Snow day.

Nothing like having everything cancelled for snow, then waking up to…not much snow. And nothing really falling. However, the weather radar informs me it’s just a pause, and the real walloping will come in a couple hours. Whatever. I have nowhere to be, a stocked pantry, and am thinking…lentil soup. Maybe some apple crisp. Maybe an apple cake. Depends.

We went to the Strand bookstore in New York, of course, and browsing the stacks made me miss the days when every city of any size had an independent bookstore, or just a bookstore, period. It was Little Professor for me, growing up, then a host of others. Borders was wonderful in Ann Arbor, and even Barnes & Noble fit the bill. All gone now, another casualty of the internet. There’s a home-furnishings store where my local Borders was, and B&N’s space here is now a grocery for orthorexic eaters, which is to say the vitamin aisle is as long as any other, and a jar of organic mayonnaise — the only kind available — costs $6.

It’s a small jar, too.

Alan bought a book at the Strand called “Cocktail Codex” — he’s become quite the bartender in his retirement — and spent a chunk of yesterday paging through it, before looking up and saying, “Apparently I need a centrifuge.” Ha ha, he’s not buying a centrifuge on my watch, but come summer, there may be some interesting fruit syrups and infusions on offer at Alan’s bar. But nothing requiring a centrifuge, I can assure you of that. Many of these drinks are garnished with a dehydrated slice of fruit, but we’re not adding a dehydrator to the arsenal, either.

Me, I bought a collection of horror/fantasy/sci-fi-adjacent short stories co-edited by Neil Gaiman. This is a genre I’ve avoided most of my life, with a few exceptions, one of them Neil Gaiman, although I stop well short of total fangirl status. His ideas about gods, lower-case, are interesting, but ultimately I prefer reality. The story collection is about what you’d expect from a story collection — uneven. Bright spots, less-bright spots.

That seems to be the theme of the week so far, innit? Expect something, get less, shrug.

At least it was better than “August Snow,” which I picked up at a Friends of the Library $1 sale and almost immediately soured on. It’s the first of a crime series set in Detroit, highly praised, now in its third volume and already sold to Hollywood. Annnnddd? I kinda hated it. For one thing, I’m tired of the standard setup for these things: A hero who is somehow freed from having to work a regular job ($12 million lawsuit settlement from the city, in this case), leaving him time and cash to have adventures. But he’s special, an ex-cop or ex-soldier, or ex-SPECIAL FORCES or some other macho hitch, which gives him a facility with weapons and a dead-eye aim. Introduced to this character, you just know he’ll meet bad guys and overcome them with his basic decency and dead-eye aim, but the pleasure is in the execution, and by the time this one wheezed to an ending, I was done.

But why did I sour on it in just the first pages? The author did not respect local geography, and this brings up a question for you readers of fiction: How important is this to you? I was brought up short when, as the character drives down East Jefferson out of downtown and headed for Grosse Pointe, he passes the Kronk Gym. Wait, what? The Kronk is — was — on the west side, and was always on the west side. Detroit is a very east side/west side town, and relocating one of its well-known institutions to another part of town, just to make a picturesque drive more so, strikes me as heresy, or at the very least, distracting. I mean, why not move the RenCen to Southfield while you’re at it.

Now. I know some people differ on this. To me, if you’re going to set your story in a city, and make that city’s history and landscape part of its fabric, you owe your readers some authenticity. Some license is granted; Jeffrey Eugenides invoked the name of a real Grosse Pointe street (Middlesex) and put a fictional house on it, in his novel of the same name. Laura Lippman created a small, fictional pocket of a real Baltimore neighborhood for her main character to live. This doesn’t bother me. In “August Snow,” the author invents a whole new Grosse Pointe (GP Estates) and even that didn’t bother me (although it looked, based on the description in my mind’s eye, more like Bloomfield Hills), but when he fictionally decreed that the entire community somehow sits on the Detroit River? Sorry, I’m out.

Also, the typos, oy the typos. Barack Obama’s name is misspelled, and that’s all I’ll say about that. Also, when the main character rousts a drug dealer and finds “a couple dime bags of weed” in his pocket, which actually made me guffaw.

OK, then. Time to put on the sneakers and have a little bike ride in the prison gym, i.e. the basement. Happy snow day to all who celebrate. Consider a slow-simmering soup for dinner tonight.

