Archive December 2007
My golden lab Oscar (4 years old) is
sending a message.
It is time to take some down time.
I’ll celebrate New
Years in Bangkok.
Meanwhile, I wish each and everyone of my friends a very
Happy New Year
10 resolutions for the New Year 2008.
1. Finish the second draft of
Calvino #10 by the end of January.
2. Spend more time with the family.
Travel more, including a North American trip.
4. Read more from science to
5. Take time to help friends in need.
6. Assist in
promoting the books in North America and England.
7. Remember that everyone
has a choice: you can turn response with
laughter or anger to the insanity
8. Spend less time on the Internet.
9. Never miss a workout at
the health club.
10. Stay curious, focused and discis plined.
photographs from Pushkar, Rajastan, India.
FACES OF INDIA
Girl singer in Pushkar
Pushkar travel agent
Holy man visiting a shrine
Braham Priest Blessing the faithful
Joome, my camel, taking a rest in the Rajastan
Like David Levy’s publisher, now I have your attention.
LOVE AND SEX WITH ROBOTS
The Evolution Of Human-Robot Relationships
Harper. 334 pp. $24.95
Here’s one author’s vision of
the future sexual relations between human being and robots. In the Washington Post review Joel Achenbach, writes:
with robots will be as normal as love with other humans,’” Levy writes, "while
the number of sexual acts and lovemaking positions commonly practiced between
humans will be extended, as robots teach us more than is in all of the world's
published sex manuals combined.’”
“Levy goes on to imagine a world of
robot prostitutes, or ‘sexbots,’ which would offer people a chance to practice
their technique before entering a human relationship. ‘With a robot prostitute,’
he writes, "the control of disease is implicit -- simply remove the active parts
and put them in the disinfecting machine.”
I am waiting for a novel to
run with this theme. Low-tech bars may well be turned into museums.
I want to take this opportunity for thanking each of you for your support in
2007. It has been a fantastic year. A year filled with good memories. An
incredible time at Samana Negra in Spain where the Spanish version of Zero Hour in Phnom Penh won the 2007 Premier Special Director
The Spanish trip was followed by news from my agent that she
had made a 4-book deal for novels in the Vincent Calvino series. The 4-books
were purchased by Grove/Atlantic Press. The Risk of Infidelity Index =1-1 has been delivered to bookstores in the United States,
England and the Commonwealth. Spirit House will follow in May 2008.
I am finishing a second draft of new Calvino for Grove/Atlantic. Calvino
#10 is scheduled for release in December 2008. Atlantic Monthly Press will also
publish a 4th novel from the Calvino backlist in May 2009. My agents in LA and
Washington, D.C. have reached a movie option deal for the Calvino series. That
should give a lift to the books. Though movie options are pretty common in
Hollywood and the jump from an option to a made picture is like the climb from
base camp to the top of K2. Many start up the mountain, but most don’t reach the
top. But to get a chance you need to get to base camp.
Looking back at
2007, it has been a dream year. Along this twenty-year journey a number of
people have consistently given me encouragement. For those of you who have been
cheering for me, buying my books, spreading the word, I am grateful. To each of
you, I extend a heartfelt thank you.
Pushkar is a Hindu holy city in the Rajastan desert. We spent one week in the
city. The diet is strict vegetarian. No meat, chicken, pork or eggs. There are
many street vendors selling local dishes.
One of the holy men of Pushkar lost in
Every morning I started the
morning with breakfast at the Sunset Hotel. The tables outside the hotel
overlook the lake and city. It is a popular meeting place and travelers from
around the city come to this spot to watch the sunset.
|Pushkar, Rajastan, India: December 2007
Street life in the small towns of India are a world of markets, cows,
motorcycles, bicycles, women balancing large bowls of produce on their heads,
street musicians, vendors and the crunch of people.
In Hindu culture cows
have the right of way. They are sacred. Here is one queuing at a fax shop.
Perhaps sending a report to a superior.
|Readers on the Endangered List
In a New Yorker article titled “Twilight of the Books What will life be like if people stop
reading?” Caleb Crain examines the hard evidence that the culture of readers
is going the way of Asian tigers.
“Between 1982 and 2002, the percentage
of Americans who read literature declined not only in every age group but in
every generation—even in those moving from youth into middle age, which is often
considered the most fertile time of life for reading. We are reading less as we
age, and we are reading less than people who were our age ten or twenty years
And he follows with this gloomy prediction about the direction of
society, suggesting that as a group of TV watchers whose brains become passive
instruments for the advertising industry.:
“There’s no reason to think
that reading and writing are about to become extinct, but some sociologists
speculate that reading books for pleasure will one day be the province of a
special “reading class,” much as it was before the arrival of mass literacy, in
the second half of the nineteenth century. They warn that it probably won’t
regain the prestige of exclusivity; it may just become “an increasingly arcane
hobby.” Such a shift would change the texture of society.”
Why not buy a
book for the holiday season. Give it to a friend, relative, your spouse or
child; pull them away from the TV and introduce them to the world of words from
which they can produce their own images and excite an imagination that lies
ready to be ignited.
|The Risk of Infidelity Index
On schedule the Grove/Atlantic edition of The Risk of
Infidelity Index has been released in the United States, Canada, Australia and
England. One place where you can order a copy of the hardback edition is from amazon dot com.
The ninth in the Calvino series is 336 pages and the
amazon price is US$14.96. The price is about Baht 500 or less than the trade
paperback edition published by Heaven Lake Press. Amazon also has, in some
cases, free shipping, so the price will never be better to buy a first edition
of a Vincent Calvino novel.
