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Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Washington Post

Thanks to Pulitzer Prize-winning book critic Michael Dirda for reviewing It's All One Case in The Washington Post (11/30/16 online and in the print version the next day).


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Sunday, November 20, 2016

New Press

As a result of Tom Nolan's glowing recommendation of It's All One Case in yesterday's The Wall Street Journal, the book is, as of this writing, #1 on three of Amazon's best sellers lists:

#1 in Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Mystery > Reference
#1 in Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Writing
#1 in Books > Literature & Fiction > History & Criticism > Genres & Styles > Mystery & Detective

On a related note, I've also updated the "Press" page on this site to include all of the notices the new book has received thus far:

CriminalElement.com 
The Village Voice
Literary Hub (a terrific Q & A with critically acclaimed author Jonathan Lethem)
John Connolly on Twitter
Woody Haut's Blog
Library of America (another terrific interview, this one with Jeff Wong, who is responsible for the design of the book and almost all of the 1,300 or so images that appear therein)
The Strand Magazine
The Wall Street Journal
Dirty River

More to follow...


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      Saturday, November 5, 2016

      BookCourt in Review

      I've been remiss in thanking all of you who attended the official It's All One Case book launch at BookCourt back on October 24th. The turnout was great; the store had to bring in more chairs to accommodate everyone who showed up and the book sold out.

      The Village Voice previewed the event. The notice isn't entirely accurate, but its heart was in the right place.


      Special gratitude to Glenn Tranter of BookCourt for making the event happen in the first place, and to Deborah Avery for taking most of the following photos.
      Read more »

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      Sunday, October 9, 2016

      Book Launch at BookCourt

      Join us to mark the publication of It’s All One Case: The Illustrated Ross Macdonald Archives, published by Fantagraphics.



      WHEN: Friday, October 14, at 7 PM

      WHERE: BookCourt, 163 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (718) 875-3677

      I'll be reading from the book and Jeff Wong, who designed it, will be displaying a sampling of the over 1,300 images that fill its pages. (Jeff maintains one of the world’s largest personal archives of Ross Macdonald collectibles.) We will also share some rare sound clips from Paul Nelson's 1976 interviews with Macdonald, which form the book's foundation, and discuss the forty-year course these interviews took to finally reach publication.

      Read more about the book below and at BookCourt's website.

      "It's All One Case is the most important work of mystery scholarship to have emerged this century." —John Connolly, author of the Charlie Parker Mysteries

      In 1976, the critic Paul Nelson spent several weeks interviewing his literary hero, legendary detective writer Ross Macdonald. Beginning in the late 1940s with his shadowy creation, the ruminating private eye Lew Archer, Macdonald followed in the footsteps of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, but ultimately elevated the form to a new level. “We talked about everything imaginable,” Nelson wrote—including Macdonald’s often meager beginnings; his dual citizenship; writers, painters, music, books, and movies he admired; how he used symbolism to change detective writing; his own novels and why Archer was not the most important character — “my God, everything.”

      Commemorating last year’s centenary of the innovative and influential author’s birth, in a handsome, oversized format, It’s All One Case provides an open door to Macdonald at his most unguarded. Featuring in full color the covers of the various editions of Macdonald’s more than two dozen books, facsimile reproductions of pages from his manuscripts, magazine spreads, and many never before seen photos of Macdonald, including those by celebrated photojournalist Jill Krementz. It’s All One Case is an intellectual delight and a visual feast, a fitting tribute to Macdonald’s distinguished career.

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      Sunday, July 24, 2016

      Bartleby on Carmine Street

      On Jeopardy! earlier this month, one of the answers was, "In a story of 19th century Wall Street, this title clerk famously replies, 'I would prefer not to.'" The question was, "Who was Bartleby the Scrivener?" That reminded me of Paul Nelson, who in 1982 told the singer/songwriter Greg Copeland: "Sometimes I wish I was like 'Bartleby the Scrivener,' where I just worked away at an office and didn't have to think. Not seriously, but there are times."


      On the heels of this comes Raphael Rubinstein's fine article "Bartleby on Carmine Street," in the July-August issue of The Brooklyn Rail. In the course of some richly detailed contemplation about how Paul ended up as a clerk at Steve Feltes's Evergreen Video, the author has some nice things to say about Everything Is an Afterthought: "a heart-breaking book, but also a fascinating one..."

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      Saturday, October 31, 2015

      Conversations with Clint

      I finally received my copies of the Chinese translation of Conversations with Clint. One nice surprise was the addition of an array of well-chosen movie stills--not only of Eastwood, but from the non-Eastwood films he discussed with Paul Nelson. Another surprise was, thanks to a friend who is fluent in Chinese, learning that the title of the translation is Aged Ginger Is More Pungent




      The Chinese translation of Conversations with Clint can be ordered here

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      Sunday, October 18, 2015

      Clint: 60 Years in Film

      To commemorate "Clint Eastwood: 60 years in Film," Friday's Telegraph in the UK quoted Eastwood from Conversations with Clint.

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      Saturday, December 27, 2014

      A Good Hader

      This late Christmas surprise just came to my attention. Back in July, The New York Times Sunday Book Review asked SNL graduate and sometime TCM host Bill Hader, "What are the best books you've read about Hollywood?" After listing several indispensable volumes, he said, "And of course all the great biographies and autobiographies: Conversations With Clint, the interviews by Paul Nelson . . ."

      You can read the entire article here.

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      Friday, August 22, 2014

      Charles M. Young (1951 - 2014)

                                                                                                        Photo by Hilary Johnson

      In 2007, when I interviewed Charles M. Young, who passed away this week from a brain tumor, one of the things we discussed was the imposition of the star rating system in the record-review section at Rolling Stone. It was one of the reasons that had caused his friend Paul Nelson to leave the magazine in 1982. Chuck remembered how he'd given one of his own reviews, of a George Winston album, a five-star rating, but when it was published it only had three stars. The reason? Because there were supposedly already too many five-star reviews in that issue.

      "I'd never tell Christgau not to use grades, but I wouldn't tell anybody else who didn't want to use grades that they had to. I wouldn't even give grades in school. Grades are a disaster in education, grades are a disaster in rock & roll. You don't listen to music for a grade, you listen to music for its own sake. The point of a review, you describe what's there and then you convey your enthusiasm or distaste after in some way having an accurate description in there of what the album is, to be fair to the artist, and then you say 'it works' or 'it doesn't work,' you convey your enthusiasm or distaste, and that's what a review needs to do...

      "When you're teaching kids to read and you give them a gold star for knowing some big word in the story or something, you're just sucking the joy out of learning from the kid. You're teaching them that what you do is work for the gold star, you work for the money. You don't do something because it's inherently worth doing. I mean, the only reason to read a book is because you love the book. The only reason to listen to music is because you love the music. This grade thing destroys that. It's one  manifestation of this horrible sickness in American society, which Paul would not participate in, to his great credit. Art was not about grades, it was not about money, it was something that you believed in, that you were committed to with an almost religious passion. And that was Paul."

      And that was Chuck.

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      Saturday, July 5, 2014

      Back in Utah



      I'll be signing my books, Everything Is an Afterthought and Conversations with Clint, at Dolly's Bookstore in Park City on Saturday, July 12, between 6 and 7:30 PM. For more about the event, click here. And here.

      If you're in the area, please drop by and say hello. This is a signing, not a reading. We'll be discussing all things Paul Nelson, including the book I'm just finishing, It's All One Case, based on Paul's forty hours of interviews with detective novelist Ross Macdonald. It's All One Case is scheduled for publication by Fantagraphics in the summer of 2015.