The Book Booth: Mothers Day 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.

A Happy Mothers Day to all our fine readers. Either you are a mother or you have a mother, (or both) and fine reasons for celebration. And, remember, books make great gifts for moms everywhere.

We are still observing the 450th birthday of the Bard of Avon and recently The Millions asked five Shakespeare experts what they thought was his greatest play. The scholars came up with some interesting answers and make compelling arguments for their choices. They are all wrong, of course. Not one picked The Tempest, Shakespeare's most mature and poetic play. You can find the expert choices here.

It is May and while the Derby has already been run, the Preakness and Belmont are coming up. Mothers Day is Sunday. Memorial Day isn't too far ahead. So you might want to start making your Summer vacation travel plans. With the 75th anniversary of the publication of The Grapes of Wrath, you may want to consider Steinbeck country. Monterey is a beautiful locale and there is much to see there. (HT to Lucian for finding this one).

If travel sparks the imagination, perhaps you may want to read about some adventurous travelers. Mary Miller at Publishers Weekly listed her favorite road novels and, oddly, Kerouac doesn't make the list. L. Frank Baum does.

Visiting foreign lands has its intrigue as well and perhaps there is no more intriguing city in Europe than Berlin. Rory MacLean recently offered his top ten Berliners in literature over at the Guardian.

Of course London can be quite lovely this time of year and Buzzfeed has twelve literary locales book lovers will enjoy.

If armchair travels into the past is your cup of tea, you wont need Wells' time machine to do so. Here are some suggestions from the Telegraph and its top 15 great works of Classical literature.

If you've been thinking of venturing into the realm of graphic novels, Brie Hiramine at Flavorwire believes these 25 titles to be essential. I haven't read all these myself, but I do highly recommend Persepolis, V for Vendetta and Maus, all richly imagined and well worth your time.

Ah, the aroma of old books! Here are some great quotes about being surrounded by musty volumes of lore and wisdom.

The New York Times Book Review recently took on the question of whether literary critics could make good novelists as well. It is an interesting question and I have no firm opinion myself. Susan Sontag's name comes up in both responses and while I admire her fiction, I do tend to remember her criticism with more admiration.

Sadly the news came this week of the passing of the splendid Canadian author Farley Mowat at age 92. His Never Cry Wolf had a profound influence on my attitudes about nature (and nature writing). The CBC has this remembrance.

A Happy Mothers Day to everyone. I will remember my mother who was a voracious reader and nurtured my love of books and reading this weekend. Please let us know what books you've got piled up and are enjoying!

  • Dan Domike

    Beautifully said, Frank. Thank you.

  • Frank Armstrong

    Happy God's Curiously Absent Parent/Spouse Day! Right now there are a few bees buzzing about in the flowers in our backyard, and birds flitting about the trees (finches and stellar's jays and a crow and someone new who I don't recognize, larger than a jay, with a red-colored oblong/abstract shape above its jawline, and a long, firm beak). The feathered dinosaurs are dropping to the ground for worms and bugs, and rising up to the suet that hangs from the patio beams. New shoots of bamboo are arching upwards along the back fence, the lettuce is drinking in the rain, and a squirrel who looks like Marv Albert is dominating the seed dispenser. This is mother's world, and mother's galaxy, and mother's universe, with dad offstage, puttering about in some ethereal garage, awaiting his turn at the wheel, confounded in the darkness of space, missing her face, missing her dangerous gaze.