Author Archive for lwdgrfx

The Book Booth: We're Having a Heat Wave Edition



Image: Lithub

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: We're Having a Heat Wave Edition

It has finally warmed up here in the Pacific Northwest and I suppose it is about time that we caught up with the rest of the nation. July was the warmest month ever recorded, going back to when records started being kept, in the mid-1880s. Lets hope we can keep cool with a fine, chilling beverage of choice and some good books. Because who wants to do anything when it's too darn hot?

Well, it is summer and many of us are on vacation. Some even have extended vacations...must be nice to be a Congressman. President Obama is taking some time off as well. He's known to be a voracious reader and he has taken along some books to read. Good books as it turns out.
President Obama's Vacation Reading

The President is counting down the days until he leaves office and is succeeded by the winner of the November election, whoever she might be. Over at Poets and Writers, fifty eminent authors, including TC Boyle, Junot Diaz and Rita Dove, have words of advice for the next Commander-in-Chief, many of them wise, indeed.
Words of Advice for the Next Occupant of the Oval Office

From Chef Evan Hanczor comes a description of The Ultimate Literary 10-Course Meal

Colton Whitehead and his novel The Underground Railroad have been receiving a lot of attention of late. I've mentioned it here before and the book is now on the President's shelves. From a short interview Whitehead made with Time magazine, you can get a feel for what the book is about.
Time Magazine Interview with Colton Whitehead

In this heated season of political debate, you may want to read some of the best political books out there. The fine folks at the Politics and Prose bookstore in D.C. made these recommendations as to the best for the Christian Science Monitor. You'll note that of the books listed, only two are set outside the United States. No Communist Manifesto or The Prince.
Poets and Writers Picks of the 11 Best Political Books of All Time

If you are tired of reading about politics and current affairs, and would like something a bit more humorous, you should check out Michael Honig's list of his favorite satirical books at Publishers Weekly. Honig himself is the author a new satire, The Senility of Vladimir P. I'm a bit surprised Jonathan Swift didn't make his list, but to each his own.
Michael Honig's Favorite Satirical Books

We've all heard of some author being described as a writer's writer, someone who is beloved by other novelists and poets but perhaps not by the public at large. DBC Pierre, author of the new book Release the Bats, is one such gentleman. Here he recommends ten books for the Guardian he believes all writers should read. This time, The Prince makes the list.
10 Books All Writers Should Read

In the Lit Crit biz, beginnings and endings get a lot of attention. Middles not so much. Andrew Solomon, while passing out advice to young would-be writers, makes the case for the middles for the New Yorker.
Neglect Middles at Your Peril!

We'll wrap this weeks post up with this treat of an Irving Berlin song as only Ella can swing it.
Ella Sings Irving Berlin

Stay cool, read much and let us know what your are loving.


The Book Booth: More Fruition Edition


BookBoothPrideAndPrejudiceMoview244h202Image: The Independent

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: Fruition Edition

It seems to me to be a bit early, but our apple trees have many, many apples, all of them reddening. Our blueberries are ripening and although we don't have a bumper crop, after last year when we had so few, we have quite a few for our enjoyment, as does as our box turtle who is feasting.

So, like Pharrell Williams, we're happy. Which brings me to this story about the Happiest words in literature. The Atlantic Magazine has the 200 top happy words here for us and, of course, it includes rainbow. It also has the least happy words and currently Terrorist tops that list. I doubt that would have been the case 100 years ago.
Happy Words (And Some Not So Happy Ones)!

Many authors start their stories with working titles, that often are not the final choices for the published work. As you can tell from the following article from the Independent UK, those working titles aren't very good and the final ones much better. War and Peace published as All's Well That Ends Well wouldn't have worked for me.
Working Titles

From the literary history department we have this exploration by Yuval Taylor of the lives and friendship between Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, author of Their Eyes Were Watching God, during the heyday of the Harlem Renaissance. Once very close to one another, the relationship ended in acrimony.
A Friendship Which Ended in Acrimony

And then there was Djuna Barnes, who seemed to have only complicated relationships until the time she became a recluse. In this article at the Awl, Timothy Beckwerth looks at what he thinks may be the first trans character in western literature, Dr. Matthew O'Connor, whose monologue is at the center of Barnes's best known work, Nightwood.
Djuna Barnes's Transexual Character

The king of complicated relationships may have been the painter Vincent Van Gogh. Perhaps when one possesses genius, nothing comes easily. Here at WorksinProgress, an excerpt from Bernadette Murphy's book Van Gogh's Ear, where she searches for the woman "Rachel" to whom Vincent's ear was given.
Where is Rachel?

From the gift department we have a couple of ideas. (You may just want these things for yourself.) During the election year it seems that every politician has to wear an American flag pin, or be considered unworthy. But for us book lovers, we can wear other pins that reflect our love of reading and BuzzFeed offers some examples.
Yes, You Need a Book Pin!

As it is still summer, most of us run around in our tee-shirts, soaking up the warmth of the sun's rays. Here Bustle offers us some nice literary tees that will make you look very smart and learned. I particularly like the Book Club shirt.
Literary Tee-Shirts

And here's hoping that your days are summery and pleasant, filled with fine books. By all means, let us know what those books are and have a great weekend.


The Book Booth: More Harry Potter Edition



Image: Buzzfeed

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: More Harry Potter Edition

It has been a remarkable week and I am enjoying every bit of the meltdown. It couldn't happen to a nicer man and political organization. In the mornings, I look for the latest gaffe to chuckle over. I guess I am a mean person.

