The Book Booth: His Back Pages Edition


Image: Bustle
The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing.  It is written by @SeattleDan and SeattleTammy, operators of an on-line bookstore (which you can find here) , who have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: His Back Pages Edition

I had mentioned in previous posts up to the Nobel announcement, that Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami had been the favorite to win, and I think he will in the next year or two. He well deserves the prize. The two American authors favored were Philip Roth and Joyce Carol Oates. So the reaction to Bob Dylan's "win" was highly unanticipated (his odds had been listed at like 50 to 1) and met with some furor. I don't know why that should be. The man writes words. His words have had a huge impact and influence in the literary world. That he is a mere lyricist is nonsense. Here are some of the reactions for your consideration. Please note the gracious response from Ms. Oates.
Joyce Carol Oates on Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize Win

Actually Jon Pareles of the New York Times says it a whole lot better than I can.
John Pareles on Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize Win

And certainly there are other writers who appreciate the words of Bob Dylan and some of them reflected for the New Yorker on their favorite lines.
Writers Thoughts on their Favorite Bob Dylan Lines

Not so oddly for anyone who has followed his career, Bob Dylan himself has made no public comment on the award, and even the Swedish committee has not really talked to him. Who knows if he'll show up at the ceremony in December or not? I suspect he will. He's accepted many academic awards in person. I see no reason other than having a disruption in his touring schedule that he won't go.
Will Bob Dylan Appear at the Nobel Prize Awards Ceremony?

From My Poetic Side is a cool map, that show how many writers have won for each country.
Literature Nobel Prize Winners by Country

D.H. Lawrence never won the Nobel Prize. Had he lived past his 44th year, maybe he'd have had a shot at it. Personally, I've never been a fan. However as a passionate defender of the First Amendment and hater of censorship, I can still appreciate what Barney Rosset of the Grove Press tried to do in getting Lady Chatterly's Lover published.
D.H.Lawrence and Lady Chatterly's Lover Changed America

With the holidays coming up, so is party season. The folks at Electric Lit have listed the eleven most famous parties in literature. It does not include the famous party which appears near the conclusion of Proust's In Search of Lost Time, which has epiphanic affect on the narrator, but oh well. And by the way, speaking of parties, the long neglected writer from the 1920's, Carl Van Vechten, has a whole novel devoted to parties and it's well worth reading.
Literary Parties

In case you are invited (and who hasn't been,eh?) to a literary themed Halloween party, you may want to check out these costume ideas from Bustle. Miss Havisham is particularly creepy.
Creepy Literary Costume Party Ideas

We all have, if we have pets, the smartest cats and dogs that are to be had. My cats are, of course, exceptional. But it would seem there are other animals that are pretty darn bright. The Guardian features some that you'll find on the printed page.
Bright Animals in Literature

Leaves of Grass is one of the masterworks of American Literature. But until I saw this article, I had no idea that Edward Weston the photographer had published an illustrated edition many years ago. Allison Meier at Hyperallergic has the story here.
Leaves of Grass Illustrated by Edward Weston's Photography

Have a most relaxed and entertaining weekend and please let us know what your reading pleasures are.


The Book Booth: Ghost of 'Lectricity Edition



Image: NPR Paul Natkin Getty Images
The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing.  It is written by @SeattleDan and SeattleTammy, operators of an on-line bookstore (which you can find here) , who have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: Ghost of 'lectricity Edition

Well, that is a surprise. Bob Dylan has long been on the long list of those betting on Nobel Laureates, but usually at very long odds, and below fellow American writers Philip Roth and Joyce Carol Oates. So I cannot say I'm shocked. But it is a surprise. There are those who are complaining that a musician won, but that is nonsense. At his peak, I cannot think of another lyricist that had either his impact or influence. So congrats to our Nobel Laureate in Literature, the first American in many years to win the prize.
Bob Dylan

In case you are wondering about the process involved in nominating and naming a laureate, Christian Lorentzen describes it here for Vulture. Note that Mr. Lorentzen wrote the article before today's announcement.
Who Nominates Writers for the Nobel Prize?
wrote the article before Thursday's announcement.

