Monday, 27 October 2014

The Burning Room: Michael Connelly's Latest Bosch Novel

Fans of Michael Connelly's LA detective Hieronymous (Harry) Bosch can look forward to the latest Bosch novel, The Burning Room, which will be released on November 3. For those who are keeping track, this is Connelly's nineteenth Bosch novel.

The detective is working in the Open-Unsolved Unit of the LAPD, and tackles a unique cold case in which the victim, who has a bullet lodged in his spine from a shooting nine years earlier, dies of complications from this almost-decade-old attack.

Bosch and his new rookie partner Detective Lucia Soto must solve the case despite the fact that the evidence is virtually non-existent.

Sounds like vintage Connelly (and Bosch).

For an excerpt from the novel, please click here. 

Monday, 20 October 2014

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

Just Mercy, which will be released on October 21, 2014is the memoir of Bryan Stevenson, an activist lawyer and co-founder of the Equal Justice Initiative. The centre of the novel is the story of Walter McMillan, whom Stevenson represented in the 1980s. McMillan was accused of the murder of a young white woman in Monroeville, Alabama--ironically, the hometown of Harper Lee, the author of To Kill a Mockingbird, which tells the story of a black man falsely accused of the rape of a white woman.

McMillan had been having an affair with the woman and was convicted at trial of her murder despite the fact that numerous eye witnesses provided him with an alibi. The predominantly white jury (eleven of its members were white) returned a sentence of life in prison, which  the judge, Robert E. Lee Key, converted to a death sentence. McMillan was finally exonerated and released in 1993. He died last year.

In Stevenson's own words: "We will ultimately not be judged by our technology, we won’t be judged by our design, we won’t be judged by our intellect and reason. Ultimately, you judge the character of a society . . . by how they treat the poor, the condemned, the incarcerated.”

For information on the Equal Justice Initiative, please click here.

For information on the exoneration of Walter McMillan, please click here.

For a review of Just Mercy, please click here.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Thanks, Gang!

Boo-boo (in front) and Mimi

Today is the Canadian Thanksgiving, and I thought it would be a good time to take stock of all the things for which I'm thankful. My family, of course, comes first to mind and then the people who have supported and encouraged me throughout my life. But I'd also like to mention the pets who have enriched my life and given me lots of smiles.

Aside from the usual suspects to which I introduced you in a previous blog, I have two additions to the menagerie: Boo-boo and Mimi, female tabby cats who were in need of a home. My son has a third cat from the same litter named Ewok. (For those of you who are snickering, please note that I did not choose these names.) Ewok has become a good friend of Minnie, also a tabby, and together they rule my son's apartment.

I had forgotten how energetic cats could be at a young age, and I'm trying to keep up as they climb my back when I'm sitting at my desk, giving me a none-too-subtle hint that they want to take over my chair. I've nicknamed Boo-boo "The Flash" for her ability to appear two steps ahead of me at any given time. And I woke up the other morning to see Mimi walking along the top of the bedroom door, having climbed up the clothes I had hanging there on an over-the-door hook.

There is the continuing saga of my Siamese cat Sammy, who is currently on a diet and needs to lose nine pounds.  He's eating a special "satiety" food from the vet's which is supposed to make him feel fuller and eat less. So far, he's lost almost two pounds, which isn't bad because it's hard to use the words "Sammy" and "sated" in the same sentence.

And of course there are my two dogs, Charley and Cody, who accompany me on my walks, and there is my oldest cat, Tiger, who has a unique personality and has already passed on to Mimi his annoying habit of meowing for food when his bowl is full.

Thank you, gang, for making my life a lot more interesting!

Monday, 6 October 2014

The Books We Talk About

There's an interesting post on the New York Review of Books blog concerning the books we talk about.  The post is written by Tim Parks, and it explores past novels from Laurence Stern's Tristam Shandy and Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles to such contemporary works as E.L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey.

Parks refers to the "social function of a novel" as "[a] shared subject of discussion. Something complex for minds to meet around. . . .  Novels are ideal subjects for testing the ground between us."

He notes that with the proliferation of novels today, it is sometimes difficult to find common ground unless we settle on a blockbuster or media-hyped work. He also notes the role of "chance" in making a novel one that is likely to generate discussion.

For my part, I can't help thinking that the amount of publicity given to a novel, its marketability as a film or television spin-off, and the fact that it is written by an author whose name is instantly recognizable are all major factors in making a novel--for better or worse--the subject of conversation.

For the full text of the blog post, please click here.