The Book Booth: The Political Yule Edition

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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.

A Happy Solstice/Yule to all of you. I hope it is turning into a great season for everyone and that all are enjoying some holiday cheer.

It seems that the world of literature has rallied against our surveillance masters. You know the ones; the ones that think that whatever you put on the internets is worth their time to read. Over 500 authors, even those with conservative political views, have condemned this oversight and have called on the United Nations to work on a digital bill of rights. The Guardian had the story.

This past year really has not seen much in the way of justice for the prisoners at Guantanamo. And as DangerousMinds tells us, what literature that they are allowed to read seems random. And what they are not allowed to read, even more random.

Probably Portland Oregon's most famed living author is Ursula LeGuin. She has tackled many issues with vision and clarity in her fiction. Well, she has finally been interviewed by The Paris Review. An overview of that interview can be found here.

I have seen it argued that our contemporary writers shy away from the political. One writer at Alternet, in a post that seems to be no longer available, wondered why no American writer has reflected why we are now perpetually at war. However, Tim Kreider at the New Yorker says the political is alive in the writings of Kim Stanley Robinson, and we are better off for him doing so.

Of course many writers have written about both the political and the environment. JRR Tolkien was no exception and the folks at Climate Watch via Scientific American give you the report on what Middle Earth resembled back in the days of yore.

For those of you looking for progressive fiction and non-fiction books, Alyssa Rosenberg at ThinkProgress offers her selections of the best (and a couple of the worst) books of 2013 here.

A part of the great culture wars we have experienced for what seems to be ages now is the attitudes we hold toward sexuality. Thus it may have always been so, as Peter Brown's review of Kyle Harper's From Shame to Sin:The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality in Late Antiquity argues.

As much as I would have liked to tell you this past year about the withering of Amazon, no such luck. But before our beloved publishing industry withers itself, it should look into how it bolsters and fosters one company's hegemony. Again, from the Guardian.

So many titles get published each year, and so many fall through the cracks. As luck would have it, the good folks at Indie Reader have put together a fine list of books you probably have not heard of that you may just love to peruse.

Charles Dickens may dominate Christmas writing. But Jason Diamond at Flavorwire has found a few other passages that evoke this time of year by some other pretty good writers.

Those of you who may have read my posts at the General's and/or here at The Political Carnival know that I hold Dickens in high esteem as a novelist and social commenter and that each year I post a link to that section of A Christmas Carol where the spirit of Christmas Present reveals the waifs Ignorance and Want to Scrooge. I would be remiss to not do so this year.

A Merry Christmas to all of you celebrating this coming week and a joyous season to you all. Keep reading and let us know what titles are intriguing you now.

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  • David G

    Thanks, Seattle Dan and Tammy. As always, it's a pleasure to be kept up on the literary world by you two wonderful folks. DG