At age 75 Bob Dylan would qualify as an older man, though his continual touring belies any notion that he feels his age. There is an abundance of literature about old men, even when there is no country for them. Ross King of the Guardian chose his top ten stories about our elderly men here. I would have included the protagonist of Paul Auster's Brooklyn Follies, but the list is good.
Top 10 Books about Old Men

F. Scott Fitzgerald drank himself to death before he got old or won any major literary awards. Still he had some insight into aging and the dreams of youth as Joe Muscolino shows here for Signature-Reads.
FSF on Flappers, Tipplers, and Philosophers

The use of a pseudonym has long been a part of literary history. Charles Dickens used Boz. Samuel Clemens used Mark Twain. Mary Ann Evans used George Eliot. So no big deal, right? Not so fast as the literary world is in a furor over the unmasking of Italian novelist Elena Ferrante.

Book reviewer Adam Kirsch weighed in here at the New York Times on the controversy.
More on 'Elena Ferrante'

Halloween is looming and it is time to start thinking about spooky things. Colin Dickey's new book Ghostland examines some of the more haunted places around our nation and here he lists the top ten for Publishers Weekly, including the Las Vegas Strip where apparently Benny Siegal still lounges at the Flamingo pool.
Where the Ghosts Are

And then there is the epidemic of scary clowns. Who knew that they constituted a whole sub genre in fiction? Tobias Carroll explains here for Literary Hub.
Creepy Clowns in Your Books!

Quiz time! Buzzfeed wonders if you can name the title of these novels from their opening lines.
Put Your Thinking Caps On for the 'Opening Lines' Quiz!

I suppose it is not too early to start thinking about holiday gifts for the book lovers on your list. Bustle has some suggestions here. The Book Rest Lamp looks great, if I happen to be on your list.
Holiday Gifts Are On Your Horizon - Literary Ones Here

As we brace ourselves here in the Pacific Northwest for some weekend wind "events", I hope yours is eventless. Or be sure to invest in some flashlights so you may continue your reading in case your power goes off. And by all means, let us know what books you are treasuring.


The Book Booth: Autumn Leaves Begin to Fall Edition


Image: Bustle

The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing.  It is written by @SeattleDan and SeattleTammy, operators of an on-line bookstore (which you can find here) , who have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: Autumn Leaves Begin to Fall Edition

Salutations from the stormy coast, where the leaves are beginning to fall, and coating my lawn. One of the bonuses this year for us has been a huge apple crop from our tree. I wish we had a cider press, but it looks like for the winter we will be well supplied with applesauce. Which isn't a bad thing.

As we go to press here, the Nobel committee has not announced the winner for the prize in literature. We'll know next week, it seems. The New Republic looks at potential laureates here.
Candidates for the Nobel Prize for Literature
But we do know now the finalists for this years National Book Awards, which will be presented on November 16th. No big surprises. If I were placing bets at Ladbrokes, I'd go with Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad.
National Book Awards Finalists

Winners of the Pulitzer Prize in fiction can often fall into obscurity, adorning lists of previous writers so honored. Who reads Allen Drury anymore, though his Advise and Consent won, sold very well and was adapted to both screen and stage? Or Caroline Miller who won in 1934? MacKinlay Kantor who won for his massive novel Andersonville in 1956, has met this fate. Kantor also wrote the novel Glory for Me, which was famously adapted to the screen in The Best Years of Our Lives, a wonderful film that you should watch if you haven't seen it. His grandson Tom Shroder remembers him here for lithub. It is sad reading and I was sorry to see that Kantor became a complete reactionary.
Macaulay Kantor Remembered

One of the perks of becoming a famous and popular author is that he or she actually has some pull in Hollywood productions. Not to mention some financial reward that not many writers get. Here the Hollywood Reporter tells us the current top 25 authors that have great influence in Tinseltown.
Authors with Influence in Hollywood

Planning some off-season Fall traveling? The rates are lower and tourist spots not nearly as crowded as they are in Summer. E. Ce Miller at Bustle has some suggestions for literary places to visit, though I personally wouldn't going to Key West this week.
Literary Places to Visit This Fall

And if you are going to travel, which books should you bring along, or pick up along the way? Legal Nomad has some interesting selections you may want to try.
Travel Books Recommended by a Great Travel Blog

