I’ve written this to her a number of times but thought it was time to do it publicly: Amber does a great job creating a header for each month’s newzine. All Hail Amber! ~ JB
When I moved out to the PNW for grad school, one of my teachers was a great artist named Frank Okada. I got to know him very well. He kindly allowed me to borrow records from his vast jazz collection to tape. He also loaned me a copy of his late brother’s book, No-No Boy, a novel about a Japanese boy who joins the army in WWII. It’s a great book.
It’s now become the center of controversy as it was believed to be under copyright but it is now to be released by Penguin/Randomhouse. Here’s a story from the Seattle Times about the situation. I would recommend the novel to anyone but I would urge that they buy the University of Washington Press edition as it includes material from his siblings and the estate gets the royalties. As of now, PenguinHouse gives the family nothing. ~ JB
Hard to know what this portends: Barnes & Noble Set To Be Sold To Elliott Management For About $683 Million
Sellers in Amazon’s bookstore feel beaten up by counterfeit Wild West
“Since 1944, the mystery of how Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of The Little Prince, went missing remained unsolved for decades. That was until the chance discovery of a bracelet by a fisherman began to unravel what had happened”. BBC.com
Here’s one for Adele: What Really Happened to Malaysia’s Missing Airplane?
Pistol that Van Gogh ‘used to shoot himself’ sells for £115,000 at Paris auction
‘I Really Thought He Was Going to Kill Me and Bury My Body’ Sherrilyn Kenyon accused her husband of poisoning her. Was it her wildest fiction yet?
There isn’t really much crime or mystery – as defined classically – in this podcast but it sure is an interesting take on modern America: Michael Lewis is probably most widely known for his book Moneyball (its a great book and was a good movie, too). His podcast is called Against the Rules and deals with the erosion, if not elimination, of referees in our lives. And by referees, he means those neutral people who used to be in the middle of disagreements and who would dispassionately follow the rules to settle the dispute. It is not just about umpires!
Words for the Month
idioticon (n): “a dictionary of a dialect,” 1842, via German, from Latinized form of idiotikon, neuter of Greek idiotikos, from idioma (see idiom). [thanks to etymonline]
Not at all what you expected, right?
July 1: Deborah Harkness, Third Place/LFK, 7pm
July 8: Brad Holden, Elliot Bay, 7pm
July 9: Julie Weston, Third Place/LFP, 7pm
July 24: Daniel Nieh, Powell’s, 7:30pm
July 30: Kevin O’Brien, Elliot Bay, 7pm
Words for the Month
gore (n.): A “triangular piece of ground,” Old English gara “corner, point of land, cape, promontory,” from Proto-Germanic *gaizon- (source also of Old Frisian gare “a gore of cloth; a garment,” Dutch geer, German gehre “a wedge, a gore”), from Proto-Indo-European *ghaiso- “a stick, spear” (see gar). The connecting sense is “triangularity.” Hence also the senses “front of a skirt” (mid-13th C.), and “triangular piece of cloth” (early 14th C.). In New England, the word applied to a strip of land left out of any property by an error when tracts are surveyed (1640s). Only later comes –
gore (n.): “thick, clotted blood,” Old English gor “dirt, dung, filth, shit,” a Germanic word (cognates: Middle Dutch goor “filth, mud;” Old Norse gor “cud;” Old High German gor “animal dung”), of uncertain origin. Sense of “clotted blood” (especially shed in battle) developed by 1560s (gore-blood is from 1550s). [thanks to etymonline]
May 23: Reading a ridiculously long book might seem like a chore, but it offers an unexpected reward
May 30: VICE LITTLE EARNER- Bawdy guide to London’s secret brothels in 1840s sells for £4k at auction
May 30: James Bond still a strong ‘recruitment sergeant’ for MI6, says expert
May 30: The Curious Origins of the Dollar Symbol
June 1: There are floating library boats in Sweden
June 1: House used as Tony Soprano’s is on the Market
June 1: So you want to be a novelist? A New York literary agent, editor and author reveal how bestsellers are born