Posted at 9:09 am in Uncategorized |
 

54 responses to “Snow day.”

  1. Jeff Gill said on January 25, 2023 at 9:35 am

    Lentil soup – do you go the tomato-based route, or something more lentil-centric?

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  2. Lou Gravity said on January 25, 2023 at 9:39 am

    Sopranos iconic episode – Silvio and Paulie lost in the NJ pine barrens. No way they were there – looks like they were in Ramapo mountains (60 miles away).

    John Sayles movie – character leaves Trenton, NJ and crosses bridge into PA, supposedly on the way to Atlantic City, NJ

    Debra Galant’s novel Rattled – family is from north Jersey a stones throw from NY, yet they are Phillies fans, (100 miles away) rather than Yankees or Mets.

    Give me a couple of days and I could probably come up with 50 more. And every one of them drives me nuts.

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  3. Jason T. said on January 25, 2023 at 9:40 am

    I’m with you on clunkers like the East Side/West Side thing. They will take me right out of a story.

    One Pittsburgh-area mystery writer I like, K.C. Constantine, got around that by inventing an entirely fictional town and county. Another (who sadly passed away too young), Tom Lipinski, set his mysteries in Pittsburgh, but was pretty scrupulous about geography.

    The other thing that will take me out of a mystery novel quickly is errors in police terminology or judicial procedure. Budding mystery writers take note: A Pennsylvania “sheriff” doesn’t investigate crimes (they serve warrants and transport prisoners), “sheriff’s deputies” don’t work for the state or city, and police don’t issue warrants — judges issue warrants, police request warrants.

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  4. Deborah said on January 25, 2023 at 9:54 am

    Reading books that get the geography wrong bugs me too. If the authors dream up a place, I’m fine with that and I love it when they include a map of the fictional place.

    Wintery mix day expected in Santa Fe, I’d prefer full on snow, but I don’t get to choose. Currently nothing is falling and the sky seems fairly clear.

    LB and I are continuing an inside project we started yesterday, tiling a back splash over the kitchen sink. We did this over the stove last winter, it turned out nicely. I hate tiling even though I’ve done 4 previous projects, but I like the way it looks and I don’t want to pay someone to do it. I bought the 4×4 tiles at a Mexican Import place near us, there are a lot of them in NM. We got a mix of tile patterns, no 2 are alike. It will look good when it’s done, very much looking forward to it being done.

    Not looking forward to getting out in the wintery mix today but we tend to have to make a number of trips to Home Depot whenever we do projects, we realize we need something else when we get home no matter how carefully we plan and organize. I don’t like spending money at Home Depot or Lowes because their corporate owners are assholes who donate mega bucks to rightwing political highjinks but there are no local alternatives. Lowes in Santa Fe is a nightmare right now, nobody around to help, low on inventory etc.

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  5. Julie Robinson said on January 25, 2023 at 10:34 am

    Authors who disrepect readers by not even looking at a map, or having flowers bloom out of season? Be gone with them!

    No snow in Orlando!

    I need to learn how to tile; I’d understood it was difficult to get level.

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  6. Icarus said on January 25, 2023 at 10:57 am

    I use to get annoyed when Movies or TV shows depicted some geographic inaccuracy about Chicago, but I’m over it. Only a native will know the difference; I certainly would have no way of knowing the Kronk Gym was on the west side of Detroit.

    I still get peeved by transplants who live in downtown Chicago and assume the Loop is the city and anything North of Division or West of Western Ave is the suburbs.

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  7. 4dbirds said on January 25, 2023 at 11:03 am

    I don’t mind a little license when it comes to fiction. It used to bother me to know when anything military was used in a book or a movie and it was wrong, uniforms/medals/units/ and other little things. I put it away and just say you know, it’s not a documentary and if it was, it would be boring. That said, I’m not a big reader of crime thrillers although I’ve watched many on TV. If I see one more angry, tired, single mother cop working endless hours with sketchy child care,I think I’ll scream. Again as someone who was in the military, you can’t do that type of work without an abundance of support if you have children.

