The Book Booth: The May 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.  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: May Day Edition

Aside from the spring May pole dances and celebrations, May the first also is the International Workers Day. Though here in the US we honor working people in September (because, surely, we cannot do so on the day that the rest of the world, filled with socialists as it is, does so), the date was chosen to remember the working people who demonstrated at the Hay Market in Chicago so long ago. So Happy May Day all!

With that in mind, the Nation magazine recently suggested five books on African-American history, which includes the contributions of slaves as well as the sharecroppers who helped build our nation, albeit in bondage. The book Hammer and Hoe looks particularly interesting.
African-American History

As we head on into May, I have a few more April items to serve up. April is, as mentioned before, National Poetry Month and the folks at Mental Floss have a piece on the US Poet Laureate, which may clear things up for anyone confused on the matter. Including the fact that the Laureate is not paid by tax dollars, in case right-wing loons start to spout off.
The US Poet Laureate

April is also the birth and death month of the Bard of Avon, which I've probably be-labored the past few weeks. In any event, Shakespeare's work surely will outlast us all. Stephen Greenblatt had a nice appreciation of his legacy here at the New York Review of Books.
Still More on the Bard (Who Is Always Interesting)

And Literary Hub has links to other articles about Big Bill, including a discussion on Hamlet as a sexless bro and a feature on his second-best bed, which he bequeathed to his wife, Ann Hathaway.
The Bard's Possessions

If you are feeling tired this weekend, but feel guilty about not catching up on your reading of the classics, Lucian found these abridgments you might want to peruse.
Why Read the Classics When You Can Read these Super Short Synopses?

Then, again, some of us prefer to watch our books on film or on TV. So good news for those who'd rather see than read Neil Gaiman's Good Omens! He is adapting it for a TV series.
Neil Gaiman's Got Those Good Omens!

Robots and other automata have been staples of Science-Fiction for a long time. In a fascinating article at Literary Hub (again), the origin of these things is explored. I hadn't realized that even Edgar Allan Poe had been intrigued by the Turk Chess Player, going back to 1836 and before.
Science Fiction, Double Feature

The Hugo Awards are coming back and with them, our friends, the sad puppies, who once again have managed to load the nominations with their own special favorites. Because, you know, Lefty sci-fi is for wusses.
It's Hugo Awards Time Again
(and that means Hugo Awards Ideological Strife Again!)

I mentioned last week that novelist Don DeLillo has a new novel coming out, Zero K, which explores many of his previous themes, often of the pre-Apocalyptic type. Tony Tulathimutte discusses them here for the New Republic.
Don DeLillo's Themes

This is kind of fun. The folks at The Daily Telegraph picked fifty cult novels and grouped them by decade here. Many will be familiar, others long and happily forgotten.
Cult Novels

Finally, please note that Saturday is Indie Bookshop Day. Please help to keep your local independent store alive and thriving and go find a book to purchase from them. And let us know what that book is!


The Book Booth: The Bard Edition



Image: LATimes
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: The Bard Edition

Today, Saturday, is the 400th anniversary of the passing of the Bard in 1616. And it was possibly his birthday as well, making him 52 when he left this mortal coil. He left us with his plays, poetry and introduced as many as 1700 words into the language. Not too shabby!

At Signature, 25 authors, including Margaret Atwood, Lee Child and others were asked about Big Bill and here are there responses. He still retains quite a fan club.
So What Do You Think About This Guy Shakespeare's Work?

In honor of his birthday, Rosie Schaap at the New York Times has created a new punch to celebrate the day, and it looks to be quite tasty.
Yum! A Shakespeare Punch! Raise a Glass!

Miguel Cervantes was a contemporary of Shakespeare's and it may be that they both died on the same day. But there may be more connection between the two writers than that possible coincidence. David Kipen explores that bond here for the LA Times.
Will and Miguel

I suppose many of the lines Shakespeare wrote could be proclaimed on stage and not necessarily shouted. However there are some lines that Electric Literature suggests should be shouted. Loudly.
To Shout or Not to Shout?

If you don't feel like yelling, you can still throw out some quotes from the writers of the "absurd", if you don't mind being thought as another psychotic wandering the streets. Or as Beckett said, I can't go on, I will go on.
Unleash Your Inner Psychotic With These Absurdist Quotes

Like other states in the deep south, Mississippi recently passed legislation that allows for discrimination against the LGBT community there, based on some quaint notion of religious liberty. But we should not take the bigotry as symptomatic of everyone who lives in that great state. A number of writers there have taken a stand against the law, and good on them!
Not All Mississippians Are Bigots.
Read What these Mississippi Writers Have to Say about New Anti-LGBT Laws

The Pulitzer Prizes were announced this week and you can see the list of winners here. I admit that I am not familiar with the fiction winner, The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen, but from what I've subsequently seen, I need to take a look at it.
2016's Pulitzer Prize Winners

I know that Spring is only a month old at this point, but we've been teased by summer like weather here this week, which puts me into the mood. And it looks like there will be a lot of good books arriving soon, including new works from Russell Banks, Don DeLillo, Annie Proulx as well as Richard Russo who has written a sequel to his very fine novel Nobody's Fool, called Everybody's Fool. Publishers Weekly has its summer recommends here.
Good Books Arriving In Time For The Summer

I have to admit that when it comes to genre writing, I am not much for romance novels. However, Lucian noticed that a pair of sisters has opened a bookstore devoted to romances called the The Ripped Bodice and I have to admire their ambition. Much good luck to them.
This Bookstore Carries Every Romance You Would Ever Want to Read!

