Random Book Thoughts
R.I.P. James Crumley. I feel like it was just yesterday that I first read THE LAST GOOD KISS. He was one of the writers who blurred the line between crime fiction and literature, and when you read his books it didn't matter. I remember hearing that Dave White got a blurb from Crumley for WHEN ONE MAN DIES and being so thrilled for him because it was like the pope had personally blessed it.
R.I.P. David Foster Wallace. I'll be honest and admit that I never read a book by Wallace (though I have read many of his magazine pieces and have copies of CONSIDER THE LOBSTER and INFINITE JEST on my shelf that I was hoping to get around to shortly), but there's no doubt the impact he had on American letters.
Could I BE any more excited for Dennis Lehane's THE GIVEN DAY? Not only is he my favorite contemporary author, and not only does it feel like SHUTTER ISLAND came out a millennium ago, but after Janet Maslin's love-fest in the New York Times if my local bookseller isn't open on Tuesday at 9:00 am on the dot I'm pulling a William Hurt in "Body Heat" and throwing a chair through the window.
I could have gotten a galley of THE GIVEN DAY, but I have a rule in which I refuse to take free copies of books written by authors I would buy on my own. I would want people to support my work, and it's only fair to do the same in return. (You have no idea how hard it was not to grab a galley of Charlie Huston's THE SHOTGUN RULE at ThrillerFest last year. I think I actually cried.)
THE STORY OF EDGAR SAWTELLE is the new Oprah pick, again another book from my TBR pile. This book has gotten wonderful reviews, and is an interesting pick following Eckhart Tolle. I do wonder, though, if the fact that the book is available only as a $25.95 hardcover(or a large print for the same price) might limit its potential audience (most, if not all previous Oprah picks, I believe, were available as cheaper paperbacks). Especially with the economy the way it is, and disposable income that much harder to come by, $26 will almost certainly deter some potential buyers. I hope I'm wrong, because EDGAR SAWTELLE sounds like a book that deserves a wide readership.
The third part in Christopher Paolini's "Inheritance" trilogy (scratch that, quadrilogy) drops tonight at midnight. I walked by my local b&n the last time they held a midnight release for one of these YA juggernauts (Stephenie Meyer's BREAKING DOWN) and it was just bedlam--to the point where they wouldn't let me in because the store was too crowded. I read ERAGON, have not yet gotten to ELDEST. Hope to at some point soon. I'm tempted to stop by the Union Square b&n (where the wizard himself will be signing) just to check it out. Especially because as of this afternoon our apartment will literally have no chairs, tables or television in it.
Regarding Boris Kachka's NyMag article on the death of book publishing, what Ed said.
For the book I'm working on right now, my bibliography for research sounds like something out of "Seven." (Brad Pitt: "What kind of psycho would buy ten different books on this?")
Oh yeah, I'm also working on a non-fiction proposal in which, over the course of one year, I will read all the books written by people who undertook some silly/dangerous/stupid stunt over the course of one year. I will then beat myself into unconsciousness with those books and burn my proposal into tiny, tiny ashes.