The Book Booth: Memorial Day 2016 Edition

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Image: Mental Floss

The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing.  It is written by @SeattleDan and SeattleTammy, operators of an on-line bookstore (which you can find here) , who have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: Memorial Day 2016 Edition

The long weekend is here, and if you only looked at grocery store flyers, you'd think that one should devote it to grilling. But Memorial Day is more than the unofficial beginning of summer. I hope we all take a little time to remember those who sacrificed all they ever had or would have in service to our country.

Enough preaching. It is still political season and the Donald has now clinched enough delegates to be the GOP nominee this coming fall. But as you might suspect, most of the writers we know and love oppose his candidacy and have signed this open letter to America about that.
Open Letter from Writers Opposed to Trump Presidency

I think a great many writers these days compose their works on their computers. But, kids, there was a day when writers didn't have computers and if they didn't compose in long-hand, they used typewriters. MentalFloss relates which typewriter brands were popular among the authors of yesteryear.
Typewriters Authors Loved

Writers are good at excuses for any number of quirks and problems, like, say for procrastination and not facing the tyranny of the blank page. From Bustle, here are 14 things writers tell themselves and their friends.
Writers' Excuses for Procrastination

I don't know if it is procrastination, or laziness, or what that keeps George R.R. Martin from delivering his next installment of Game of Thrones. But if you are one of those who still eagerly anticipating its publication, the folks at Vox have recommendations of other authors you might want to check out in the meantime.
No New Game of Thrones?  Don't Panic! Here's Who You Can Read Until It Arrives! 

Philip Pullman, who is best known as the author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, relates to the Guardian how he was inspired by comic books and most notably, American comic books. Maybe he should share some with Mr. Martin.
Philip Pullman: Why I Love Comics

It is hard to know where some writers do get their inspiration from. Herman Melville's Moby Dick is one such work. The book was dedicated to Nathaniel Hawthorne with whom Melville had something of a bromance. But Michael Shelden, whose book Melville in Love will be published in June, suggests that it may have been an affair with a young woman of his acquaintance that had more to do with that novel.
An Illicit Romance Inspired Moby Dick?

For those of us who enjoy the literary short story, the 2016 selections for the O. Henry Awards will be published by Anchor Books in September. In the meantime, LiteraryHub has listed those works here.
O.Henry Award Selections

It is interesting what can be discovered with urban renewal. Recently in Rome, the headquarters of the Praetorian Guard, the Emperor's own small army, was dug up. And in London, the Curtain theater where some of the early plays of William Shakespeare has been unearthed. And from the internal evidence of the plays, it could mean that some of those plays prologues were added after their initial performances.
Unearthing Shakespeare

It is the long weekend before summer, and one would hope that there will be plenty of time for reading. But what of those days and weeks where we don't have that extra day? The Reading Room suggests five ways to expand your leisure reading time.
How You Can Find More Time To Read

Please have a safe and good weekend. And let us know what books are inspiring you!

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The Book Booth: Full Moon Saturday Edition

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Image: The New Yorker

The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing.  It is written by @SeattleDan and SeattleTammy, operators of an on-line bookstore (which you can find here) , who have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: Full Moon Saturday Edition

One of these days, there will be a new moon on Monday, and I can title one of the posts after the Duran Duran song. But until then, there is a full moon tonight, Saturday, and it supposed to be a nice one. I hope the overcast here in our town dissipates some and we can enjoy it.

