Good morning bookies! Stand by for news and comment.

Friday the 13th…anybody going to see the remake of the Jamie Lee Curtis classic that opens today? Boy, I can’t wait to miss it. Slasher pics are my cuppa, but I know otherwise unreasonable people who love this stuff. Ah, well. To each his own.

*** This isn’t exactly book related, but you know how I love nonsense, and you know how I love history, so when an article appears that combines the two I find it irresistible. Did you know that the Nazis fled Germany at the end of the war, using a flying saucer to escape to Antarctica? You did? Oh. Well, you’re one up on me then. Aside from the fact that Antarctica seems a bit chilly for year-round habitation (unless that UFO has one heck of a heating system), why not just flee to a country sympathetic to the Nazi cause that has a more appealing climate? One with a history of aiding Nazis, like, say, Paraguay?

Of course, that’s a reasonable question, which has no place in this new exhibit. Like eating a gooey dessert that’s all sugar and chocolate, this one tasted great but isn’t very filling. New Swabia? Operation Highjump? Man, I like this guy.

One might also note that this article appears in Der Spiegel, a newspaper that one might think akin to the New York Times. That’s a fair comparison, too. Just as the New York Times is billed as ‘All the News That’s Fit to Invent’, Der Spiegel once paid millions of dollars for the Hitler Diaries. Which, of course, were fakes, and bad fakes at that. But while some folk might think that even good journalists can be fooled by a hoax, read the book Selling Hitler to understand just where greed can lead a person. Nazi UFOs are certainly not out of place in Der Spiegel.

History as junk science…tasty!

*** Speaking of Nazis, the German Historical Museum took a massive hit the other day when a German court ordered them to return a collection of some 4,000 rare art posters to the family from which the Nazis took them in 1938. The Museum claims this will gut their holdings. Boo-hoo. The collection is worth some 4.5 million euros.

71 years later a family gets its property back

*** In the category of ‘Well what do you know about that?’, Thomas Pynchon has written his first crime novel, Inherent Vice. Set in LA right after the Manson murders, reportedly with a heavy dose of surfers, sex, drugs and rock and roll, it should be interesting at the very least. It could be horrible or it could be great. Either way, it’s always good when an iconic writer brings out a new book.

Pynchon breaks new ground, for him

*** As many of you know, I consider ebooks, and Amazon’s Kindle, in particular, as grotesque examples of technology ill-used. Horrible, nasty things. And, in the case of the Kindle 2, bad publicity, too. See, Amazon thought how nifty it would be for this device to have an audio feature. You don’t have to just read it from the tiny screen, you can listen, too.

Oops.

It seems that audiobooks are already covered by a copyright and this may well be infringement. The Kindle gets partially exposed. What a shame. And, if it turns out not to be an infringement, it has certainly dredged up some ill will with the Author’s Guild. Which raises the question, has Amazon been taking advice from ebay on how to alienate people?

Of course, Amazon isn’t stupid, unlike ebay, and in the end I think they will iron this out so the Kindle may proceed. Thus proving that people will buy just about anything if you market it correctly.

P.T. Barnum would be proud

*** And finally, some scary news. Dan Brown, author of the second worst novel ever written, The Da Vinci Code, has reportedly finished his newest book. It’s hard to imagine there is a wooden character or cliche that wasn’t used the last time, or that any bad research still exists for him to use as an attack on the Catholic Church, but to believe that is to be unreasonably optimistic. Writers like Brown seemingly have an endless supply of gibberish on which to draw and an equally endless supply of people willing to pay to read it.

Nor is this the snotty and condescending view of an arrogant and condescending snot. No. It’s nothing more than the personal view of your friendly neighborhood bookseller that someone who writes a novel and asks people to spend their hard-earned money to buy it might actually write something worth reading.

I know, I know, that’s asking too much.

Are there any cliches left to use?