Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Requiems for the Departed, edited by Gerard Brennan and Mike Stone

I've been excited by the announcement of this book for some time now, but it didn't seem quite right to put it in my book review blog, as I haven't even laid hands on a copy yet. And you can pre-order it now, but apparently only if you're in the U.K. . But I thought I'd contribute my small bit to the pre-publication buzz by mentioning it here. Perhaps some random British reader will press the wrong button and find him or herself on this page and get interested.

I've followed Gerard Brennan's blog  Crime Scene NI for awhile now, and found it to be a consistently good source of information on the abundant wealth of great Northern Irish crime writing to be had right now. How exciting, then, that he and Mike Stone have managed to assemble so many of its authors between the covers of one small book. There are writers from other parts as well, but the theme they have all to deal with in these stories is combining contemporary crime with Irish myth. How fun is that?

If you check out Gerard's abovementioned blog, you will find both interviews with the authors and their own explanations of why they chose the story they did. It will whet your appetite for the tales themselves, I'm telling you.

Anyone in the U.K. can pre-order their copy of Requiems for the Departed   here. As for the rest of us, we'll just have to hope that a little thing like the Atlantic and maybe a random volcano or two doesn't prevent us from grabbing a copy of this fun collection for too very long.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

He's back!

Even a rather ardent fan of The Believer Magazine like myself couldn't help but feel there was something missing from issues of these last many months. That something was Nick Hornby's mostly monthly column, Stuff I've Been Reading. But rumor had it that he would someday return, and now, that rumor is true. Hornby is back. Sure, he's encouraging the hip young reading demographic to read stuff like Austerity Britain, 1945-51, by David Kynaston, but buck up, youth. Everyone's got to graduate from Harry Potter sometime.

Frankly, he must have a civilizing effect, because it's the best issue I've seen in awhile. Although they're going to make you pay if you want to read all of Hornby's column, you can actually read some other great stuff for free on line. There's an excellent article on Leonard Woolf, pre-Virginia, in Ceylon by up and coming novelist Lev Grossman, for example. And in the non-free category, an article I haven't gotten all the way through yet by Annie Julia Wyman on one of the best books ever, Mimesis, by Erich Auerbach.

Also? Ninjas. Apparently, one may be closer than you think...