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Memory Manifesto

Memory Manifesto

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Jumpers

Jumpers

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The Age of Dis-Consent

The Age of Dis-Consent

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Peter Green launched out to find copies of Spirit House in London and Vancouver. He reported that he found a prominently displayed copy at Foyle’s. That was the good news. There was, however, only one copy. The clerk at Foyle’s was confused by his request to take his picture holding the UK edition of Spirit House....
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Posted: 12/2/2008 11:20:20 PM 

 

Yesterday, Terry Fitzgerald, a long-time fan who has become a good friend, ordered a Special edition of A Killing Smile. Terry’s contribution will make a difference to the lives of the 112 kids who shelter at Suthasinee Noi-in upcountry shelter at Baan Home Hak.

 

This week we will go out and buy sweaters and other clothes for the kids with the money that Terry Fitzgerald and Bruce Comstock’s order have brought in. The nearly Baht 18,000 from these two orders of A Killing Smile will buy a lot at the wholesale market in Bangkok. We will box them and ship them upcountry over the weekend.

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Posted: 12/2/2008 11:13:44 PM 

 

The morning started with a grenade attack at the international airport in Bangkok, leaving one person dead and dozens wounded. This afternoon the Constitutional Court has dissolved the main political party and banned their executives from public office for five years. Close to where I live, over the past week two bombs have been tossed from the flyover onto Rama IV below near Klong Toey market. I heard the explosion. Both times. Police are guarding the flyover this morning.

 

But this isn’t one of the reasons to read crime fiction.

 

It is easy in these circumstances to feel scared, helpless and hopeless about what has happened and may happen next. People are numb with fear. I was at the Emporium, an upscale shopping Mall, and the ground floor is decorated with Christmas trees and White Christmas is playing on the sound system. Some people walking around dazed, staring at the Christmas trees, trying to make sense of what is happening. Bangkok and its people occupy a zone of immense contradictions.

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Posted: 12/2/2008 2:32:18 AM 

 

Moving into the weekend, the capital is tense and the confrontation between the pro and anti-government shows no signs of lessening. Both sides are dug in. No independent third force has emerged which could come forward to end the crisis. The political situation is locked in a stalemate, a strange equilibrium, one that threats to tilt one way or the other by the hours, and once the balance shifts, no one at this writing can predict the consequences.

 

On Friday, there has been chatter about the intervention by the police, air force and navy (under government directive) to remove the demonstrators from the airport. On 7th October when tear gas was used to disperse demonstrator outside of Parliament, two people were killed and hundreds were injured. The deaths and injuries resulted in criticism of the government’s handling of the situation. Since then the authorities have been extremely cautious in the use of force.

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Posted: 11/28/2008 5:35:43 AM 

 

I arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport from New York on Monday. I missed the siege which started on Tuesday. It seems that there are a substantial number of foreigners who have been stranded at the airport. The motorway into the city was jammed with protestors on Tuesday and violence erupted on the street out to airport. Video footage showed a protestor firing a pistol at counter demonstrators.

 

Reuters reports: ”Protesters stormed Bangkok's main international airport and gunfire broke out on the streets of the Thai capital on Tuesday as a campaign to oust Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat turned violent.”

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Posted: 11/26/2008 2:59:22 AM 

 

On Saturday I’m off to New York for just under two weeks. When I return toward the end of the month, I will no doubt have much to discuss. Meanwhile, with the holiday seasons coming up, remember to include a book or two in your gift giving. In terms of value for money, books still deliver hours of entertainment and the best of them stimulate thought, debate and discussion. ...
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Posted: 11/13/2008 3:03:17 AM 

 

Gladwell has authored a couple of books that received wide international attention: Blink and The Tipping Point. His latest book is titled Outliers. In a profile titled Geek Pop Star, New York Magazine, goes inside Gladwell’s world, talk to his friends, analysis his personality, his early life in Ontario, his work habits for the New Yorker magazine. In his new book he asks question about how people like Bill Gates came to do what he did. Gladwell examines various elements such as talent, family connections, friends and luck. Merit alone rarely accounts for a great success. 

