At the Marvel Studios panel at Comic Con 2007, it was revealed that The Incredible Hulk star Edward Norton also wrote the script. “I came into this and I wrote the screenplay,” revealed Norton. “I was the Marvel kid. I had subscriptions to a lot of the marvel comics. I loved Hulk, the early incarnation of Hulk and than the television show when I was a kid.” #
In between all these books (see the previous posts from this week) I’ve read through Michael Connelly’s excellent Harry Bosch series about the worn out, chain-smoking, slightly alcoholic LA police detective. Some of the books are brilliant and among some of the best crime fiction ever written (yes, ever written!), but unfortunately not all books in the series are that great. Furthermore you might have to read them all in connection in order to understand and appreciate some of the finer details and subplots.
Here is a short run down of all the books in chronological order including Connelly’s out-of-series books:
The Black Echo Superb introduction to Harry Bosch. The best thing about this book is that you as the reader is thrown right into the action and have to figure out what the heck is going on. Essential.
The Black Ice After the great debut this novel was a real letdown. The story is thin and the characters hollow. Can be skipped if pressed for time.
The Concrete Blonde A fairly standard run of the mill story but that doesn?t mean it?s bad. Can also be skipped
The Last Coyote Again standard material for Harry Bosch novel. Better than The Concrete Blond but not as good as The Black Echo.
The Poet The first out-of-series book by Connelly and the first book written in first person. A really gritty and ugly story about a journalist chasing down a sadistic serial killer. Essential reading if you want to understand the entire Bosch universe.
Trunk Music . Bosch is back and running head on with the Las Vegas mafia in this book. Great read.
Blood Work Yes, the book that became the mediocre movie with Clint Eastwood (something that Harry Bosch makes fun on in latter novels). Very readable although some of the elements of the main plot are a bit hard to accept as they just seem too far fetched. Out of series, can be skipped if you wanna stay on track with only the Bosch novels.
Angles Flight Again back to Bosch. And again a superb written story about police brutality and civil rights lawyers in the wake of the Rodney King trial. Shows the (very) ugly face of the police and never make any attempts to apologize for it or sugar-coat it. Essential.
Void Moon . Out of series. First Connelly novel with a female lead. Casey Black is a master thief in Las Vegas by gets her work cut out for her when she steals from the wrong persons. Classic setup, superb execution by the author.
A Darkness More Than Night . This time Harry Bosch is the suspect. Great read although yes figure out who the real killer is almost at the beginning which is very rare for Connelly?s novels. Can be skipped.
Chasing the Dime Stupid out-of-series story about a computer scientist that tries to find out what happed to a call girl which phone number is mistakenly switched out with his. Avoid.
City of Bones . Harry has to backtrack a crime committed decades ago when a skeleton of a by is uncovered in the hills overlooking Hollywood. Essential read.
Lost Light To date the best Harry Bosch novel. The setting, the dialogue and the inner struggles of Bosch is just so finely tuned in this novel that even if you don?t like crime novels you?ll appreciate this one. Essential.
The Narrows . The direct sequel to Blood Work but this time with Harry Bosch in the lead role. A little far fetch from the get go and never really gets around to answering all the questions is poses. Can easily be skipped.
The Closers . Harry joins the special Open-Unresolved Unit aka The Closers to try and solve some of the old files that has for various reasons been collecting dust in the LA Police department. Great read.
The Lincoln Lawyer Out-of series first person story about a defense lawyer with a seemingly slam-dunk case turned absolute nightmare.
Echo Park . Harry Bosch is back and gets tangled into a confession of a captured serial killer that claims to be the assailant in one of Harry?s old cases. But not everything is as it seems.
Superb business book about the long tail of business. The Long Tail: How Endless Choice Is Creating Unlimited Demand is funny, well written and highly informative. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to start up their own business or just trying to revamp their existing one. It really gives you a lot to think about on what and where is your market and who and where are your customers.
Posted: July 27th, 2007 | Author:Simon | Filed under:Journal | Comments Off
Having immensely enjoyed The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell it was a no-brainer to also pick up Blink, but I found this book to be really boring and very long. It simply states (my words, not his) that experts, on all kinds of levels, not just formally trained experts, can make snap judgments about the field of expertise in ?a blink of an eye?. Yes, isn?t that what makes them experts? What am I missing here? 30 pages or so into the book I could help to think that this would have made a excellent article in Wired or The New Yorker or another kind of magazine, but there is just not enough meat on the subject to write an entire book about it.
Posted: July 26th, 2007 | Author:Simon | Filed under:Journal | Comments Off
The Search is a very interesting, and funny, recap of the rise and fall of search engine companies and in particularly the rise and rise of Google. Anyone with even a remote interest in internet technology and/or history should read this.
Posted: July 25th, 2007 | Author:Simon | Filed under:Journal | Comments Off
Wikinomics is a very well throughout book about the emergence of bottom-up controlled organization and the many, many benefits that can be gained from adapting the mindset of the internet, eg. Wikipedia, Second Life, etc. The book is just too damn long and repeats itself again and again. Could easily have been 100-150 pages shorter and contained the same, very useful, advice and information that it does contain. It might have something to do with none of the cases and information was exactly new to me, but for some it must certainly is and they might need the longer explanation that I found cumbersome.
Posted: July 24th, 2007 | Author:Simon | Filed under:Journal | Comments Off
Another, but entirely different book that I would recommend to anyone is Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Price winning The Road.
This is the story about a father and his son and their hardship as the travel across nuclear war ridden landscape. There is no hope; there is nothing to cheer about and absolutely no happy ending. It’s just death and disillusion. And still it is one of the most hearth warming books I’ve ever read. McCarthy brilliantly describes the very strong relationship between the father and his son by using very very few words and a very barebones dialogue. It is a very brief book that can easily be read in one sitting, but would highly recommend taking it slow or if not reading it twice.
Having recently lost my interest in Lost (pun indeed intended), more on that elsewhere, I’m happy to know that there are still shows out there that rank miles and miles above the rest. Enter The Wire.
Bunk and McNulty visit the vacant apartment of Diedre Kresson, the young woman killed in the old murder case they’ve been asked to work, to see if there’s a connection to Barksdale. The partners conduct the entire investigation, needing barely a word between them to communicate. #
Barely a word? Well one word is used quite creatively. If that’s not TV genius for you I don’t know what is. If you haven’t already seen The Wire it comes highly recommended. Fucking A!
Posted: July 23rd, 2007 | Author:Simon | Filed under:Journal | Comments Off
As mentioned earlier I’ve have spent and are still spending a lot of time on reading. And now as I have almost all the free time on my hands that I can ask for I’ve read quite a lot of books as of late. You might already know my position on Freakonomics, so I’m just gonna write about the other books I’ve read.
The following days I’m going to give a small and very brief recap of the books I’ve read in the past few months. I’ll try to do this more regularly so that I don’t have to do these big once-a-year posts about the books I read.
I’ve just worked my way through Nike Stone’s superb debut novel Mr. Clarinet, which is a real unpolished gem. The writing is at times terrible and almost unreadable, but when it shines it shines.
It is a unpretentious grim and ugly story about a former cop turned private investigator (the classic setup) named Max Mingus and he quest to find out what happened to the young son of one of Haiti’s most powerful and influential persons.
But what raises Stone’s book high above all the rest in this overrun genre is the writing. The descriptions of the places and the ongoing action in the book is so gritty and detailed written that you can almost smell the scenery. Something very rare indeed.
This is one of the most easily recommendable books I’ve read in resent time.