Good morning bookies! Stand by for news and comment.
*** I’m about 100 pages into Wicked City by Ace Atkins and I’m enjoying it a great deal. The basic story is about a murder in Phenix City, AL, in 1954. Phenix City was dubbed the Most Wicked City in America at the time. I haven’t read any of his stuff for a while and his writing style has undergone a major change. I find traces of James Lee Burke here, and I don’t think it’s an accident. I’m still waiting to decide if I like that or not, but there’s no doubt the book is quite good. A full review is scheduled for the April issue of iloveamystery.
*** You know, after a while you begin to wonder how business writers keep their jobs. At least, I do. Here’s an article from the Wall Street Journal about Ebay’s collapse that sounds like this guy has never used Ebay himself, but has only read from company press releases and other news ‘journalists’ stories. He hasn’t a clue about the reason reason Ebay is dying, and all he would have to do is ask any Ebay veteran who has left the site what happened.
For example, the auction model isn’t dead, it was just botched by Donahoe. BIN worked, feedback worked, everything worked. But while your friendly neighborhood bookseller applauds this WSJ doofus for at least recognizing that Ebay is having problems, he wonders when someone in the mainstream press is finally going to do some actual work to discover the real reasons Ebay is dying.
In the meantime we’ll just have to rely on bloggers and alternate sites to give us the truth. Indeed, we may come to realize that we are the real journalists, not the big guys.
*** Just the other day I heard a joke on TV making fun of Beirut, capital of Lebanon. It was some cop show, two patrolmen were driving through a desolate section of an American city and they commented that it looked like Beirut. And really, isn’t that the picture we all have in mind, a bombed out city where burned out cars and bullet-riddled buildings are the norm?
Then you see a story like the one here and you realize that somebody had to build those buildings and buy those cars in the first place, right? It seems that Beirut is not so unlike other cities in the world after all, as one of their most venerable bookstores is being closed to make way for a new high rise. On the one hand that’s very sad, yet another bookstore shutting down. But on the other hand, high-rise construction doesn’t come cheap, so somebody, somewhere, has enough liquid capital to invest in a city that both the Syrians and the Israelis consider a good urban warfare training ground.
*** Under the heading of ‘1001 Pubs to Visit Before You Die’ comes a new book by Christopher Pascoe, not yet published, titled Death, Destruction and a Packet of Peanuts in which the author endeavors to visit all of the major battlefields of the English Civil War and their local pubs. Now there’s a vacation! You tour battlefields and museums all day, work up a thirst, then sample the local brew for a few hours. I could do that.
*** For the non-Muslims among us, it seems there is a quiet revolution going on with the young in America. A little known book has caught the imagination of young American Muslims and created a sub-culture that, frankly, could not exist in most other countries.