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November 16, 2014

Sunday Morning Book Thread 11-16-2014 [OregonMuse]


sf-.jpg
Borderlands Books, San Francisco, CA


Good morning morons and moronettes and welcome to AoSHQ's stately, prestigious, and high-class Sunday Morning Book Thread. The only AoSHQ thread that is so hoity-toity, pants are required. Or kilts. Kilts are OK, too. But not tutus.


I Left My Heart

I got today's photo from this article, San Francisco's 10 Coolest Bookstores. One of the bookstores mentioned on the list is Borderlands Books, a specialty shop:

At Borderlands Books, SF doesn't just stand for the bookstore's home city, but for its specialty literary genre: science fiction. Paired with an equally rich collection of fantasy literature, mystery, as well as horror, is unparalleled in San Francisco and many other American cities in its scope of the fictional and the fantastic.

Elsewhere in the article, I was amused by how the write-up of another shop, Modern Times Bookstore, starts out:

Located on 24th street, also known as calle 24 thanks to its status as an artery of Hispanic culture in San Francisco's Mission District, Modern Times is the go-to bookstore for literature on political engagement.

Yeah, "political engagement". Might we guess what sort of "political engagement" they're talking about here? I don't know about you, but my guess would be that it rhymes with "bommunity shmorganizing".

I was born in SF, grew up in the Bay Area in the 60s, got to see real hippies and everything, and I've always loved The City. Although I haven't visited SF in almost 30 years, I guess it's been turned into a liberal hell-hole. I remember reading a comment from zombie awhile back that said the gap between the very rich and the very poor in SF has become ridiculously wide, abd there's not much in between. You are almost required to be either one or the other just to live there.

And that's what decades of bommunity shmorganizing will get you.


Amazon and Hatchette Bury The Hatchet

Says so right here:

Hachette Book Group and Amazon have settled their dispute over terms and are returning to "normal trading" immediately and Hachette titles "will be prominently featured in promotions," the two companies jointly announced yesterday.

The multi-year agreement for e-book and print sales in the U.S. takes effect early next year and leaves the agency model for e-book pricing intact.

So there you are. Who wins? Who cares? I don't. I knew this dispute had been going on for some months, and I probably should have covered it for the book thread, but I never could get interested enough to learn much about it. But it seems to be over now, so that, as they say, is that.


What Is Best In Life?

That is, what are the virtues that make life worth living? If you can't aspire to them, you can at least laugh about them: The Seven Deadly Virtues: 18 Conservative Writers on Why the Virtuous Life is Funny as Hell by Jonathan Last (editor), includes contributions by known conservative "ha ha" funny men (P.J. O'Rourke, Rob Long, James Lileks), and some that are funny in a "hmmm..." sort of way (Jonah Goldberg, Mollie Hemingway). I didn't want to mention the presence of world champion jackass T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII in this anthology because of the well-deserved contempt heaped upon him by all of us morons for fawning over the SCOAMF back in 2008, it might put you off from buying the book, and it hope it doesn't, because I think the other writers more than make up for it. Although Buckley can be a funny writer, so who knows.

So, what virtues are covered? Pretty much all of them, actually. Part I covers what are traditionally known as the cardinal virtues: Prudence, Justice, Temperance, Hope, Charity, and Faith. You probably learned about these in Sunday school, but perhaps have forgotten them.

And then in Part II, there are the "everyday" virtues: Chastity, Simplicity, Thrift, Honesty, Fellowship, Forbearance, Integrity, Curiosity, and Perseverance.

Also, I notice that one of the contributors listed is David Burge. Is that David Burge as in, like, you know, Iowahawk? If so, that's an additional reason to buy this book. And I'm disappointed Mark Steyn isn't in it, I think he would have been a great addition.

Lastly, if you want to raise your blood pressure to dangerously high levels, go back and read Buckley's 2008 endorsement of Barak Obama. The smug, condescending arrogance of every line of that piece is absolutely maddening, and so over-the-top that Iowahawk's "T. Coddington Van Voorhees" parody is actually not much of a parody at all.


Bleg

Long time blogger and 'ette in good standing baldilocks is fund-raising for her next novel, and also for some immediate changes in her life circumstances, (including a forced move). More details here if you would like to help her out by sending a few simoleons her way. She would be very grateful.


Moron Recommendations

A long time lurker e-mailed earlier this week to recommend the novels of his friend and former next-door neighbor Paul Watkins, starting with The Forger, which is about

...French artists who were commissioned in the 1930s to forge many of the master works of art hanging in French museums for the purpose of replacing those works on the walls of those museums with the forgeries while spiriting away the originals to rural estates where they would be kept safe from the Nazis.

Paul does meticulous research in writing his novels (I know, right? it's a tough job that requires hanging around in Parisian cafes). This one is basically historical fiction: the characters as penned didn't exist, but they were more or less composite characters of real people who were alive at the time and actively involved in producing these forgeries.

Also:

Paul also writes historical fiction about crime and punishment in Soviet Russia under the pen name Sam Eastland. The hero in those novels is Inspector Pekkala, a Finn exiled to Siberia for crimes against the state, but whom Stalin brings back from exile to investigate high crimes within his own bureaucracy.

He must be referring to the novels Eye of the Red Tsar, Shadow Pass, Archive 17, and The Beast in the Red Forest. Looks like an interesting series.


___________

Here is another recommendation I received in e-mail this week:

I was thinking your readers might be interested in the ongoing book tour of John Connolly, the Irish author behind the thoroughly American Charlie Parker horror/thriller series. Connolly is on this side of the Pond to promote The Wolf in Winter (Atria Books), his 12th Parker novel. The series launched with Every Dead Thing, a gruesomely compelling serial killer tale, and has evolved into something unique. After a few books, it turns out many of Parker's foes are actually demons working toward mysterious but evil ends.

The moron I heard about this from had a good time at a Connolly book signing event in Ann Arbor:

Connolly's appearance last week at Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor, Mich., was truly special. For openers, he conducted an intimate discussion about The Book of Lost Things (a modern fairy tale that ranks among the best fantasy novels I've ever read) for an hour before his signing. Only eight people showed up, but Connolly was charming and gracious, showing as much interest in his fans as we showed in him. I have never spent a more engaging time with a writer -- and I include my friends who have published books.

At the signing itself, Connolly opted to forgo a reading in favor of giving a presentation about why an Irishman sets his thrillers in America (the Irish in the Auld Sod, it seems, generally are crummy criminals) and offering anecdotes about the writing of each of his Parker yarns. He was just as friendly at the open event as he had been during the "Lost Things" discussion.

Connolly still has upcoming stops on his book tour at Scottsdale, Austin, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Harrisburg (Pa.) and NYC that morons in the vicinity may want to attend. A full schedule of his book tour is available here.


___________

So that's all for this week. As always, book thread tips, suggestions, bribes, rumors, threats, and insults may be sent to OregonMuse, Proprietor, AoSHQ Book Thread, at the book thread e-mail address: aoshqbookthread, followed by the 'at' sign, and then 'G' mail, and then dot cee oh emm.

What have you all been reading this week? Hopefully something good, because, as you all know, life is too short to be reading lousy books.

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