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Posted: 11/13/2008 3:02:29 AM 

 

One of the pleasures of the writing life is when a book is sold for translation into another language. My publisher has sold the Portuguese rights to The Risk of Infidelity Index to a publisher in Brazil. This raises the total of translations from English to 12 other languages. Most of the translations are for books in the Calvino series though foreign language editions of my literary novels have also sold. I look forward to working with the Portuguese translator as he/she works through the book. Inevitably questions arise as to the meaning of a word or phrase. The Spanish translation of The Risk of Infidelity Index is in the works and will be out summer 2009. ...
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Posted: 11/13/2008 2:50:24 AM 

 

One of the reasons I like writing (and reading) crime fiction is the window on the politics of the community where the crime has been committed. Injustice, corruption, and abuse of authority act like the three witches in the opening scene of MacBeth, stirring the pot, invoking spells and curses.

 

The Telegraph has an interesting article about the role of novelists in revealing the underlining tensions and problems of society and the relationship between the writers of novels and academics who write research papers about such issues.

 

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Posted: 11/13/2008 2:44:02 AM 

 

The sky darkened in Bangkok about 1.00 p.m. and the rains came down hard. An hour and a half later, as I write this, the motorcycle taxi drivers below my window remain under a couple of large umbrellas, sticking out their heads, looking at the sky. Driving in Bangkok during such a storm is always an experience. Motorcycles are on the roads, the driver soaked, looking wild-eyed, weaving in and out of the traffic. It is a miracle that there aren’t more accidents in the rain. The sky is clearing this afternoon and by evening it will be as if it never rained.

 

The 10th Vincent Calvino novel Paying Back Jack has been shipped by Heaven Lake Press to bookstores in Thailand. Copies should be available by the weekend. If you don’t find a copy in your favorite bookstore, go to the front desk and ask the assistant for the book. There is no question that bookstore employees keep records of such customer requests, and if enough people ask for a book, guess what, someone notices and orders or reorders the title.

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Posted: 11/4/2008 3:11:35 AM 

 

Writing crime fiction set in another culture requires an understanding of the culture, the history and the language. Crime must be properly centered in the culture where the act has been committed. The attitude and expectations of the perpetrator and the victim should reflect the underlying reality of the culture. These elements are brought to life when they are like any good operating system—buried in the background but running the whole operation. Fiction after all is story-telling, not preaching or academic discourse.

 

Elephant Polo

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Posted: 10/30/2008 6:35:14 AM 

 

George Orwell kept a daily dairy during the late 1930s. During this period, the world was coming out of the great depression. The Orwell Trust has made them available on its website. Most of the entries from a casual browsing indicate that Orwell was content on observing life, people, animals and events happening around him without adding much editorial opinion.

 

One advantage of such a diary is that keeps the skills of observation polished, the writer anchored in the moment (a good Buddhist quality), and creates an alternate history of memory.

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Posted: 10/28/2008 5:48:06 AM 

 

Readers experience various emotional states when reading crime fiction novel. One of such state is the feeling of liking. Perhaps the best outcome author is a rave review from a reader, and that translates as someone liking the book a great deal. One question that I’ve pondered is where is that “liking” response located in the reader’s brain?

 

Recent brain research suggests the experience of “liking” is located in the ventral pallidum. This is also the place where drugs, food, and sex register pleasure.

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Posted: 10/28/2008 5:45:18 AM 

 

Crime fiction and non-fiction can ruffle the feathers of some serious nasty beasts. An example is Roberto Saviano whose book Gomorra brought not just literary reviews but a serious death threat. The intimidation of journalists and writers is an old, well-tried method to silence those who turn over large rocks and watch the bugs scramble out of the hole. For those who author crime books and who live in countries with a strong rule of law, Saviano’s situation is not different from many writers living in developing countries or so-called developed countries with a less firm grip on law enforcement.

