Theory Tuesday

by Michael Bérubé on September 9, 2008

Hello again, crooked timber of humanity! I’m sorry I’ve been gone so long. It feels like I’m always saying that, but then, that’s what happens when you move to the once-every-Jovian-year posting schedule.

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Post-Summer Mystery Reading

by Harry on September 9, 2008

My mother and I have a tacit agreement. It’s the same one she had with her father and that I, already, have with my elder daughter. I believe my grandfather had the same pact with his mother. It’s simply this – to alert the other to thriller and mystery writers that they may not have read.

The rule is that the writer has to be good enough for the other person to like. This does lead to some mistakes. Unlike my grandfather, who loved Ovid and Pope (in one of his many failed attempts to corrupt me — or at least loosen me up — he gave me a wonderful translation of Catullus’s dirty poems) but would read any old crap when it came to thrillers, my mother is moderately discerning. I am somewhere in between. But, of course, good mystery writers generally improve with age (examples abound, but especially striking is Julian Symons, who apparently wouldn’t allow his first effort to be republished but ended his career with several absolute blinders; the obvious counterexample being Colin Dexter, whose work is solid proof that the best TV is inspired by substandard fiction). So I was embarrassed when my mother told me about Peter Robinson, whose books I’ve been reading for years without telling her. I had a good reason – at first they just didn’t seem good enough for her (I know that she is a bit, though not much, more discerning than I am). I didn’t really notice the point at which he got good enough to mention, so didn’t do it, even though I think he is now in the top rank of mystery writers.

So it was funny when she visited the other week that she immediately asked if I had read Mark Mills’s The Savage Garden (UK). I had just ordered both that and Amagansett (UK title: The Whaleboat House — why do they do that, byt the way?) after amazon told me that he is favoured by people who read Robert Goddard (a page turner if ever there was one whose apparent lack of success in the States is baffling to me).

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Hey Kids!

by John Holbo on September 9, 2008

Comics! That is to say, TopShelf is having their annual $3 sale! You can get some good books, man. I just loaded up. I’m especially looking forward to: Scott Morse, The Barefoot Serpent. (I really like Scott Morse’s art.) Tim Sievert, That Salty Air, and Dan James’ Mosquito (check out the preview.) I loved James’ The Octopi and the Ocean. You should pick that up, too, while you are at it. Hell, you might even buy stuff that’s not $3 but merely on sale! Like Jeffrey Brown’s Incredible Change-Bots.

In other news, the Savage Dragon has endorsed Barack Obama for President. Good for him! But maybe he’s too metrosexual for this to make a big difference.