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Annette Meyers


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So Ruby arrived a week ago and oh, my, a world of change. She’s a Havanese, now 9 weeks old and weights 3 1/2 pounds. I was going to call her Sadie, but when I first saw her at the breeder’s, she wasn’t a Sadie. My friend Jane Dentinger insists she’s named for Barbara Stanwyck, whose real name was Ruby Stevens.

The Four Seasons, the famous restaurant in the Seagram’s Building, is being kicked out when their lease is up next year by a very greedy (Mr. “fair market value”) landlord who has no sense of New York history. He applied to the New York City Landmarks Commission to make extensive renovations (would you believe?) of the site, and he was turned down. I sometimes think the Landmarks Commission goes overboard, but not this time. Mr. Fair Market Value was even going to toss out the Picasso tapestry which hung at the entrance, until the New York Historical Society took it. I feel particularly attached to the Four Seasons because Smith and Wetzon interviewed brokers there and because it was there I set my first ever murder in The Big Killing.

I’m not even going to comment on Night Train to Lisbon, which was my book group’s last choice. An exercise in navel gazing. Read 149 painful pages. Also read 102 pages of Camilla Lackberg’s The Preacher. She is wildly hailed as the new Stieg Larsson. The Washington Post reviewer thinks she’s terrific. I don’t get it. I didn’t get it. After 102 pages of Lackberg, I needed an antidote and went to my stack of books looking for a Joseph Finder. Found Vanished. He never fails me.




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I read A Dark Adapted Eye, in 1986. Ruth Rendell (writing as Barbara Vine) was new to me. I still own a tattered copy. It was beyond brilliant, inspiring for me as I had begun working on what would be my first novel, The Big Killing. I went on to read Rendell’s wonderful Wexford books. After 9/11, like so many other writers, the shock and grief made me unable to write and I couldn’t concentrate on anything I read except for the Wexfords.  They were in my language though slightly foreign, they were home cooking.

Good news: my 6th Smith and Wetzon, These Bones Were Made for Dancin’, is now available as an e-book, thanks to Speaking Volumes. Coming up is the 7th in the series, The Groaning Board.

I didn’t finish Batya Gur’s Bethlehem Road Murder. It got lost in philosophy and I couldn’t hold onto the plot. I moved to another translated crime novel: The Preacher, by Swedish writer Camilla Lackberg. And just started the new choice, translated from German, of my book group: Night Train to Lisbon.

I’d never heard of Tom Brady and this week I’ve have heard more than enough. So his people may have “abused” a football? A football? In the NFL? Seriously?

Carly Fiorina. Just like some male executives, she ran a major company into the ground, fired thousands, and finally was fired herself, with a golden parachute. Now the Republicans (alas, I am still registered as such) seem to have put her out front as a shield, so that she can say all the nasty personal things about Hillary Clinton. And that’s exactly what she’s doing.




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I had a week of an embarrassment of riches, starting with Wolf Hall, Part 1, on Wednesday night, a gift from Canadian critic friend Slotkin (The Slotkin Letter). Very different from the PBS version, but same dialogue, plot. How different? The wit. The theatricality of the lighting. A stage audience responds, responds to being there, in the moment. This is not to say the PBS version isn’t brilliant. It is. And I think Mark Rylance can do no wrong. But on stage, it’s gloriously Shakespearean.

On Saturday, it was The King and I at Lincoln Center. A rich and beautiful revival. A real overture. Wow. The sensational score. Kelli O’Hara was perfect as Anna. And Ken Watanabe? His great performance, washed away all memory of Yul Brynner. The audience cheered when “Shall We Dance” began. I found myself a little teary. As the theater filled, and it was packed, I saw a lot of grandmas with mostly little girls. Before the curtain, Fathers took children down to see the orchestra pit.  The proscenium was gorgeous as were the house curtain, the costumes, the supporting players, the voices. This is theater as it should be. Thrilling. A major event. Congratulations to director Bartlett Sher and Lincoln Center Theater.

Read Euphoria for my book group, which meets tonight.  It’s not something I would have chosen, but I liked it. Good writer, Lily King. And while there wasn’t really anything graphic in it, I found the atmosphere sensual. Now reading comfort food: Lee Child’s Never Go Back, which I plucked out of the pile. I also found Bethlehem Road Murder, one of the late Israeli crime novelist Batya Gur’s novels. Probably bought it after I read one of her earlier novels. I like translated crime novels. They are much denser and while the murder does turn up early, they don’t get right to the point and zip along as ours must for our readers.

My short story “Wang Dang Doodle” (along with 22 others by terrific writers) was published by Three Rooms Press this week in the anthology Dark City Lights, edited by Lawrence Block. On May 7th, 6:30, at the Mysterious Bookshop, there is to be the official “launch.”

Books, NY Times Magazine (again), Rejection, and Puppies

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Finished Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend. It’s totally absorbing. So much so that I have not been able to get far into Rachel Cusk’s Outline. But I have to say that Outline is a writing lesson. No dialogue, all narrative from point of view of the narrator. I admire it. I couldn’t do it.

And speaking of writing … a small press publisher called me, said he’d heard through a mutual acquaintance that I had a new book, and could he read it. I said, okay, it’s not one of my series, it’s a standalone. A few weeks later, he told me his reader said it’s not “edgy” enough. Edgy? Edgy? I don’t write edgy. I just said, thank you, enclosing my website with the list and plots of my 18 non-edgy novels. For edgy, read I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes, a terrific thriller.

Haven’t gotten very far into my book group’s next selection, Euphoria by Lily King, but it’s good.

The New York Times Magazine, March 29, had an article on nail polish. Really? I thought I was reading Cosmo.

I have been thinking and thinking about getting a dog again. It’s a dilemma. Because of allergies, I am limited and will probably have to get a puppy. A puppy is a lot of work. Puppies chew on things like cables, don’t respect rugs … or sleep. Stay tuned.


Snow, The New Yorker, and Books

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It started snowing again, almost tentatively, about noon on Friday, and came down thick and dry well into the evening, covering the brownstone rooftops I see from my window as I write this. Snow again after this terrible winter deadens the brain. Everyone walking around saying or thinking, oh, no. On, no. Still, I was invited to dinner three blocks from here and the too-soon packed away snow boots came down from the shelf and off I went.

After I finished Richard Price’s The Whites (loved it), I roamed through the stack of books on the night table and the bureau, bookshelves, and the floor of a closet.  I like change of pace, so I read  American, then Brit, then translation and back to American.  So I was looking for a Brit, and on the floor of my closet I came across Robert Galbraith’s (we know who that is) The Cuckoo’s Calling.  I thought, oh, well, let’s give it a look.  I’ve read about 25 pages, and will read on.

But, I also thought I might as well set up the next translated novel, and I found Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend.  Took it with me to read on the subway to dentist, and I was hooked.  I set aside The Cuckoo. 

I’d mentioned a few weeks ago that the new version of the NYTimes Magazine is unreadable, but that I would give it a little time.  I’ve given it a little time, and it’s unreadable.  What has happened to The New York Times?  Even the book review is a bore. What would I do without The New Yorker?  When I was in high school, we couldn’t wait to see if the current issue had a Salinger story.  The New Yorker was the only writing course I ever took.  My short stories, I think, reflect the style.  Amusing note: I saw the amazing fellow Upper West Sider David Remnick on the subway a few mornings ago.  He was reading the NYPost.