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Blog Archive December 2007

Happy 2008

My golden lab Oscar (4 years old) is sending a message.
It is time to take some down time.
I’ll celebrate New Years in Bangkok.
Meanwhile, I wish each and everyone of my friends a very Happy New Year

Posted: 12/28/2007 5:26:00 AM 


Bangkok Year End Wrap

10 resolutions for the New Year 2008.

1. Finish the second draft of Calvino #10 by the end of January.
2. Spend more time with the family.
3. Travel more, including a North American trip.
4. Read more from science to crime fiction.
5. Take time to help friends in need.
6. Assist in promoting the books in North America and England.
7. Remember that everyone has a choice: you can turn response with
laughter or anger to the insanity of life.
8. Spend less time on the Internet.
9. Never miss a workout at the health club.
10. Stay curious, focused and discis plined.

More photographs from Pushkar, Rajastan, India.


Girl singer in Pushkar

Pushkar travel agent

Holy man visiting a shrine

Braham Priest Blessing the faithful

Joome, my camel, taking a rest in the Rajastan desert

Posted: 12/27/2007 3:29:50 AM 


Your Future Sex Partner

Merry Christmas.

Like David Levy’s publisher, now I have your attention.


The Evolution Of Human-Robot Relationships

By David Levy

Harper. 334 pp. $24.95

Here’s one author’s vision of the future sexual relations between human being and robots. In the Washington Post review Joel Achenbach, writes:

“’Love with robots will be as normal as love with other humans,’” Levy writes, "while the number of sexual acts and lovemaking positions commonly practiced between humans will be extended, as robots teach us more than is in all of the world's published sex manuals combined.’”

“Levy goes on to imagine a world of robot prostitutes, or ‘sexbots,’ which would offer people a chance to practice their technique before entering a human relationship. ‘With a robot prostitute,’ he writes, "the control of disease is implicit -- simply remove the active parts and put them in the disinfecting machine.”

I am waiting for a novel to run with this theme. Low-tech bars may well be turned into museums.

Posted: 12/24/2007 9:43:09 PM 



I want to take this opportunity for thanking each of you for your support in 2007. It has been a fantastic year. A year filled with good memories. An incredible time at Samana Negra in Spain where the Spanish version of Zero Hour in Phnom Penh won the 2007 Premier Special Director Book Award.

The Spanish trip was followed by news from my agent that she had made a 4-book deal for novels in the Vincent Calvino series. The 4-books were purchased by Grove/Atlantic Press. The Risk of Infidelity Index =1-1 has been delivered to bookstores in the United States, England and the Commonwealth. Spirit House will follow in May 2008.

I am finishing a second draft of new Calvino for Grove/Atlantic. Calvino #10 is scheduled for release in December 2008. Atlantic Monthly Press will also publish a 4th novel from the Calvino backlist in May 2009. My agents in LA and Washington, D.C. have reached a movie option deal for the Calvino series. That should give a lift to the books. Though movie options are pretty common in Hollywood and the jump from an option to a made picture is like the climb from base camp to the top of K2. Many start up the mountain, but most don’t reach the top. But to get a chance you need to get to base camp.

Looking back at 2007, it has been a dream year. Along this twenty-year journey a number of people have consistently given me encouragement. For those of you who have been cheering for me, buying my books, spreading the word, I am grateful. To each of you, I extend a heartfelt thank you.

Posted: 12/24/2007 5:17:35 AM 



Pushkar is a Hindu holy city in the Rajastan desert. We spent one week in the city. The diet is strict vegetarian. No meat, chicken, pork or eggs. There are many street vendors selling local dishes.

One of the holy men of Pushkar lost in thought.

Every morning I started the morning with breakfast at the Sunset Hotel. The tables outside the hotel overlook the lake and city. It is a popular meeting place and travelers from around the city come to this spot to watch the sunset.

