Monday, March 30, 2020

Elmore Leonard: The Dickens of Detroit wrote a string of classic thrillers

Here and now will not matter in a hundred years

After a hundred years
Nobody knows the place,--
Agony, that enacted there,
Motionless as peace.

Weeds triumphant ranged,
Strangers strolled and spelled
At the lone orthography
Of the elder dead.

Winds of summer fields
Recollect the way,--
Instinct picking up the key
Dropped by memory. 

                 — Emily Dickinson 

Apparently, Everyone Wants To Read Camus Right Now

That’s right, Camus’ The Plague is leading a wave of “pestilence fiction.” Get this: “The British publisher of The Plague, Penguin Classics, says it is struggling to keep up with orders. ‘We’ve gone from shipping quantities in the low hundreds every month to the mid-thousands.'” – The Guardian (UK)

Making the most of isolation: Works of Mercy in an age of social distancing

Over the next few weeks, and very possibly months, we will have to get used to a new way of living. So how do we adjust to a Church without public Masses? How can we help the most vulnerable? And might there be opportunities to live better lives than we did before? This week, six writers offer their suggestions for thriving in a lockdown. Here, Eve Tushnet writes on Works of Mercy. 

Get Shorty at 30: Dennis Lehane on Elmore Leonard's Hollywood satire | Books | The Guardian
I hung out with him twice, once in a bar in the midwest (a recovering alcoholic, he drank O’Doul’s with gusto), and the other time at a literary festival in a small town in Italy. Both times I was struck by what a dude he was. Cooler than almost anyone I’ve ever met. As cool as Chili Palmer, Raylan Givens, Ernest Stickley Jr or Vincent Mora – to name just a few of the laconic badasses who took centre stage at one time or another in his novels. The books were like the man – wry and observant, contemptuous of navel-gazing.
I met him twice, both times when introducing him at the Free Library. He was indeed as cool as anybody I have ever met.

Here is my review of Mr. Paradise. And here's a piece I wrote about him: Crime paid this writer, in dollars and honors.

"Tightly-folded bud."  This is the first line of Philip Larkin's "Born Yesterday," which was written in January of 1954 "for Sally Amis" (Kingsley Amis' daughter) to celebrate her birth.  I thought of the line each afternoon this past week as I walked past the low-hanging branches of trees that are now in bud.

  As I write this, two lines by Larkin from "The Trees" (that lovely poem of spring) come to mind:
 "The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said." 
Everything changes.  Every thing changes.  Nothing changes. 


Some ask the world
        and are diminished
in the receiving
        of it.  You gave me

only this small pool
        that the more I drink
from, the more overflows
        me with sourceless light.

R. S. Thomas, Experimenting with an Amen (Macmillan 1986).  

Bertram Priestman (1868-1951)
"The Sun-Veiled Hills of Wharfedale" (1917)

Thousands of buds at the tips of twigs, yet each in its own singularity: delicate and full of intent.  "Tightly-folded bud."  A flower of leaf. Mostly shades of green, though often streaked, speckled, or swirled with browns or yellows or reds.  Suspended beneath the sky, precarious.  But lucent, potent with life.  And, from all around, the singing of robins