Matt Rees's Blog – March 2010 Archive (8)

Crime fiction with a vengeance

The original Swedish title of the opening installment in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy was “Men Who Hate Women.” Which proves that you can write a huge international bestseller and not know why people would read your book.


Larsson’s U.K. publisher changed the title to “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” With his original title, Larsson would’ve been a posthumous hit (he died in 2004 of a heart attack at the age of 50) in Sweden, where he was well-known as a…
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Added by Matt Rees on March 30, 2010 at 10:42pm — 2 Comments

Back to Israel: Recall what's foreign

When you live in a foreign place, it can become home. You forget how foreign it is.


Then you go to another foreign country, only to discover that it doesn’t seem so foreign. And you realize that the place you live actually IS extremely foreign.


That’s what happened to me during the last week, when I toured Germany to read from my third Palestinian rime novel THE SAMARITAN’S…
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Added by Matt Rees on March 26, 2010 at 12:34am — 1 Comment

In Nablus, the price is right

I was cramming down a a slice of qanafi at my favorite vendor in the Nablus casbah yesterday when a gang of Palestinian reporters and officials intruded on my guilty pleasure. This was at Aqsa Sweets, which readers of THE SAMARITAN'S SECRET will know as the place favored by the hero of my Palestinian crime novels Omar Yussef because it has a perfect blend of the cheeses of different Syrian and Palestinian goats in…
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Added by Matt Rees on March 17, 2010 at 3:54am — No Comments

Why I love clogged Arab toilets better than Amazon Kindles

As I journey around the Middle East researching my Palestinian crime novels, I love to come upon a stinking squatting-toilet, its evacuation hole bubbling with dark, sinister turds and the air strong with the scent of barely digested, unhygienically prepared lamb kebab. I adore such a khazi on sight, because no one cleaned it up for me or tried to create an illusion that it was just like a toilet in Manhattan or Munich or my mother’s house.


That toilet is…
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Added by Matt Rees on March 12, 2010 at 12:16am — 3 Comments

Literary reviews: If you can’t say something nice…

Kingsley Amis said that “a bad review may spoil your breakfast, but you shouldn’t allow it to spoil your lunch.” That’s because Kingsley, bless his vindictive old heart, was probably too busy spoiling someone else’s. Believe me, a bad review leaves a bad taste all day long.


That’s not because of any insecurity about my writing. If a review is negative or even mildly snarky, I know the reviewer got it wrong. It’s the mere existence of negative thoughts about me…
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Added by Matt Rees on March 8, 2010 at 1:15am — 2 Comments

The elusive, graceful future of journalism: Nina Burleigh's Writing Life

A NPR foreign correspondent chum used to recount a list of seven ways for journalists to grow old with grace. His premise, which is self-evident to anyone who’s been a reporter, was that daily news was an undignified thing to be doing in your 40s. I can’t remember the whole of the list. It included writing op-eds for your newspaper (which seemed more or less like retirement), teaching journalism at a university (also retirement, but somewhat scorned by other hacks), and maybe the…
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Added by Matt Rees on March 6, 2010 at 10:34pm — No Comments

Coffee cultures of Israelis, Palestinians...and Hawaiians

>I have a lot of good reasons for staying in the Middle East as long as I have. While the main thing keeping me here 14 years and counting may truly be inertia, I also enjoy being an outsider, researching my Palestinian crime novels on site, visiting the Palestinian towns whose atmosphere of violence, decay and liveliness makes me feel so creative.


But let’s get down to brass tacks: I’m here for the coffee.


There’s no…
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Added by Matt Rees on March 4, 2010 at 5:00pm — No Comments

Gumshoe Review: THE FOURTH ASSASSIN 'excellent'...and a list of crime fiction good, bad and pointless

Top crime fiction blog Gumshoe Review rates my new Palestinian crime novel THE FOURTH ASSASSIN very highly: "Rees does an excellent job of showing the pressures on the young Palestinians and describing the microcosm of one immigrant community within the U.S. The mystery also contains plenty of twist and turns." Read Mel Jacobs's full review.


If you feel compelled to read any other…
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Added by Matt Rees on March 2, 2010 at 8:23pm — 1 Comment

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