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Monday, Jul 2, 2007
by Karen Heller [The Philadelphia Inquirer (MCT)]

Could there be a more brilliant title than The Dangerous Book for Boys? You could take two empty covers, stick a book of matches inside—dipped in wax for waterproofing as suggested—and come up a winner.


This handsome volume, authored by brothers Conn and Hal Iggulden, proffers advice on such essentials as spiders, poker, invisible ink, skinning a rabbit and making a go-cart, things every boy’s father knew as a boy.


OK, let’s not kid ourselves here. Every boy’s grandfather.


A phenomenon in the authors’ native England where it was published a year ago, Dangerous was named British Book of the Year, with more than half a million copies in print. Since its May debut on these shores, the retro manual, which has a $25 list price, has sold 211,000 copies. It crests Publishers Weekly‘s best-seller list, outselling Reagan, Gore, Diana, Hillary, Einstein and, well, God.


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Sunday, Jul 1, 2007
Courtesy: The Saturday Age, 30 June 2007, http://www.theage.com.au

Courtesy: The Saturday Age, 30 June 2007, http://www.theage.com.au



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Friday, Jun 29, 2007
by Sean G. Murphy

Kurt Vonnegut would say in speeches that a plausible mission of artists is to make people appreciate being alive at least a little bit.  Often, he was asked: Have any artists successfully accomplished this? “The Beatles did”, he replied.

Vonnegut, whom time finally stuck to last week, lived a lot longer than he thought he would. For fans, he lived longer than many of them thought he would, too. Most of his avid readers have been preparing for his death, in earnest, since his suicide attempt in 1984. As it turned out, there were many more Pall Malls left to smoke. Then, in 1997, the author’s caliginous assertion that Timequake was to be his last novel did seem rather like a settling of accounts.


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Friday, Jun 29, 2007
by Peter Rozovsky [The Philadelphia Inquirer (MCT)]

the aftermath of murder is what absorbs these writers

What do four of Sweden’s most celebrated crime novelists share, other than international success, a fistful of prizes, and a hectic tour schedule?


“We are not interested in telling how to kill people,” Kjell Eriksson says. Oh, characters die, all right—these are crime novels, after all—and often in especially gory ways.


The ex-convict whose killing sets in motion Hakan Nesser’s The Return (Pantheon, $22.95) has been decapitated and dismembered. So has the male victim—or is the body female?—in Helene Tursten’s The Torso (Soho, $13). Little John in Eriksson’s The Princess of Burundi (St. Martin’s, $12.95) gets off easy. His killer/torturer removes just a few fingers.


As painful as these killings may be, though, there is little voyeurism in them. The reader does not see them happen. Investigators may throw up at the scene, but the upchucking is never extravagant or cathartic. The police react, they clean up, and they emerge, shaken perhaps, but ready to go on with their jobs.


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Thursday, Jun 28, 2007
by Caroline Davis [The Seattle Times (MCT)]

A lightning-shaped scar, furrowed brow and piercing green eyes are what will greet you in the doorway of the Secret Garden Bookshop in Ballard, Wash., these days.


But don’t be alarmed. The cardboard cutout of Harry Potter is becoming a familiar sight in bookstores as they prepare for the highly anticipated release of the seventh and final Harry Potter book.


On July 21, children across the globe will eagerly turn the first crisp page after the books go on sale at the stroke of midnight.


But it’s not just the kids who are excited.


Bookstores large and small have kicked into high Harry gear, preparing for the release of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.


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