Umbrellas Across America, Part One

A few updates from the road. I had some extra time in Chicago, so before my reading at 57th Street Books on Monday, I went with my friend Sondra (http://snailsaregood.blogspot.com) to visit the Art Institute of Chicago, which is free in February (thanks, Big Shoulders!).
We explored the excellent collection of impressionist art—look at those umbrellas!—as well as the American wing, and then spent some time in 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, I think, because the experience can breathe fresh life into the 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 who came a bookmark. Every one of them, that is, except the gentleman who left a bit early, as though to avoid the matter of bookmarks altogether.
A 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 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. 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, and made more bookmarks, and received an umbrella for my troubles. I was also asked to blog from the bookshop, and the results are here. http://seattlemysteryblog.typepad.com/seattle_mystery/2010/02/on-bookmarks-umbrellas.html
Next, I’m reading at Elliott Bay tonight at 7pm. If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll come by. It’s raining, but you have lots of umbrellas in Seattle. Just look at this tube of official Seattle lip balm I found today.

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!).

The French sure know how to promenade.

The French sure know how to promenade.

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.

3 comments on Umbrellas Across America, Part One

  1. I certainly hope that your book wins the 2010 Hammett Prize. I just finished it recently and thought it was fantastic. It made me feel the same way I did when I first read Murakami. I often get to read good books, but its rare to read them and also get that type of feeling.

    It also left me at a loss as far as what I should read next. I feel like I am worried that my next book will not be as good, so I am putting off reading so I wont be disappointed. To say the least this has made me eager for your next published work.

    • I’m a fan of Murakami’s work, so this is great to hear. Have you read The City & The City by China Mieville? It was one of my favorite novels of 2009, and if you like the meeting of the weird and the noir, it may be worth checking out.

      • Thanks for the suggestion! I will go pick that up this evening. I definitely do like the mix of noir and weird or abstract. Dreams mean a lot more to me than just being a sleep, so when a person’s work involves dreamlike, but coherent, themes or environments I am all for it.

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