June 2: James Ellroy says film adaptation of LA Confidential was ‘as deep as a tortilla’
June 2: Jodie Comer: “Mum and Dad took my BAFTA on a pub crawl”
June 3: ‘When They See Us’ Sparked a Boycott Against Central Park Five Prosecutor Linda Fairstein
June 3: Long-lost Lewis Chessman found in Edinburgh family’s drawer
June 4: Manson Family Member Leslie Van Houten Denied Parole by California Governor
June 4: Tin House magazine ends a 20-year run that helped make Portland’s literary reputation
June 5: Tourist’s lucky guess cracks safe code on first try
June 5: James Bond set ‘explosion’ at Pinewood Studios injures one
June 7: Linda Fairstein, Former ‘Central Park 5’ Prosecutor, Dropped By Her Publisher
June 7: “Langdon”, based on the Dan Brown books, is headed to NBC TV
June 7: George Orwell’s 1984: Why it still matters
June 7: The Intimacy of Crime Scene Photos in Belle Epoque Paris
June 9: A telephone for grief after the Japanese tsunami
June 10: New knees and tourist selfies: OJ Simpson on life post-prison in Las Vegas
June 10: The story of Australia’s oldest LGBTI bookstore
June 10: The First Murder Case to Use Family Tree Forensics Goes to Trial
June 11: Restaurant Temporarily Closed After Decomposing Body Leaked Through Its Ceiling
June 11: People Who Pay People to Kill People
June 12: Kim Goldman’s crusade: Make O.J. Simpson pay and never forget
June 12: A Very Happy 50th Birthday To ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’
June 12: Nirvana and Eminem music ‘lost in fire’
June 12: This Archive Captures Centuries of British Crime, From Cheese Theft to Murder
June 13: ‘Making a Murderer’ Brings Call to Abolish Actual Malice in Libel Suits
June 13: Trove of English Court Records Reveal Stories of Murder, Witchcraft, Cheese Theft
June 13: Lost Miles Davis album, Rubberband, to be released in September
June 13: Narnia creator CS Lewis’s letters to children go on sale
June 13: When Pepsi was swapped for Soviet warships
June 13: D.B. Cooper boat tour will offer insight into famous case during trip to sandbar where skyjacker’s money found
June 14: Leonard Cohen love letters fetch $876,000 at auction
June 14: Disappeared Argentina activists’ son finds family after 40 years
June 15: Kate Atkinson: ‘I live to entertain. I don’t live to teach or to be political’
June 15: Why would a nurse become a serial killer?
June 16: Babe Ruth jersey fetches record-breaking $5.64m at auction
June 17: North Carolina suspect fought off by boy with machete due in court
June 18: Mobster’s son behind dad’s murder at McDonald’s drive-thru: feds
June 18: A Prison Death, A Mysterious Autopsy, and Official Silence
June 18: NPR Identifies 4th Attacker In Civil Rights-Era Cold Case
June 20: Faber & Faber: by Toby Faber review – the untold story of a publishing giant
June 21: A Library Thrives, Quietly, in One of Pakistan’s Gun Markets
June 21: DC Comics shutters its legendary Vertigo imprint in reorganization
June 22: ‘Building over history’: the prison graveyard buried under a Texas suburb
June 22: Rogue slug blamed for Japanese railway chaos
June 23: Timeless Literary Feuds
June23: By the Book: Greg Iles
June 24: The Chilling Story of Three Women Haunted by the Same Rapist—And How the Law Failed Them
June 24: How Amazon benefits from counterfeit books
June 25: Death in Ice Valley – New clues in Isdal Woman mystery
June 25: Stan Lee’s ‘first novel for adults’ to be published this autumn
June 25: Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul spark “Breaking Bad” reunion buzz with cryptic “Soon” messages
June 26: Target Pulls New Thread in Bikini Yarn
June 26: MOST STOLEN BOOKS 2018–2019 SCHOOL YEAR
June 27: ‘The Books Will Stop Working’: How The Microsoft Store Is Retiring Its Books Category
June 27: ‘Harry Potter’ Book With Daniel Radcliffe’s ‘First’ Autograph Sold For Over $3,000
June 28: MacKenzie Lueck murder suspect apparently wrote book involving burning bodies
June 28: No need to feel guilty about the pleasures of mystery books
June 29: Romance novelists speak out on the harassment they face online
June 29: Book details British cop’s impressions of Detroit crime
