Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Chicago Chooses Crime

Mayor Daley has chosen this year's One Book, One Chicago title: Raymond Chandler's THE LONG GOODBYE. A great choice! Here's a link to the city library's website, and here's a look at what The Outfit has to say. (Scroll down to Libby Hellmann's article).

I taught this book for several years in a crime fiction course, and it really is Chandler's best: moody, mature, funny, sad.

Give it a read and then come back and talk to me about Mendy Menendez, one of the greatest pieces of characterization in the 20th century.

9 comments:

Picks By Pat said...

I hate to admit it, but I haven't read this one. Guess I've got no excuse to put it off. Library, here I come.

Peter said...

I think Chicago discusses two books each year, which may give it a chance to discuss an enjoyable book such as The Long Goodbye along with the relentlessly high-minded fare that other, similar programs seem to specialize in. I don't know; "One Book, One Chicago (or Philadelphia" sounds too much like "Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fuhrer" for me to be entirely comfortable with it.
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Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
http://www.detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

Julia Buckley said...

You'll like it, Pat.

What an interesting notion, Peter. I never thought of the program as a sort of mind control--just a way to encourage students to read. But a parallel is a parallel. :)0

Peter said...

I hold forth on this in a post and follow-up comments at Detectives Beyond Borders. I don't think it's mind control as much as it is well-meaning condecension. You're right about the program's goal being to get students (and others) to read, I think. But I like to imagine a wiseass student showing up at a program, thanking the organizers, saying he had read not one book but five, and emphasizing that the program's official book was not one of them.

One hopes that the two arguably pernicious messages (what the hierarchy chooses is best, and encouraging and sharing good feelings -- rather than being good or right or entertaining -- is a book's task) do not crowd out the valuable, praiseworthy task of encouraging readers.

I don't even like being told that a given book is "a must read," and I bristle at any reviewer's assertion that a given book is "essential reading." To that, the only appropriate respone is "No, it isn't."
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Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
http://www.detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

Julia Buckley said...

Hurrah for you. I think I spent way too much time coloring inside the lines, and now I just don't think these wonderfully rebellious thoughts. I need to follow you around for a day. :)

Peter said...

Nah, it would be more in the spirit of things if you refused to follow me, called me a jerk, and went your own way.
==============
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
http://www.detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

Julia Buckley said...

Jerk. But see, I'm still following. So I'll call you a fool.

Peter said...

I'll go along with that.
==============
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
http://www.detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

Julia Buckley said...

Did you ever hear that great poem--was it by Ben Franklin? That went:

"Sir, I admit to your general rule
That every poet is a fool;
But you yourself may prove to show it--
That every fool is not a poet."