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Memory Manifesto

Memory Manifesto

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Jumpers

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The Age of Dis-Consent

The Age of Dis-Consent

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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.”...
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Posted: 12/4/2007 12:43:45 AM 

 

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.” ...
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Posted: 12/3/2007 4:14:35 AM 

 

Colin Cotterill has a crime fiction series set in Laos. I can recommend his Disco for the Departed.

The main continuing characters in the series are Dr. Siri Paiboun, the 73-year-old national coroner who has the ability to communicate with the spirit world. This gives, at times, a surreal spin to the crime story as the good doctor plugs into the world of the dead to find leads in his investigation of a double-murder. Dr. Siri’s companion is Nurse Dtui who dreams of a scholarship to the Soviet Union where she can continue her studies though it is reasonably clear that she will remain firmly planted in Laos. The last member of the trio is a morgue assistant Mr. Geung who is a low-grade moron (in the medical sense as opposed the usual run of the mill morons). ...
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Posted: 11/26/2007 10:32:55 PM 

 

For the past dozen years crime fiction has been attracting a growing audience. Readers get a two for one in the best of the international crime. Foremost is the story told from a point of view likely to be different from that found in locally produced crime fiction. The other compelling point is that crime fiction is another way to become an armchair traveler to exotic locations. It is the latter point that New York Books has published a top ten list of international crime fiction.

The locations around the world included on the New York Books list are: Havana, Dublin, Stockholm, Johannesburg, St. Petersburg, and The Gaza Strip. The locations from Asia include: China, North Korea, and Japan. ...
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Posted: 11/26/2007 10:25:39 PM 

 



The Grove Press edition of Spirit House will be released early summer 2008. Here’s a preview of the cover of the Grove edition:

If you are in the States or the UK is possible to pre-order from amazon. ...
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Posted: 11/21/2007 5:06:26 AM 

 

Two novels in the Vincent Calvino series are now available in mass paperback editions. The books are priced at $9.95 plus shipping. You can order The Big Weird and Pattaya 24/7 from the order page on my website.

The Big Weird (fifth in the Calvino Series)

A beautiful American blond is found dead with a large bullet hole in her head in the house of her ex-boyfriend. A famous Hollywood screenwriter hires Calvino to investigate her death. Everyone except Calvino’s client believes Samantha McNeal has committed suicide.

“The Big Weird is an excellent read, charming, amusing, insightful, complex, localised yet startlingly universal in its themes.”
—Guide of Bangkok...
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Posted: 11/16/2007 12:08:22 AM 

 

 It is common to see racially mixed couples in shopping malls, restaurants and discos in Bangkok and in other cities in Thailand. The typical couple is a Thai woman with a farang man. Though there are certainly lots of examples of Thai men with farang women. In many of my books starting with A Killing Smile I have written about racially mixed couples, their problems, conflicts, their source of anxiety, and the cultural roadblocks they often encounter in Thailand.

Slate has an article by Ray Fisman: An Economist goes to the Bar looking at how racial characteristics factor into the decision to date and marry. Here are some of Fisman’s conclusions: ...
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Posted: 11/9/2007 2:55:08 AM 

 

Marcel Proust wrote about memory in Swann’s Way. Like Turner’s famous paintings of sunsets, Proust took readers inward to cull, witness, enjoy, and interpret that great terrain of the remembered past.

A great deal of our identity is shaped by what we remember about the past. Memory, in most people, is variable, fickle, and unreliable. At the base level, memory is a pattern recognition system rooted in the billions of neurons in our brain. In a recent National Geographic article titled Remember This by Joshua Foer, the author recounts Jorge Luis Borges famous short story about memory: ...
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Posted: 11/7/2007 11:00:10 PM 

 

The best writing is fueled by passion. In the case of Raymond Chandler, there is a strong case that his heart-felt passion for his wife was the dominant force that propelled his writing.

There is a biography published on 6th November 2007 about the relationship between Chandler and his wife. Richard Rayner recently reviewed 'The Long Embrace' by Judith Freeman in the LA Times ...
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Posted: 11/7/2007 3:59:27 AM 

 

Neurology is closing in on answers to this ancient question. Novelists are in the business of inventing, refining and explaining the “self” found in characters. But do we really have a grasp of the mechanisms that create a sense of self?

In an article titled The Neurology of Self-Awareness, V.S. Ramachandran discusses the current theories and research.

“There are many aspects of self. It has a sense of unity despite the multitude of sense impressions and beliefs. In addition it has a sense of continuity in time, of being in control of its actions ("free will"), of being anchored in a body, a sense of its worth, dignity and mortality (or immortality). Each of these aspects of self may be mediated by different centers in different parts of the brain and its only for convenience that we lump them together in a single word.” ...
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Posted: 11/4/2007 11:52:58 PM 

 

In pursuit of one's own shadow

By Zinovy Zinik

Zinovy Zinik is a novelist who fled the Soviet Union in the 1970s and ended up living in Britain. He has written an article containing a number of thought provoking observations about a writer who leaves one culture to live and write in another. “People are becoming more and more enclosed in themselves, less tolerant of outsiders, of those who don't belong to their tribal cultures. Their tribal integrity remains remarkably intact, the singular sense of belonging is undisturbed by the plurality of the world outside.” For an émigré living in Asia, the idea of tribe is implicit in political, social and economic life. It is the predominant, moving force that is used to bind and unite people toward common purpose....
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Posted: 11/4/2007 11:52:01 PM 

 

My publishers Grove/Atlantic have come up with the jacket cover design for hardback edition of The Risk of Infidelity Index

The subtitle on the cover will be: A Vincent Calvino Crime Novel. The Risk of Infidelity Index is scheduled for release on 21st December 2007 and is now available at Amazon for pre-orders in case you wish to send a copy as a Christmas, Hanukkah, or New Year gift to a friend.

