around the World

What we can learn from the Midwestern war against the Klan 100 years ago

>Report shows ‘astonishing’ depravity in sexual abuse of more than 600 in Baltimore’s Catholic archdiocese [if you can’t open that report, try the ones below. the story has ties to the Netflix series “The Keepers”]

>Report details ‘staggering’ church sex abuse in Maryland

>Baltimore’s Catholic Clergy Sexually Abused More Than 600 Children, AG’s Report Finds

Inside the international sting operation to catch North Korean crypto hackers

Horror in Winnipeg as another Indigenous woman’s body found in landfill: ‘It keeps happening’

The Real Scandal Behind the Pentagon Leaks

Why did the US take so long to notice the classified document leak?

Meet the Viral Sheriff Who Took on Florida Nazis

FBI arrests 2 on charges tied to Chinese outpost in New York City

The Rise of ‘Gas Station Heroin’

Water Theft Proves Lucrative in a Dangerously Dry World

They Saw the Horrific Aftermath of a Mass Shooting. Should We? [this is a brutal examination of the effects of the Sandy Hook massacre on those responsible for dealing with the crime scene. it is not an easy read but it’s important to understand the breadth of the trauma in these events that just keep happening.]

agowilt (n): a sudden, sickening and unnecessary fear (Says You!, #701)

This local author’s new novel was inspired by a real Seattle crime incident

True-crime fans seized on the Idaho killings. Their accusations derailed lives.

Seattle’s Couth Buzzard Books saved from closure, for now

Richland restaurant vandalized before drag brunch event

Car crashes into Ballard public library

Capitol Hill synagogue vandalized on eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day

Swastikas, Nazi flag on home upset neighbors in La Center

In Secret Recording, a Top City Library Official Calls Alaska Natives “Woke” and “Racists”

Sex, Lies, and LSD: The CIA’s Untold Story of Operation Midnight Climax

Original ‘Tetris’ Creators Reveal the Game’s Wild Espionage Origin Story

Jorge Luis Borges’ estate belongs to ~no one~, says attorney.

Hemingway’s letters to a ‘co-ed’ are going to auction

What’s going on with all the empty author signing pics?

The Buffalo-Bone Cane Mystery: Did It Really Belong to Wyatt Earp?

Inside Harlan Crow’s ‘Garden of Evil’ and his collection from Washington to Monet

Inside the ‘Gateway Process,’ the CIA’s Quest to Decode Consciousness and Unlock Time Travel

Are celebrity publishing imprints the new celebrity vodka?

French publisher arrested in London for “terrorist acts” in the form of *checks notes* lawful protests.

Matthew McConaughey says Woody Harrelson could be his half-brother

A Snapshot of the Many and Various Criminals Aboard the Titanic

Where Does the Cardigan-Wearing Librarian Stereotype Come From?

Murdoch Newsroom Melts Down Over Alleged Chocolate Heist

funk (n.1) “depression, ill-humor,” perhaps from earlier sense “cowering state of fear” (1743), identified in OED as originally Oxford slang, probably from Scottish and Northern English verb funk “become afraid, shrink through fear, fail through panic,” (1737), of unknown origin. Perhaps from Flemish fonck “perturbation, agitation, distress,” which is possibly related to Old French funicle “wild, mad.”

Gone With the Wind Novel Slapped With Trigger Warning

Here’s How One Angry Parent Got All Graphic Novels Pulled From a School District

Federal Judge Sends Books Dubiously Deemed ‘Pornographic’ Back to Texas Library Shelves

Ruby Bridges: how a 90s Disney movie about racism caused a culture war

‘Propaganda to infect children’s minds’: Climate misinformation textbook mailed to 8,000 US science teachers

How teachers and librarians are subverting book bans in the US

Florida removes book about Anne Frank from school libraries

In Kanye Academy, there are no Black history books

Book banning is the worst eighties throwback, says Judy Blume

As Classic Novels Get Revised for Today’s Readers, a Debate About Where to Draw the Line

Texas Officials Would Rather Close Library Than Stock Books They Don’t Like

Missouri Republicans threaten to defund public libraries in stunning move over book bans