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  8. nancy said on January 25, 2023 at 11:03 am

    Movies and TV I give more license to, because I know the constraints of film budgets. I just chuckle when I see, for instance, Cleveland abounding with brown Los Angeles hillsides. J.C. has a sign in his back yard that says “Welcome to Ohio.” He bought it from a Georgia prop company, and points out no real signage would be that simple. It’d have to have the state’s current tourism slogan, fancier fonts and, of course, “Mike DeWine, governor.”

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  9. Jeff Gill said on January 25, 2023 at 11:17 am

    Every time we watch “When Harry Met Sally” it frosts me they start the opening scenes at the University of Chicago, in Hyde Park on the South Side, then as they head for New York, you see them on Lake Shore Drive north of the Loop. C’mon.

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  10. apocalipstick said on January 25, 2023 at 11:28 am

    I used to snort every time Smallville had a long shot of Ma & Pa Kent’s farm, the idyllic house framed against the rolling mountains of… Kansas? Ah, Vancouver.

    And I feel you about execution. I hate most of these ex-Special Ops/Delta Force/manly man ‘thrillers’, but I dearly love Jack Reacher. Why? Because Lee Child’s planning (including his character’s back story and flaws) and execution are head-and-shoulders above the rest (although that seems to be faltering since the Tom Cruise movies and his decision to bring in his brother Andrew in to take over the series).

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  11. Little Bird said on January 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    There’s an author (vampire hunter type books) out of St. Louis whose books all take place there. She acknowledges that she plays fast and loose with the geography of the city. I think she mostly does it to discourage fans from trying to track down the various homes and businesses of the characters. A good part of her fan base tend to be a little…. over enthusiastic. I’ve actually stopped reading her books because they’ve essentially devolved into porn.
    Because fantasy is my favorite genre, most of the books I read have maps. Multiple maps because most of the time the characters are on some kind of quest/journey. They also usually have some kind of glossary, pronunciation guide, or family tree type thing in the back.
    Deborah and I are indeed going to be tiling today. And we will be making our daily trip to Home Depot that always happens when we’ve got a project going. I’m beginning to think they should give us a discount, we’re there so often. At least I have finally learned not to wear anything orange when we go.

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  12. Heather said on January 25, 2023 at 11:57 am

    I read a book recently–I can’t remember what it was–that described a couple in Chicago living in a house that was by the lake and up on a hill. Um. No.

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  13. Mark P said on January 25, 2023 at 11:59 am

    I might have mentioned before about the game I play when I watch tv or movies. It’s “guess where this was filmed.” Georgia fills in for a lot of places, and it’s pretty easy to identify, from the pine woods to the winding suburban streets and characteristic large newish homes. I nailed Atlanta in one scene filmed on a highway overpass near downtown. Western Canada fills in a lot, too. I laughed once when a beach scene in Florida had hills in the background. The Deer Hunter was almost comical. The hunters drive a few hours from somewhere in the Ohio-Pennsylvania-West Virginia steel town to the barren crags of a Pacific Northwest mountain range.

    I once read part of a novel set partly in my hometown of Rome, Ga. The author mentioned “the bypass”, and at that time Rome had no bypass. I think the writer chose Rome by throwing a dart at a map of the Southeast. It must not have been a road atlas. It was a minor point, but it took me right out of the story.

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  14. JodiP said on January 25, 2023 at 12:00 pm

    As a kid I watched Little House on the Prairie, and there were some mighty high hills. That part of Minnesota where the Ingalls lived is very flat, so this is how I learned about how TV shows were made.

    A few years ago, an entirely forgettable mystery set in Minneapolis referred to “Somali Town” or something like that to describe what everyone calls the West Bank (of the U of MN campus area). Yes, many Somalis live in that area, but I’ve never heard it referred as that. It was one of several reasons I didn’t continue with the series.

    I am really impressed with Little Bird and Deborah doing tiling. I hope it goes well!

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    • nancy said on January 25, 2023 at 12:17 pm

      Lentil-centric all the way. The Moosewood recipe from the early 70s. I do add a couple of Italian sausages, cooked separately and cut into coins, toward the end.

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  15. LAMary said on January 25, 2023 at 12:21 pm

    One big geographical error or anachronism and I check out.
    And Depends? You just retired. It happens.

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  16. apocalipstick said on January 25, 2023 at 12:31 pm

    Little Bird,

    That would be Laurel K. Hamilton, and you’re right about her books devolving.