Posted: 12/24/2007 5:14:04 AM 


Pushkar, Rajastan, India: December 2007

Street life in the small towns of India are a world of markets, cows, motorcycles, bicycles, women balancing large bowls of produce on their heads, street musicians, vendors and the crunch of people.

In Hindu culture cows have the right of way. They are sacred. Here is one queuing at a fax shop. Perhaps sending a report to a superior.

Posted: 12/20/2007 11:14:26 PM 


Readers on the Endangered List

In a New Yorker article titled “Twilight of the Books What will life be like if people stop reading?” Caleb Crain examines the hard evidence that the culture of readers is going the way of Asian tigers.

“Between 1982 and 2002, the percentage of Americans who read literature declined not only in every age group but in every generation—even in those moving from youth into middle age, which is often considered the most fertile time of life for reading. We are reading less as we age, and we are reading less than people who were our age ten or twenty years ago.”

And he follows with this gloomy prediction about the direction of society, suggesting that as a group of TV watchers whose brains become passive instruments for the advertising industry.:

“There’s no reason to think that reading and writing are about to become extinct, but some sociologists speculate that reading books for pleasure will one day be the province of a special “reading class,” much as it was before the arrival of mass literacy, in the second half of the nineteenth century. They warn that it probably won’t regain the prestige of exclusivity; it may just become “an increasingly arcane hobby.” Such a shift would change the texture of society.”

Why not buy a book for the holiday season. Give it to a friend, relative, your spouse or child; pull them away from the TV and introduce them to the world of words from which they can produce their own images and excite an imagination that lies ready to be ignited.

Posted: 12/20/2007 4:45:03 AM 


The Risk of Infidelity Index

On schedule the Grove/Atlantic edition of The Risk of Infidelity Index has been released in the United States, Canada, Australia and England. One place where you can order a copy of the hardback edition is from amazon dot com.

The ninth in the Calvino series is 336 pages and the amazon price is US$14.96. The price is about Baht 500 or less than the trade paperback edition published by Heaven Lake Press. Amazon also has, in some cases, free shipping, so the price will never be better to buy a first edition of a Vincent Calvino novel.

At last Vinnie Calvino has returned to the Big Apple. Not that New York is a setting in the story that unfolds in Risk; but the publication does mark the author’s return to New York. My first novel, His Lordship’s Arsenal was published in New York in 1985. It has been a long time since one of my books has been available in the United States. For readers who have had concerns about finding my books at a reasonable price, the latest Grove/Atlantic edition solves both problems.

In case you have some last minute Christmas shopping and want the chance to share your experience of Bangkok, ordering The Risk of Infidelity Index from amazon.com or Barnes & Noble is a good start.

If you are in Canada, you can order from amazon.ca

If you are in the UK, you can order from amazon.uk

If you are in Germany, then you can order from amazon.de amazon.de

Posted: 12/19/2007 3:13:26 AM 


City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi

City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi (Paperback)
by William Dalrymple

If you love find travel writing, a nicely woven history, a personal journey and an insightful perspective of the capital of India then you can’t do better than read City of Djinns. The prose style is elegant and laced with wit and panache. I found the history of the Mughal Empire particularly compelling. This is a world of eunuchs, lavish gardens and forts, vast harems, murder and palace intrigue, with brothers killing each other for power and wealth.

Dalrymle draws the interesting historical point that the Muslim culture was hevily influenced by the Greeks with the emphasis on rationality and logic. Unlike the Hindus, they were urban people, their gardens a tribute to order; unlike the chaotic Hindus whose tangle overgrown gardens and love of the country set up a rival mindset that remains today. The author’s interviews with those who lived through the bloody Partition in 1947 is moving and disturbing.

A Trinity, Cambridge graduate, Dalyrmple recalls attending a party in Delhi where a senior official asked if he had attended Eton. When he said that he hadn’t, the senior official abruptly moved on to find someone more suitable among the gathering.

City of Djinns will have you ordering all of Dalrymle’s books. His books have won numerous awards, and his first was published, as one English critic aptly put it at the “irritating” age of 22.