Scholastic wanted to license her children’s book — if she cut a part about ‘racism’

“There Needs To Be Some Book Burning:” Montana Senate Debates Obscenity Bill

Anti-Book Ban Billboard Burned in Louisiana; Fundraiser, Protest Planned

Bolshoi ballet about Nureyev dropped due to ban on ‘LGBT propaganda’

Third of UK librarians asked to censor or remove books, research reveals

Idaho Library Removes Books Based on Bill That Was Vetoed

Judge OKs Restraining Order Against Reporter Probing Far-Right Arizona Sen. Wendy Rogers

Chinese Censorship Is Quietly Rewriting the Covid-19 Story

Opinion: Florida wants to bar schools from talking about menstruation. What would Judy Blume say?

Tennessee Bill Would Punish Publishers for “Obscene” Material

He Couldn’t Teach ‘Slavery Was Wrong.’ So He Quit.

ALA: Number of unique book titles challenged jumped nearly 40% in 2022

Amazon closing beloved bookstore accidentally gets phrase

tied to JFK assassination trending during Trump arraignment

After 3 years, The Riveter’s Amy Nelson still fighting Amazon and DOJ

Amazon looks to grow diamonds in bid to boost computer networks

Amazon plans to reduce stock awards for employees as of 2025

Amazon Vow to Stop Seller Squeeze Was Fake, California Says

“Amazon Doesn’t Care About Books’: How Barnes & Nobel Bounced Back

Amazon’s new fee calls into question the era of free online returns

Google and Apple Are Reportedly Miffed About All the Porn on Amazon Kindle

Lydia Davis refuses to sell her next book on Amazon

funk (n.2) “bad smell,” 1620s, probably from the verb funk in the sense “blow smoke upon; stifle with offensive vapor” (though this is not recorded until later 17th C.). It is from dialectal French funkière “to smoke,” from Old French fungier “give off smoke; fill with smoke,” from Latin fumigare “to smoke” (see fume (n.)).

Not considered to be related to obsolete funk (n.) “a spark,” mid-14c., fonke, a general Germanic word (compare Dutch vonk, Old High German funcho, German Funke. The Middle English word is probably from Low German or from an unrecorded Old English form.

In reference to a style of music felt to have a strong, earthy quality, it is attested by 1959, a back-formation from funky (q.v.).

Here is the shortlist for the 2023 Carol Shields Prize.

Here are the winners of the 2023 Windham-Campbell Prizes.

Here are the 2023 ‘5 Under 35’ honorees from The National Book Foundation.

Here are the winners of the 2023 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award

Here is the Granta 2023 Best of British Novelists list

Here is the 2023 International Booker Prize shortlist.

Author James Patterson accuses New York Times of ‘cooking’ its Best Sellers list in blistering letter to the editor they refused to publish: ‘It’s bonkers

The Unbearable Costs of Becoming a Writer

Jacqueline Winspear Considers the Art of Historical Fiction

Rare manuscript that paved way for British monarchy’s return up for auction

Five Nonfiction Books That Mix True Crime and History

Bay Area Book Festival founder to step down

Five Speculative Novels Set In Worlds Full of Books

Mystery, Magic and Misdirection: Illusionists in Crime Fiction

Student’s library book has been due since 1967. They just mailed it back with surprise

Teton Verse returns for an evening of reading, open mic poetry

Writer’s Digest’s 101 Best Websites for Writers

5 Deliciously Dark Novels that Explore the Sinister Side of Marriage

Don Winslow on the Aeneid, Hollywood, and Reaching the End of His Career as a Novelist

“I’m Going to Pick a Fight”: Don Winslow, High Priest of Crime Fiction, Wants to Write Trump Out of the Story

The Backlist: Revisiting Ruth Rendell’s ‘Kissing the Gunner’s Daughter’ with Kate White

UK publishing industry reports record-breaking year in 2022

Curators solve mysteries of ‘poisonous’ 19th-century portrait album

Hundreds of years after the first try, we can finally read a Ptolemy text

Strange Marks Began to Appear on a 600-Year-Old Leonardo da Vinci Codex. Now, Scientists Have an Answer

Top 10 Espionage Novels Centering Women’s Stories: Kim Sherwood, the first woman to take on the mantel of writing 007, lists her favorite spy fiction.

