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.


The Book Booth: Convention Edition


BookBoothLiteraryCandlesw221h244Image: 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: Convention Edition

It was quite the spectacle this past week in Cleveland where the Republicans continued the circus their campaign has been all year long, mixed with scenes lifted from Leni Riefenstahl. Now the Democrats will meet in Philadelphia this coming week and one can only hope the adults will be present.

I remember when Donald Trump's The Art of the Deal was published. It came out when there were plenty of other business and management books were also being touted, and the Donald's book was notable because he was a more well-known jerk. And like many of those books, Donald's was ghost-written. Now it appears that his then ghost has no use for Trump, to put it mildly. Jane Mayer of the New Yorker has the profile of Tony Schwartz here in the New Yorker.
Trump Ghostwriter Tells All

And, oddly, the Trump legal staff is not pleased and has sent Mr. Schwartz a cease and desist letter!
Trump Legal Staff Tries To Silence Trump Ghostwriter

So the long and arduous presidential campaign is about to begin and the folks at Publishers Weekly has some book suggestions. It's an uneven list and some of the titles here I'd never bother reading, much less thinking about. Others look to be more interesting.
Feel Like Reading Some Political Books?

Perhaps in the years to come, the 2016 campaign will be the stuff of historical novels. Or horror novels, only time will tell. In any event, Bookriot has this interesting essay by Melissa Lenhardt, author to the new historical novel Sawbones, on writing historical fiction and history text book writing.
Make Your Notes Now For That Historical Fiction (or Textbook? Same Thing?) You Will Want to Write About This Year's Elections Sometime

Mystery writer John Verdon, whose new novel Wolf Lake is now available, recently listed what he regards as the best whodunits. I rather like his idiosyncratic choices. And by all means, go read Ross MacDonald, who remains under appreciated today.
The Best Whodunits

Stephen King's work continues to be adapted for the screen; I had not realized that the number of his works adapted now number close to 200. There are many in the works, including a reboot of It, which has a scary clown. Signature has the scoop on the adaptations now in the works.
Adaptations of Works by Stephen King

I was always more of DC comics kid, but I understood why Marvel Comics had such a large following. Stan Lee was something of a genius. And none other than George R.R. Martin was a huge fanboy. He even had a letter published in a 1964 issue of the Fantastic Four and Stan Lee's response was terrific.
Stan Lee's Response to Fan George R.R. Martin

Ever wonder what it would be like to work in a large bookstore? The Strand in New York is one of the best...and to get employed there, one has to take The Quiz.
Could You Pass The Strand's Quiz?

Around our home, we don't have candles. SeattleTammy is far too sensitive to scents and aromas. And we do have lighting fixtures around the house that are adequate to our needs. But if I were to purchase some candles for illumination these ones featured at Bustle are cool.
Literary Candles

We hope all of you are recovering from the political games and relaxing this weekend with a good book. Please let us know what you are enjoying and have have a good forthcoming week. It might just be a little more sane than the past one.


The Book Booth: Storming the Fortress 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: Storming the Fortress Edition

By this time I think the French people are in recuperation mode after celebrating the 227th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille prison, as well as the horrific attacks in Nice. We also celebrated the 104th birthday of Woody Guthrie, who left an incredible legacy of music. He stormed a few fortresses himself and his guitar killed fascists. Well done, sir.

Most fans of Philip K. Dick know that in 1974 he underwent what was either a psychotic breakdown or a mystical experience that informed his later work. Either way, he experienced visions, and being the highly intelligent man he was, he tried to understand them. Kyle Arnold explores the visions here for Publishers Weekly.
Philip K Dick

This past week also the anniversary of the birth of French master Marcel Proust, born on 10 July 1871, not long after the days of the Paris Commune. Always precocious, he answered a questionnaire sent to him by Antoinette Faure, daughter of a French politician of some renown, at the age of 14. That questionnaire had some long-lasting cultural ramifications as Evan Kindley explains here for the New Yorker.
Marcel Proust Questionnaire

Proust remains a literary treasure for serious readers. But in case you are dubious, six contemporary writers, including Edmund White and Francine Prose, make the case for reading him here for LiteraryHub.
Why Read Proust?

