1. The Daphne Awards (for the best books published 50 years ago)

    An award that a classics series can finally stand up tall and participate in!
    Read why Bookslut wants to award a prize for the best book of 1963 here. And they’re accepting nominations.

    Let’s see, what have we got from 1963?

    FICTION
    One Fat Englishman by Kingsley Amis
    The Expendable Man by Dorothy B. Hughes
    The Old Man and Me by Elaine Dundy (copyright 1963, 1964—but apparently published in ’64)
    The Tenants of Moonbloom by Edward Lewis Wallant
    The Day of the Owl by Leonardo Sciascia*
    Chaos and Night by Henry de Montherlant

    NONFICTION
    Memoirs of a Revolutionary by Victor Serge*
    Miserable Miracle: Mescaline by Henri Michaux*
    Born Under Saturn: The Character and Conduct of Artists by Rudolph and Margot Wittkover

    KIDS
    Three Ladies Beside the Sea Rhoda Levine, illustrated by Edward Gorey

    *First translated into English in 1963

  2. "Remember how I used to read to you?
    "Uh huh. Since then, I’ve learned to read by myself."

    —From the Nicholas Ray’s noir classic, In a Lonely Place, staring Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame and based on the novel by Dorothy B. Hughes, who was also the author of The Expendable Man. Both books have a twist, half the fun is seeing if you can pick it up early.

  3. slaughterhouse90210:

BOOKS I LOVED IN 2012
I hate ranking the things I love. So this year, I decided to go high school yearbook-style and give all of my 2012 book crushes some fancy superlatives.  All have provided great source material, and all are highly recommended.
BEST VINTAGE READ THAT STILL FEELS VITAL: The Expendable Man by Dorothy B. Hughes
Originally published in 1963, with a sparkly new edition released in 2012, Hughes’s crime fiction masterpiece screwed with all of my preconceptions of what noir could be. Even as The Expendable Man details the plight of a protagonist with spectacularly bad wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time luck, it manipulates our expectations and reveals our prejudices. Knife-cuttable tension abounds.

    slaughterhouse90210:

    BOOKS I LOVED IN 2012

    I hate ranking the things I love. So this year, I decided to go high school yearbook-style and give all of my 2012 book crushes some fancy superlatives.  All have provided great source material, and all are highly recommended.

    BEST VINTAGE READ THAT STILL FEELS VITAL: The Expendable Man by Dorothy B. Hughes

    Originally published in 1963, with a sparkly new edition released in 2012, Hughes’s crime fiction masterpiece screwed with all of my preconceptions of what noir could be. Even as The Expendable Man details the plight of a protagonist with spectacularly bad wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time luck, it manipulates our expectations and reveals our prejudices. Knife-cuttable tension abounds.

  4. The Expendable Man in The New Yorker Page-Turner blog

    Her [Dorothy B. Hughes’s] books were widely praised for their atmospheres of fear and suspense, and criticized when they reached, as the New York Times said of The Fallen Sparrow, ‘toward conflict and situations that are rather beyond the usual whodunit scheme.’ But this is Hughes’s point. It is not whodunit, but who-ness itself, that she’s after. By this I do not mean that she asks why—specific motives are as mulish and unanswerable as sin. Crime was never Hughes’s interest, evil was, and to be evil, for her, is to be intolerant of others, of the very fact of the existence of something outside the self. With her poetic powers of description, she makes that evil a sickness in the mind and a landscape to be surveyed.

    —Dorothy B. Hughes’s The Expendable Man was reviewed in the "Page-Turner" blog at The New Yorker by Christine Smallwood. The Expendable Man is a classic of American noir, with a twist that will be spoiled by reading the full review. It also has some wonderful descriptive landscapes of the Arizona desert. As Smallwood puts it:

    Blackness is on the horizon, and Hughes drives the novel straight towards it. In the desert across the tracks from civilization, from the Los Angeles where Densmore is known and respected, the world is all sand—grainy and bland, a wash of blinding neutrals. To keep your eyes focused requires some effort, perhaps some practice. One way to understand The Expendable Man is as an exploration of ‘conscious seeing,’ both for the reader, who learns discernment, and within language itself.

  5. Sarah Weinman has a great piece on the craft of noir author Dorothy B. Hughes in the Los Angeles Review of Books, including her last book, The Expendable Man.

    "A sense of tragedy sets in as you read The Expendable Man in 2012: so much has changed, but so many still cling, stubbornly, to the awful image of How Things Used to Be.”

    lareviewofbooks:

    Today, at the Los Angeles Review of Books: 

    Kate Elswit on Shell Shock Cinema — Afterimages of Trauma

    Sarah Weinman on Dorothy B. HughesThe Expendable ManIn a Lonely Place and The Davidian Report

    “Wilde in the Office” by Kaya Genç — on Oscar Wilde’s career as a magazine editor

  6. As Chester Himes had shown two decades earlier in If He Hollers Let Him Go, the hardboiled noir idiom was well-suited to evoke the pressures and risks of being black in pre-Civil Rights America. Hugh’s upper-middle-class black identity is threatened by the specter of white violence, by the fear of a primordial American racism against which no level of status or attainment can insulate him: ‘It was surprising what old experience remembered could do to a presumably educated, civilized man.’

    Bookforum reviews Dorothy B. Hughes The Expendable Man. Definitely spoils the plot twist, but we love having an author compared to the incomparable Chester Himes. Plus Walter Mosley, Himes’s heir apparent, wrote an afterword for our edition.

  7. Katy Homans has been on a burnt orange + acid green kick recently.Advance copies of The Expendable Man by Dorothy B. Hughes and Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol, translated by Donald Rayfield; Confusion pin

    Katy Homans has been on a burnt orange + acid green kick recently.
    Advance copies of The Expendable Man by Dorothy B. Hughes and Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol, translated by Donald Rayfield; Confusion pin