May 2: Cory Docturow signs Red Team Blues, Powell’s, 7pm

May 8: Jeff Ayers of International Thriller Writers and Taylor Adams, author of Hairpin Bridge and No Exit, will be discussing Jeff’s latest book The Last Word, UBooks, 6pm

May 10: Dave Barry signs Swamp Story, Elliot Bay/Town Hall, 7:30

May 22: Joe Ide signs Fixit: an IQ Novel, Third Place/LFP, 7pm

May 23: M.P. Woodward & Boyd Morrison sign Dead Drop, UBooks, 6pm

The 25 most dangerous femme fatales in film noir

Out of the Past: Duplicity and Doomed Romance

Why You Should Care That Hollywood Writers Are Poised to Strike

15 Best Heist Movies Where The Thieves Get Away With The Cash [great list of great movies but the author is WRONG about some of them being successful heists – and he leaves off The Getaway!]

‘True Detective: Night Country’ Trailer: Jodie Foster Solves Bone-Chilling Alaskan Mystery

Why Christopher Nolan Should Remake One Of His Own Movies

Leonardo DiCaprio’s Killers Of The Flower Moon Is One Of Longest Movies Since Gone With The Wind

Chris Chalk, the Conflicted Heart of Perry Mason, on Stealing Scenes and Playing a Cop

The 25 best neo-noir films [what about Zodiac?]

The 20 most blood-curdling portrays of real-life killers

The Funniest Mobster Comedies Ever Shot

How to Blow Up a Pipeline‘: FBI Sends Terrorism Warning

Martin Scorsese Producing a Film Adaptation of the Mystery Novel WHAT HAPPENS AT NIGHT

Writer Neil Gaiman debuts his first music album with an Australian string quartet

Welcome to Wrexham: Second series of Welcome to Wrexham announced

It’s a licence to thrill as James Bond turns 70 – and faces a different era ~ 007 began his dazzling undercover career through the pages of Ian Fleming’s debut novel Casino Royale on April 13, 1953

Every Unmade Timothy Dalton Bond (& Why They Didn’t Happen)

How Ian Fleming Wrote Casino Royale and Changed Spy Fiction Forever

Next James Bond reboot should embrace 1950s world of Ian Fleming’s books – warts and all

James Bond star was real-life secret agent who lived double life, family claim after his death

funky (adj.) 1784, “old, musty,” in reference to cheeses, then “repulsive,” from funk (n.2) + -y (2). It began to develop an approving sense in jazz slang c. 1900, probably on the notion of “earthy, strong, deeply felt.” Funky also was used early 20th C. by white [racist] writers in reference to body odor allegedly peculiar to blacks. The word reached wider popularity c. 1954 (it was defined in “Time” magazine, Nov. 8, 1954) and in the 1960s acquired a broad slang sense of “fine, stylish, excellent.”

April 1: Sharon Acker, Actress in ‘Point Blank’ and ‘Perry Mason,’ Dies at 87

April 7: Billy Waugh, veteran who tracked Carlos the Jackal for CIA and hunted bin Laden, dies at 93

April 9: Michael Lerner, Actor in ‘Barton Fink,’ ‘Harlem Nights’ and ‘Eight Men Out,’ Dies at 81

April 10: Al Jaffee, Trailblazing ‘Mad’ Magazine Cartoonist, Dies at 102

April 11: Man suspected of being Stakeknife, Britain’s top spy in IRA, dies

April 12: Anne Perry, Crime Writer With Her Own Dark Tale, Dies at 84

April 20: Michael Denneny, a dean of gay publishing, dies at 80

April 3: Small Town Horror Story: Roberta Elder, The Black Woman Serial Killer

April 3: Texas Man Used AirTag to Track and Kill Suspected Truck Thief

*April 3: A Brief History of the Mug Shot

*April 4: History’s most famous mug shots: Trump doesn’t join the lineup

April 5: $250 million up in flames: The infamous crime that scarred California’s Wine Country

April 6: The Demise of Genesis Market, Which Sold Stolen Identities, Continues the Dark Web’s Losing Streak

April 6: How a note linked a burned body in Missouri to a 32-year-old Kansas City disappearance

April 6: Punk rock fan uncovers six-year scam that sold $1.6 million worth of counterfeit vinyl records to collectors

April 8: Who Killed This Millionaire Ex-Playboy Bunny?