June 29: Five Examples of Steve Englehart’s Love of Obscure Comic Book History
June 1: Frank Lucas, Dies at 88; Drug Kingpin Depicted in American Gangster
June 8: Anthony Price, espionage fiction master and respected reviewer, dead at 90
June 8: Nicky Barnes, ‘Mr. Untouchable’ of Heroin Dealers, Is Dead at 78
June 12: Sylvia Miles, Scene-Stealer in ‘Midnight Cowboy’ and ‘Farewell, My Lovely,’
June 13: Bill Wittliff, ‘Lonesome Dove’ Screenwriter, Dies at 79
June 15: Italian film director Franco Zeffirelli dies at 96
June 23: Judith Krantz, Whose Tales of Sex and Shopping Sold Millions, Dies at 91
June 24: Billy Drago, who machine-gunned Sean Connery in “The Untouchables, Dies at 73
June 27: Max Wright: Star of Alf and Buffalo Bill dies aged 75
Words of the Month
vulgate (n.): Latin translation of the Bible, especially that completed in 405 by St. Jerome (c.340-420), c. 1600, from Medieval Latin Vulgata, from Late Latin vulgata “common, general, ordinary, popular” (in vulgata editio “popular edition”), from Latin vulgata, feminine past participle of vulgare “make common or public, spread among the multitude,” from vulgus “the common people” (see vulgar). So called because the translations made the book accessible to the common people of ancient Rome.
vulgar (adj.): From the late 14th C., “common, ordinary,” from Latin vulgaris, volgaris “of or pertaining to the common people, common, vulgar, low, mean,” from vulgus “the common people, multitude, crowd, throng,” perhaps from a Proto-Indo-European root *wel- “to crowd, throng” (source also of Sanskrit vargah “division, group,” Greek eilein “to press, throng,” Middle Breton gwal’ch “abundance,” Welsh gwala “sufficiency, enough”) [not in Watkins]. Meaning “coarse, low, ill-bred” is first recorded 1640s, probably from earlier use (with reference to people) with meaning “belonging to the ordinary class” (1530). Related: Vulgarly.
What we have added to human depravity is again a thoroughly Roman quality, perhaps even a Roman invention: vulgarity. That word means the mind of the herd, and specifically the herd in the city, the gutter, and the tavern. [Guy Davenport, “Wheel Ruts”]
vulgarian (n.): A “rich person of vulgar manners,” 1804, from vulgar (adj.) + -ian.
What We’ve Been Doing
Finder Of Lost Things:
Last Friday – Phoebe mails off her anonymous tip to Ranger Lade about The Woman In White, Beatrice gets an epic stomach ache, and Ms. Hettie voices her displeasure.
The Disappearance of Alistair Ainsworth – Leonard Goldberg
So here’s the thing – my local book store only had the new volume of the Daughter of Sherlock Holmes series on the shelves…
However, the title & summary of the new book intrigued me. Holmes’s daughter, 221b Baker Street, two Watsons, German spies, and a missing cryptographer – how could I resist such a combination?
So, not so shockingly, I went ahead and bought the book – and even less shockingly since I’m writing this review – I was rewarded for my out of order reading.
The Disappearance of Alistair Ainsworth is an intriguing, intelligent, and well-plotted mystery. While Joanna (Sherlock’s daughter), Dr. Watson and Dr. Watson Jr. depend on the Sherlockian method, they are not bogged down or bound by the minutia of the original stories. Goldberg cleverly works in select slices of the Doyle mysteries but reworks them, so they feel natural and unwilted.
Even better? Goldberg doesn’t spoil the mysteries which came before The Disappearance of Alistair Ainsworth, so you can start with the third book without knowing the solutions to the previous installments! Now, this doesn’t mean you aren’t left wondering what exactly happened to Sherlock, what happened to Joanna’s first husband or how she came to marry Dr. Watson Jr. – it means you need to go back and read the other two books to find the answers!
Even if you aren’t knowledgeable of Sherlock Holmes’s exploits, this book won’t leave you scratching your head. It is very grounded in 1914 London, the First World War, and the mystery at hand. I think anyone who enjoys historical mysteries, which just happened to feature well-known detectives, will find this book an enjoyable read!
