Tag Archives: Joyce Carol Oates

The Frighten Side of Me

I’ve been a lot of promotional work on my latest nonfiction book, American Dictators, including a March 8 appearance at the Secaucus Public Library that should be fun.

But when I’m not writing about political bosses and labor wars, I write crime fiction of the dark, gritty variety that inhabits a territory where John Sandford, Patricia Highsmith, Georges Simenon, Jim Thompson, and Joyce Carol Oates overlap.

Those of you who are Kindle compatible will get a chance to download my two novels We All Fall Down and Echo as ebook freebies, from Monday through Wednesday. The first is a police procedural about a troubled woman police officer named Karen McCarthy, who will be making a return sometime next year. The second involves an even more troubled heroine, Theresa Costanza, and the story is a dark psychological thriller modeled after Simenon’s romans durs, or “hard novels.”

Download them with my compliments, for three days, at any rate.

 

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Friday finds

Persepolis

Two young Iranians have reworked Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of her girlhood in revolutionary Iran, to tell the story of the bloody aftermath of the recent Iranian election. The literary remix, Persepolis 2.0, was done with Satrapi’s blessing.

A town built around books and publishing? I may just have to learn Korean.

A reminiscence about Ted Kennedy that shows his quality as a progressive senator, and why it will be next to impossible to find anyone to fill his shoes. Joyce Carol Oates talks about Kennedy’s unpunished crime and search for reinvention and redemption.

As a big fan of comedian Patton Oswalt, I can only applaud the imminent release of Big Fan, the movie about a big fan of the New York Giants.

Follow David Gill as he negotiates A Maze of Death.

A good reason to pre-order that upcoming Bob Dylan Christmas record.

Reading poetry (and teaching it) in Uzbekistan.

Now I have to put Sunshine Cleaning on my Netflix queue.

Ralph Nader has written a novel? Who knew? As J.D. Rhoades notes, the book sounds like a parody of Atlas Shrugged, which places two big burdens on the work. First, Ayn Rand novels come with self-parody already installed, and second, Nader ain’t exactly the life of the party. (Quite the opposite, in fact, as we saw in 2000.)

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Friday finds

beefheratThe first volume of John “Drumbo” French’s memoir of his years in Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band is coming out in June. The Captain Beefheart Radar Station has the good news, and some teaser pages from the publisher. Here’s a recording of a 1993 interview (with musical accompaniment) that Beefheart did with Co de Kloet on Dutch radio station NPS. Here’s a 13-minute documentary about the Captain from 1994, loaded with his curious takes on life and interesting turns of phrase. Check out Raymond Ricker’s report on the Captain’s 1981 performance at the late lamented Stanhope House in northwestern New Jersey, highlights of which included Ricker’s jaw getting pierced by the broken end of the headliner’s gong mallet. Beefheart novices will find this bargain CD collates the best two of his listener-friendly records, while this CD showcases his jangly, weird style to best effect.

Joyce Carol Oates reviews Brad Gooch’s new biography of Flannery O’Connor. Guess I’m just going to have to buy the thing.

Hollyword: ActorViggo Mortensen has his own boutique publishing house, Perceval Press. Now director Bret Ratner has Rat Press.

Desolation vacations: Sail the Great Pacific Garbage Patch! Visit the world’s deserted amusement parks!

Hmmmm — this looks interesting. A spring trip to Washington D.C. may be in order.

“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

Madame Mayo has lots of advice for writers. Good advice, too.

A secret passage or hidden room is the perfect addition to your home, and Creative Home Engineering will build it for you. Dennis Cooper’s post includes video clips of secret entries employing rotating fireplaces and bookshelves that slide back when you pull on a favorite title. There’s also a rundown of some of the better-known mansions equipped with secret passages. If this all sounds like nothing but good spooky fun, be sure to read the tragic history of the Sessions House.

Stop Smiling is, in the words of editor Nate Martin, a magazine that “harkens back to the golden age of magazine publishing — think 70s-era Esquire — with plenty of long-form interviews.” Sounds good to me.

Yea, verily, Robert Crumb hath completed the Genesis project. The first book of the Bible, retold Crumb-style as a 201-page graphic novel, will be issued in the fall. On a related note, my single favorite piece of Crumb artwork has been reissued as a gorgeous, top-quality giclee print. Maybe if I sell a book this year . . .

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