I’d appreciate any feedback on the cover: chris@cgmoore.com ...
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Posted: 10/30/2007 11:38:54 PM 

 

There is a gurgling sound coming from below. This is the sound of discontent being registered about the power and influence of the rich in America. The way things are shaping up, it is a good bet that wealth accumulation, tax ceilings, inheritance tax, health care as well as education are all taking aim at the society of super-rich. Wedged between the indictments that the rich have harmed America by the corruption of resources and marketplaces, Mark Blim writes in his article titled Below the Fold: A World without the Rich:

“Second, the rich corrupt the major institutions of American society. It bears repeating that the rich don’t get rich or stay rich simply by making better widgets and saving the profits from their corporate endeavors. They make legislatures dysfunctional, regulatory authorities their watchdogs, and professions their poodles. They corrupt presidents. They even corrupt each other, as corporate heads are bribed with board positions and in turn protect the interests of the company that bribed them.” ...
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Posted: 10/30/2007 12:24:37 AM 

 

The first lesson in fictional story devices is discovered when a student opens her first history textbook. Only they aren’t told the history inside is fiction. Students are taught this is what happened. Accept it. Memorize it. Take it to heart. What other events happened, or didn’t happen, the motives of rulers and generals, alliances, and failed alliances, and shifting power structures aren’t usually part of the package.

Thai children’s learn about sacking of Ayutthaya in 1767 as if that is the only event worthy of mention, ensuring that children associate Burma as an brutal aggressor with Thailand as a victim. Laotian school history books paint Thais as villains. And so it goes. ...
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Posted: 10/29/2007 3:59:07 AM 

 

The IHT ran a profile on John Burdett: John Burdett: Detective writer at work in a seedy Bangkok district

Burdett is the author of best selling Bangkok 8, Bangkok Tattoo, and Bangkok Haunts.

Burdett says that the 4th novel in the series will be the last.

On the scope of his research behind his books, the IHT says: ...
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Posted: 10/25/2007 3:28:30 AM 

 

Every month someone will write or phone and ask for information about a worthy cause that could use money for something other than SUVs, cell phone, expensive dinners, etc. Like most people, I want to see money go to the people who need it as opposed to the people who administer it.

I received the call for help below from Volunteers of Children Development Foundations. They had a fire. 40 kids from the streets are taken care of by this NGO. Now a number of these kids have no place to live, and what meager possession they had went up in smoke. ...
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Posted: 10/24/2007 3:00:14 AM 

 

But where will it end?

Japanese detective story author Edogawa Rampo was known, for among other things, his signature glasses. He died in 1965. Yohei Kusanagi, a young Tokyo designer has come up with a replica of Rampo’s glasses as a way to encourage young people to read. One hundred copies of the replica are offered for sale. The price: Yen 84,000 or roughly US$735.

That would buy a lot of books. It makes me wonder if young Japanese potential readers have that kind of cash for a replica of Rampo’s glasses. ...
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Posted: 10/24/2007 2:58:22 AM 

 

Sunday night I lost a long time friend. He died of a heart attack. I just saw Max last Thursday at lunchtime. He’d lost a lot of weight and said he wasn’t feeling well. I said, “Max, take care of yourself.” And Max smiled, shook his head and pushed out the door. He was one of those people with a morbid fear of doctors and hospitals. Friends offered to take him for a check up. Max just refused to go past the hospital door.

It is likely you never heard of Max Voigt. Max was an American lawyer who had lived in Asia for more than half of his life. When I first came to Bangkok in the late 1980s, Max was head of Corporate Department of a leading law firm in the City. By chance I saw walking on my soi and struck up a conversation. A couple of days later, Max sent me my first freelance case. One case led to another until I had a steady stream of work for the first crucial years I lived in Thailand. Without Max’s friendship, the work wouldn’t have come my way, and without the work, I never would have had the time or opportunity to write novels. I owed Max Voigt a great deal. ...
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Posted: 10/22/2007 4:50:37 AM 

 

I finished going through editorial changes to the 5th novel in the Vincent Calvino series: The Big Weird. BookSiam originally published The Big Weird in 1996. It was reprinted by Heaven Lake Press in 200. And sadly it had gone out of print. Before Christmas, though, it will be back in print as in mass paperback edition.

Rereading and editing a novel that I wrote a dozen years ago is not unlike opening a high school yearbook and looking at a picture of yourself from the distant past. I’ve written another 10 novels since The Big Weird first appeared. I have spent a lot more years with Vinny Calvino and Colonel Pratt so that when I go to an earlier book, the temptation is strong to do a major overall. You just know so much more. Like all Monday morning quarterbacks, you can see the plays that could have been made and were botched. Much the same happens to a writer going back over a book from 12 years earlier. ...
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Posted: 10/12/2007 6:38:04 AM 

 

Monks were shot and killed in Rangoon. Crackdown troops have been called into the capital from the provinces. As the Blues song says, “You’ve only got your life to lose.”

Burma is a collection of many small nations with diverse histories, languages, cultures and aspirations. It is difficult if not impossible to say how a consensus would emerge in the event the military leaves the scene. General Aung San showed a way toward a solution. So it is possible. As for Yugoslavia or Iraq, the analogies may not hold. Analogies work better in science and literature than in politics where the dropped glass always breaks in a new and novel pile of debris. From this distance, it appears the military has managed to unite these diverse groups in a common cause. ...
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Posted: 9/27/2007 1:18:18 AM 

 

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