Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Weaving Around the Web

• In case you haven’t been keeping up, it was 45 years ago this week that the spy series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. debuted on American television. As The HMSS Weblog recalls, “The show featured a dashing worldly hero, Napoleon Solo. Ian Fleming, during a very brief period when he was involved with the project, had helped name him. Fleming quickly dropped out, at least in part because he didn’t want to anger Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, the producers who were turning his James Bond novels into movies. Norman Felton, the producer overseeing U.N.C.L.E., and Sam Rolfe, the writer-producer who Felton chose to write the pilot, would come up with their own take on the spy genre.” To celebrate this anniversary, The HMSS Weblog has compiled a list of significant differences between The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and the Bond films and a look back at the evolving U.N.C.L.E. theme music. Paul Bishop chimes in with a compilation of U.N.C.L.E. trivia.

• Unusual candidness from a bestselling author: “I know that what I do is not literature,” John Grisham tells The Daily Telegraph. “For me, the essential component of fiction is plot. My objective is to get the reader to feel impelled to turn the pages as quickly as possible. If I want to achieve that, I can’t allow myself the luxury of distracting him. I have to keep him hanging on and the only way to do it is by using the weapons of suspense. There is no other way. If I try to understand the complexities of the human soul, people’s character defects and those types of things, the reader gets distracted.” Don’t count me among that bunch, John.

• How well do you know your Dan Brown novels? Test your knowledge here. (Hat tip to AbeBooks’ Reading Copy Book Blog.)

• Why can’t book covers be like this one anymore?

• The new Guy Ritchie film, Sherlock Holmes, isn’t even set to debut until this coming Christmas (see the trailer here), but already there’s talk of a sequel.

• Some of the entries in Akashic Books’ fairly extensive city noir series have been welcomed into bookstores on little cat feet (to quote Carl Sandberg). That’s not the case with the forthcoming Boston Noir, edited by Dennis Lehane. In Reference to Murder’s B.V. Lawson rounds up the publicity (so far) for this short-story collection, which is officially due out on November 1.

• I haven’t yet seen a copy of Sara Paretsky’s new, 13th V.I. Warshawski novel, Hardball. But that other Sarah (Weinman, of course) is already up with a critique in The Barnes & Noble Review.

Could Fox “News” look more foolish?

• Bruce Grossman’s latest Bullets, Broads, Blackmail & Bombs column in the handsomely redesigned Bookgasm focuses on three crime novels, “all turned into movies, all of which I recently watched. Here’s the one thing that all have in common: awful casting. Also, they stink worse than a portable toilet after a football tailgate.”

• Elizabeth Short, the doomed waitress from Massachusetts who would be immortalized in death as “the Black Dahlia,” made her first entry into history with a 1943 mugshot.

• I’d somehow managed not to notice the Web site Untitled Books until today. But then I heard that two of The Rap Sheet’s contributors, Michael G. Jacob and Daniela De Gregorio--who create novels together as “Michael Gregorio”--had been interview as part of Untitled Books’ “How I Write” series, and I had to check it out. You can read about their story-composing habits here. Other authors who have been spotlighted in this same series include T.C. Boyle, Zoe Heller, and James Frey.

• And my new posting at Killer Covers focuses on artist Harry Schaare’s beautiful jacket for the 1959 paperback release of A Gem of Murder, penned by the pseudonymous Carlton Keith.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i think that Elizabeth Short's murder was purposely not solved in 1947 as detailed in Steve Hodel's book. The house where she was likely murdered is in Los Feliz on Franklin near Normandie. There is a tv show on the History channel that follows Hodel through the house. I wouldn't mind breaking into that house for a peak.