The Book Booth: Hot Enough For You? 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. @SeattleDan, along with his wife, SeattleTammy, are operators of both an on-line bookstore here, as well as a brick and mortar storefront mini-store in Hoquiam, WA at 706 Simpson Ave (Route 101 South). Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: Hot Enough for You Edition

Summer may be winding down, but you wouldn't know in most places. Even here in our little town, the days are warm. Very warm. Hot, even, for a place that normally gets off-shore breezes and temperate weather.

And while we are speaking of hot, Amazon.com and its founder, Jeff Bezos, are in the proverbial hot waters. The New York Times revealed a work culture that was less than benign. Evil, even. Publishers Weekly offered an overview here.
Life Working for Amazon

I personally don't know firsthand the corporate doings at Amazon headquarters. I'm pretty sure the warehouse work conditions are just this side of medieval, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Times article was, for the most part, accurate. In any event, the story has stirred controversy, and some disagreement even over at the Gray Lady.
How Accurate Was the Portrayal of Amazon's Work Culture?

Our own Lucian Dixon pointed me to this article about Harper Lee. It was written before the publication of Watchman but I think it provides the best context I've seen for Ms. Lee and the events leading to her decision to bring out the novel.
Let's Talk About Harper Lee

Moving on to lighter fare, it's time for a quiz. Last lines are important to novels. You know, "They lived happily ever after". Buzzfeed asks if you can identify the last lines to these novels. I think I got about half of them and it is multiple choice. Have at it!
Do You Know Your Last Lines?

And titles! The Great Gatsby was called by Fitzgerald many things before the title was finally decided. Here's the story of some other works which had other working titles. By the way, the initial title for Lolita shouldn't be much of a surprise, considering how large the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe looms over the story.
Original Original Titles Tell a Story

Multiple narrators/narratives? Why sure! Susan Barker, whose most recent novel, The Incarnations, is a multi-generational novel set in China, recently listed her favorite ten novels that employ a multi-narrative scheme. And, yes, Nabokov is listed here again.
Wait! Who's Narrating This Story Again?

Another top 100 novels in English. I rather like this list. Robert McCrum, probably best-known here as the co-author of The Story of English, composed this one for The Guardian, and he takes a historical approach, rather than doing it from his favorite to his 100th favorite.
Another (But Different) 'Best 100 Novels' List

Finally, you know the aroma, the lovely aroma, of entering a bookstore. You want to know the reason why? It's something like vanilla..H/T to my friend Caleb.
Oh, Yum - What's That Smell? Is It 'Ulysses'? For Whom The Bell Tolls?

Keep cool and have a great weekend, filled with some fine reading. And please let us know what books you've got going now.

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  • paullwolborsky

    It should come as no surprise that somebody would investigate the old bookstore smell. Lots of people actually, for economic reasons. You can appraise the value of an old book by it's odor, and failing that, a spectographic analysis.

    This article in Compound Interest summarizes it nicely...

    A selected number of compounds have had their contributions pinpointed:
    benzaldehyde adds an almond-like scent; vanillin adds a vanilla-like
    scent; ethyl benzene and toluene impart sweet odours; and 2-ethyl
    hexanol has a ‘slightly floral’ contribution. Other aldehydes and
    alcohols produced by these reactions have low odour thresholds and also
    contribute.

    Follow your nose for more.