(Shut up. For blog purposes this is still Sunday.)
I don’t have time or energy to do full reviews, as today was probably the least productive day ever recorded in human history, but here’s stuff you should look at:
The Sherlockian (Graham Moore) – a mysterious murder in the world of Sherlock Holmes nerds, intertwined with the story of a murder investigation conducted by Arthur Conan Doyle, who has just rid himself of Holmes in “The Final Problem”. Our nerd-hero is very likeable and the Doyle portrait is very believable. This is a breath of fresh air if you made the understandable error of trying to read The Arcanum.
Getting Off (Lawrence Block) – yes, okay, the cover will have people on BART looking at you funny. I was expecting it to be okay but not great, and it was actually quite good. Not Eight Million Ways to Die good, but well worth a read. Kit, our heroine, has sex with men and then kills them, for reasons that make perfect sense to her. I was expecting this to turn into a cat-and-mouse game with a brave detective investigating the killings, but Block knows better than to pull that nonsense. One finds oneself torn between rooting for Kit and being creeped out.
The Book of Cthulhu (edited by Ross E. Lockhart) – a compendium of stories “inspired by” Lovecraft, which means it’s a very mixed bag. Some of the stories are really well-done (like Caitlin Kiernan, surprise surprise) and others appear to have been phoned in, or missed the point entirely.
How Not to Write a Screenplay (Denny Martin Finn) – on the first page, the author lays out for us that he’s not a screenwriter; he’s the reader. Therefore, as the person who is going to help decide whether your screenplay is rejected or not, he has a great deal of advice on what works and what doesn’t, what used to be in screenplays that is left out, and he compares crappy screenplays (with the serial numbers filed off) with really good writing from actual moves. I found this very interesting from a non-screenwriter perspective because it has very useful information about what goes into a novel that doesn’t belong in a screenplay, and possibly vice versa. The Arcanum, I’m looking at you, damn it.
Art History: A Very Short Introduction (Dana Arnold) – good grid, I love the Very Short Introduction series. The books are small enough to be portable, Oxford gets actual experts to write them, and you can feel especially smart. Instead of reading a “Dummies” book you can pretend you’re reading “Dummies for Very Intelligent People with Little Spare TIme”. This is a good overview of the discipline of art history and approaches to the history and curation of art, and if a Philistine like me can understand it, it should be perfectly adequate for you.