Links We Liked Books 9/1/11 | Reader's Digest

Links We Liked – Books 9/1/11

Other Scandinavian fiction writers, the birth of The Godfather, Five Children and It, classic poker and a writing minister.

By Jim Menick

More Scandinavians, the birth of The Godfather, dangerous poker, a semi-forgotten kids’ classic and a writing minister.

Stieg Larsson’s ‘Girl’ series is but a tip of the iceberg of Scandinavian crime fiction
Everybody and his uncle has written about Nordic fiction following the success of the dragon tattoo girl. This article is a good one, with recommendations and interesting analysis. “Despite their issues — or perhaps because of them — these very human detectives strive to do good, solve the crime and face down the increasing injustice around them. Crimes in Nordic noir often deal with racism, anti-immigrant feelings, violence against women and children, neo-Nazism, poverty, life on the dole — in short, all of the issues affecting diversifying Northern European society two decades after the Cold War ended.”

Peter Israel on how The Godfather came to Putnam
A contest to find “the best unpublished novel in the English language” ended without a winner. But it did uncover a book by a guy named Mario Puzo.

When Poker Was Dangerous: Al Alvarez and The Biggest Game in Town
I first heard about Alvarez in Anthony Holden’s Big Deal (also recommended). (That’s also where I learned to play Texas Hold ‘Em, much to my wallet’s regret and to the benefit of my poker buddies’ extra income stream.) Alvarez’s book goes back to the origins of modern poker, when it wasn’t on TV and what happened in Vegas could be pretty scary. To quote champion Johnny Moss: “Every time I go into a game, the cheaters are there, the thieves are there, the hijackers are there, the police are after you, the rangers are after you….Then you have to get in an’ beat the cards. You have to win an’ get out with the money.”

The Perils of Wishing: Five Children and It
Do kids still read E. Nesbitt’s book? Mari Ness writes about it for, and it’s worth getting acquainted with. She calls it charming and hilarious. Any kids’ book you can say that about is worth pursuing.

Ministering through her novels
Judith Campbell is a retired Unitarian minister and the author of the Olympia Brown mystery series. “Campbell’s stories start with her own spiritual values, she said. Her books challenge ‘religious hypocrisy and social stereotyping. They are about people who do bad things in the name of religion, who use religion to harm, to attack somebody at their most vulnerable areas.’ ” She also has a story to tell about getting published in today’s crazy market.

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