Talking About Books . . .

Future Crimes

Marc Goodman knows a lot about crime.  He has been a police officer, an undercover investigator, and a counter terrorism strategist.  He is also a “futurist” who is looking at what the criminals of the future will be able to do to us – and his ideas are truly scary.  He discusses the future of crime in his new book Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We can Do About It.  We also get a preview of the future of crime in a 2012 TED talk that he gave in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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“Of course, books are still stolen, but the thieves are now mostly drug addicts and opportunists. The golden age of book theft has passed.”  If that is so, bookstore owners can, in part, thank Amazon.

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Joanne Fluke’s Lake Eden Cookbook

Joanne Fluke loves to cook.  She also loves to write mysteries.  With the support of her editor she has now written ten mystery novels that combine her two great loves.  The stories revolve around a small-town Minnesota baker named Hannah Swenson who keeps discovering dead bodies.  The titles include Double Fudge Brownie Murder (her latest), Lemon Meringue Murder, and Cream Puff Murder.  She has also written a cookbook that you might enjoy entitled Joanne Fluke’s Lake Eden Cookbook: Hannah Swenson’s Recipe’s from the Cookie Jar.

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Oxford University Press (OUP) has published Once Upon a Time: A Short History of Fairy Tale by Marina Warner in which the author explores fairy tales and their meanings.  Think you know a lot about fairy tales?  Try the seven question OUP quiz.

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March 6 is World Book Day in Britain.  To celebrate it, school children dress up as their favorite characters from books.  One eleven year old boy in Northwestern England got in trouble, however, when he showed up at school dressed as Christian Grey the title character in E. L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey.  His mother defended him.

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In this age of social sensitivity some people think that literary works from the past should be censored because of the inappropriate stereotyping of different groups and because they contain hurtful terms.  Should Shakespeare’s plays, for instance, be modified to exclude anti-Semitic remarks, or because they are racist or sexist?  Or should they be left as they were written to highlight the social injustices of their times – and of our time?  There is no simple answer in our complicated world as an article from The Conversation demonstrates.

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“Six Books We Missed This Year” is an Atlantic magazine article about six good books from 2014 which did not make it into the magazine.  In each case the author of the overlooked book lists two recent books that he/she recommends to us.

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The Emperor of All Maladies

The great Ken Burns is the executive producer of an upcoming three part PBS series based on the Pulitzer Prize winning bestseller The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee.  The six hour series will be shown over three consecutive nights beginning on Monday, March 30.  Because he was so busy, Burns brought in Barak Goodman to produce and direct the film.  It’s interesting to note that Burns’ mother died from breast cancer when he was eleven years old and that the film’s narrator, Edward Hermann, died from brain cancer shortly after he completed his work on the series.  You can read about the upcoming series here, see a preview of it here, and watch a conversation about cancer (hosted by Katie Couric) as well as watch other videos from the series here.

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