April 8: Two moms drove their adopted children off a cliff. And everyone started asking the wrong questions.

April 10: Jascha Heifetz in the Case of the Violinist and the Fanatical Doorman

April 11: Here’s How Cadaver Dogs Are Trained To Find Dead Bodies

April 11: Sheriff Tried to Double Her Salary With Money Meant for Hiring New Staff

April 11: The Case of the Fake Sherlock ~Richard Walter was hailed as a genius criminal profiler. How did he get away with his fraud for so long?

April 14: Unresolved Questions About Boston Marathon Bombing Suspects

April 15: Son of ‘Sally Daz’ sentenced for 2018 execution of mobster dad in McDonald’s drive-thru

April 16: Man who once modeled for romance novels gets prison in Jan. 6 attack

April 17: FBI arrests guardsman who applied for job on

April 19: Swiss bank accused of impeding hunt for accounts linked to Nazis

April 20: Iowa teens plead guilty to beating Spanish teacher to death over grade

April 20: Crooks’ Mistaken Bet on Encrypted Phones

April 20: Feds Charge Another in Welfare Scheme Tied to Brett Favre

April 21: El Chapo’s sons fed enemies to tigers and used chiles for torture: DOJ

April 21: Third Suspect Arrested for Threats Against Anti-Hate Florida Sheriff

April 23: This ‘Disney Dad’ Pastor Is Now FBI’s Most Wanted

April 26: LA Prosecutors Charge Man With Falsely Claiming To Be A Doctor For Years. They’re Asking Patients To Come Forward

April 27: A fisherman went missing in 1998. Now his remains at Lake Mead have been identified

April 27: Thai woman accused of murdering 12 friends in cyanide poisonings

April 29: Andy Warhol portrait of OJ Simpson to be auctioned in New York

April 29: What’s white, fluffy and has 10,000 legs?

flunk (v.): 1823, American English college slang, original meaning “to back out, give up, fail,” of obscure origin, traditionally said to be an alteration of British university slang funk “to be frightened, shrink from” (see funk (n.1)). Meaning “cause to fail, give a failing mark to” is from 1843. Related: Flunked; flunking.

Last Seen Wearing — Hillary Waugh

Originally published in 1952, Last Seen Wearing is one of the first police procedurals that gave readers a realistic portrayal of both the police people and the methods they employ to clear cases. Which, in this instance, is the disappearance of college freshman Lowell Mitchell. 

Waugh, a pioneer of the police procedural subgenera, follows the case from start to finish — showing there are no shortcuts when solving a case. Unlike Holmes’s specialized knowledge or the leaps Poirot’s little grey cells make — Police Chief Frank Ford relies on his thirty-three years of experience as a cop and the leg work of his men to run down every lead, blind alley, and dead-end so they leave no stone unturned in their search for Lowell Mitchell, a girl who doesn’t seem to have an enemy in the world. 

Unique at the time, Waugh shows all the ephemeral leads Ford’s men run to ground, the tedious leg work done to verify every piece of information, and the politics that inevitably creep into the case thanks to the pressure exerted by the press, family, and district attorney who’ve all got a stake in getting the crime solved…by yesterday preferably.

All these small and large details helped create a slow burning plot, which turns into a raging inferno by the time you reach the last page. Seriously, I couldn’t put it down as Chief Frank Ford, right-hand man Burt Cameron, and his officers closed in on their suspect.

Another interesting tidbit about this particular mystery is that it’s loosely based on the actual real-life disappearance of Paula Jean Welden. Who, on December 1, 1946, decided to hike the Long Trail (as it’s called) a few miles away from her college in Vermont. Unable to persuade anyone to go with her, she set out alone. Several people met her on and during her journey, however, none saw her leaving. When she didn’t turn up by the next morning, as her roommate thought she was studying elsewhere on campus that night, the search was on. 