I have a new hero. Abdel Kader Haidara is a book collector and librarian in Mali who managed to save many, many old manuscripts and books in his hometown of Timbuktu when it was occupied by an extreme Islamist group. The Wall Street Journal has the story here.
Abdel Kader Haidara Saves Manuscripts Islamist Group Would Destroy

To all of you, a fine weekend filled with books and reading. And hoist one, or two in remembrance of the Bard of Avon. And by all means let us know what books you are enjoying.


The Book Booth: Tax Time Edition



Image: NYBooks

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: Tax Time Edition

Yes, tax filing day is Monday, the day all procrastinators fear. For the first time in a long time, we had to write the IRS a check and although I don't mind paying my fair share, it seemed a little odd to write them a check. Fortunately, it was not a huge check. But still...

It's also campaign season, and considering the horror show over in the GOP, where there is only a choice of extreme right-wingers, I suppose there are some of us contemplating a move to Canada or beyond. If you happen to be considering such a move, you may want to check out the books about ex-pats suggested by Signature.
Moving Away from the US

Back in the day when I mentioned that I was a bookseller, the response was often, "Oh, must be nice to sit around all day and read". As if the books magically appeared in the store, shelved themselves and rang up the sales when they exited the shop. Or paid the bills. So I can sympathize with authors who often get responses like, "Oh, have you written anything I may have read?". Our own Lucian found this link of other plausible silly responses here.
So You're A Writer? Have I Read Anything Of Yours?

From Publishers Weekly, Philip Ball talks about the revised edition of his Patterns in Nature, first published in 1999. There are some stunning images and well worth your time to peruse.
Patterns in Nature

One of the most important publishing houses of the 20th Century was Alfred Knopf's. It published many of the most significant works of the time. A recent book by Laura Claridge, titled The Lady with the Borzoi, argues that Knopf's wife, Blanche, was equally important to the publishing firm, if not mores than her husband. Charles McGrath reviews the book here in the New Yorker, and the details are very interesting.
The Borzoi Book Publisher

Of all the wits that populated the Algonquin Round Table back in the twenties and thirties, there was probably no one sharper and funny than Dorothy Parker, and whose own life was sadly troubled. Robert Gottlieb reviewed her life and her work here for the New York Review of Books.
Brilliant, Troubled Dorothy Parker

I'll bet that on the occasions you've surfed the internet, you have run across the occasional cat picture or video. Probably more than once. Cats have long been a feature in bookstores and not just because they're some sort of cute fixture. Bookstores can be infested with rodents, who, believe me, will munch on tasty book bindings. Having a cat around keeps the mice scarce.
Bookstores and Cats

Seattle Tammy and I have been spring cleaning and rearranging nearly everything in our home. And we have a few books. Well, more than we have shelves for. So we can relate to the Bustle article about the lack of space for books in our home.
Where to Put All Those Books?

Here's hoping everyone has a wonderful weekend, and that you all receive tax refunds this year. And please let us know what reading you've got going on.


The Book Booth: Baseball Is Back 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: Baseball is Back Edition

We can now call it Spring officially. Major League Baseball opened its regular season this week, and all is right with the world. In April, every team has a shot at playoff contention and come sometime in October, a mere six months from now, we'll know which teams will go to the Fall Classic.

For whatever reason, baseball lends itself better to good writing than other sports. There are good books written about other sports, of course, but football and basketball have never found their Roger Angell. In any event, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has offered up eleven new baseball books, including an academic tome about baseball and the law which you can get for a song and a dance and $120 bucks.
Play Ball!

More from the Shakespeare front. It seems a First Folio has been found, sort of, in the library of a Scots lord. Only 750 were printed, so owning one is quite the treasure. I believe the initial printing sold for four pounds, which was a lot of money in 1623, but well worth the investment, some 400 years later.
A First Folio is Discovered!

I don't think anyone would confuse the rhetorical tropes of Donald Trump with the Bard. Except for maybe the folks at the New Yorker. This is funny.
To Be or Not to Be: Donny Does Will Shakespeare

With April now here, we are also celebrating National Poetry Month. And the BBC asks how much of a poetry buff you might be. It seems I need to brush up on my Portuguese
Are You a Poetry Buff? (The BBC Wants to Know)

To get you into the mood to pick a poetry book of the shelf, look at some poetical quotes offered up by the folks at Signature.
Dash Against Darkness

This month we are also celebrating the 100th birthday of famed children's author, Beverly Cleary. A resounding Happy Birthday to the woman who introduced many a child to the joys of reading!
Happy Birthday, Beverly! 

The interplay between the visual arts and the written arts is a source of fascination to me. One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received is to "see" what I am writing about. (Not that it helped my creative efforts much, alas.) Annie Weatherwax explores the connection here. And thanks to my friend Dwight for sending this link along.
Writing and Visual Arts

Seattle Tammy found this piece which is totally NSFW. Somehow I missed these titles in my wayward youth; or perhaps things have changed a lot since I was teenager.
Photoshopped Kids Books (NSFW)

I never thought that the famous relationship between novelist Thomas Wolfe and his editor at Scribners Maxwell Perkins would be the stuff of film drama. I thought wrong, apparently, and the movie, which will star Jude Law, Colin Firth, Laura Linney and Dominic West, among others, is scheduled for release in June:
Thomas Wolfe and Maxwell Perkins

A pleasant spring weekend to us all and please let us know what books you've got going. And here's hoping that your favorite baseball team wins the World Series this year.