I know I did!
In my experience, there are three types of people who are late to the party. Spoiler alert, I know this from experience.
You’ve got the genuinely late, genuinely remorseful types. (rushes in wailing, “I’m so sorry! Traffic (or whatever)….)”
Then there are the fabulously late. (swanning in, “I’m here, let’s get this party started!”)
And the guiltily late. (sneaks in, hides in a corner, pretending to have been there all along, says nothing).
In this particular scenario, I’m the last one. I mean, I’m owning it and all, and I’m genuinely sorry about not having attended this party sooner, but…yeah. I should have been here earlier and I’m absolutely and most sincerely remorseful that I haven’t been. Because boy, have I been missing out.
I finally read Louise Penny.
I know! I know! And yes, you’re right, and yes, I should have begun the journey with Inspector Gamache back when Adele told me to, but since the Pennys seemed to sell themselves, and no one can match Adele’s brightness and delight when talking about them, I figured I’d get around to them one of these days. That day arrived, and I’ve blasted through Still Life and A Fatal Grace almost without taking a breath.
Except I had to stop and let you all know that while I may be late to this particular party, I’m about to jump out of the corner and start dancing with everyone else.
At least until I get my hands on The Cruelest Month (which I just did). Then I’m going back to ignoring all y’all. I’ll be needed in Three Pines. And yes, I want to live there too, even if it does give intimations of being the Quebecois version of Cabot Cove or Midsomer. I don’t care. I love these people!
It is my pattern, my want, my curse, that whenever I get interested in something, I have to search out info about it until I feel “full”. As soon as HBO began to air promos for “Chernobyl”, I was sold on watching it and looked forward to it. That desire was rewarded, I felt, by it being terrific TV – compulsively watchable, vivid, dynamic, truthful in is presentation, and honest. After the first episode I began to look for information about the show and the accident itself.
While I remember the accident happening at the end of April of 1986 (the month we got the keys to our house) there was much I didn’t recall clearly. Just the scale of the accident. The series was very good in presenting the accident, what lead up to it, how it unfolded. I understood going in that there were liberties taken by the creators with some of the characters – it’s HOLLYWOOD for heaven’s sake! – in order to present the story. Some shortcuts, some composite characters, some details of the massive story have to be curtailed in order to tell the larger story and have it make sense in five hour increments.
In my readings about show, I found out that there was podcast going on to accompany the series. It was a joint effort of Peter Sagal (from NPR’s “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me”) and the writer and producer of the series, Craig Mazin. Each episode of the show is discussed and dissected and Mazin is clear to explain what was done to make the show work. If you’ve watched the show but not listened to the podcast, I urge you to. If you’ve not watched the show, you must.
I got it through Apple’s podcast system. Should be easy to find on any system. Never once does Mazin claim his show is a complete recitation of the accident. He’s very clear that his interest was in not only portraying the accident and what it did to people but to also show the grim dangers of secrecy and lies.
Because the drive of the show is how hiding the truth is dangerous. While the men running the reactor that night made mistakes, the Soviet system set it up to happen eventually. If you’re too young to remember the USSR and the Cold War, the events and circumstances of the Chernobyl catastrophe will be an mind-blower. And in our time, when truth and science are dismissed and spat upon, the is a real-life cautionary tale whose end will not be written for thousands of years.
And somewhere in my reading, I ran across a book that had just been published – Adam Higginbotham’s Midnight in Chernobyl. It was being touted as the definitive account of the entire, horrific affair – and it was. It’s dramatic and heroic in scope, you get the details and numbers in a smooth, flowing narration, and portrait he provides is staggering in its breadth and honesty. It’s got maps, and diagrams, and photos. About the only thing it lacks is the distinct smell of radiation – like ozone we’re told.
He puts you into the danger, telling you that radiation pops off your eyeballs with the sensation of a spray of water. You read how much went into building the first sarcophagus over the ruined reactor and how the second structure is big enough to hold three of the St. Peter’s Basilica.
It’s a staggering story. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Now the question is, have I learned enough to satisfy the craving?
For now, perhaps – now it is back to the Mueller report!
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