A few updates from the road. I had some extra time in Chicago, so I went with my friend Sondra (snailsaregood.blogspot.com) to visit the Art Institute, which is free in February (thanks, Big Shoulders!).
We explored the excellent collection of impressionist art, visited the American wing, and then spent some time among the Thorne Miniature Rooms, which make one wish for a shrink ray. I saw the work of Ivan Albright for the first time; his Picture of Dorian Grey is appropriately nightmarish, and it’s hard to stand in front of it for long. The Art Institute has on display some iconic works of American art, which are always worth seeing in person, if only because the experience can breathe fresh life into too-familiar images. There’s one bench with a view of both American Gothic and Nighthawks—I highly recommend sitting on that bench for a while.
The reading at 57th Street Books was an intimate affair—there was a blizzard on its way—but those in attendance had some great questions, and I made everyone a bookmark. Everyone , that is, except the gentleman who left a bit early, as though to avoid the matter of bookmarks as soon as I brought it up.
That blizzard kept me in Chicago an extra day, and that’s when the extraordinary news came in that The Manual of Detection is a finalist for the 2010 Hammett Prize. Here’s the full lists of nominees:
- Megan Abbott, BURY ME DEEP (Simon & Schuster)
- Ace Atkins, DEVIL’S GARDEN (Putnam)
- Jedediah Berry, THE MANUAL OF DETECTION (The Penguin Press)
- Walter Mosley, THE LONG FALL (Riverhead)
- George Pelecanos, THE WAY HOME (Little, Brown)
I’m deeply honored to be in such fine company, and it’s especially exciting to see Megan Abbott on the list. I had the opportunity to do a reading with Megan last year, and I’ve been a fan of her work ever since. More information on the Hammett Prize is available from the International Association of Crime Writers.
I’ve now arrived in Seattle, where I just signed books at Seattle Mystery Bookshop. I made some more bookmarks there, and wrote about that and some other things for the store’s blog.
Tonight at 7 I’ll read at The Elliott Bay Book Company. If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll come by. It’s raining, but if this tube of lip balm I found today is any indication, then there are plenty of umbrellas in this town.