 


Al Capone

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Posted: 10/27/2008 5:11:42 AM 

 

Los Angeles Times Book Editor David L. Ulin discusses the future of publishing down the road as the economic meltdown continues.

 

“There's little doubt that the economy will affect this further, or that, even without the advent of recession, publishing is a business in crisis mode. But I see hard times as having a potential upside -- if we focus on the work itself.”

 


George Orwell

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Posted: 10/27/2008 5:09:21 AM 

 

The long-list for the 2008 Australia-Asia Literary Award has been selected from 111 entries. Those on the list include, Coetzee's Diary of a Bad Year,  Janet Turner Hospital's Orpheus Lost, Malouf's The Complete Stories and Haruki Murakami's novel After Dark,  Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Michelle de Krester's The Lost Dog,  Rodney Hall's Love without Hope and Alex Miller's Landscape of Farewell are also on the list. From the authors and titles on this list, it seems that literary fiction is alive and well in Asia.

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Posted: 10/22/2008 4:54:52 AM 

 

Crime fiction centers on matters of the heart.

Understanding the emotions that defines the inner life of people goes a long ways to creating memorable characters. The deeper the understanding of the feelings of others, the more the characters in a work of fiction spring off the page as full-fledged, breathing and living people that readers can identify with. Empathy depends on the accuracy of how well the author relates those feelings to readers.

 

Authors who follow the emotional terrain of their characters in another culture have a significant learning curve before their local characters reach the same emotional depth as the characters from their own culture. The struggle of an expat writer is to find the heart beat of characters whose emotional life is defined by another language.

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Posted: 10/15/2008 1:15:10 AM 

 

With the world financial meltdown one question is where will be the next opportunity to invest. If you’re a writer, businessman or investor, Vietnam might be on your list as the next place to be once things begin to improve internationally. This is a good time to research information about the Vietnamese market. The best information always comes from those in the inside.

 

A free seminar entitled "Business Opportunities in Vietnam" will be held on October 29, 2008, from 1:30 to 4:30 at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center. The Vietnamese Ambassador to Thailand will preside. Some of the top Thai business people who have invested in Vietnam will also be on the panel.

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Posted: 10/13/2008 6:06:30 AM 

 

Paying Back Jack, the 10th novel in the Vincent Calvino crime series, will be available to ship after 15th November. The first 25 readers who pre-order PAYING BACK JACK, will receive a signed copy. As investments go, a signed copy of JACK may yield a dividend in the future.

 

Here’s a preview of the new Calvino novel:

 

A retired general had a deadbeat tenant. Calvino is hired and though he get the money, the tenant is filled with the bitterness that only blood can wash away. But this is only the beginning of the bad blood. Rick Casey, an American, is after justice for the man who murdered his son in Thailand. Casey hires Calvino to follow Somporn’s minor wife. He is the allegedly mastermind the murder but he’s untouchable as an influential businessman, running for public office. As a Thai election approaches, Calvino’s investigation draws him into a murky world of private contractors, UN officials, and local politics. Calvino’s on a collision course with a professional team whose goal is to reduce a cosmic debt owed to a dead man named Jack.

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Posted: 10/10/2008 12:16:34 AM 

 

A fair number of readers use libraries to satisfy their reading habit. The question is whether they can find a copy of The Risk of Infidelity Index or Spirit House in a library near where they live.

 

This has usually been a hit and miss affair. Now there is a website that let’s you answer that question: http://www.worldcat.org/ before you go out the door to hunt down a book on library shelves.

 

You’ll be able to track down the latest Vincent Calvino crime novel in the library close to where you live and work. A cool feature about this website is that it also tracks libraries internationally.

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Posted: 10/9/2008 11:30:25 PM 

 

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