The memory of the Spanish Civil War continue to linger, some 80 years after it began. The Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca was executed early in that conflict by Fascist forces. Now his new memorial in Granada is experiencing a dispute between the poet's family and the Spanish government.
Garcia Lorca Memorial Dispute

Poetry can be our refuge from the world and Lord knows,we have had a couple of trying weeks. Here BuzzFeed suggests seventeen poems to help us struggle through them.
17 Poems to Help You Through Life

They keep finding some very cool stuff at the Folger Library. Here Sarah Hovde shares an illustrated French edition from 1910 of Macbeth, with the illustration by Swiss artist Carlos Schwabe (probably).
An Illustrated French Macbeth at the Folger

This coming week we will, in all likelihood, see the anointing of Donald Trump as the presidential nominee of the Republican Party. The Guardian recently interviewed American writer Walter Mosley about the Donald, among other things. And congrats to Walter for the recent publication of his novel Charcoal Joe, another installment in his Easy Rawlins series. If you have never read him, go do so now. We'll wait.
Walter Mosley on the Presumptive GOP Nominee

Have a most pleasant weekend. Rest now after making the charges against the barriers and enjoy some great books. And please let us know what those books are.


The Book Booth: Summer Wind Edition



Image: Huffington Post

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: Summer Wind Edition

We hope everyone had a good 4th of July celebration this past week. Our cats did not particularly enjoy the festivities, but have survived it by taking some extra naps and begging for more scritches.

We enjoyed some good weather for the holiday, and although we didn't exactly garden, we at least thought about it and admired the yard. The cherries are out and the apples are getting plump. And we do have tomato plants to get into the ground. And for those of us who enjoy books that feature gardens, check out some suggested novels centered on gardens from HuffPo.
Literary Gardens

I believe that William Shakespeare indeed wrote the plays and poems long attributed to him. To contend that other, more highly educated noblemen authored his works has always smacked of an elitist worldview. Now, it seems, that with the discovery of documents showing the Bard's attempts to obtain a coat of arms in the late 1590's show, help show that Shakespeare the player was also Shakespeare the playwright.
Shakespeare the Player, Playwright, & Would-Be Nobelman!

We note the passing of Elie Wiesel at age 87. His Night has become classic in holocaust literature. May we always remember.
Elie Wiesel Has Left Us

And from the good folks at FSG's Work in Progress, an excerpt from Night.

Cynthia Ozick is, at age 88, still very much with us as a public intellectual and novelist and has recently published a new work of criticism. Here the New York Times Magazine profiles her career and current life.
NYT Profile of Cynthia Ozick

In the above profile, Ozick gives an appreciation of novelist Franz Kafka, from whom we get the notion of Kafkaesque as a condition of modern life. Here, from Open Culture, is a short animated feature which tells us what that is really all about.
Kafkaesque?  Much of Modern Life Still Is

I have no particular insight into the hows and whys some novels get adapted into movies and others do not. But this article by Shawn Taylor of Fusion gives us an ardent plea to adapt the novels of Octavia Butler to the silver screen. If Jules Verne can have 140 films made from his work, why hasn't anyone looked at the cinematic possibilities of the late Butler?
Octavia Butler On The Big Screen?

I've liked the idea of the Free Little Libraries that have cropped up around the country. Our little local Art Gallery has one and it seems to be well-used and loved. However that doesn't seem to be the experience of Dan Greenstone who relates his story about his here for Salon. H/ T to Lucian for sharing this link with me.
How The Little Free Library Made Me Hate Books and Fear My Neighbors

Here's hoping your summer is going well.

Please enjoy this lovely version of The Summer Wind by Madeline Peyroux, and by all means let us know what great books are filling up your days.
Madeline Peyroux