Anonymous Lawyer contest

by Eszter Hargittai on June 7, 2006

With all this talk about fun books, it’s time for me to write a post about Jeremy Blachman’s new book Anonymous Lawyer. Better yet, I even have a copy to give away courtesy of the publisher, so this time I’m holding a contest with an actual prize. Yipee.

First, a few words about the book. (Disclosure: I was Jeremy’s TA for a class in college and have been in touch with him over the past few years.) It is in the format of a blog. (But no, uhm, you don’t start on the last page flipping backward.) The story is told through blog posts with email messages interspersed. If you have read the blog Anonymous Lawyer then you will be familiar with the topic and style, although rest assured that the book content is new and not simply a copy-paste of what is already available.

More about the book, a special book-related Web site and contest details below the fold.

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Ah, Tucson in June

by Kieran Healy on June 7, 2006

From the weather forecast on the radio this morning: “Highs around 100 until Friday, warming up after that.” I’m looking forward to next month, when I’ll be in Palo Alto.

More Fun Books

by Harry on June 7, 2006

vance maverick complains: “Could you guys recommend something other than “SF/F” for once?”, and would like some “straight fiction“.

Well, I only read straight fiction recommended to me by Adam Swift and Chris Bertram; my own diet is otherwise restricted to detective novels. Oliver Kamm, however, makes the familiar, and I think absolutely correct, argument that some of these should count as straight fiction. He singles out P. D. James:

they are skilfully constructed stories in which the denouement is always surprising but retrospectively plausible. Unlike the paradoxes of G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown stories, where there are infuriating cases of the detective’s revealing that all along he had had more information than the reader, these mysteries are never extravagantly contrived.

Secondly, without being didactic, Baroness James’s novels convey a coherent philosophy of life more powerfully than many overtly political or theological books. Aesthetic judgements are independent of political or religious ones, and of course one can enjoy a book by a writer of different views from one’s own. But Baroness James, for me, is a slightly different case: her Conservative politics and orthodox Anglican faith are far from my own beliefs, but I find nonetheless that they illuminate the personal and social relationships she writes about.

If murders did not occur in her books, she’d be seen as a great writer of “straight” fiction. He goes on:

[These strengths] exemplify her achievement in rescuing English detective fiction from the sub-literate form in which it was cast by the most popular of all crime writers, Agatha Christie

I’ve been surprised recently to discover several mystery lovers who have never read P.D. James, so it is apparently not redundant to recommend her. But I’d also like to recommend 2 other mystery writers with a lower profile.

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