Friday, May 02, 2008

Bernd gets burned on the Edgars, then bounces back to host Carnival of the Criminal Minds

If you bet your salary on Bernd Kochanowski' s picks for the top three Edgar awards, announced last night in New York (the awards, not Bernd's picks), you'll have to work some overtime to make up for it.

In a guest appearance on Crime Always Pays Tuesday, the keeper of the Internationale Krimis blog favored Cruel Poetry almost head to head with Blood Paradise for best paperback original, Pyres for best first novel by an American author, and Priest followed by The Yiddish Policemen's Union, Soul Patch, Down River and Christine Falls for best novel.

In fact, the winners were Queenpin for best paperback original, In the Woods for best first novel, and Down River for best novel. Find a complete list of nominees at the Mystery Writers of America Web site.

Not one to be discouraged, though, Bernd delivers an interesting lot of links as the fifteenth host of Carnival of the Criminal Minds. He is the carnival's first German host, and he delivers (in English) a guide to some crime-fiction sites (in English and German) I had not seen before.

He is also the first Carnival host to offer a blog museum: a guide to memorable posts of the past. His rundown may encourage other bloggers to compile their own such lists. And why not start your walk down Random Access Memory lane with a browse through the previous editions of the carnival, courtesy of host Barbara Fister?

© Peter Rozovsky 2008

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26 Comments:

Blogger Linkmeister said...

The museum idea is similar to what other carnivals do: best blog posts of the past (insert time period here), often via reader submissions.

May 02, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

You're the king of carnivals; thanks.

I saw that Bernd refers to an interview as far back as 2006. That sort of reminder can be a useful tonic against the vast amount of new information stuffed onto the Web every day.

May 02, 2008  
OpenID krimileser said...

@ Linkmeister: We had in Germany two rounds of a Crime Fiction Carnival where there was a topic and everyone blogged about it. I don't know if I got Peter right (don't know if I get anything at all right at the moment) but it seems you are experienced with Carnivals ?

I wonder why there are no web awards in the crime fiction community for individual posts.

@ Peter: "In the Woods" was on my list (there was even a small review of mine on CAP). I can understand what readers like about "Down River", when I closed the book I thought that it conveyed a strong atmosphere worthy of an Edgar winner but ...

"Queenpin" is no surprise if you look at the hub on the web but in my eyes ..., anyway, Bill Crider wrote that he wasn't stunned by 2006's winner "Girl in the Glass" - a book I liked a lot.

You can often read about individual nominated books and that they are wonderful and that they surely will win and so forth, but usually people haven't read all nominees of a category. That is not useful.

[And I will do it again with the Hammett Award, which has a strong field this year.]

May 02, 2008  
Blogger Barbara said...

I was surprised by the Edgars, but then I always am. This is why I don't go to casinos. (Well, it's one of many reasons.)

Yes, Bernd did a wonderful job with the carnival. I've had a lot of trouble explaining the concept to people (and have had zero luck with submissions - the only ones I ever got were totally off topic). So Uriah, would you like to be a host? (please, please)

By the way, did you see Bill Ott's top ten in Booklist? If I'm counting right (I haven't read all of the books, but am judging by his descriptions) 8 of his top ten are set outside the US.

May 02, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Bernd, I hope I did not offend you with some good-natured teasing. I admire your bold discussion of each novel, and you did begin, after all, by noting the unpredictability of the Edgars.

I had not heard buzz about Queenpin, but I had recently read the novel and was impressed. It was clear to me that Megan Abbott had set a number of difficult tasks for herself and had done them well. In the Woods was the book for which I read the most buzz. But I had not read all the books and so could not predict who would win.

An award for individual posts is a worthy idea, if difficult to put into practice. The Web is strange. It is an ephemeral medium, yet it preserves everything.

May 02, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Barbara, I had not seen Bill Ott's top ten, though I had recently noted another post of his for possible discussion, and not for the first time. The man has some interesting things to say. Thanks.

Do you mean you've had trouble finding hosts for a blog museum? For the kind of topic-focused carnival that Bernd mentioned?

May 02, 2008  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

I'm hardly the king of carnivals; I've just been observing them from a distance for a while.

The Tangled Bank has a good "mission statement" in its right sidebar. It grew out of some science bloggers seeing the original (?) "Carnival of the Vanities," in which one blogger took it on him/herself to host the best blog posts of the previous week. The "vanity" part was that the posts were submitted to the prospective host by the bloggers, and the host would winnow/cull (or not...I imagine it was far easier just to put up links to all submitted posts).

Doing it through submissions avoids hurt feelings. I may have written the best blog post in the world last week, but if the carnival host didn't see it and thus didn't include it, if I didn't submit it to the host I can't complain bitterly. ;)

May 02, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That's not a bad idea: letting blog writers submit their own posts, but also highlighting the best ones.

May 02, 2008  
Blogger Barbara said...

Actually, I've pretty nearly run out of people who have committed to hosting the carnival. That may be because I haven't been asking enough people. I only have one more firm commitment with a date (Sandra Ruttan, who is hosting on the 15th of this month). I have three people who've said they'd do it but I still have to sort who can do it when.

So if anyone reading this is interested in hosting (and I do like the way Bernd and Tangled Bank have done it - but I'm game for any which way) drop me a line at bfister at hickorytech dot net.

And maybe I will borrow from Tangled Bank and set up our archive blog to make it easier to submit posts for consideration.

Good ideas ... thanks all.

May 02, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I could send you a few suggestions for possible hosts, but sooner or later you'll run out of names. It might be a good idea to think about what to do once that happens. I like the idea of a semi-permanent place to highlight good blog posts.

May 02, 2008  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

I think some of them have a rotation of regular hosts.