Paula, or more gruesomely her body, was never found.

In an odd twist of events, Paula wasn’t the first to go missing in this area. One year earlier, Middie Rivers, a local man familiar with the area and an experienced outdoorsman, disappeared without a trace whilst hunting with four other people. Exactly three years later, on December 1, 1949, a military veteran went missing whilst traveling by bus through the area. Ten months later, an eight-year-old boy Paul Jepson, vanished into thin air while waiting for his mother to finish feeding some pigs. It’s rumored that bloodhounds tracked him to nearly the exact spot where Paula Welden was last seen four years earlier. Sixteen days after Paul went missing, Frieda Langer disappeared while hiking with friends. Of the five people who vanished from the area over five years, Frieda’s body was the only one ever found.

And not one of the quintet of mysteries was ever solved. 

This string of people going missing from the same general location earned the area the moniker — The Bennington Triangle. 

To be clear, Last Seen Wearing only details Paula’s missing person case. Using elements of the search for her and her family life in the book, the conclusion (obviously) is Waugh’s alone. Nevertheless, it’s a mystery I’d highly recommend to anyone looking for a police procedural, which is a classic and surprisingly bloodless!

Back in the day, Amber and I speculated about the possibility that Nora Roberts farmed out her J. D. Robb series because, aside from a well-crafted mystery, you never knew what you were gonna get. Cozy? Noir? Humorous? It didn’t matter because it was going to be good, but man, you just never knew. 

Of course we were wrong, and she writes it all. Have you heard about her writing schedule? It’s her job, and she treats it like a day job, writing in the morning at a set time, breaks for lunch, then writes until 5:00 or so, then quits for the day. Now THAT is discipline! So of course she’s prolific. 

And it explains why, every time you pick up a J. D. Robb title, you don’t know what flavor it’s going to be. For her own sanity, she’s gotta mix it up. All you know is that it’s going to be good, and you’re going to get to spend time with characters you know and love. 

Amber noted last month that this book, the 55th in the series (!), might need a trigger warning because it deals with graphic and brutal topics, namely the sex trafficking of children. You may think that Nora Roberts writes sweet romantic stuff, and she does, but do not ever doubt that she can hit hard and be brutal as well. As J. D. Robb, she gives it a futuristic twist, but that’s window dressing. The heart of the story is always solid. 

What gives Desperation in Death the nuances it has, and part of the impact, comes from being a long-time fan of the series. Without spoilers, knowing Eve Dallas’s background informs and influences the storyline in ways that only a skilled writer can bring to a tale. 

So take a deep breath, brace yourself, and jump into an action packed murder mystery, filled with all the feelings you get when you read a really good story, and take a deep breath, because if you’re a fan of the series, you’ll know what I mean when I say Jenkinson’s tie is yet again a real topic of discussion. 

I won’t have it finished when this needs to post but I’m confident that what I think now of the book will carry through to the last page.

Timothy Egan is a local writer of note. His Pulitzer-winning reporting has been featured in the NYTimes, and we stocked his book Breaking Blue at the shop. That’s an account of a notorious Depression-era crime in Eastern Washington.

His latest is A Fever in the Heartland: The Ku Klux Klan’s Plot to Take Over America, and the Woman Who Stopped Them. It’s an astonishingly brilliant and rich account of the rise of the Klan in Northern states and it’s leaders’ heartless moves to grow their craven ideals. I’m old enough to have witnessed the Civil Rights movement firsthand through the TV tube of my suburban home. I knew of an earlier White Power movement, though that of the South. His book is a revelation.

Egan’s portrait is cleaner, clearer, and that much more damning about the race relations in our country. If you think that the weak-minded racists of today are bad, that evil is more public than ever before… well, read this book. It shows the truth that White Power has been a threat to democracy all along, and is ever present, and, if not openly walking the streets in sheets, it has never gone away.

Egan’s book is crucial, critical, and a cold-eyed look at white supremacy in middle-America.

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