The Literary Horizon: The Thin Man, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

My dear and beloved readers, something momentous has occurred. While talking to my friend Andrea on Sunday, I felt strange. After all this time, I’m ready. I finally actively want to read mystery. Of course, my definition of mystery is a bit broader than most, given my long break from the genre…

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The Sunday Salon: 2011 in Review

Merry Christmas, to those who celebrate it—but it’s also the last Sunday of the year, which means it’s time for my top ten list. As usual, these are my top reads of 2011, not the top published books of 2011. But I’ve also added my favorite film adaptation and my favorite audiobook of the year, since I’ve started really keeping those posts up. I was lucky enough to have a good handful of five star books, but that meant leaving off a lot of four and a half star books that I honestly loved off the list. I invite you to rifle through those categories to your right. And here’s 2010 in review and 2009 in review, if you’re so inclined. I think that’s all the housekeeping, so let’s get started.

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Review: The Secret History

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Providence smiled upon me with The Secret History; I found a first edition in a local thrift store. Normally, this doesn’t matter to me unless it involves my beloved Tolkien, but the people over at Alfred A. Knopf believed in Tartt’s debut so much so that they printed the first edition in a run of 75,000—compared to the 10,000 usually reserved for debuts. It’s also pretty fancy, with a plastic cover that slips over a lovely hardcover. Jenny absolutely adores this book, and I thought it was high time to ignore my library books and get to my own tiny pile of unread books. (I do, in fact, have one! It is in my closet.)

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Review: Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura by Lavie Tidhar

I feel I tend to neglect smaller presses when it comes to my reading list. I’m skittish when it comes to new books; I have a hard time wandering through a library or a bookstore and picking up something on the spot. I need to do research; I need to know what people whose opinions I trust think of it. Not that this saves me from reading bad books, but it does prevent some of the worst offenders from crossing my desk. But this reserve must be neatly folded away when I’m dealing with NetGalley; I just have to suck it up and reach a hand in. Hence Camera Obscura, which caught my attention because its protagonist is Milady de Winter from The Three Musketeers.

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The Sunday Salon: Rant — Literary Fiction

And now for something a little different—a video rant about “literary fiction” and “genre fiction” (both literally meaningless labels). Emo!Ten, our cardboard cut-out of the Tenth Doctor (he survived a near collision between Sasha, the small Honda Civic, and a MARTA bus; his sadness attracts disaster), looms over my shoulder, Demora Pasha’s fan is really loud, and our window of dramatic lighting, well, lights dramatically.

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Page to Screen: Sherlock – Season One (2010)

Sherlock
based on the Sherlock Holmes canon by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Fandom, thou cruel mistress. Over the summer, everyone in the Doctor Who fandom turned their attention to Steven Moffat’s newest project, Sherlock. To a woman, they loved it–and thus began my desperate attempts to plug my ears until it came Stateside, no matter how tempting or lovely the outpouring of fanworks looked. (Sometimes the old Anglophilia is a curse.) But finally, I got a chance to see it; during the end of October and beginning of November, PBS aired all three episodes of Sherlock’s first season. (American television seasons are, naturally, foreign to British television; a season or series of Sherlock is composed of three ninety-minute stories.)

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The Sunday Salon: Literary Taxonomy

I’ve been following the dialogue between Margaret Atwood and Ursula Le Guin concerning what exactly constitutes science fiction for some time, because it’s an important question–at what point is that line drawn? We tend to think that other people see genres the same way we do, as Atwood and Le Guin did. However, to their surprise, they discovered they did not, making their chief conflict quite complicated. When I attended one of Atwood’s lectures at Emory a few weeks ago, I was quite taken with her choice of phrase when she was discussing the many meanings SF has to her–it depends on your “literary taxonomy”. To further explore that idea, I’ve decided to clarify and contemplate my personal literary taxonomy.

(Obviously, we’re only dealing with fiction here–nonfiction and fiction are as different as the day and night. It’s only when you try to pick out the different phases of the moon that you run into trouble.)

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Review: Velocity

Velocity by Alan Jacobson

Thrillers and I do not have a good track record. I feel bad about that, so I’m always trying to find that elusive and possibly mythical thriller that will make me love the genre, or, at least, prove to me that there are good thrillers. When I was given the opportunity to review Alan Jacobson’s Velocity, I did my homework–I checked Amazon and filed through the reviews I could find. Reviews were positive, especially when it came to Karen Vail, the main character. I decided to take the plunge and give Velocity a read.

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Teaser Tuesday: Misery

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

“Please… my legs… very painful…”
“I knew she would marry Ian,” she said, smiling dreamily, “and I believe Geoffrey and Ian will become friends again, eventually.”

pg. 17 of Misery by Stephen King.

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your 2 ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

Interview: Pamela Samuels Young

Pamela Samuels Young is a lawyer by day, mystery author by night–or should that by every waking moment? In the last four years, she’s written Every Reasonable Doubt, In Firm Pursuit, Murder on the Down Low, and, of course, Buying Time, a great thriller that I reviewed on Wednesday. (You can read the first chapter here.) Ms. Young was kind enough to become the first author interviewed here at The Literary Omnivore by answering a few questions. Let’s dig in!

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