I've told the story hundreds of times, probably more than once on this blog, of how I spent my time in graduate school. That was a long time ago, back before Al Gore had invented teh internets, and to do research, I had to spend a lot of time in the library. But I wasn't doing research that related to my studies, exactly. Instead, I was browsing through the bound volumes of The New York Times Book Review.
Yes, bound volumes. Tall blue-bound volumes of a newspaper supplement. I can't explain how wonderful that was. You just have to experience it, except that you probably can't anymore. Let's just say that it's a lot more fun than sitting at a computer, or at least it seems that way in memory yet green.
But the browsing wasn't the real fun. The real fun was in reading every "Criminals at Large" column by Anthony Boucher and writing down the titles of the books he liked. Okay, that was actually the foreplay. The real fun was leaving the library and going to the used-book stores to find copies of the books Boucher recommended.
Thanks to Ramble House, you can do the same thing, but without the foreplay. All those columns (and more) have been collected in a single giant volume. Unlike most of the other books I've recommended on Friday, this one is still in print. It's forgotten because Ramble House is a small press and too few people know about it. This book should have been published by a big New York firm, and it should have sold a zillion copies. From it, you can learn a lot about the history of crime fiction, about how to write reviews, about any number of things. If you don't own a copy, your life is poorer. They didn't name it the Bouchercon for nothing. Trust me on this.