Author Archive: Bill Ott

After more than 30 years at Booklist, editor and publisher Bill Ott continues to edit the crime fiction section of the magazine and still delights in discovering new hard-boiled writers. Follow him on Twitter at @Booklist_Bill.

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Stories across Time: Iain Pears’ Arcadia
By February 9, 2016 0 Comments Read More →

Stories across Time: Iain Pears’ Arcadia

A genre-blending, time-collapsing tour de force in which the power of narrative builds worlds and destroys them. Pears seems to love three-part harmony, though time, not music, is his medium of choice. In Stone’s Fall (2009) and The Dream of Scipio (2002), he weaved remarkably complex stories set in three different time periods that echoed one another, fugue-like, with […]

Posted in: Books and Authors
Top 10 Sinatra Songs
By December 14, 2015 1 Comments Read More →

Top 10 Sinatra Songs

I fell in love with jazz in high school and became something of an obnoxious purist, convinced that violins belonged only in classical music. At some point, though, I heard Frank Sinatra’s trailblazing concept album In the Wee Small Hours, arranged by Nelson Riddle, and realized I would need to modify my point of view. […]

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Sinatra in Fiction: 10 Novels That Reference the Voice
By December 11, 2015 0 Comments Read More →

Sinatra in Fiction: 10 Novels That Reference the Voice

Tomorrow, December 12, 2015, is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Frank Sinatra, a skinny kid from Hoboken, New Jersey, whose life and career “touched almost every aspect of American culture in the twentieth century,” as his biographer, James Kaplan, puts it. Those who wonder if that claim is merely wild hyperbole need only […]

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Behind Blue Eyes: James Kaplan’s Sinatra: The Chairman
By November 3, 2015 1 Comments Read More →

Behind Blue Eyes: James Kaplan’s Sinatra: The Chairman

A remarkable and wide-ranging study of Frank Sinatra’s second act. It would be easy to label Kaplan’s massive two-volume biography of Frank Sinatra—this second volume checks in at 992 pages, following the 786-page first installment, Frank: The Voice (2010)—as an example of massive overkill, but such an assessment would miss the mark entirely. This is not […]

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James Dean: Still Mumbling after All These Years
By September 30, 2015 0 Comments Read More →

James Dean: Still Mumbling after All These Years

It was 60 years ago today, September 30, 1955, when James Dean drove his Porsche 550 Spyder into the driver’s side of another car (a Ford Tudor). Dean was killed instantly while the other driver walked away with a few bruises. That this very young actor, 24 when he died, remains a film icon on […]

The Six Greatest Nonfiction Sports Books of All Time
By September 4, 2015 2 Comments Read More →

The Six Greatest Nonfiction Sports Books of All Time

In my Back Page column in the September 1, 2015, issue of Booklist, I audaciously named the six greatest sports novels of all time. Now, as a follow-up, I will name—perhaps even more audaciously—the six greatest sports nonfiction books ever published. I have imposed one ground rule on myself: collections of magazine pieces are out […]

A Career Owed to Ivan Doig
By August 18, 2015 0 Comments Read More →

A Career Owed to Ivan Doig

August 18 is Ivan Doig Day, honoring the much-loved novelist and nonfiction writer who created his own Yoknapatawpha County in western Montana and called it Two Medicine Country, a farm-rich region on the Rocky Mountain Front in northern Montana and home to as cantankerous and storm-tossed a set of characters as those inhabiting the hamlets that […]

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: From the Harlem Renaissance to Baker Street
By June 23, 2015 0 Comments Read More →

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: From the Harlem Renaissance to Baker Street

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who will be the featured speaker at this year’s presentation of the Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction in San Francisco on June 27, has enjoyed a distinguished writing career since his retirement from basketball. The author of numerous acclaimed nonfiction works, including On the Shoulders of Giants, in which he […]

Game Wardens and Rugged Outdoorsy Sleuths: 7 Titles about Crime in the Natural World

Game Wardens and Rugged Outdoorsy Sleuths: 7 Titles about Crime in the Natural World

Outdoorsy types are the new tough guys (and gals) in crime fiction. C. J. Box’s Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett may be the best known of the current crop, but Joe better not look back (as Satchel Paige warned), because, if he does, he’ll likely hear Paul Doiron’s Mike Bowditch, from Maine, gaining on him. And, […]

Happy Birthday, Lady Day
By April 7, 2015 0 Comments Read More →

Happy Birthday, Lady Day

Today, April 7, 2015, marks the 100th anniversary of legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday’s birth. The recording industry is all over this landmark event, first with Legacy Records’ release today of Billie Holiday: The Centennial Collection, which gathers 20 essential recordings from Holiday’s career. In addition, jazz singers Cassandra Wilson and Jose James have both […]

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