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The Notebooks of Raymond Chandler; and English Summer: A Gothic Romance
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The Notebooks of Raymond Chandler; and English Summer: A Gothic Romance

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3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  122 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
During a period of twenty years that stretched from his beginnings as a pulp writer for The Black Mask, through his writing of the novels The Big Sleep and Farewell, My Lovely, to the Hollywood years of the 1940s, Raymond Chandler kept a series of private notebooks. Filled with both public and private writings, these pages give us an intimate view of the writer at work and ...more
Paperback, 113 pages
Published March 1st 2007 by Harper Perennial (first published 1976)
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Jesse
Really only for die-hard fans and/or those who are already interested in this type of idiosyncratic marginalia. Distinguishing a "notebook" from a "journal" or "diary" might at times come off as nit-picky, but it's an important one in this situation, as this is less a personal record than a ramshackle collection of sentence fragments, long lists of slang, a few rather unreadable writing exercises, and many excerpts of articles and essays from other writers that Chandler evidently drew inspiratio ...more
Mike Macdonald
Jul 30, 2011 Mike Macdonald rated it really liked it
During a period of twenty years that stretched from his beginnings as a pulp writer for The Black Mask, through his writing of the novels The Big Sleep and Farewell, My Lovely, to the Hollywood years of the 1940s, Raymond Chandler kept a series of private notebooks. Filled with both public and private writings, these pages give us an intimate view of the writer at work and contain early ideas, descriptions, and anecdotes later used in such classics as The Long Goodbye and The Blue Dahlia. Read C ...more
Gabriel
Jun 16, 2008 Gabriel rated it did not like it
Shelves: shadow-man
More or less useless, depending on how bizarrely obsessive-compulsive one is about conspicuous consumption. Contains very little that MacShane's or Hiney's volume of Chandler's letters doesn't, apart from an execrable story not published elsewhere with reason. Most of this material could easily be jettisoned and replaced by Chandler's published essays (some of which are printed here, and are the best parts of the book), and, without the story, be something like a Ray Chandler Reader. Such a volu ...more
Steve
Jun 17, 2011 Steve rated it it was ok
Alas, though the title is compelling, there's a lot less here than meets the eye. The forward talks about the extensive notebooks that Chandler kept, then tells us how he destroyed them all. What remains are a few odds and ends, such as some story ideas, odd bits such as collections of San Quentin slang, some items found in a Los Angeles store, and the like. Interesting mostly for its curio effects. I did like the list of possible novel titles, but as a whole, there's just not much here. Glad I ...more
Gabriel
Jun 02, 2008 Gabriel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shadow-man
I didn't bother with "English Summer," after what I read of it in the notebooks. Either the title is a misnomer, or this is an extremely rigorous selection of entries. The "notebooks" referred to only make up about fifty pages, and a large chunk of that is taken up by pieces that were published, in one form or another. Probably better off reading Chandler's letters, in the MacShane edition. Not that anyone not fanatical about Chandler should read even those. Nothing terribly profound, but Chandl ...more
James Cambias
Oct 01, 2012 James Cambias rated it really liked it
A fascinating collection of notes, clippings, and short pieces by Raymond Chandler. He even has a couple of pages of "Chandleresque" similes -- yep, he wrote 'em down to use later. There's also a complete story, "English Summer" which is illustrated by Edward Gorey, no less!

It's an entertaining book, with useful advice from a master, and fun glimpses of Chandler's own wry personality and writing habits.
Andrew
Oct 07, 2007 Andrew rated it it was ok
Not all that interesting, for the most part, but there are some great lists of slang terms, and this line, which is worth the price of the book:

"If you don't leave, I'll get someone who will."

Other than that, the only story in the book is "English Summer, a Gothic Romance," which nobody should read, and nobody should have written.
Ioanna
Jul 12, 2010 Ioanna rated it really liked it
Worth reading for the "Twelve Notes on the Mystery Story" alone, relevant to non-mystery story writing also. For example: "The solution must seem inevitable once revealed." (from note 10.) Good stuff.
Chelsi
Apr 08, 2009 Chelsi rated it it was amazing
Amazing and hilarious. I love this man.
Khenan Bragador
Feb 28, 2013 Khenan Bragador rated it liked it
Shelves: chandler
Quite thin in content (small parts were covered in other chandler books), but some little gems here and there. Interesting to read.
Leonard Pierce
Feb 02, 2009 Leonard Pierce added it
Shelves: memoir
Pretty slight, but still a must-have for geekanerd Chandler completists like meself.
Alwa
Dec 10, 2009 Alwa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Worth it for all the little notes (lists of unused titles, jailhouse slang, similes), but "English Summer" suuuuuucks. What there is of it, at least.
Lyn
Jan 20, 2009 Lyn rated it really liked it
Fascinating peek behind the curtain. It's a short book, but packed with teasers, writing exercises, notes, and what-not.
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Raymond Thornton Chandler was an American novelist and screenwriter.

In 1932, at age forty-four, Raymond Chandler decided to become a detective fiction writer after losing his job as an oil company executive during the Depression. His first short story, "Blackmailers Don't Shoot", was published in 1933 in Black Mask, a popular pulp magazine. His first novel, The Big Sleep, was published in 1939. In
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“There are two kinds of truth: the truth that lights the way and the truth that warms the heart. The first of these is science, and the second is art. Neither is independent of the other or more important than the other. Without art science would be as useless as a pair of high forceps in the hands of a plumber. Without science art would become a crude mess of folklore and emotional quackery. The truth of art keeps science from becoming inhuman, and the truth of science keeps art from becoming ridiculous."

(Great Thought, February 19, 1938)”
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“Its big men are mostly little men with fancy offices and a lot of money. A great many of them are stupid little men, with reach-me-down brains, small-town arrogance and a sort of animal knack of smelling out the taste of the stupidest part of the public. They have played in luck so long that they have come to mistake luck for enlightenment." - on Hollywood” 12 likes
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