BY GASLIGHT By Steven Price

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By page 500 of Steven Price’s mammoth (731 pages) novel, I was tempted to give up. The story of William Pinkerton hunting down a master thief, Edward Shade, through the alleys and sewers of London over a 100 years ago frustrated me with its slow pace and frequent flashbacks. The best character, Charlotte Reckitt, disappears from the novel for hundreds of pages at a time. I grew tired of the chase and the endless digressions. Yes, Price captures the foggy menace of London in 1885, but the demands of his lengthy story makes the trip an exercise in boredom. GRADE: C

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS VS. BUFFALO BILLS

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The 5-5 Buffalo Bills face the pesky 2-8 Jacksonville Jaguars. Last season, the Jaguars beat the Bills in London, 34-31. I expect the same type of close game today. The weather for this game at the end of November is mild: the temps should be in the 40s with no rain or ice or snow in the forecast. How will your favorite NFL team do today?

THE BOOK: A COVER-TO-COVER EXPLORATION OF THE MOST POWERFUL OBJECT OF OUR TIME By Keith Houston

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Just in time for that bibliophile on your Holiday Gift List comes Keith Houston’s wonderful The Book: A Cover-to-Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time. Houston’s new book explores the history of the development of the book. I had no idea that Johannes Gutenberg was cheated out of his invention of movable type printing. And I had no idea that an out-of-work actor named Ira Rubel invented the lithographic press. Houston provides dozens of fascinating stories about the development of the modern book. If you love books as much as I do, you’ll love The Book! GRADE: A
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Part 1. The page
A clean sheet : the invention of papyrus
Hidebound : the grisly invention of parchment
Pulp fictions : the ambiguous origins of paper in China
From Silk Road to paper trail : paper goes global
Part 2. The text
Stroke of genius : the arrival of writing
The prints and the pauper : Johannes Gutenberg and the invention of movable type
Out of sorts : typesetting meets the industrial revolution
Part 3. Illustrations
Saints and scriveners : the rise of the illuminated manuscript
Ex Oriente lux : woodcut comes to the West
Etching a sketch : copperplate printing and the Renaissance
Better imaging through chemistry : lithography, photography, and modern book printing
Part 4. Form
Books before the book : papyrus scrolls and wax tablets
Joining the folds : the invention of the codex
Ties that bind : binding the paged book
Size matters : the invention of the modern book.
Colophon
Acknowledgments
Further Reading
Notes
Illustration Credits
Index

FORGOTTEN BOOKS #399: IT’S ALL ONE CASE: THE ILLUSTRATED ROSS MACDONALD ARCHIVES Edited by Paul Nelson & Kevin Avery

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If you’re a Ross Macdonald fan, IT’S ALL ONE CASE: THE ILLUSTRATED ROSS MACDONALD ARCHIVES is a must-buy. Paul Nelson and Kevin Avery and Jeff Wong assembled a detailed survey of Ross Macdonald’s work with photos, book jackets, interviews, and analysis. This is the complete package! Everything you ever wanted to know about Ross Macdonald and his works is here! Jerome Charyn’s incisive “Foreword” puts Ross Macdonald into perspective. You will not find a better tribute to this great writer. IT’S ALL ONE CASE: THE ILLUSTRATED ROSS MACDONALD ARCHIVES should be in every mystery reader’s library! GRADE: A+
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Foreword by Jerome Charyn
Introduction
Ross Macdonald Bibiliography
1. Beginnings
2. First Works
3. Jazz
4. A Bookshelf Full of Influences
5. Detective Fiction
6. A Shadow Portrait
7. Hammett
8. Chandler
9. Fitzgerald
10. First Person
11. Mythologizing
12. Romanticism
13. Disturbances
14. Students and Teachers
15. The Books
16. Characters
17. Short Works
18. Writing
19. Variations on a Theme
20 Truth in Fiction
21 Critics and Criticism
22. The Instant Enemy
23. Hollywood
24. The Doomsters
25. The Blue Hammer
26. Painters and Other Artists
27. Cause and Effect
28. Popular Culture
29. California
30. Beyond Archer
Acknowledgements
Sources and Cited Works
Index
About the Authors