May 02, 2008  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

Barbara et. al., if y'all go to a blogger-submissions format, I'm game to host. I don't only post about crime fiction, but should that matter?

May 02, 2008  
OpenID krimileser said...

I like the way the discussion is evolving.

@ Peter

1. No, I'm not offended
2. When I saw Ott's list I wondered about your blog and Deon Meyer, fine Author
3. Queenpin was very well covered, even before the nomination (Sandra Ruttan was kind of afraid to post a negative review about Queenpin)

May 02, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Linkmeister, despite your protestations you may well be the king of carnivals. You answered a question I had about carnivals some time ago. Every good carnival needs a king and a queen, doesn't it? We already have a queen in Barbara, so ...

May 02, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Bernd, I just took a look at Sandra Ruttan's review of Queenpin. She noticed some of the same aspects that I did, though for her they were weaknesses, and for me strengths. That may speak to Megan Abbott's control of her material. She knew what she wanted to do, she did it, and two (I hope) reasonably intelligent readers simply judged the results differently.

May 02, 2008  
OpenID krimileser said...

Peter, sorry, my emphasis was on "afraid". In this case not on Sandra Ruttan's review but the concerns she expressed on her blog a week (or so) before that. That different readers, due to different dispositions reach different results is no so astonishing - we had a round table awhile ago: six reviewers one book, quite interesting.

May 03, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I understood what you meant, I think -- that Sandra knew she was dissenting from a wave of positive opinion about the book -- although I did not read the concerns to which you refer. I merely offered the incidental remark that she and I had singled out some of the same aspects of the novel but reached different conclusions.

By the way, one of the commenters on Sandra's discussion singled out an important aspect of the book: that Megan Abbott was probably highly conscious of the genre in and against which she was writing, and that this likely accounts for some of her authorial decisions. That makes sense to me; she's written a study of white masculinity in noir and hard-boiled stories and movies. She probably knows her noir and hard-boiled history well.

What book did your roundtable discuss? And what were some of the interesting differences in the participants' conclusions?

May 03, 2008  
OpenID krimileser said...

Peter,

I'm tempted to translate my complete review of Queenpin.

The round table discussed Robert Littell's "Vicious Circle". Our summeries were similar, but the conclusions differed a lot. The book tells the story of the kidnapping of a fundamentalistic Rabbi in Israel by a fundamentalistic Moslem from Palestine. The kidnapping takes place at that moment where Israel and Palestine are at the brink of a peace treaty. One strand in the books shows how Rabbi and Moslem are drawn to each other and how they start to recognize that they share a common interest. The main problem of the book is that the similarities between those two, between the descendants Isaacs and Ismaels (both sons of Abraham) are to obvious, they are even named.

(The book is the second month in a row leading the Bestenliste). One of us rejected the book completely and one said the clumsy literary stile is intentional and Littell in general is a fine writer, the appraisals of the other reviewers fall in between.

Just a short version, but you get the idea.

May 03, 2008  
Blogger Barbara said...

The books we disagree about are the ones that make for the best discussions, at least in my experience in the discussions at 4MA. If I recall, one of the reasons Sandra was nervous about posting a not-so-glowing review is that as a writer herself it sometimes can be awkward to be unenthusiastic about a book others love - taken personally in a way that might damage a writer's career. Though I think well-reasoned honesty is actually highly valued by readers and writers alike, and didn't think she should be too worried.

Okay, thanks to suggestions here, I've added a note somewhat similar to PZ's over at Tangled Bank. Maybe it will encourage submissions. (I had a page about that, but it is more visible now.) And if I do

See what you've inspired, Bernd? Thanks again for hosting the Carnival.

May 03, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I can imagine that disagreement could make for an interesting discussion, assuming that the book is a worthwhile subject and that the disagreement is more nuanced than this is great/no, this sucks.

Naming the characters Isaac and Ishmael does seem a bit over the top, but perhaps just over the top enough to be intriguing. You know, it's so obviously over the top, that Littell must be up to something interesting.

Apropos of disagreements and reasoned honesty, I just remembered this, from the very first post I made on this blog:

"I'll begin with some of my favorites, along with a few books I don't much like. Feel free to disagree with me, especially on the latter. Nothing would please me more than to be talked into recognizing virtues I had not seen before in an author – or to be forced to better understand and justify my dislike."

May 03, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OpenID krimileser said...

Peter,

I'm tempted to translate my complete review of Queenpin.

Please do - I'm interested to read it.
Thank you,
Andre Seton

May 04, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

With the help of a translation program and my fragmentary German, I grappled with your review. I think you, too, picked up on some of the things the book did with genre conventions, but that I simply thought they worked better than you did. But I'll withhold judgment until such time as I can be more sure I understand what I'm judging!.

May 04, 2008  
OpenID krimileser said...

There were some remarks about the German language. Due to these I will try in the future to write some posts in English. This week's text is already written but next week's will be Queenpin.

May 04, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Danke schön. Of course, rather than make posts in English, you could subsidize German lessons for us, or even trips to Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

May 04, 2008  
OpenID krimileser said...

Peter,

I agree to subsidize German lessons to all of those interested, and I am sure the Goethe Institut (for the promotion of the German language and culture) will help out.

We should discuss further details June 1 in Philadelphia and "Duane Louis" could give some useful advices how to handle German(s).

Just send me the tickets.

May 05, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I had to look on Duane's blog to find out who "Duane Louis" was. He mentioned another Philadelphia author who was published under a shorter version of his or her own name in German translation. That's an interesting phenomenon.

I might have been willing to send you the tickets before the dollar plunged even lower that George Bush's popularity ratings.

May 05, 2008  

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