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  17. Jason T. said on January 25, 2023 at 12:40 pm

    Nancy @ 8:

    Movies and TV I give more license to, because I know the constraints of film budgets. I just chuckle when I see, for instance, Cleveland abounding with brown Los Angeles hillsides.

    One of the many things about “30 Rock” that I found hilariously funny was the way they leaned into that trope. They would go “on location” to “Scranton” and it was clearly Central Park, but with children dressed as coal miners walking around, complete with smudged faces and little lunch pails.

    Speaking of “Scranton,” the wide, flat boulevards (and freaking palm trees!!) really made it hard to watch the U.S. version of “The Office” sometimes. I appreciated how hard they worked to dress the sets with local items (pizza boxes, chip bags, radio station bumper stickers, newspapers) but then it all fell down as soon as they left the interior locations and you saw a “Ralph’s” in the background.

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  18. Joe Kobiela said on January 25, 2023 at 1:38 pm

    Close encounters, the hills over Muncie Ind in the opening, right.
    Currently stopping for gas in Clare Michigan, driving to Gaylord, one of our pilots had a family emergency and I’m on my way up to cover the flight back to fwa Thursday. Roads aren’t bad just wet.
    Pilot joe

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  19. Peter said on January 25, 2023 at 1:39 pm

    My all-time favorite was the end of The Sound of Music, where the Von Trapps were climbing the Alps outside of Salzburg, so they can escape the Nazis by crossing the border into….Germany.

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  20. alex said on January 25, 2023 at 2:25 pm

    One of the downsides of being a motorhead is watching movies and TV shows that try to re-create past events with the wrong cars in the scenery. Hollywood seems to think it’s enough to round up a bunch of vintage cars, never mind that if the event takes place in 1955, there shouldn’t be any ’60s or ’70s cars in it.

    I have all kinds of variations on lentil soup. I make it Indian style with curry or Hungarian style with paprika, or just freestyle with pantry staples and leftover veggies.

    Today gonna do a freestyle soup and thinking about using some porcini ‘shrooms from the pantry. I also have a rotisserie chicken and some canned corn and diced tomatoes and a zucchini and fresh bell peppers.

    Slept in thinking we’d be buried and that I could call in and tell them I’m staying home. Instead there was nothing weatherize, so I went into the office for a couple of hours, got some important things out of the way, and slogged home through some really nasty streets. It’s been coming down quite heavily these last few hours.

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  21. FDChief said on January 25, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    Getting things like geography and hardware right are basic respect-your-readers flags for writers. If you can’t be arsed to bother looking up the basic facts about the hardscape of your story? Why should I invest in it?

    That’s where my own experience comes in; it’s really difficult for me to read stuff like your Special Forces hero story because of the widespread ignorance of simple military realities among writers (not entirely shocking given that, what, something like 0.4% of the U.S. public, writers included, every saw the inside of a barracks…).

    Conversely, there are some authors whose familiarity with the small change of military life can hook me, as disparate as Rudyard Kipling to Karen Traviss.

    So, do your research! If your readers aren’t willing to go for any junk whatsoever they’ll appreciate it!

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  22. Dave said on January 25, 2023 at 2:38 pm

    My father was a big Gunsmoke fan and I can remember him saying more than once, “Look at all those Kansas hills”.

    I can’t remember the name of a short-lived TV show set in Indianapolis but I remember their suburbia street with big hills visible in the distance.

    Apocalipstick, I’m with you, Jack Reacher has been turned into a cold-blooded killing machine, not that he wasn’t before but now it seems to be his go-to for every situation. I keep reading them but they’re not the same.

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  23. ROGirl said on January 25, 2023 at 3:34 pm

    I picked a good day to work from home. It’s been snowing all day. I remember a TV show where a character went home to Grosse Pointe for Christmas, a remarkably green and leafy place with mountains in the distance.

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  24. Sherri said on January 25, 2023 at 3:49 pm

    I’ve never really been able to get into Neil Gaiman, other than Good Omens, his book with Terry Pratchett, but if you want to get a sense of just how much the genre of science fiction and fantasy has evolved from rockets and orc, this list is a good start: https://www.npr.org/2021/08/18/1027159166/best-books-science-fiction-fantasy-past-decade

    I haven’t read everything on the list, but I can highly recommend NK Jemison’s Broken Earth trilogy. The Murderbot series is great fun, and I enjoyed Spinning Silver a lot as well. The Lady Astronaut series, the Memory of Empire, and Ancillary Justice are closer to traditional science fiction than the others, but focus more on relationships and political systems than tech compared to old style sci-fi.

