The Book Booth: The Winter of Our Discontent Edition



The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing. SeattleDan, along with his wife, SeattleTammy, are operators of both an on-line bookstore, as well a brick and mortar in small town Washington State. Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The New Year has been ushered in with lots of noise (we had plenty of fireworks around here). So if you are still in the resolution-making mode, the LA Times asked 15 authors to come up with their literary resolves for the coming year, and you may take inspiration from them. Mine, as always, is to read more books.

Well, my other resolution is to read more poetry. There is nothing, really, like a good poem in the pleasures it gives. Kevin Young over at NPR had some choice selections of some poets he likes. And from what he writes about them, it makes me want to read even more poetry than I've already resolved to read.

But if poetry is not to your taste, but memoirs are, the LA Review of Books has selected five fairly recent ones by musicians, all of which have received good buzz. Friends have raved to me about the Neil Young, Patti Smith and Keith Richards tomes, so you may want to check them out. Via HuffPo.

ABEBooks reviews the past year in reading, including some of those authors who passed away in 2012. As always,there is plenty of great jacket art to feast your eyes upon.

And speaking of jacket art, Greg Habash over at the Publishers Weekly blogs featured these old covers. The sad thing for me is that I remember all of them, which makes me feel old. And check out the one by Steinbeck near the bottom. I'd forgotten all about that book.

Not to be outdone in Best Of lists, Salon asked fifty writers,entertainers and bloggers what their favorite books of 2012 were, and some of the answers are surprising.

The Nobel Committees deliberations are archived for fifty years before being released. So, the discussions around the 1962 selection have just been released. That year John Steinbeck beat out Robert Graves and Lawrence Durrell, amid some controversy. It seems that many felt that Steinbeck was a weak choice. I guess even then English Professors who hate Steinbeck were at work, as for many of those folks when it comes to 20th Century American Lit, there is Faulkner and then there is everyone else. While I love Faulkner, I'm of the opinion that Steinbeck was a worthy choice. He wrote very memorable novels, and while perhaps not quite the artist Big Bill was with words, was certainly the equal, nay, better than Sinclair Lewis and Pearl Buck, both Americans who had previously won the Prize. And while I admire both Graves (I love the Claudius novels) and Durrell, I don't think they were necessarily 'better" than Steinbeck. The Guardian has the story.

Another interesting item concerning John Steinbeck was this story from the New York Times Book Review. It seems that Steinbeck, a fervent supporter of Adlai Stevenson, who was still considered a viable nominee for the Democratic Party nomination for 1960, was approached to write a novel centered around an amoral politician, modeled on the likely Republican nominee, Richard Nixon. Nothing came of it, and Gore Vidal did a good job of it in his play, The Best Man. In any event, here is the story.

Finally, Christine Spines at Word&Film listed her best film adaptations for the last year. Some of the usual suspects are here, but in all honesty, I hadn't known that Wuthering Heights had been re-made. And I was a bit surprised to see neither Cloud Atlas or Anna K. on the list.

So tell us what's on your nightstand this weekend? And what are some of your resolutions this year about reading and books? Have a great weekend, folks!