In fiction — as well as the real world — spies are everywhere. At io9, Katharine Trendacosta and Meredith Woerner picked 50 out of hundreds that merit special attention.
When a human told the Cardassian Elim Garak that the meaning of the saying “the boy who cried wolf” is that if you tell lies, no-one will ever believe you again, Garek explains that he has it wrong:
“It means that you should never tell the same lie twice.”
Included on their list is one of my favorites, Christopher Foyle from the British series Foyle’s War. Although he started as a police officer, Foyle was so good at his job he ends up recruited by MI5. This, despite that scrupulously honesty is one of his defining features. “That’s right, he’s so good that a spy agency wanted him even though he doesn’t like to lie.”
Others on the list include George Smiley from Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, James Bond, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Ethan Hunt of Mission Impossible, Napoleon Solo and Ilya Kuryakin from the Man from U.N.C.L.E., John Steed and Emma Peel, Jason Bourne…the list goes on and on. Who is your favorite?
I’m giving a reading tonight…
100 Biographies & Memoirs to Read in a Lifetime
OK, this is a sales pitch for Amazon and they don’t really need any more promotion —
but still …
it’s a fascinating list and contains a number of books I’d recommend myself.
The suggested reading list includes works old and new — Malcolm X, Mark Twain, Vladimir Nabokov, Tiny Fey, Jack Kerouac, Joan Didion, Anne Frank…
So check the list put together by Amazon’s Books Editors. You don’t have to buy the books online; you can always get them from your favorite bookstore.
And speaking of favorite bookstores…
When huge chain bookstores spread across the country decades ago, they drove many independent booksellers out of business. Then most of the chains faltered and many went belly up.
When Borders liquidated a few years ago, for example, it left many communities without a bookstore, Judith Rosen writes at Publishers Weekly.
Most independent booksellers were hesitant about leasing the smaller vacated stores, and shopping centers were unwilling to carve up cavernous locations once occupied by the chain’s superstores.
Now, the bookselling landscape is changing once again. Independents are taking back some of the physical bookshelf space that had been lost.
“Time needed to pass for the consumer, the landlord, and the bookstore market to figure out what should fill that space. It’s not another 20,000-sq.-ft. store, but maybe it’s two 4,000-sq.-ft. stores on different ends of town,” said Robert Sindelar of Third Place Books, which recently announced that it will open a third bookstore in the Seattle area.
Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, Wash. photo: thirdplacebooks.com
Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel about the role of women in a totalitarian state, “The Handmaid’s Tale”, is one of the best books ever written, Krystie Lee Yandoli writes at BuzzFeed.
It has empowered people to think for themselves outside of conventional social norms.
The top 10 novels featuring works of art
I never wrote a novel featuring a painting, but I did win a BBC contest for my short story, The Painting.
Novelist Sophia Tobin chooses her favorite books with paintings at their heart, from Dorian Gray’s hidden portrait to Donna Tartt’s stolen Goldfinch.
Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier (1999)
The book that inspired a play, a film and thousands of mini-breaks to The Hague. Looking at the Vermeer painting of the same name, Chevalier was inspired by the latent intensity of the sitter’s gaze as it meets the viewer/artist. From this she creates the story of Griet, a servant girl who, through her interest in art, becomes close to her employer, Johannes Vermeer. The influence of Netherlandish art is clear in Chevalier’s luminous version of Delft and her subtle portrait of love and loss, as coolly lit as one of Vermeer’s paintings.
THIS ‘n THAT
Artist Daniel Reeve created and re-created calligraphy and maps for Peter Jackson’s films of the Tolkien adventures in Middle-earth. His gallery of images includes maps and illustrations as well as calligraphy and lettering.
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