    The Goblin Emperor was also really good, even though I was doubtful that I would like it from reading the blurb. I was sad when I finished i.

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  25. Suzanne said on January 25, 2023 at 4:33 pm

    I gotta say that I have been to NYC often enough that I know Law & Order usually gets it right location wise. It does make me crazy when a show or movie set in the Midwest shows winter all green & sunny. Ha! If only!
    As for books, I can’t really recall any with glaring geographical errors although I am sure I have read a few. I’m not a fantasy fan at all. I read Gaiman’s American Gods & hated it so I am not going to try another. I love a good mystery but tend to avoid them because once I start one, I can’t stop until the mystery is solved.

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  26. Jeff Borden said on January 25, 2023 at 5:25 pm

    One of my favorite authors of historical fiction is the late Philip Kerr, who created a Berlin detective named Bernie Gunther, a German version of Phillip Marlowe, a hard drinking, chain smoking smart-ass. The books begin with him as a Berlin police detective as the Nazis are seizing total control of Germany and extend into the 1950s. Kerr, who was Scottish, must’ve been a demon for research. He describes everything from sausage shops to Josef Goebbels’ custom Mercedes Benz with such clarity and authority. I’m always in awe of his mastery.

    The easiest giveaway a program or film is shot in L.A. are the distinctive red curbs.

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  27. Jeff Gill said on January 25, 2023 at 6:20 pm

    Suzanne, I think you’re right for most of Law & Order’s accuracy, but I just don’t know about the Hudson University campus. Given the slaughter that happens on or around that school, I can’t see how they make class each year in admissions. But I hear there’s a plan to sell their very valuable Manhattan real estate and move the campus to Cabot Cove, Maine.

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  28. Suzanne said on January 25, 2023 at 8:08 pm

    Good one, Jeff. Yes, L & O does seem to have lots of crime associated with “Hudson U”. It’s like the murder mystery books that involve small towns. I have lived in small towns and murders are usually exceedingly rare but how many murder mysteries are set there?

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  29. Little Bird said on January 25, 2023 at 8:35 pm

    Apocalipstick @16 yep. That’s her! I got to meet her at a book signing in Chicago about 12 years back or so. She had some guy with her who was clearly supposed to be one of the men in her books. He just looked anemic. Since I grew up in St.Louis, I started the books, but once the “arduer” or whatever it is showed up it got super porny and more than kinda lame.

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  30. LAMary said on January 25, 2023 at 8:38 pm

    Law and Order is filmed in NYC. They use Broadway actors pretty often. My identical twin Broadway actor brother friends have both appeared several times. Patti Lupone, Tova Feldshuh and of course Jerry Orbach are all known for Broadway roles. Jerry Orbach was the original El Gallo in The Fantasticks.

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  31. Jessica said on January 26, 2023 at 12:28 am

    What I hate in fiction is inaccuracies about programming and software and, to a lesser degree, about IT and networks and such. One of the few authors who gets it right is Richard Powers. Of course it turns out he was a programmer himself for a few years.

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  32. basset said on January 26, 2023 at 12:33 am

    Joe, did you stop for a doughnut in Clare or hold off till you got to Gaylord? https://copsdoughnuts.com/

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  33. Jim said on January 26, 2023 at 5:36 am

    I`m an avid reader, and many years ago I had my books in a bookcase . Nowadays, I download onto my iPad Kindle app – not using a large space for the books .

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  34. Deborah said on January 26, 2023 at 6:42 am

    One of the reasons the tiling that we’ve done isn’t as difficult as normal tiling is that we’re doing it in New Mexico *shrugs shoulders and winks*. The hand glazed Mexican tiles we’re using are not only different patterns and colors but they’re slightly different sizes and thicknesses so accuracy is a guess. Grouting helps make everything look better. Have you ever seen Saltillo tile floors? They’re as uneven as you can imagine and they’re everywhere around here, and charming as usual. Hey it’s Santa Fe.

