“Print culture will come back from all this. Books always survive, and anyone who thinks otherwise has probably never read one.” — Warren Ellis
Here Are the Questions the Right’s Favorite Coronavirus Truther Isn’t Willing to Answer: John Berenson under the spotlight
Words of the Month
recumbentibus (n.) A knock-out punch, either physical or verbal. (thanks to Says You!, episode #820)
Words of the Month
verbiculture (n) The “the production of words,” 1873, from Latin verbum “word” (see verb) + ending from agriculture, etc. Coined by Fitzedward Hall, in “Modern English.” He was scolded for it in the “Edinburgh Review.” (thanks to etymonline)
Entertainments of other sorts
The movie role Dwayne Johnson lost to Tom Cruise (you can guess which one…)
Ross Thomas, the criminally neglected spy-caper author behind “Briarpatch” (an Edgar-winning novel and one of Bill’s all-time favorites!)
Words of the Month
verbal (adj.) From the early 15th C., “dealing with words” (especially in contrast to things or realities), from Old French verbal (14th C.) and directly from Late Latin verbalis “consisting of words, relating to verbs,” from Latin verbum “word” (see verb). Related: Verbally. Verbal conditioning is recorded from 1954. Colloquial verbal diarrhea is recorded from 1823. A verbal noun is a noun derived from a verb and sharing in its senses and constructions. (thanks to etymonline)
Links of Interest
April 16: 500 Years of True Crime
April 20: Elliot Gould ~ The star of M*A*S*H, The Long Goodbye – and more recently, ‘Friends’ – talks about drugs, his fiery marriage to Barbra Streisand and getting his best reviews from Groucho Marx and Muhammad Ali
April 29: The Valentine’s Day snake puzzle
Words of the Month
verbarian (n.) A “word-coiner,” 1873, from Latin verbum “word” (see verb) + -arian. Coleridge (or the friend he was quoting) had used it earlier as an adjective, and with a different sense, in wishing for: “a verbarian Attorney-General, authorised to bring informations ex officio against the writer or editor of any work in extensive circulation, who, after due notice issued, should persevere in misusing a word” (1830). (thanks to etymonline)
What We’ve Been Up To
Ben Aaronovitch – False Value
Okay, I must confess…
I’ve fallen behind in the ‘Rivers Of London’ series. Not because of the writing, but due to the space between my ears and I’ve only recently been able to start reading books set after the 1950s.
And, for reasons beyond my ken, I decided to pick the series back up after missing the last two books. Yeah, I know. However, I think its the sign of a good author that the reader can restart a series – after missing one or two installments – and not be confused about what’s going on.
And Ben Aaronovitch is an excellent author.
I can admit, I was a hair confused for the first three chapters – but I think it was more out of concern for Peter Grant than the writing itself. I should’ve had more faith in my author and resisted the urge to check the last page or two to see if my faves were together again!
That being said – this was a great book! Peter Grant providing security for a tech company? I mean, he gets distracted enough without a bevy of unique vending machines to sample his way thru, board games to play, and killer drones to deal with!
This book is one of the most interesting transition books I’ve read in a long time, giving you hints, crumbs of new allies? New Baddies? And inklings of new stresses coming soon to his home life…
If you’ve never read the ‘Rivers of London’ Series before, I think you can start with False Value and be alright – keeping in mind, there are a number of books that come before it. (However, I would suggest going back and starting with number 1 – because who doesn’t enjoy a police procedural with magic?)
Question, have you ever tried going back a rereading a series you loved and adored as a child? Only to find your adult eyes can’t see past some glaring flaws your younger self missed? This same thing happened to me when I tried going back and reread Nancy Drew. I did manage to wade my way through my favorites, but the vast majority I needed to set aside, so my memory and love of them wouldn’t tarnish.
The preponderance of coincidences abounding in the mysteries was my biggest problem with the books. My second was the seemingly flawless nature of Nancy herself, and because she’s written as the quintessential daughter/friend/sleuth, she lacks the nuance I crave as an adult.
All this being said – I still couldn’t help myself from watching the first episode of the new television show.
I mean its Nancy Drew, how could I not?
So I watched the first episode – and found myself tilting my head going, “Ummm…..Guys? Are you sure this is what you really meant to do?”
But in the name of research, I download episode number 2….then 3….and 4…..by the 5th I was hooked and bought the whole series.
Why? Because the show’s clever in how it skirts around my two biggest grievances of the books. First, the writers added a supernatural element. Ghosts, spirits, and corporally challenged beings roam Horseshoe Bay. Which doesn’t sound like it ought to work – but it does. This supernatural element takes away our sleuth’s reliance on coincidences and happenstance to solve crimes. Instead it gives Nancy and her friends a different, eerier, avenue of investigation which they use. (After they start believing that supernatural beings are in fact in play.)
