Wednesday, January 28, 2009

So long...and thanks

It seems that the last couple of posts have been about authors that have died, and sadly that has been true. Once again we say so long to three wonderful writers who have died in the last few weeks, and we have just begun 2009!

"No brilliance is required in law, just common sense and relatively clean fingernails." John Mortimer ( 1923-2009)

Thank you John Mortimer for creating such a unique character....the quintessential British barrister, Horace Rumpole of the Bailey. I must that I loved the books and enjoyed the series. For some reason the British seem to get it right; Leo McKern was the perfect actor to play this part and when I read the books, I saw McKern in the pages. I always felt that Rumpole was really Mortimer. Thank you John Mortimer for one of the characters ever written,....and brought so brilliantly to the small screen. I raise my glass to you with a smile. I do hope you and Leo McKern are enjoying reminiscing. If you want to spend some time "cozied" up with enjoyment, pick up a Rumpole of the Bailey by John Mortimer, or watch the will be glad you did.

"America is a vast conspiracy to make you happy." John Updike (1932-2009)

If you know Harry Rabbit Angstrom you have read or heard of John Updike. Updike's "Rabbit" quartet has had a big following from the first one that came out in 1966. Updike style of writing was looked upon two ways, those who felt his writing was a type of poetry, and those who felt he wrote with more style then content. John Updike last book will come out in the June, "My Father's Tears and Other Stories." If you haven't read Updike, take a "Rabbit" and see which style you agree with.

"When life give you lemons, you make lemonade. I have several stands around here." James Brady (1928-2009)

I met James Brady twice and he was very nice. I chatted about his books that I had read, how much I liked them, and what I thought about them. He listened, said thanks, and continued on his way. The fact that he had taken the time to listen to me and chat is a nice memory. Besides writing a column for Parade magazine, he wrote several books that meant a lot to people. His book on Korea, "The Coldest War," brought back memories to several soldiers who had been there. As they told me, Brady told it "how it was. Someone finally told the truth about Korea."

I enjoyed James Brady, couldn't really connect with John Updike, and loved John Mortimer. All three brought something wonderful, and different, to world of literature and we were lucky to benefit from them.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Donald E. Westlake

Everyone in New York is looking for something.
Once in a while, somebody finds it.

Donald E. Westlake

Donald E. Westlake, aka Richard Stark, aka Edwin Wood, aka Tucker Coe, aka Edwina West, aka........there were many aka's to Donald Westlake and when he died New Years Eve 2008 we lost more then one author. He was 75 years old and had written over 100 books, most of them set in New York City. Westlake had a knack for combining the world's miseries with comic highs and nasty lows and I enjoyed his writing.

I met his character, John Dortmunder, in Bank Shot. Dortmunder sets out to rob a bank but he ends up stealing the whole bank......yes, you read right, he steals the bank and has to hide it on Long Island. I laughed so hard I have made several revisits to see how Dortmunder has been doing over the years.

I know that there are so many new mystery writers, maybe they are considered current, but always remember to visit one of he masters of mystery. Westlake's ( or whatever alias he uses) have humor, strange characters, and touches on the hardships and miseries that his characters have in their lives.

Give yourself a treat and pick up something that Westlake has written under any of his names.

Good stuff. Thank you Mr. Westlake for sharing your view on life with us.

"I believe my subject is bewilderment.
But I could be wrong."

Donald E. Westlake