Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Halloween in an old village

It’s the 31st of October, early afternoon. I’ve just put the chicken and potatoes in the slow cooker, and acknowledged the fact that a story I had submitted in June was rejected. It’s OK. This month I submitted 13 stories, more than reaching my quota.
The sky is battle-cruiser grey, and there is a faint mist that will probably get thicker as the day progresses.

I am taking a couple of days off. There’s a story I should finish but I’ll never make it in time for the deadline. Pity.
The last few weeks have been complicated, and now that the worst part is over, I can slow down a bit and have some fun.

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Ghosts, Crimes and Philosophy: a review of Joyland

My friend Flavia says she re-reads Stephen King’s Joyland every year, usually in June, because she likes how it makes her feel. And I know a lot of people that did not like the book – and it’s because of both Flavia’s opinion and of those people’s opinion that I went and read it.
I said I’d write a review when I finished it.
Guess what… I finished it.

I’ll start by saying that Joyland plays a dangerous game, because it’s both a crime thriller and a ghost story, and if mixing genres is always dangerous, it is also true that ghost stories often deal with the revelation of some dark secret, the avenging of some old crime. So, it’s a classic mix, and it works fine. Many also point out that Joyland is a coming-of-age story, and this is throwing another genre (or is it a theme?) into the mixer.
As I said, a dangerous game, that King pulls so nicely it seems effortless.

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Stevie’s second Hard Case: Joyland

Having spent most of the day writing, I decided to take a break at 4 pm and dug out another Hard Case ebook from the big supply I have now on my reader. My friend Flavia posted about starting to re-read once again Stephen King’s Joyland, and I thought, why not?
I always liked the cover of this one, time to see if the story is up to it.

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A mix-tape of the ’70s: Normandy Gold

I went through one of my usual bouts of insomnia, last night, compounded by my pollen allergy giving me the first troubles of the season, and so I did a bit of reading. The first book I picked from the Hard Case Crime Humble Bundle I mentioned yesterday is the graphic novel Normandy Gold, written by Alison Gaylin and Megan Abbott, with art by Steve Scott. The reason for my choice, I liked the cover. So sue me.

The plot (without spoilers): after a very hard start, runaway girl Normandy Girl (she was to be called Victory, then her dad died in the D-Day) has pulled herself together and is working as a sheriff in Oregon. When her half-sister dies in Washington DC, Normandy starts her own personal investigation, opening up a plot that mixes corruption, blackmail and espionage. But Normandy is out for vengeance anyway.

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A criminal birthday

This year my birthday came twenty-eight days earlier than expected, thanks to the generosity of my brother and an unexpected Humble Book Bundle. As I mentioned in the past, the Humble Bundle is a great way to keep reading quality books while being broke – usually with as little as 80 eurocents you can get a handful of books in a variety of subjects (both a blessing and a curse if you are an omnivorous reader or just plain curious about a lot of different things), and at the same time help a charity.

And today I was notified the start of the bright new Pulp Fiction Humble Bundle, in collaboration with Titan Books and Hard Case Crime, and even before I checked the contents I knew I was in for a purchase.

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Quarry

1699714I was reflecting today that a lot of non-fantasy fiction authors I love, I met before in articles and essays than in stories.
Case in point: Max Allan Collins.
I first met this extremely prolific writer in a collection of essays called The Fine Art of Murder – which I bought massively discounted in 1994 in a bookstore that no longer exists, in Turin. The only library I was thrown out of – but that’s another story.

The Fine Art of Murder is an excellent book, by the way.
Just as excellent as much of what I read by Collins.
And I am a fan of his Quarry series. Continue reading