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  35. Alan Stamm said on January 26, 2023 at 7:39 am

    Thanks for getting me, who fancies himself a wordsmith, to look up orthorexic.

    This ex-Manhattanite, who subwayed to the Strand as a teen, also misses nearby locations of Borders and Little Professor. Fortunate to still have a B&N six miles away in Troy, for who knows how long. (Rochester Hills and Northville also have ’em.)

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  36. Joe Kobiela said on January 26, 2023 at 8:17 am

    Basset,
    No donuts this time, but that’s such a neat story how they put it all together.
    Pilot Joe

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  37. ROGirl said on January 26, 2023 at 8:47 am

    Book Beat, an indie bookstore in Oak Park, has been around forever; it’s a good place for browsing. I like their selection of books on the arts.

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  38. FDChief said on January 26, 2023 at 1:23 pm

    Laurell Hamilton! Holy hell, is there any other example of a genre writer going so utterly and completely into the toilet?

    Jim Butcher has strung out the Harry Dresden series waaayyyy too long – “Ghost Story” should have clued him that it was time to wrap it up – but the man can still write serviceably-plotted and engaging potboilers.

    Hamilton, tho…WTF? Starts with a strong and well-developed heroine well embedded in a cleverly crafted fictional universe…and then torques the heroine into some sort of Fifty Shades of Gray paranormal sexbot who repeatedly violates every supposed moral brightline she started with to the point of, yeah, turning the universe into a sort of porn-cirque-de-soleil?

    Part of me desperately would like to meet Hamilton just to try and figure “WTF is your malfunction?” that her bizarre fictional turn suggests…

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  39. LAMary said on January 26, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    Fran Leibowitz appears as a judge in arraignment scenes in L and O many times. She’s a New Yorker now but she actually was born and raised in NJ. We northern NJ types recognize each other.

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  40. Dorothy said on January 26, 2023 at 2:01 pm

    My pet peeve about tv shows is when they have people wake up, you can see the clock on the nightstand or maybe in the kitchen, and it’s BRIGHT BRIGHT BRIGHT outside. But it doesn’t match up with the time of year when the scene is taking place. It’s Thanksgiving or Christmas time on the show, which means it’ll be fairly dark at 5:30 or 6:00 in the morning. Not on magical television!!

    When we went to NYC in December 2018 we ate breakfast at places that were not chains. We sought out little places, diners, etc. We took the subway down to where the World Trade Center is one morning looking for a particular diner. And don’t you know it’s one they used in several L&O scenes. Mike was delighted since he’s seen almost every L&O ever done. It’s quite lucrative to the establishment – the manager chatted with us about it for awhile and said they make good money when shows filmed there. (Just checked my pictures on Facebook – it was the Square Diner)

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  41. FDChief said on January 26, 2023 at 2:04 pm

    Katherine Addison’s “Goblin Emperor” was called out upthread, and let me add my recommendation; wonderfully written, fun and humane story. If you like genre fiction it’s a terrific example.

    She takes one of the characters – the “speaker for the dead” – from the first book and has written two more: “Witness for the Dead” and “The Grief of Stones” featuring Celehar, the speaker of the first title, and both are similarly well-written and -plotted.

    But…avoid her fourth published work, “The Angel of the Crows”, a thinly-overwritten Sherlock Holmes fanfic I’m guessing was rushed into print after the success of Goblin Emperor. The author herself admits that it’s nothing but something called “wingfic”, a fanfic in which one of the protagonists (in AofC it’s the Sherlock character) has wings…

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  42. Sherri said on January 26, 2023 at 3:03 pm

    RIP, the wily and parsimonious Victor S Navasky.

    https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2023/01/remembering-victor-navasky-the-unlfappable-ringmaster-of-the-nation/

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  43. apocalipstick said on January 26, 2023 at 4:16 pm

    Dave,

    I think the dialogue has changed as well. Reacher used to be terse; now, he’s quippy.

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  44. Dave said on January 26, 2023 at 5:25 pm

    Reacher said nothing.

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  45. Little Bird said on January 26, 2023 at 6:51 pm

    FDFirechief, I HAVE met her. I didn’t have the guts to ask about the porn shift though. And it was very early in that shift when I met her (got my book signed!).
    If you liked Hamilton’s earlier work, Patricia Briggs has a good series centered on a VW mechanic named Mercy Thompson. Takes place up in Washington state, near the Columbia river. Werewolves and vampires and fey. Not the same kind of universe though. The rules seem to be different.