My other issue, the lack of depth, is also addressed – because neither Nancy or any of her friends are flawless in this adaptation. For example, Nancy’s mother dies less than a year before the series begins. It’s at this point we meet Nancy Drew. Still angry. Still grieving. Still in a tailspin that’s trashed not only chance at a college career but created a deep rift dividing her and her father, Carson Drew.
Nancy’s life is complicated, messy, and her need to expose the truth costs Nancy dearly – but she wouldn’t have it any other way.
The tv show itself isn’t without its issues. Owing mainly to the fact the majority (but by no means all) of characters are around eighteen – you get a fair bit of interpersonal drama. Which did, in the beginning, have me rolling my eyes saying, dude is this really necessary for the plot?
Turns out, yes, yes it is. So roll your eyes, throw popcorn at the tv – but keep watching! Because there are so many delicious layers to this show, so many reveals to be made – I promise you will get hooked!
You know that John Connolly is an excellent writer with great characters, an incredible story, and that fine balance between sadness and humor that his writing is addictive. Of course you know this.
But it wasn’t until I was partway through his latest Charlie Parker novel, THE DIRTY SOUTH (Atria, publication postponed to October 20!), the 18th of Parker’s travels, it finally struck me how easily John Connolly manipulates his readers. Well, me anyway.
See, he understands psychology and human nature, and how obsessive and irrational people can be. And by irrational, I mean that whole “just one more chapter” thing. You do it. You know you do.
So what John does is he throws in a couple of seriously short chapters, just paragraphs really, and you say to yourself in a dismissive tone, “Well, that didn’t really count as a chapter, and look, the next one’s short too, so I’ll just read a couple of short ones,” and the next thing you know, you’re caught up in his diabolical web, it’s 3:00 in the morning and the book just drops from your nerveless fingers. Just evil.
And he’s setting us up from the very beginning of THE DIRTY SOUTH with:
“I know. It’s been a long time.”
“It has. I hoped we’d never have to speak of this again. I’m sure you felt the same way.”
Parker did not reply and the man continued.
“I thought you should know,” he said. “They pulled a body from the Karagol.”
And then we’re swept back in time to when Parker’s wife and daughter are newly dead, when Parker’s beginning his long journey, and when things are barely beginning to unfold. This is the story of how Parker started to define the man we now know.
We meet the people in Burdon County, Arkansas, and they are troubled and complex, generally getting by, but someone’s been killing young women. Parker chances through, and becomes a catalyst. You know how that goes.
But this isn’t your typical Charlie Parker novel, and you’re going to be sucked into it, and the tensions between the people, and remembering the times. Oh, you’re in for a treat, I promise.
Also, John Connolly gets to play with language a lot in this one, and it’s beyond delightful!
Pre-order it from your favorite indie now. You don’t want to miss a moment of THE DIRTY SOUTH!
I AM SO JEALOUS THAT FRAN GOT AN ADVANCE COPY OF THE NEW PARKER NOVEL!!!
I am so glad she hadn’t told me she had it. I might have driven down to her house and burgled it!
So I have tried – tried, I say – to be satisfied with John’s on-going project, “The Sisters Strange”, his novella being written and posted daily. We mentioned it in the March newzine. It’s worth the wait. Each day.
“I once met a writer who believed some men were so morally corrupt that their depravity found a physical expression; in other words, their moral disfigurement manifested itself as an alteration to feature or form. It was, I felt, a variation on phrenology or physiognomy, the discredited pseudoscientific convictions that the shape of a skull or face might disclose essential traits of character. Were it true, the job of law enforcement would be made significantly easier: we could simply jail all the ugly people.”
That’s from the 15th section. Is that a chapter, or a part, or installment? Don’t know or care but the numbers give you a way to locate parts. As with his novels, Connolly is dealing with large-scale issues: good and evil, weird and normal, violence and the quest for peace. And, as with the novels, he’s introduced a number of memorable figures to populate Parker’s world: Ambar Strange and her older sister Dolors Strange, and the main menace of the tale (at least, so far) Raum Buker, who lives at the Braycroft Arms. Where does he get these names? I like to think in abandoned graveyards in the woods of Maine. And then there is the odd and disturbing Mr. Kepler. Yesh.
” But evil – true evil, not the mundane human wickedness born of fear, envy, wrath, or greed – is adept at concealment, because it wishes to survive and persist. Only when it’s ready, or is forced to do so, does it reveal itself. Not even evil is free from the rule of nature.” [#15]
It’s exhilarating to follow this, to know John knows no more of what’s coming that we do. As a high-wire act, it’s something to behold. And a treat.
Come on, John – where’re we going?