Friday, January 01, 2021

True Crime for 2021


I make no secret of how big a fan I am of books published by The Library of America. The books are always of the highest quality, and especially considering the uniqueness of their compilations, they are always interesting in addition to being a bargain. So what better way to begin a new year than to highlight one of the last two LOA books I purchased in 2020, True Crime: An American Anthology.

Like a lot of people, I've been fascinated by true crime books for a long time. For me, it probably started way back with the publication of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, but I always thought of the genre as being something that only grew popular  around the time of that groundbreaking book. Obviously, I've been very wrong about that assumption.

This compilation is almost 800 pages long, and it includes the "true crime" writing of authors like Cotton Mather, Benjamin Franklin, Nathanial Hawthorne, Abraham Lincoln, Ambrose Bierce, Mark Twain, Damon Runyon, H.L. Mencken, Theodore Dreiser, Edna Ferber, and James Thurber. Others included in the anthology are not so surprising, names like: Jack Webb, Dominick Dunne, Ann Rule, James Ellroy, Gay Talese, and Capote himself.

This one arrived in December, so I'm looking forward to dipping in and out of it a good bit during 2021. Most people, I think, believe that the Library of America only publishes the classics that established the publisher's reputation. That is far from the case because Library of America books include collections of science fiction classics, war reporting, baseball and other sports writing, classic detective fiction, etc. I add ten or twelve of their books to my shelves every year and now have 114 of them. If you don't know this publisher, do take a look at their catalog because I think they will surprise you.

6 comments:

  1. I am very interested in the fact that all those people wrote true crime. Lincoln!
    Mencken is someone I've meant to "meet" for a long time.
    I'll look into these Library of America books.

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    1. Nan, LOA is a non-profit publisher that works hard to keep the best American writing in print in quality books. I'll be passing my collection on to a granddaughter who loves books, and if she's careful, she can pass them on to her own granddaughter some day. They are excellently produced books.

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    2. I signed up for their newsletter, and they just sent me my first one, and it is all about Hemingway! I couldn't be happier. Thanks again.

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    3. Nan, they will send you a nice catalog of books published, too. There are always great sales of 15-20% off that seem to come around quite often, also.

      The David Goodis novel I just reviewed is in a book that was "published with support from The Geoffrey C. Hughes Foundation." Not sure what that foundation is, but it is often done that way because this is a nonprofit publishing house.

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  2. Who knew that authors like Dreiser, Twain and Hawthorne also wrote true crime pieces? Learn something new everyday. :D

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    1. I guess we should not be surprised when we realize that public hangings were pretty popular not all that long ago.

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