Just Above Sunset
August 7, 2005 - Gleichschaltung

Home | Question Time | Something Is Up | Connecting Dots | Stay Away | Overload | Our Man in Paris | WLJ Weekly | Book Wrangler | Cobras | The Edge of the Pacific | The Surreal Beach | On Location | Botanicals | Quotes

Book Wrangler

August 8, 2005

By Bob Patterson


We got a copy of Sinclair Lewis' 1935 novel It Can't Happen Here at the Santa Monica Library and started to read it so that we could do a review. Then we did a bad thing.  We looked at the last page and soon after ran out of enthusiasm for reading every word so that we could turn a review in to Just Above Sunset's beloved editor and publisher as an installment of the weekly Book Wrangler column.


(The ending of the 1935 novel was strangely similar to the last page of Grapes of Wrath [we stopped reading that book too after looking at the last page] which was published in 1939.)


In 1935, Lewis could blithely drop a word like Gleichschaltung into his novel about America and not have any second thoughts about it.  The word refers to a period of German history when the ruling Junta took a dim view of being tolerant of opposing points of view. 


Pundits should probably brush up on Geleichschaltung because it's just about time for the Bush Junta to start suppressing opposing points of view in a more vigorous manner.  Up to now, folks like Rush just laugh off the Democrats and their snide remarks about the search for WMD's and the establishment of a pro-Iranian Muslim Republic in Iraq (via democratic elections) - and joshingly refer to such dissension as treason.  The time has come when the members of the Rush posse will become very serious about such matters.


Some conservative talk show hosts are begrudgingly admitting that the war in Iraq isn't going as exceedingly well as they expected, but when the chips are down, they will (I'm guessing here) vote for Bush again in 2008, if presidential term limits can be removed in a timely manner.


The British seem to be acting more quickly to handle dissension and that, in turn, reminded us that Americans are paying much more attention to events in London lately and the fact that Just Above Sunset (JAS) has recently added a columnist from that city to the team roster has helped JAS get some nice publicity from LA Observed,  the website that specializes in Los Angeles oriented "shop talk" for folks who are connected to the Mainstream Media (MSM).


While searching for some material for this week's Book Wrangler, we went up to Westwood and wandered into the bookstore that specializes in the mystery genre.  We learned that they have just expanded their inventory to include a shipment of items from Great Britain.  Getting books in Westwood, by foreign authors which describe life in other areas is a lot cheaper than going across "the Big Pond," dealing with rude waiters, and talking to other Americans in the museums just to purchase examples of the aforesaid literature.


We noted some interesting items. [Note: we'll be using the British dollar sign thingie in some items because we left our currency converter home.]


The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde  


It concerns the circumstances surrounding the demise of Sir Humpty Dumpty.  The Daily Mail said this book is "a wonderful mixture of the literary and very silly."  What's not to like about a guy who offers a DVD version of one of his books with a special features section that includes deleted scenes?  What next the typo outtakes? 


Killing The Beasts by Chris Simms (12.99 Orion) 


The Moon Tunnel by Jim Kelly (12.99 Michael Joseph imprint of Penguin)


Darkhouse by Alex Barclay (10 HarperCollins)


The Stranger House by Reginald Hill (12.99 HarperCollins)


Murder in Shakespeare's England (19.99 Hambledon & London)


Montmorency And The Assassins by Eleanor Updale (12.99 Scholastic Press)


Pip Granger wrote a series of mysteries set in post war London. [Tiger In The Smoke by Margery Allingham is a classic post war mystery that fans of the film noir style will enjoy.]


We also discovered some books published in the USA which have an exotic foreign setting.


Kittyhawk Down by Garry Disher ($20 Soho) 


A mystery set in Australia might be a change of pace for readers in LA.


The Circle by Peter Lovesey ($24 Soho)


This is a mystery set in Chichester England.


Murder in Clichy by Carra Black ($24 Soho) 


If you want a mystery set in France, you might want to check this one out.

[Editor's Note: For a photo of the Sexodrome up in the Clichy area of Paris see this from last October, and from last September this brief comment on that Clichy-Pigalle area.]


The Watcher In The Pine by Rebecca Pawel ($24 Soho)


This book takes the reader to Spain in 1940.


One of Britain's best-known writers, Robert Lewis Stevenson, preferred life in the South Pacific.  If he were still alive, would he be reading Tiki News and The Moai Murders (an archaeological mystery) by Lyn Hamilton ($22.95 Berkely Prime Crime)?


Traditionally in the American hard-boiled detective novels opens with a private eye sitting and waiting for the next case to arrive.  Jeff Shelby, in his book, Killer Swell ($23.95 Dutton), has his protagonist use the down time to go surfing in the San Diego area.


Sandra Scoppettone has written a hard-boiled detective novel, with a female protagonist, set in New York City during World War II, titled This Dame For Hire ($21.95 Ballantine Books)


Before we traveled to Westwood we found some other non-mystery books that were recently published in the USA and which we thought might be worth mentioning.


They are:


Bonjour Laziness: Jumping Off the Corporate Ladder by Corinne Maier ($16.95 Pantheon) 


This book which is now being published in "the colonies" was previously discussed in the pixels of Just Above Sunset.


The Infinite Book: A Short Guide to the Boundless, Timeless and Endless by John D. Barrow ($26 Pantheon)


It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis, with an introduction by Michael Meyer ($7.95 paperback Signet Classics)


After our excursion to the Westwood section of LA, we did some fact checking and learned that Americans who are interested in the latest literary developments in Great Britain can find some items of interest online at The London Review of Books and the Times Literary Supplement.


In The Traveling Curmdgeon, compiled and Edited by Jon Winokur, Oscar Wilde has been quoted as saying: "London is full of fogs – and serious people.  Whether the fogs produce the serious people or whether the serious people produce the fogs, I don't know, but the whole thing rather gets on my nerves."


Hippies fondly remember the musical trend known as the British Invasion.  Some older Americans cannot name a single member of the Dave Clark Five.  The disk jockey will play one of their best-known hits, Glad All Over, while we disappear into the evening mist.  What will next week's Book Wrangler topic be?  Tune in and see, because right now, we haven't the foggiest idea.




Copyright 2005 – Robert Patterson

Email the author at worldslaziestjournalist@yahoo.com




Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
for the purpose of illustration and commentary,
as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law. 
See the Details page for the relevant citation.

This issue updated and published on...

Paris readers add nine hours....