The Book Booth: Inauguration 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.

Following last week's posting, your humble poster came down with a mild case of the flu. I've felt much worse in my life, but I forgot how draining these episodes are. I encourage you all, if you can, to get flu shots. Believe me, you don't want to get sick. And while I'm giving advice, I do want to encourage everyone to donate to The Political Carnival. We need Paddy here, everyday, with a good computer. So please contribute what you can to this place. You know it is worth it.

Onto the wide world of books. Award season, as we noted last week, and will undoubtedly note again, is upon us. This week the National Book Critics Circle nominations were announced. Publishers Weekly has the listings.

Not to be outdone, the prestigious Edgar nominees were also announced, for the best in mysteries. (And happy to see Dennis Lehane's Live by Night among the nominees. I'm now in the middle of reading it, and I Highly Recommend it.) It is also interesting to note that the category of Best Original in Paperback, which harkens back to the day when many mystery novels never saw the light of day in hardcover, is still being used. It is tied into what I think is the death of the mass market paperback, but that is a topic for another day. Though I still find it difficult to believe that a mass market paperback retails for ten bucks.

And if you happen to be wondering how books get selected for nomination, has the answer.

And looking forward to this year, the very cool website Writersnoonereads highlights the coming attractions of literary note for the first six months this year. For myself, I am excited to see that a collection of letters by one of my favorite authors, William Gaddis, will be released soon.

Shine from Yahoo has 26 books that will appear in a film incarnation early this year. Aside from the usual suspects. there are remakes of both Carrie and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I'm not sure why, but I'll hope for the best. I think Brian DiPalma did a great job on Carrie the first time (it is very funny in parts) and I'm not sure Danny Kaye can be outdone in his take on Mitty.

In the Isn't this Cool department, here is an eleven minute film made in 1947 by the Encyclopedia Britannica on how books are made. I think the technology may be a bit different now, but, hey, it's still ink on paper!

Also very cool is what is happening with libraries these days. Our local libraries here have some great programs going on, and I'll bet yours is too. Why just this week, SeattleTammy attended a presentation on shorebirds with a packed house at our local library. The AtlanticWire has the story.

The Christian Science Monitor wonders if you are as well read as a 10th Grader. Well, at least their conception of a 10th grader. Here's the quiz, and you might be surprised. I'd be surprised if most 10th graders have read all these books and stories.

Over in London, there is a year long symposium going on about modernist culture entitled The Rest is Noise. From the Guardian comes this interesting essay on the advent of Modernist literature when, in 1899, both Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams and Conrad's Heart of Darkness were published.

On Monday, President Obama will be inaugurated for his second term in office, and I thought I'd take the occasion to point out a couple of new political books. Justice Sonia Sotomayer has a new autobiography My Beloved World published and the Washington Post reviews it here.

And, of course, we cannot leave out Vice-President Joe Biden. It seems the Onion has the scoop on his "autobiography". Via the New York Times.

Finally, Bill Moyers asked his viewers to suggest some books for the President to read. Here is the list that was compiled. And congratulations, Mr. President, on your second term. May it prove to be a fruitful one.

What's on your nightstand this weekend? Let us know what you're enjoying from the world of books!