The writer's organization PEN recently held their annual gala where the honored, among others, J.K. Rowling and she had some choice words for presumptive GOP presidential nominee (how weird to write this) Donald Trump. Publishers Weekly has the story here.]
J,K. Rowling Calls Trump a Bigot

The Korean writer Han Kang won this years International Man Booker Award for her novel The Vegetarian. I don't know the work, but from the reviews I've subsequently read, it looks to be both good and disturbing. Again, PW reports on the award.
Man Booker Award to Han Kang

The New Yorker magazine has had a couple of articles of interest recently. The first is an assessment by Adelle Waldman on Samuel Richardson, whose novel Pamela is considered the first real English modern novel. I've never been able to bring myself to read the book and I have no desire to do so in the immediate future. But the article is worth reading.
Samuel Richardson

The novelist Jonathan Franzen also wrote a piece that chronicles his trip to Antarctica, where he planned to do some bird-watching.
Jonathan Frantzen in Antartica

And it seems that author Franzen also made an appearance on Jeopardy's Power Players Week. Although he came in second, Franzen, who is well-known for his passion for birds, ran the bird category with aplomb.
Jonathan Frantzen on Birds

The issue of plot in literature has been of controversy ever since the advent of Modernism and continued into the Post-Modern era. But "plot" has made something of a comeback in recent times. John Mullan at the Guardian has a good discussion about it here.
Plots and Modernism

And speaking of the modernists, Marcel Proust was certainly one of its leading lights. There is a lot in In Search of Lost Time that is difficult, including the 900 plus word sentence (that I once saw a poster for where the maker had diagrammed the sentence). Sarah Boxer details in The Atlantic her struggles with the work and her attempt to read Proust on her iPhone.
Reading Proust on Your Cellphone!

The British writer J.G. Ballard is probably best known here in the States as the author of the semi-autobiographical novel Empire of the Sun, about a young British boy's experience during World War Two of the Japanese occupation of Shanghai and filmed by Steven Spielberg. But he was also a well-regarded science-fiction writer, often compared to William S. Burroughs. And as Alison Nastasi points out over at Flavorwire, Ballard made some eerie and chilling predictions about the future.
J.G. Ballard's Predictions for the Future

With the on-going discussion of public bathroom usage, the folks at McSweeney's has put forth a patent for a device that surely will solve all the problems, ahem.
Finally! A Solution to the 'Who's Allowed in this Bathroom?' Problem! 

We leave you this week with some health tips from Walt Whitman, who not only wrote great poetry, but had advice for nearly any occasion.
Health Advice from Walt Whitman

Have a great weekend and, if you can, get out to look at that ol' devil moon while it shines in its fullest. And by all means, let us know what books are delighting you.

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The Book Booth: Spring Flowers Edition

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Image: Louise Erdrich - NYTimes

The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing.  It is written by @SeattleDan and SeattleTammy, operators of an on-line bookstore (which you can find here) , who have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: Spring Flowers Edition

We have an explosion of beautiful colors in our back yard. All the rhodies are in luxuriant bloom. The apple trees is showing signs of life, and we have berries in the deepest recesses. A very lovely time of year.

Some Rhodies straight from our garden for you!
Rhodies 2016 001_1
Rhodies 2016 004

One artist who knew something about color was Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli. It seems there are a couple of galley exhibitions of his work in London at the moment. Andrew Butterfield here examines Botticelli and his illuminations for Dante's Divine Comedy for the NY Review of Books.
Butterfield on Botticelli

The Shakespeare celebration continues, as it will all year long, I'm sure and the BBC wonders how many of these phrases and neologisms originated with the Bard. I really stunk at this short quiz.
Authentic Or Fake: C'est la Question.

The political awakening of women is still a potent source for the writer's imagination and Sarai Walker of the Guardian has some suggestions for some of the best fictional works on the topic.
Women's Political Awakening in Literature

One of the best American authors alive today is Louise Erdrich who has recently published a new novel, LaRose. Charles McGrath profiles her (and her bookstore!) for the New York Times here.
La Vie en LaRose - Louise Erdrich

Of course, one of the great questions of our time is What will I read next? I am currently reading William Shirer's Berlin Diary on the recommendation of the Linkmeister, Steve Timberlake who blogs here.
The Linkmeister

The book is a fascinating and detailed look by the then Berlin correspondent for CBS radio and one of the reporters referred to as "The Murrow Boys". But in case you wondered what you need to read next, check out some of the choices from some famous authors. Who knew Langston Hughes was such a fan of Carl Sandburg?
Favorite Authors' Favorite Books

