Sunday, May 02, 2004

With any luck, I'll be able to dig out quite a bit for you today.

Firstly, here's a look at the UK Bestseller Lists. There's nothing particularly exciting going on. Lee Child's The Enemy still sits nicely at number 2. John Grisham, and James Patterson extend their omnipresence, and Nicci French's Secret Smile climbs a place to number 9 - even though the author info in the books STILL proclaim that "she" actually exists in the person of "a journalist from Suffolk". Why on earth Michael Joseph (and Penguin) don't cut the pretence and label them as the husband-and-wife team (certainly both journalists) that they are I have no idea. Everyone knows it anyway - mainly because no one has actually been trying to keep it a secret. If I were more "in the ken" about publishing, I'm sure the explanation would be elementary. (And despite the fact that I own all their books, I've still not read a single one.)

With the paperbacks, Elizabeth George's A Place of Hiding makes it to number 4, The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency sneaks back to 10, and Notes on A Scandal stays at number 8. Oh, and guess what's a number 1? Yes, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time.

Right, now down to the real business...

Over at The Observer Robert McCrum is pleased that the Orange Prize Shortlist has "managed to promote the new kids on the block without trashing the grown-ups", and Jeanette Winterson's new novel Lighthousekeeping is reviewed by Anita Sethi. They also have a good article on the influence of the woman behind Richard and Judy's Book Club, which comes with pleasing news about an impending Summer Holiday Read selection with "an emphasis on emerging authors".

Before I forget, (and how could I), well done Mr Ian Rankin! A tremendous Edgar win. As far as I'm aware, the smart money was always on either Rankin or Bruen, but I can't claim not to be delighted at the outcome. Resurrection Men has actually provoked quite a polarised response from seasoned Rankin readers. Half seemed to love it - the other half thought it was pretty average Rebus fare. Me? Well, I'm in the former camp. It's not my favourite but it's certainly in my top five. A deserving winner, in my mind.

On the subject of Ian Rankin...his latest newsletter/readers' questions answered is online - telling us that, among other things, the US title for his next book is Fleshmarket Alley - as is an article from Scotland on Sunday proclaiming him as the 62nd most powerful Scot. J.K. Rowling sits at number 3, Alexander McCall Smith at number 14!

There are also, at last, a few notable reviews as well. At The Independent, Henning Mankell's Firewall is given the treatment once again, and Terry Pratchett's newest Discworld adventure, A Hat Full of Sky , is also reviewed.

Today The Observer carry a profile of Alexander McCall Smith.

Finally, last night I went to the cinema. I saw Secret Window, which stars Johnny Depp and is adapted from Stephen King's novella Secret Window, Secret Garden. I've read most of King's work, but not that. Nor, now, do I plan to. The only redeeming features are a score by the genius who is Philip Glass, and Mr Depp, who does alright, but again seems a bit too conscious of the fact that he's acting. Other than that? Sorry, the film is not good. At all.