Sunday, June 06, 2004

I can find very little today. The Observer review section has barely a word on anything literary. Well, despite this article on the marriage of men and fiction...

Over at The Times Marcel Berlins (who I haven't seen reviewing crime fiction for quite a while, unless he's just escaped me) reviews the latest. Val McDermid's The Torment of Others is called "one of her finest", which seems to be the opinion of every review I've seen. Most interesting of all to me is the review of the latest book from Europe (Iceland, actually) Jar City by Arnaldur Indridason - a book I really, really want to read.

Visitors to the Hay Festival, with a little help from The Guardian, have compiled a list of "50 essential contemporary novels". Unfortunately, I've worn my clicking-finger out looking for a link which just doesn't seem to exist. I'll have to provide that later. But, I am delighted with the list of 50 - a great selection. A few that I'm especially pleased to see are:
The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
Atonement - Ian McEwan
Enduring Love - Ian McEwan
Fingersmith - Sarah Waters
His Dark Materials -Philip Pullman
Middlesex - Jeffery Eugenides
Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow - Peter Hoeg
The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco
The Secret History - Donna Tartt

According to her agent, Rendell's latest Barbara Vine novel has been delivered to the publisher. At the moment, it's called The Minotaur, and we should see it late this year or the beginning of next. I have to say, I think late this year is very unlikely. Even if it's released in December, that will be only one full month since the release of 13 Steps Down. Admittedly, they're written under different names, but the readership will probably be roughly the same. At my estimate, to give an adequate gap between the two, we won't be seeing it until about next March.

Brilliant news came to me this week about the extension of the Man Booker Prize. (Thanks to Sarah for bringing my attention to this over at her nifty new site.) I think this is wonderful. An international Booker Prize, not for any one work but given to an author for "consistent excellence". I've long thought the Booker should have an award like this. John Carey, Chair of Judges for the first prize (as well as the 2003 Booker prize - Martyn Goff was clearly impressed), insists that it's not a "lifetime achievement" award, but, well, we'll see...

The official press release can be found

Who would have thought it...James Patterson has an official blog. I shall not comment on what I think of this.

I like anagrams. Indeed, I love anagrams. When I get bored, I like to take words to pieces are re-arrange them. My most pleasing discovery was that "fructose biphosphate" is an anagram of "phobic rush to pee fast." Yesterday, I was playing with authors' names.

Anagrams of Patricia Cornwell include: callow Pitcairner, and the somewhat less good Will Price can't oar.

In South America, you may find that Michael Connelly is also the name of a lonely Chilean MC. Do you have a friend called Colin? If you do, I expect Colin can yell "hem!", though why he would want to is beyond me. Finally, there is a comely chin, Nell.

I have more. But I won't inflict them on you. ("Robert Wilson" proved particularly fertile ground.)

I will round this lexical joviality off with a limerick, like it or not.

There once was a writer named James
Whose books were incredibly lame.
Co-authored were some,
though all were hum-drum,
but despite it he still achieved fame.