Good morning bookies! Stand by for news and comment.

First, thank you to all who read yesterday’s Top 10 list for 2008. That blog set a record for visitors and I like to think that at least some of them weren’t ranting about what I got wrong. It’s gratifying to do this and to think someone out there actually enjoys reading it. And now, speaking of reading-

***-Larry McMurtry is not what you would call shy with his opinions and, while I have never had the pleasure of meeting him, I can certainly agree with much of what the says. But I pray that he’s wrong in this linked article, in which he predicts the demise of reading by children. And while I understand his point I am encouraged by those rare moments when I attend an event with a children’s author, such as T.A. Barron at Southern Festival of Books three years ago, where literally hundreds of kids show up to get their books signed.

Larry McMurtry gives a short, rare interview

*** World War II books remain as popular as ever, as noted by the forthcoming publication of Outbreak by London’s Imperial War Museum senior historian Terry Chapman. It centers on the months preceding and just after the coming of war to Britain in 1939, and seems to be something of an oral history. Should be interesting, as my reading indicates most British knew war was coming and were resigned to it.

A new World War II history coming soon

*** Rumors are afoot that BookExpo Canada will be cancelled this year due to the economy. Not that I was going but it seems a shame if this happens.

*** So, I thought that I was fairly well in the loop regarding mystery authors. I mean, I read a lot of crime titles, I write a pretty decent number of reviews, I read blogs, forums, etc. And yet with the publication of this year’s Edgar nominees list I realized that I have never even heard of some of these writers. How can that be? Well, for one thing, it shows that for all the doom and gloom about economics and book sales, there are still a lot of books being published. In fact, what I think is happening is that many borderline hack writers-bestsellers, who never were good enough to sell at the top of the bestseller lists but somehow got there anyway, those writers have lost their audience as the casual reader stops buying their books, leaving only the more serious readers who demand a better product.

This is just opinion, of course, just a feeling based on being around a lot of material on crime fiction. But let’s face it, there are some very bad writers out there who have sold a LOT of very bad books, and the publishing houses have come to depend on those sales. Does anybody read a new Patricia Cornwell novel and then think ‘wow, that was $27.95 well spent!’ Probably so. But probably not many. Most probably think ‘my God, I spent $27.95 for that crap?’

Edgar is back!

*** Remember the fake Holocaust book I blogged about a while back? Well, Oprah has an opinion about that. However, since this is an Oprah-free blog, I cannot tell you what it is.

*** It has now been 20 years since Salman Rushdie was condemned to death for The Satanic Verses. Not being dead yet, he has given some interviews on the subject which indicate that he has mixed feelings about the whole thing. I can see that. Having people declare you a legitimate target for execution isn’t necessarily a good thing, but it is one heck of a marketing tool.