Posted: 12/19/2007 12:33:31 AM 


Italian edition of Pattaya 24/7

The Italian edition of Pattaya 24/7 has been released by Mondadori.

This is the first Calvino novel to be translated into Italian. For any author seeing a foreign translation of his novel is a thrill. Hopefully Pattaya 24/7 will be the first among many of the Calvino novels to be brought out in Italy.

Posted: 12/16/2007 10:18:21 PM 


Translating Conrad’s Life into the age of Globalization

In an article titled the Moral Agent Giles Foden has done a brilliant job on the 150th anniversary of Joseph Conrad’s birth, to revisit the importance of his work, the scope of his vision, and the personal details that in large measure influenced his work. His genius for exploring human nature ends with the conclusion that at the outer rim of the best literature, a writer is confronted with a high wall where people are simply not knowable.

“Conrad is the perennial immigrant. As his friend John Galsworthy put it: "Prisoners in the cells of our own nationality, we never see ourselves; it is reserved for one outside looking through the tell-tale peep-hole to get a proper view of us.”

“In today's era of globalisation and environmentalism, which demand holistic approaches, we can appreciate Conrad's attempt to dramatise the human condition in its widest possible ideation. Only when the other is recognised, geographically and historically, is the true moral value of a given situation revealed. So far as such value is calculable, it always involves differentials between positions rather than measuring up to any external ‘sovereign power enthroned in a fixed standard of conduct’ (Lord Jim)”

Conrad’s visits to Bangkok are recorded in the history of the Oriental Hotel. During Conrad’s time the hotel was more of a rundown guesthouse than the grand world-class hotel of the present day. There is a suite named after him as well. One that no doubt that Conrad would not have been able to afford to have stayed in.

Posted: 12/4/2007 12:43:45 AM 


How to Cure Depression Asian Style, Clear your Bowels, and Become Young

It is that time of the year when the weather changes and the mood shifts into a low gear depression. There is medication and there are therapists. Now there is the definitive book from a Japanese author Hiroyuki Nishigaki titled: How to Good-Bye Depression: If You Constrict Anus 100 Times Everyday. Malarkey? or Effective Way?

Or let’s say you are depressed but would like to reverse the aging process. Again Nishigaki’s technique apparently works for the holy grail of youthfulness. The book is described on amazon as: “I think constricting anus 100 times and denting navel 100 times in succession everyday is effective to good-bye depression and take back youth. You can do so at a boring meeting or in a subway. I have known 70-year-old man who has practiced it for 20 years. As a result, he has good complexion and has grown 20 years younger. His eyes sparkle. He is full of vigor, happiness and joy. He has neither complained nor born a grudge under any circumstance.”

Trolling through the amazon reviews yields a splendid number of insights of how this books has been treasured by readers.

One reviewer was hooked on the “English” in the book and believes this line would draw in just about any reader: "Besides shooting out a big blank from your buttock, you can feel as if your root chakra leaked sweet hot mucus.”

Another reviewer wrote: “The remaining three sections are Nishigaki's writing, and are based on the teachings of Carlos Castaneda. While I'm inclined to believe that both Castaneda and Nishigaki are both lunatics who need to be institutionalized, I didn't buy the book to learn about the healing effects of anal-clenching; I got the book because it looked like a good laugh.”

Yet another reviewer wrote: “I've been teaching my dog to obey this book as well. In fact, I'm working on a technique to teach dogs how to constrict their anuses at your command. So useful, really.”

And last but not least, a reviewer said, “I decided to try the methods described in the book. Anal constrition and stomach compression, 100 times a day for several days.

At the risk of seeming disgusting, permit me to say that several days after I started this practice, I experienced what was probably the largest bowel movement in my life. I've also lost a few inches around the waistline and my energy level seems to be rising.”

I will be away for a couple of weeks. Look for the next blog entry sometime during the third week of December.

Posted: 12/3/2007 4:14:35 AM 



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