However, unless you already happen to own these works already, it is unlikely you'll be able to read any of these works, and for good reason. Incidentally, Madonna's books Sex is one of the most sought after out-of-print books today. Good luck finding a cheap copy.
7 Books Which Will Probably Never Be Printed Again

It would seem that Fyodor Dostoyevsky disliked public book readings as well as Ivan Turgenev. Some authors read aloud better than others, I've noticed. And there are some fine writers who are better served by different readers. Daniel Torday explains at lithub.
Not Every Writer Reads Aloud Well

Meanwhile, at the same place, Peter Constantine assess the legacy of Anton Chekhov as the father of literary modernism.
Chekhov Ahead of His Time?

Buzzfed recently offered up 18 confessions that only a book lover could understand. I am guilty of a few of these things myself. How many of these ring a bell with you?
Fess Up, Book Lovers!

Here's hoping your garden is abloom and that you are enjoying your current read. Please let us know.

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The Book Booth: The Days Grow Long Edition

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Image: The Guardian

The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing.  It is written by @SeattleDan and SeattleTammy, operators of an on-line bookstore (which you can find here) , who have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: The Days Grow Long Edition

As we head to the summer solstice, we are having some wonderful weather in our town. The skies are clear, the temperatures in the mild low-seventies and the sun sets well after 8 pm. Eventually sunset will be well after 9, making for long evenings outside by the grill waiting for the nightfall.

Today is Free Comic Book Day! It is actually the 15th anniversary of the event. Sadly, I was not even aware of it, but it's been a while since I've bought one, though I do enjoy graphic novels. In any event, NPR has a guide here, including a link so that you can find your own participating comic book store. Let me know how Superman is doing.
Free Comic Books !

John Ashberry may be the greatest living American poet these days. I remember loving his work Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, and probably a good place to start reading him. Here is a lengthy and interesting interview with him for the Brooklyn Rail.
John Ashberry Interview

Obviously this year has been crazy in its politics. We have a nativist and ignorant man who will be the nominee for President for a major American political party. And the Guardian suggests that this is a very good time for poets to have their voices heard.
It's Time for Poets to Speak Up!

One of those voices was stilled last week when Daniel Berrigan passed away at age 94. He was both a poet and activist who influenced an entire generation. The novelist James Carroll, a protoge of Fr. Berrigan, has this remembrance here at the New Yorker.
Daniel Berrigan, My Dangerous Friend

Another voice now long passed is enjoying a deserved revival as the Library of America publishes James Baldwin's works in omnibus editions. Baldwin still remains after all these years a figure of controversy and many writers now embrace his artistry. Nathaniel Rich has this appreciation at the New York Review of Books.
James Baldwin: Fear of a Nation

Sadly, the blog Bookslut is closing its doors after a long run. But the founder Jessica Crispin is going out with bang and not a whimper. As she leaves she has these thoughts on the current state of literature. H/T to Lucian for the link.
Bookslut Is Closing Its Doors But Not Silently

In the past, I have praised the short form, stories and novellas. But I do love me some long works. I admire the epic work. So does Martin Seay whose own new novel, The Mirror Thief, weighs in at nearly 600 pages. Here he gives us a list of ten long works well worth spending some reading hours with.
Like Your Reading to Take a While? Ten Long Books for You

Margaret Atwood fans can rejoice as Hulu recently announced that her The Handmaid's Tale will become an on-going series for television. The dark, dystopian novel still has much to say to us about our possible future.
The Handmaid's Tale (as a series) on Hulu

You are truly a book nerd if you have done one or more of the following things. I know I'm guilty of at least five that I will admit to.
Are You a Book Nerd? How to Tell

A good weekend for us all and may it be filled with books and reading. Please let us know what great books you've got going...and if you are using the receipt as a bookmark.

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