SOME WRITER! THE STORY OF E. B. WHITE By Melissa Sweet

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A children’s biography of E. B. White. That’s an unlikely book, but Melissa Sweet manages to pull it off. Using a collage design, Sweet presents E. B. White in his own words mostly. From White’s career on THE NEW YORKER to the classic children’s books he wrote, Sweet captures the essence of a complicated man in terms children (and adults) can understand. I read Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web to Patrick and Katie. Diane read E. B. White’s classics to her classes. I love Essays of E. B. White. What’s your favorite E. B. White book? GRADE: A
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Chapter 1: All’s Right With the World Department
Chapter 2.: One More to the Lake
Chapter 3: Years of Wonder
Chapter 4: From Seas to Shining Sea
Chapter 5: Answers to Hard Questions
Chapter 6: A Time of Enchantment
Chapter 7: Stuart Little
Chapter 8: Bad News
Chapter 9: Charlotte’s Web
Chapter 10: The Elements of Style
Chapter 11: The Trumpet of the Swan
Chapter 12: What Do Our Hearts Treasure?
Chapter 13: Stentences We Hated to Come to the End Of
Author’s Note
About the Art
Afterword by Martha White
Timeline
Selected Bibliography
Thank – Yous
Index

MISS SHARON JONES [DVD]

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A Sony executive told Sharon Jones that she was “too short, too fat, too black and too old.” Fortunately, Sharon Jones ignored him and kept singing soul songs at birthdays and weddings. Finally, Sharon Jones met the Dap-Kings, a New York City group that was trying to produce classic soul music. Over the years, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings toured and built an audience for their sound. This documentary captures the raw excitement of their shows. But, just as Sharon Jones was about to release her latest CD in 2014, she was diagnosed with Stage 2 pancreatic cancer. Miss Sharon Jones provides a window into her cancer treatment and recovery. It’s grim, but inspiring. Sadly, Sharon Jones lost her fight against cancer over this past weekend. A great talent has left the Stage. GRADE: B+

BATMAN: THE RETURN OF THE CAPED CRUSADERS [Blu-ray]

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Here’s the perfect stocking stuffer for that Batman fan on your Holiday Gift List: Batman: The Return of the Caped Crusaders. This new animated feature holds plenty of surprises. Adam West is the voice of Batman. Bert Ward returns as Robin. Julie Newmar’s voice as Catwoman is just as sexy as it was back in the Sixties. The Joker, The Penguin, The Riddler, and Catwoman plan a caper to steal a new Replicating weapon. Batman and Robin are on the case, but the plot is more complicated than appearances would indicate. If you’re a fan of the classic Sixties Batman TV series, you’ll love this new fun adventure! GRADE: A

BUFFALO BILLS VS. CINCINNATI BENGALS

Oct 18, 2015; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy (25) runs for a touchdown during the second half against the Cincinnati Bengals at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Bengals beat the Bills 34-21. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
The 4-5 Buffalo Bills emerge from their Bye Week with a daunting challenge before them: win 6 of their remaining 7 games and reach the Playoffs. If the Bills are going to pull off this miracle, they need to start today. The Bengals lost on Monday Night Football to the Giants. They are beaten up and tired. The Bills have had two weeks to get ready for this game. A loss would pretty much end the Bills’s season (if it isn’t over already). How will your favorite NFL team fare today?

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is one of the most anticipated movies of 2016. Harry Potter fans of all ages look forward to more adventures in Magic and Wizardry. Eddie Redmayne plays Newt Scamander, a protector of Fantastic Beasts. On his visit to 1926 New York City, some of Newt’s Fantastic Beasts escape and much of the movie is taken up with chasing them down and recapturing them. Then, there is a darker sub-plot about an evil wizard who is trying to start a war between the Muggles (humans) and those with Magic powers. I liked Katherine Waterston as Tina, a Magic police woman. And Alison Sudol as Queenie, a mind-reading wizardess. Dan Fogler plays a would-be baker who gets caught up in all the action.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is reportedly the first of five films in this new series. I was not impressed with J. K. Rowling’s screenplay which is chatty and meandering. I hope Rowling lets the folks who did the Harry Potter movies improve on this shaky start. GRADE: C+