For those of us staying at home, but want to read and discover other places and people, Gulnaz Khan has some suggestions for you at National Geographic. Thanks to Lucian for passing this along to me.
More Travel Book Recommendations

Wow! Emma Bovary is now 160 years old. Madame Bovary was immensely controversial when first published and its author, Gustave Flaubert, prosecuted for writing pornography. Charlotte Jones has this appreciation of the work for the Guardian.
Charlotte Jones on Emma Bovary 

Over at Publishers Weekly, the novelist Mauro Javier Cardenas listed some of his favorite novels with very long sentences. It is a good list, a bit heavy on Latin American writers, and does not include either James Joyce or Marcel Proust.
Favorite Novels with Long Sentences

And I did see many years ago, the poster of this sentence from Proust diagrammed. I wish I'd have bought it.
Proust's Longest Sentence Diagrammed

Finally, for your audio pleasure, enjoy the late and missed Eva Cassidy sing Autumn Leaves, music by Joseph Kosma and English lyric by Johnny Mercer. (The original song in French had a lyric by Jacques Prevert).

Have a magnificent weekend and please share with us what books are delighting you now.


The Book Booth: And Time a Thief Edition


Image: Bored Panda

The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing.  It is written by @SeattleDan and SeattleTammy, operators of an on-line bookstore (which you can find here) , who have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: And Time a Thief Edition

The days are getting shorter here in our town. It seems that it wasn't so long ago that the sun was setting at nine and is setting closer and closer to six. And when daylight savings ends and we approach the solstice, it will be setting much closer to four thirty. Blink on those days and you'll miss the daylight.

As you know from walking down the aisle of any major store, Halloween is approaching, and has been for months. One of the spookiest of American writers was Shirley Jackson, best known for her novel The Haunting of Hill House and her short story The Lottery. She is the subject of an new biography by Ruth Franklin, Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life and Ms. Franklin tells Publishers Weekly about eleven things you may not know about Jackson here.

Jackson's story The Lottery, long a set piece for anthologies and Selected Shorts, is now the subject of a new graphic novel adaptation by Miles Hyman. You can see an excerpt from the new work at LitHub here.

Ah, what to read this weekend, the perpetual question. Well, Kyle Lucia Wu has some suggestions for short novels, including authors like Julian Barnes and the late Roberto Bolano here for Read it Forward.

Bruce Springsteen's memoir Born to Run has now been published. And author Richard Ford reviewed it for the New York Times Book Review. He liked it. Has it really been 43 years now since Greetings from Asbury Park been released? I guess it has.
Richard Ford Reviews The Boss's Born to Run

Lucian has found a couple of fun links. First if you happen to be traveling and staying in hostels, and you find yourself in Tokyo, definitely make it over to Book and Bed where you can fall asleep amid a library of 3000 books. And you'll have a night light. Cheap at $34 per night!
A Literary Bed On Which to Lay Your Head in Tokyo

Unfortunately I don't think you can make a reservation to stay the night at Hemmelig Rom, a secluded library in upstate New York. But you can see how lovely it is from these photographs at Bored Panda.
A Library of Your Own (Where Virginia Woolf Would Have Felt at Home)

I've probably mentioned it before, but my favorite play by William Shakespeare is The Tempest. It is one of the last plays he wrote, at his full maturity with some of the best poetry he wrote. Now Margaret Atwood has written a novel based on the play, Hag-Seed, set in Canada in the year 2013. She writes about the work here for the Guardian, and I'm looking forward to reading her adaptation.
The Tempest as a Novel by Margaret Atwood

Being an inmate in a Texas prison is a harsh life. And it is not made any easier by the powers that be when it comes to providing reading to those prisoners. The method of banning some books is, at best, capricious. The latest to be banned is a non-fiction work, Wolf-Boys by Dan Slater, which chronicles the story of two boys smuggled into America by the cartels. A grim story, yes. However a prisoner can always read Mein Kampf or some work by David Duke. Again, from the Guardian.
Books Banned Behind Bars

May your weekend reading be a bit more gratifying than that experienced in Texan prison cells. And please let us know what books you are appreciating. I'll leave you with Mary Martin and Kenny Baker singing Speak Low from the show One Touch of Venus, music by Kurt Weill and lyric by Ogden Nash. Please enjoy.