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16 june 2021

A new granddaughter who visits pretty often inspired me to break out some of the old Mozart CDs on our shelves, on the theory that babies grok Mozart. I also acquired the classic DVD Baby Mozart, which sets mesmerizing videos to his music; I actually learned about Baby Mozart in a novel, A.B. Yehoshua's Friendly Fire, where it works wonders with a fractious kid. I suspect I'm getting all this Mozart mainly for myself, but some theories you gotta pursue.     read more

15 june 2021

The Akashic Noir series is now 110 volumes strong, set in every conceivable noirish city and some (Columbus, Ohio?) you would barely think possible. I remember when Brooklyn Noir was new – seventeen years ago, not long after I started this website – and I thought "I ought to read that some day." I never did. I am over a hundred books behind now in catching up.     read more

13 june 2021

In Danish, Katrine Engberg's detective novel The Tenant is called Krokodillevogteren, which means something like "The Crocodile Keeper." This image has something to do, we learn, with the little bird of fable that cleans the crocodile's jaws but may end up as the crocodile's lunch. Evidently Simon & Schuster figured American writers would think The Crocodile Keeper was some sort of zoo story, so they substituted nearly the blandest title a committee could think of.     read more

10 june 2021

My grandparents were fascinated by the feral ponies of Assateague and Chincoteague Islands off the Delmarva peninsula. They weren't otherwise horse people or much interested in animals domestic or wild, but they always kept pamphlets and calendars around featuring the ponies swimming between the islands. I grew up thinking that there was something deeply significant and quintessentially American about these creatures … though it took me till the age of 62 to actually read Marguerite Henry's children's classic Misty of Chincoteague.     read more

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