At last Vinnie Calvino has returned to the
Big Apple. Not that New York is a setting in the story that unfolds in Risk; but
the publication does mark the author’s return to New York. My first novel, His
Lordship’s Arsenal was published in New York in 1985. It has been a long time
since one of my books has been available in the United States. For readers who
have had concerns about finding my books at a reasonable price, the latest
Grove/Atlantic edition solves both problems.
In case you have some last
minute Christmas shopping and want the chance to share your experience of
Bangkok, ordering The Risk of Infidelity Index from amazon.com or Barnes & Noble is a good start.
If you are in
Canada, you can order from amazon.ca
If you are in the UK, you can order from amazon.uk
If you are in Germany, then you can order from
|City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi
City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi (Paperback)
If you love find travel writing, a nicely woven
history, a personal journey and an insightful perspective of the capital of
India then you can’t do better than read City of Djinns. The prose style is
elegant and laced with wit and panache. I found the history of the Mughal Empire
particularly compelling. This is a world of eunuchs, lavish gardens and forts,
vast harems, murder and palace intrigue, with brothers killing each other for
power and wealth.
Dalrymle draws the interesting historical point that
the Muslim culture was hevily influenced by the Greeks with the emphasis on
rationality and logic. Unlike the Hindus, they were urban people, their gardens
a tribute to order; unlike the chaotic Hindus whose tangle overgrown gardens and
love of the country set up a rival mindset that remains today. The author’s
interviews with those who lived through the bloody Partition in 1947 is moving
A Trinity, Cambridge graduate, Dalyrmple recalls
attending a party in Delhi where a senior official asked if he had attended
Eton. When he said that he hadn’t, the senior official abruptly moved on to find
someone more suitable among the gathering.
City of Djinns will have you
ordering all of Dalrymle’s books. His books have won numerous awards, and his
first was published, as one English critic aptly put it at the “irritating” age
|Italian edition of Pattaya 24/7
The Italian edition of Pattaya 24/7 has
been released by Mondadori.
This is the first Calvino novel to be
translated into Italian. For any author seeing a foreign translation of his
novel is a thrill. Hopefully Pattaya 24/7 will be the first among many of the
Calvino novels to be brought out in Italy.
|Translating Conrad’s Life into the age of Globalization
In an article titled the Moral Agent Giles Foden has done a brilliant job on the 150th
anniversary of Joseph Conrad’s birth, to revisit the importance of his work,
the scope of his vision, and the personal details that in large measure
influenced his work. His genius for exploring human nature ends with the
conclusion that at the outer rim of the best literature, a writer is confronted
with a high wall where people are simply not knowable.
“Conrad is the
perennial immigrant. As his friend John
Galsworthy put it: "Prisoners in the cells of our own nationality, we never
see ourselves; it is reserved for one outside looking through the tell-tale
peep-hole to get a proper view of us.”
“In today's era of globalisation
and environmentalism, which demand holistic approaches, we can appreciate
Conrad's attempt to dramatise the human condition in its widest possible
ideation. Only when the other is recognised, geographically and historically, is
the true moral value of a given situation revealed. So far as such value is
calculable, it always involves differentials between positions rather than
measuring up to any external ‘sovereign power enthroned in a fixed standard of
conduct’ (Lord Jim)”
Conrad’s visits to Bangkok are recorded in the
history of the Oriental Hotel. During Conrad’s time the hotel was more of a
rundown guesthouse than the grand world-class hotel of the present day. There is
a suite named after him as well. One that no doubt that Conrad would not have
been able to afford to have stayed in.
|How to Cure Depression Asian Style, Clear your Bowels, and Become Young
It is that time of the year when the weather changes and the mood shifts into a
low gear depression. There is medication and there are therapists. Now there is
the definitive book from a Japanese author Hiroyuki Nishigaki titled: How to Good-Bye Depression: If You Constrict Anus 100 Times
Everyday. Malarkey? or Effective Way?
Or let’s say you are depressed but would like to reverse the
aging process. Again Nishigaki’s technique apparently works for the holy grail
of youthfulness. The book is described on amazon as: “I think constricting anus
100 times and denting navel 100 times in succession everyday is effective to
good-bye depression and take back youth. You can do so at a boring meeting or in
a subway. I have known 70-year-old man who has practiced it for 20 years. As a
result, he has good complexion and has grown 20 years younger. His eyes sparkle.
He is full of vigor, happiness and joy. He has neither complained nor born a
grudge under any circumstance.”
Trolling through the amazon reviews
yields a splendid number of insights of how this books has been treasured by
One reviewer was hooked on the “English” in the book and
believes this line would draw in just about any reader: "Besides shooting out a
big blank from your buttock, you can feel as if your root chakra leaked sweet
Another reviewer wrote: “The remaining three sections are
Nishigaki's writing, and are based on the teachings of Carlos Castaneda. While
I'm inclined to believe that both Castaneda and Nishigaki are both lunatics who
need to be institutionalized, I didn't buy the book to learn about the healing
effects of anal-clenching; I got the book because it looked like a good laugh.”
Yet another reviewer wrote: “I've been teaching my dog to obey this book
as well. In fact, I'm working on a technique to teach dogs how to constrict
their anuses at your command. So useful, really.”
And last but not
least, a reviewer said, “I decided to try the methods described in the book.
Anal constrition and stomach compression, 100 times a day for several days.
At the risk of seeming disgusting, permit me to say that several days
after I started this practice, I experienced what was probably the largest bowel
movement in my life. I've also lost a few inches around the waistline and my
energy level seems to be rising.”
I will be away for a couple of weeks.
Look for the next blog entry sometime during the third week of December.