Monday, December 31, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
From The Australian:
Rudd to reward Aussie writers
AUSTRALIAN writers will from next year vie for one of the world's richest prizes with the Rudd Government to unveil the Prime Minister's Literary Prize for fiction and non-fiction books.
In a bold and affirming cultural statement, the annual awards will have just two categories: published fiction book of the year, and published non-fiction book of the year. Each prize is worth $100,000, tax-free, with a further $100,000 to be spent each year on promoting and administering the awards.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Some people like to do these lists because everybody else is doing it. Others refuse to do so for the same reason. I'm a combination of the two: if everyone else does it, then I don't want to, but I'm going to anyway ... because it's what I actually want to do.
But enough with the Maxwell Smart jokes and on with the list. As always, it's based on my personal reading of the year, which has nothing to do with publishing date. Since tracking it, I've learned that I only read about thirty books a year, all chosen by a whim of the moment.
EVERY DEAD THING by John Connolly
Famed for its hourglass shaped plot (one story tapers into the next), the first Charlie Parker novel is filled to the brim with lyrical writing and beautifully gruesome imagery.
CITIZEN VINCE by Jess Walter
There are two novels in this list about crims trying to get clean or stay clean, with both having a decidedly literary bent. Walter does a brilliant job here of fleshing out so much in so few words that I really should get off my arse and read some of his other work as soon as possible.
NO DOMINION by Charlie Huston
Thankfully the world of books generally does a fair sight better with sequels than cinema does, but in the hands of Charlie Huston, disappointment seems to never be on the cards. Thanks to vampire private investigator Joe Pitt, I want to be Charlie Huston when I grow up.
BENEATH A PANAMANIAN MOON by David Terrenoire
Piano-playing spy John Harper has a damned fine sense of humour and a softer side when compared to more traditional protagonists in the genre and it's these differences that bring Terrenoire's debut floating up above the rest. It took me far too long to get around to reading this, but the day David writes another novel is the day I queue up for it.
SATURDAY'S CHILD by Ray Banks
Other than wanting to be the love child of Charlie Huston and Ray Banks, I can't say enough about this fine piece of work. But if I had to choose my absolute favourite of this list, it would be a close fight between this one and the next.
THE WINTER OF FRANKIE MACHINE by Don Winslow
The retired hitman being pulled back into the biz is not a particularly new idea, but the depth of Frank "Frankie the Machine" Macchiano lifts this to the top of the foam from the cappuccino. Bob De Niro's working on a film of this and, as long as he doesn't stuff it up, I'll be one of the early viewers.
DOUBLE INDEMNITY by James M. Cain
Only one classic this year, and it was one I'd seen the movie of, so I wasn't amazingly shocked by the unfolding of the plot. Still, I gobbled down this timeless and twisted tale of desire in a couple of evening sessions. And it tasted damned good, I tell you.
RAZOR by Larry Writer
This year I delved into non-fiction of various subjects, but this account of the razor gang wars of 1920s Sydney reads almost like fiction, so I'm including it here. The detail of the research is mind blowing and made even more impressive by being set in locations that I know well. Whatever the newspapers of today may say, Sydney is a far safer city than it used to be.
THE CONFESSION by Olen Steinhauer
In my blogging travels I've come across a number of authors whose work I've read, but this is the first time I've read a second book from any of them (that has more to do with my playing catch up than the quality of the writing). I'm extremely glad I did. Everything I liked about Olen's first in the series, THE BRIDGE OF SIGHS, is in its sequel, but the story is taken to another level here. I can't think of any better endorsement of this amazing Eastern European spy series other than saying I have the next two books waiting on my shelf.
I was very tempted to include Joe R. Lansdale's LOST ECHOES in the list, even though I'm only about a third of the way in. Although I doubt very much that I'll be disappointed with the rest of it, I have to be fair, so I've kept it to a simple mention.
Friday, December 07, 2007
With Australia's federal election well and truly over, it's a good time to grab your voting hats and leg it on over to the Spinetingler Awards Shortlist.
Why, you say, why, Daniel?
Well, old mate, old chum, old pal, it's because iffun once you get there you scroll down a teensy tadbit, you'll be finding my first and last name under the nominations for Special Services to the Industry. Now that don't mean I've been handing out free lube to all the crime fiction kiddies, no siree, it's all about that wild and crazy social network I created and maintain, the one called Crimespace.
And while I'm being all forthcoming and such, I figure it's a good idea for me to be honest with you, my voting public. All the other people nominated for the same award have been giving good to the crime fiction world on the internet for longer and better than yours truly.
But to be equally honest, I'd like you to vote for me. Also, check out all the other categories while you're at it and vote for fellow Australian nominees, Amra Pajalic and Text Publishing.
Voting is open. ONE E-MAIL PER PERSON ONLY. You cannot send another vote in, even for a different category – multiple votes from the same sender will not be counted. Take the time to consider your votes carefully. E-mails must be received by December 30, 2007 - authors, if you're putting this in your newsletter make sure you are clear about the deadline for voting. Many recommendations were not considered in the first round because they were sent late.
You may vote for one winner in each category as long as all votes are submitted in one e-mail. Simply state the category and your chosen winner for each of the eight categories. Any votes that contain more than one selection per category may be removed from consideration completely. No ties.
Send your e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with AWARD NOMINATIONS in the subject line. It is not necessary to explain the reason for your vote.