Sunday, May 23, 2010

Soup and Salad: Stieg Larsson, the "Lost" Booker, Civil War Medal of Honor, Be-Witchery, Teen Sci-Fi, "Lost" Redux

On today's menu:

1.  The New York Times Magazine's Charles McGrath nicely sums up the cut-short life of Stieg Larsson and the subsequent squabbling over his estate.  I've yet to read any of the "Girl" novels, but The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a prominent blip on my radar.  As McGrath tells it, the post-death life of Larsson is a potboiler saga full of assassination conspiracies, an unfinished manuscript on a laptop, and a couple of chauvinistic relatives critical of the author's girlfriend ("The Larssons have suggested that Gabrielsson is mentally unstable. And in a television interview, Joakim pointed out, unhelpfully, that they had testicles and she didn’t.").

2. Another Dead Author Honored:  JG Farrell is the winner of the "Lost" Booker award 40 years after he should have rightfully claimed the prize:  "Troubles was one of six novels published in 1970 to be shortlisted for the Lost Booker, intended to reward books that were ineligible when they were published, thanks to a shift in the fledgling prize's schedule that year, which resulted in the exclusion of almost 12 months' worth of novels from consideration.  More than 4,000 readers worldwide cast votes for their favourite shortlisted novel, with Troubles taking 38% of the vote, more than double that of other contenders by Muriel Spark, Nina Bawden, Shirley Hazzard, Mary Renault and Patrick White."  I've never read Troubles, didn't vote in the Lost Booker poll, and am not familiar with any of the other books on the short-list, so I don't really have a dog in this fight.  It's just nice to see writers get their due, even if they're not around to enjoy it.  A Confederacy of Dunces, anyone?

3.  More from the Better-Late-Than-Never Dept.:  A Civil War soldier will get the Medal of Honor....147 years after Gettysburg.

4.  January Magazine has a capsule review of Mary Sharratt's new novel The Daughters of the Witching Hill.  I really enjoyed her previous novel The Real Minerva, and I'm anxious to delve into this tale of witch hunts in Ye Olde England.

5.  Over at HiLowbrow, Joshua Glenn takes us on a tour of Young Adult Science-Fiction (1964-1983).  Back when I was a YA, I wasn't really into robots, spaceships and scantily-clad women on Venus (okay, maybe I was into that).  I might have read a Tom Swift here and there and I do recall making it through A Wrinkle in Time.  But Heinlein?  Nah.  The Hilowbrow list, however, sparks my interest.  I have spacesuit, maybe I'll travel.

6.  Speaking of traveling, it's back to the Island for one more look at The Books of Lost over at Paste Magazine.  I'd forgotten about Ben Linus' use of the Henry Gale alias.  This just fuels the fire of my theory that tonight's finale will be something like the end of The Wizard of Oz:
UNCLE HENRY:  She got quite a bump on the head -- we kinda thought there for a minute she was going to leave us.
DOROTHY:  But I did leave you, Uncle Henry -- that's just the trouble. And I tried to get back for days and days.
AUNT EM:  There, there, lie quiet now. You just had a bad dream.
HUNK:  Sure -- remember me -- your old pal, Hunk?
HICKORY:  And me -- Hickory?
ZEKE:  You couldn't forget my face, could you?
DOROTHY:  No. But it wasn't a dream -- it was a place.  And you -- and you -- and you -- and you were there.
(others laugh)
DOROTHY: But you couldn't have been, could you?
AUNT EM:  Oh, we dream lots of silly things when we --
DOROTHY:  No, Aunt Em -- this was a real, truly live place. And I remember that some of it wasn't very nice....

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