Sunday, June 14, 2009

Oprah Gets Mysterious

Although Oprah Winfrey’s book club has gone through many cycles and has chosen a great many books over the years, mystery fiction has never been included among those she has anointed. Until now. While parts of her list of “11 Unputdownable Mysteries: Thrills, Chills, and Not-Your-Typical Whodunits” might look a little oddball to some fans of crime fiction, it is, at least, a first step in an interesting direction.

Some of the included authors and titles are indisputably among the elite of the genre. For instance, pretty much no one would wonder at the inclusion of The Complete Ripley Novels, by Patricia Highsmith, Walter Mosley’s The Long Fall, Not in the Flesh, by Ruth Rendell, or Denis Johnson’s invigorating Nobody Move. Some of the other seven, however, are likely to raise the eyebrows of a few genre watchers. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Though each pick carries its own byline and several contributors are identified, taken as a single entity, Oprah’s mystery list does exactly what lists like this are meant to do: there is comfort here for mystery fans in some old favorites, and some identifiable up-and-comers. But there are also at least a few authors included who are unlikely to have slipped under your average mystery reader’s personal radar. At the same time--and for some of the same reasons--the list makes a great introduction to this literary field.

Whatever the case, having North America’s brightest reading light shine on mystery fiction just can’t be a bad thing. Here is Oprah’s mystery list:

The Complete Ripley Novels, by Patricia Highsmith
The Long Fall, by Walter Mosley
Nobody Move, by Denis Johnson
The Grift, by Debra Ginsberg
Not in the Flesh, by Ruth Rendell
What Was Lost, by Catherine O’Flynn
Trauma, by Patrick McGrath
Go With Me, by Castle Freeman, Jr.
Talk, Talk, by T.C. Boyle
Lulu in Marrakech, by Diane Johnson
Yes, My Darling Daughter, by Margaret Leroy

Oprah’s mystery selections are here. See the balance of her summer reading feature here.


Anne said...

Oprah slso needs to cover delightful and charming childrens' books. For example see the Website:
Felix the Storyteller. You will be more then pleasantly surprised by these charming stories. Some of which are in Rhyme and some set to mustic. Worth a very serious examination.

Jack Getze said...

Darn exciting, really. This could help change minds in book clubs all over the world. Crime writers should shout about it.

Anonymous said...

This depression is going to get a lot worse for most of us. Millions will go cold and hungry. It didn't have to be this way. Greed ruins everything. Its true. Ask any professor of economics.

"As mass production has to be accompanied by mass consumption; mass consumption, in turn, implies a distribution of wealth -- not of existing wealth, but of wealth as it is currently produced -- to provide men with buying power equal to the amount of goods and services offered by the nation's economic machinery. Instead of achieving that kind of distribution, a giant suction pump had by 1929-30 drawn into a few hands an increasing portion of currently produced wealth. This served them as capital accumulations. But by taking purchasing power out of the hands of mass consumers, the savers denied to themselves the kind of effective demand for their products that would justify a reinvestment of their capital accumulations in new plants. In consequence, as in a poker game where the chips were concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing. When their credit ran out, the game stopped."

Marriner Eccles, FDR's Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank - 1959

In other words, the first Great Depression was caused by greed. The rich couldn't settle for reasonable pay. They had to have more and more and more. That caused a shift in buying power from the majority to the rich. When the majority lost their buying power, they lost their ability to support the economy. Einstein said basically the same thing in 1949.

Its even worse now. Ordinary people havn't only lost their relative buying power. They have also lost their savings, home values, pensions, and benefits. Meanwhile, the rich have become super incredibly rich. The richest 500 Americans are worth about 2 trillion dollars. More than the bottom 40% of American housholds combined. The richest 1 percent are worth about 18 trillion dollars. More than the bottom 98% of American households combined. Thats just insane. I don't care how much work for humanity the rich claim to do. Its nothing but a cover for their own greed. We don't need anymore rich people to create jobs or make donations for charity. We need them to get reasonable about how much money and assets they keep for themselves.

Don't believe their excuse about paying more income taxes. They don't pay enough. For every tax the rich pay, they get an obscene profit, bailout, contract, or kickback from our government to cover it. We had a progressive tax system that worked for over 40 years after the first Great Depression. It prevented too much wealth from being concentrated. In 1976, the middle 80% owned about 2/3 of America's total wealth. Reagan lowered taxes for the rich. Bush lowered them again. Now, the richest 5% own about 2/3 of America's total wealth. The lower 95% own about 1/3. America's wealth has been transfered from poor to rich again. Now, we have another depression.

Don't believe it when the rich claim to be getting poorer. Property values have gone down for everyone. Thats because of the concentration of wealth and income. When the economy slows down, property values tank. So when rich people complain about lower net worth, its a trick. They still have the same buying power on average.

Too much wealth has already been taken away from the majority and concentrated into the private vaults of rich people. The same ones on TV telling us how much they want to help the world. Its a big lie. Just another way to promote their own names. Rich people don't want to help the world. They want to own it.

Now, the economy is ruined. Obama can't fix it because the rich won't let him. There will be no bailout for the people because the rich won't let it happen. They always want more. The same thing has been happening in other economies around the world. The world's rich have been getting richer. Now, we have a global recession. Its going to get a lot worse. It didn't have to be this way. Greed ruins everything.

Please copy and spread the word.