Crime Fiction: Back to the Coast by Saskia Noort

May 29, 2009 admin 0

Life is rough for Maria Vos, a Dutch soul singer from Amsterdam, in Saskia Noort’s Back to the Coast (Bitter Lemon Press). Realizing that her boyfriend Geert is exactly the kind of irresponsible man she doesn’t want fathering her children, she aborts their second child together. The ensuing argument leads them to break up. A rough patch in this young woman’s life? That’s all it seems, until someone begins sending Maria threatening letters in the […]

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Tiny Kindle Contender: Cute But Lightweight?

May 28, 2009 admin 2

After over a decade of thrashing about, Amazon’s Kindle device — with a push from Oprah — has established the electronic book industry in a way that feels unassailable. That is, after years and years and years of everybody talkin’ ’bout it, electronic books aren’t just coming anymore, they’re here. That being the case, electronic makers and marketers are jumping on board in a gratifying way with ever more manufacturers introducing the coolest new contender. […]

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Obamas Will Preside Over National Book Festival

May 28, 2009 admin 0

The First Couple will be honorary chairs of the National Book Festival, to be held in Washington, D.C., at the National Mall on Saturday, September 26th. Sponsored by the Library of Congress, this will be the event’s ninth year celebrating “the joys of reading and lifelong literacy,” according to an event press release. “We are delighted that the President and Mrs. Obama are committed to bringing this inspirational event to people of all ages nationwide,” […]

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John Sayles Looking Forward to Some Time in the Sun

May 27, 2009 admin 2

Like a lot of publishing-related stories this week, the dek of a Los Angeles Times piece on John Sayles’ inability to sell his latest novel seems intended to cast gloom on an economy embittered industry. “The writer-filmmaker is shopping a sprawling work of historical fiction,” writes John Getlin, “but no big publishers are buying. Such is the cautious state of publishing today.” It seems to me that this is the kind of reporting that has […]

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Alice Munro Takes International Man Booker Home to Canada

May 27, 2009 admin 1

Celebrated Canadian author Alice Munro has won the third Man Booker International Prize. One of the richest and most prestigious international literary awards, Munro will take home £60,000.The award is made every two years “to a living author for a body of work that has contributed to an achievement in fiction on the world stage,” according to the Man Booker organization. It’s been awareded twice before: to Ismail Kadaré of Albania in 2005 and to […]

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Happy Birthday to the Original Batman

May 26, 2009 admin 0

Today is the anniversary of the publication of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. At The Rap Sheet, J. Kingston Pierce does a typically stylish job of remembering: It was on this date, back in 1897, that the horror novel Dracula first saw publication. It was written, of course, by Bram Stoker, the business manager at London’s famed Lyceum Theatre and the personal assistant to actor Henry Irving, who apparently served as the model for Stoker’s nocturnal Transylvanian […]

Review: A Thousand Deaths Plus One by Sergio Ramirez

May 25, 2009 admin 0

Today in January Magazine’s fiction section, contributing editor Pedro Blas Gonzalez reviews A Thousand Deaths Plus One by Sergio Ramirez. Says our reviewer: Reminiscent of Borges in its maze-like complexity of shadowy figures and surreal situations, A Thousand Deaths Plus One is as unpredictable a work as it is intricate in construction. Sergio Ramirez’s novel is essentially a work of intrigue. In 1987 the author found himself in Warsaw on a state visit. Ramirez was […]

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Streisand’s Ex-Beau Hand Slapped Over Proposed Tell-All

May 25, 2009 admin 1

“Whatever happened to Jon Peters?” “Who?” “Jon Peters?” “The Star 80 guy?” “Naw. Not that guy. Maybe the guy who was boffin’ Streisand in the early 80s.” “Oh, that guy. Maybe he’s dead?” That might have been the conversation before last Friday when a shitstorm broke lose over the possible publication of a Jon Peters (“Jon who?”) tell-all that had the knickers of a lot of era stars in a twist last Friday. From The […]

Happy Birthday, Baby!

May 24, 2009 admin 3

It was three years ago last week that we sent The Rap Sheet out onto the blogosphere on its own steam. And, wow: baby done good! As Rap Sheet editor J. Kingston Pierce noted on Friday: It was in May 2006 that we took a chance and cut The Rap Sheet loose from its great mothership, January Magazine. We’ve been trying to fly on our own ever since, with varying degrees of success. It’s amazing […]

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Death of the Book: Again with the Falling Sky?

May 21, 2009 admin 3

Maybe the people most tightly wound into the book industry are not the most objective when it comes to pronouncing on the health of the book in our culture. That is, they can tell us how they see things now, but they have sunk too far into the “business” end to separate out the “book.” That’s what I was thinking as I read Elizabeth Sifton’s carefully thought out article in the June 2009 edition of […]