The past weekend saw the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two, and the parties saw many happy fans. And the sales? Well, the play script is selling quite well, thank you.
Cursed Child Script Selling Well

An interesting Slate conversation with Jonathan Franzen on fame, fascism, and why he won't write a book about race.
Franzen on Slate

In case you are not going to London any time soon to watch the play, BuzzFeed has some pictures from the production. I don't think that is Daniel Radcliffe playing Harry, though.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Production Photos

I've heard that the book itself has received some mixed reviews, though I haven't seen them or gone looking for them for that matter. But The Telegraph in London loved the stage production as this review will attest. Thanks to Lucian for sending the link along.
Harry Potter Stage Production Reviews

Last week marked the 150th anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter, famed writer of many fine children's works, including the Peter Rabbit books. But not many of us know of her work in the field of nature, and most especially in the lives of the fungus. Here the Guardian explores her work in mycology.
From Harry Potter to Beatrix Potter on Mycology

I've been talking up the literary podcast here recently and I've stumbled upon another good one, particularly for Shakespeare and culinary arts enthusiasts. Her, Wendy Wall, author of the recently published Recipes for Thought: Knowledge and Taste in the Early Modern English Kitchen, discusses some in the time of the Bard at the Folger Library.
Shakespearean Recipes

In 2013, Claire Conner published her memoir of growing up in the John Birch Society, Wrapped in the Flag. (You can read Rick Perlstein's interview and discussion here for The Nation:
How the John Birch Society was 'Grown' 

Now there is another interesting book on the same subject published, JG Daniel's Hate or Be Hated. Alternet has an excerpt here.
An Excerpt from Hate or Be Hated

The annual Ernest Hemingway competition was held last week in Key West. And the winner was no less than Dave Hemingway! No relation, apparently.
Dave Hemingway Wins the Hemingway Competition!

I've long made the case that the novels of Ross MacDonald that feature detective Lew Archer are gems and that MacDonald should be regarded as the equal of Chandler and Hammett. Here Mary Ann Gwinn makes the case more eloquently for the Seattle Times, and notes that some of the work is now available in the beautiful Library of America series.
Get Reacquainted with Ross McDonald

So many of us know the opening lines to great works of literature. You know, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times; A screaming comes across the sky, etc. But how many of us remember the great closing lines. My favorite may be the conclusion of Moby Dick (which, of course, has one of the great openings as well): It was the devious-cruising Rachel, that in her retracing search after her missing children, only found another orphan. Tom Blunt has twelve more good ones that he found for Signature.
Great Closing Lines

Oprah Winfrey's book club is still going strong and she has picked as her next selection The Underground Railroad by that fine writer, Colson Whitehead. Here the New York Times profiles Mr. Whitehead.
Colson Whitehead on Slavery

If you are looking for the next good book to read, you may want to check out what other booksellers are recommending for summer reading. Here seven book people have suggestions made for NPR.
What Books Are Booksellers Recommending?

Here's to a fine weekend, filled with books and laughter. And please let us know what books you are recommending!


The Book Booth: Harry Potter Returns Edition


James Schamus and Logan Lerman on the set of ‘Indignation’/Image © Roadside Attractions

Image: Signature

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: Harry Potter Returns Edition

The speechifying is now over, and maybe we can all relax for a day or two. It has been an interesting couple of weeks, with many, many contrasts which have been both illuminating, funny and frightening. Time to pull out a good book and get some reading done.

The youthful wizard returns this weekend with the midnight release on Sunday morning of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I and 2 at your local independent bookstore. This story is actually based on the play script of Jack Thorne, based on ideas from J.K. Rowling herself. Hard to believe it has been nine years since we heard of Harry last and I'm sure many of you will welcome his return.
New Harry Potter!

What would you pick as the perfect graphic novel? Art Spiegelman's Maus comes to my mind. But not so fast says Calvin Reid, Publishers Weekly's graphic novelist guru. In a podcast interview, he chose City of Glass which was written by that marvelous writer Paul Auster and published some time ago. You can listen to the interview here.
Calvin Reid on City of Glass

Speaking of literary podcasts, if you are looking for some good discussions to listen to, Christopher Linforth of The Millions has a list of some of the better ones around.
Smart People Who Know Their Literature Discuss It

Back in the day, Simon and Garfunkel asked in the song Dangling Conversation if the theater was really dead. And recently Edna O'Brien asked the same thing of literature. The cartoonist Tom Gauld imagines for the Guardian here what reading will be like in AD 2500, which served to remind me of the Burgess Meredith episode from a long ago Twilight Zone episode. Without the sad ending.
Reading in 2500 A.D.

Adapting quality writing to the silver screen is no easy feat. James Schamus, who co-wrote Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon as well as producing Brokeback Mountain, has directed the just-released the movie Indignation based on the novel of Philip Roth. Here he talks to Signature about the difficulties of adapting the book.
Adapting Indignation

We're sad to note the passing of novelist James Alan McPherson. He was the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1978 for his collection Elbow Room. In his younger days, he was a protege of Ralph Ellison and was long associated with the fabled Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa.
James Alan McPherson Has Left Us

Earlier in the week, in response to Michele Obama's speech at the Democratic Convention, noted "historian" Bill O'Reilly mentioned that the slaves who built the White House didn't have it so bad and that the peculiar institution was a benign thing. Uh huh. Well, several writers have taken Mr. O'Reilly to task. David Graham gives the context here for the Atlantic Monthly.
Bill O'Reilly Taken to Task for Slavery Remarks

Have a spectacular weekend all! Enjoy the weather, and read some good books. And please do tell what books they might be.