RARA-AVIS: Themes of the Months

From: William Denton ( buff@pobox.com)
Date: 28 Oct 2002

Last updated: 26 August 2002


Aug 2002: Hardboiled PBOs: Fawcett Gold Medals Sep 2002: Procedurals and their relation to the hardboiled

Then an eight-month look at the history of hardboiled and noir writing. Pick a book from the given decade, read it, and send out your comments. We'll see how the writing changed over time. Reading suggestions are welcome and will be added below. Browse your anthologies for short stories from old pulps.

See also Geoffrey O'Brien's checklist from HARDBOILED AMERICA:


Oct 2002: pre-1930
   W.R. Burnett's LITTLE CAESAR (1929), Dashiell Hammett's RED
   HARVEST (1929) and THE DAIN CURSE (1929). Lots of short stories
   from pulp magazines. Make your case for proto-hardboiled writers
   (Hemingway, Twain, Swift, etc.).

Nov 2002: 1930-1939
   Raoul Whitfield's GREEN ICE (1930), Paul Cain's FAST ONE (1932),
   Frederick Nebel, Norbert Davis, Dashiell Hammett's THE MALTESE FALCON
   (1930), THE GLASS KEY (1931), THE THIN MAN (1934), John dos Passos's
   USA TRILOGY, James M. Cain's DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1936), James T.
   Farrell's Studs Lonigan trilogy, Horace McCoy's THEY SHOOT HORSES,
   DON'T THEY? (1935), Raymond Chandler's THE BIG SLEEP (1939).

Dec 2002: 1940-1949
   Mickey Spillane, Leo Malet.

Jan 2003: 1950-1959
   John D. MacDonald, Ross Macdonald.

Feb 2003: 1960-1969

Mar 2003: 1970-1979

Apr 2003: 1980-1989
   James Ellroy, Charles Willeford's Hoke Moseley series.

May 2003: 1990-present (and: whither hardboiled/noir writing?)
   George Pelecanos, Michael Connelly.

Then back to a single writer/theme:

Jun 2003: John D. MacDonald Jul 2003: Charles Willeford


Having a theme for a month, where people can read any book by a particular author or in a certain series or on a certain topic, is easier all around than the old book-of- the-month readings we'd do. It brings up a lot more discussion on the list and it doesn't tie everyone to a certain book that may be hard for them to find. I encourage everyone to read something related to the theme of the month and mention it on the list. All the regular RARA-AVIS talk goes on as well, of course.

Suggestions for future themes include: the continuing question of hardboiled women writers, Barry Gifford, W.R. Burnett, Nick Tosches, politics, gangster-related books, and moral ambiquity.

This message is automatically sent out twice a month.

William Denton List-Owner

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