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  46. Deborah said on January 26, 2023 at 7:04 pm

    The only mystery novel series I’ve gotten caught up in are Tony Hillerman novels about detectives Chee and Leaphorn set in Northern NM and Arizona and Donna Leon, Commissario Guido Brunetti mysteries set in Venice. Hillerman died but his daughter has taken up writing the series but they’re not as good (IMHO) but Leon is still writing and they’re fantastic. I’m not into Sci Fi or Fantasy but on a road trip LB and I listened to Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere and I enjoyed it while driving, not sure I would have enjoyed reading it.

    Our tiling project is mostly done now, except waiting for the grout to dry, sealing it tomorrow. LB did most of the grouting and it was frustrating, 3/4 of the way through we ran out of grout and I had to speed to Home Depot yet again to get another batch. I really hate grouting. It looks really good though, in a Santa Fe way, not perfect but quaint.

    The month of January is finally crawling to its end soon, can’t happen fast enough.

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  47. Mark P said on January 26, 2023 at 7:31 pm

    I liked the Hillerman books, too. I’m not sure I want to read his daughter’s continuation of the series.

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  48. Little Bird said on January 26, 2023 at 9:00 pm

    We have enough extra tiles and a bunch of broken tiles to do a broken tiled mosaic tray. I might be a glutton for punishment.

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  49. Jeff Gill said on January 26, 2023 at 9:26 pm

    Anne Hillerman’s continuations aren’t great, but they ain’t bad. I get each one as soon as they come out, and I appreciate how she’s supported the interesting revisions they’ve done for the latest TV versions of Tony’s original framing of the Big Rez and the main trio of tribal police characters.

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  50. Deborah said on January 26, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    I first heard of the Hillerman novels when Bill Clinton put out his favorite books of the year way back whenever that year was. I always read Obama’s list of favorite books too even still, I usually find some I enjoy. I like hearing from you all what books you enjoy too, I’ve taken some of your advice and found hours of pleasure.

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  51. Dexter Friend said on January 27, 2023 at 1:32 am

    I used to make regular trips to Ann Arbor for sports and shopping, always a stop at Schoolkids Records because they’d have the latest Tom Waits LPs and CDs, and one clerk sometimes would have a European bootleg on vinyl for me. After that, I’d head to the funky David’s Used Books. That place was a real smorgasbord of books. I remember finding a Nelson Algren classic which was like $4.
    Then the unusually named Steve’s Lunch which served great Korean food in a diner setting. I never asked why the joint was called Steve’s Lunch when Koreans ran the place.
    Other than the Main Street coffee houses and mainstream restaurants, another unusual place was Bev’s Caribbean Kitchen not far from Burns Park. It was a carry-out but when I’d ride my bike there they’d fix me a plate and I’d sit on a stool by the kitchen and eat, usually curried goat.

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  52. beb said on January 27, 2023 at 5:16 am

    Nancy wrote about Barnes & Noble as if the chain died. Borders has died but B&N is still around and apparently doing better since they hired a book guy from England. I loved the B&N near us, that became a “health food” store. I drive across two to the one on 14 and John R. But mostly I read old pulp magazines now.

    I do read the occasional Alfred Hitchcock. There was a story in it set in Detroit, kind of threw me off when the main characters came down Telegraph and turned on to Chalmers, ignoring the roughly 20 miles between them. Yeah, getting things I know wrong throws me out of the story.

    I loved the Tony Hillerman books and wasn’t sure I would like the ones written by his daughter but she’s pretty good, took one of the side characters and made her her own so there is less of a direct comparison between the two authors.

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  53. FDChief said on January 27, 2023 at 10:49 am

    LB: I’ve enjoyed that Briggs series until kind of losing track of it recently. I should circle back and pick it up to see if I still enjoy it. Some of her earlier stuff is fun, too.

    The kinda skweechy part about Hamilton is how she supposed claims she bases some of her work on her own life. Given the direction the Blake books have taken…I just can’t.

    Someone named Maresca is doing a series called the “Maradaine Constabulary” that I’m enjoying a lot.

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