The Book Booth: Summer Breezes Edition



Image: Gizmodo

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 Breezes Edition

When it does get hot here in our little town, it doesn't fool around. But we are close to the ocean shores and, man, those Pacific breezes feel so good. The forecast is for rain, which is not unusual for us in June. By the fourth of July, though, it will get plenty warm.

I was reminded of the breezes by this essay by Darryl Pinckney about his days as a young man, working around Manhattan as a handyman, including among his clients, the great and reclusive American writer, Djuna Barnes, author of Nightwood.
Sweet Evening Breeze

Meanwhile, Lit Hub has initiated something new in literary criticism with something called Book Marks, which grades novels, sort of like a Rotten Tomatoes for books. I don't know if these works are graded based on the curve or not. In any event, Alex Shepherd at the New Republic examines the new site and the state of the lit-crit biz these days here.
A New Site for Lit Crit

With sadness, we note the passing of Muhammad Ali from our midst. Though I am not a pugilism enthusiast, I admired the man and what he accomplished. How many of you know that he once fought Superman? It was a huge comic book event in the late 1970's and io9 has the story of its making.
Superman Fights Muhammad Ali!

The Greek poet Sappho remains a mystery to us 2500 years after her life. So it is interesting that astronomers have tried to date her Midnight Poem for her description of the night sky all those millenia ago.
Sappho's Midnight Poem - Where Were The Stars When She Wrote It?

The young adult novels from the Fairyland series by Catherynne Valente began as a crowd-funded web series in 2009. A much different world that Sappho wrote her work in, no doubt. Stephen Burt examines both the process and the books themselves for the New Yorker.
Crowd Funding Your Book - How It Worked for Catherynne Valente

The Film Society of Lincoln Center has this fascinating idea of pairing up a book with a film that is not an adaptation. They have author Lydia Millet's Sweet Lamb of Heaven paired with a showing of the Japanese horror film Ringu. Alison Nastasi at Flavorwire had some other suggestions for book/film pairings.
Book and Film Pairings

Game time! Can you guess the book title when all the vowels from the title have been removed? You've got four minutes to complete the quiz from Mental Floss.
Cn Y Gss Ths Bk Ttls? (Mental Floss Book Title Quiz - No Vwls!)

And it is time to start thinking about summer reading. Nothing like sitting outside, book in one hand, a cool libation in the other and indulge. Buzzfeed wonders what summer reading sins you engage in.
Summer Reading 'Sins'

Here's that you can start your reading outdoors this weekend while a cool breeze wafts by. And please do let us know what books you are enjoying!


The Book Booth: Because It's June 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: Because It's June Edition

You wouldn't think it right now, here with the overcast skies and constant drizzle, but we have a heat advisory for this weekend. Because it's June and time for some summer weather. Better check to make sure the ice cube tray is full and ready.

In very warm weather, I find my attention span wandering, and fixed on being too hot. So perhaps for weekend reading, I should try some short stories. It just so happens HuffPo has these suggestions that are free on the internets.
No Time to Read a Novel? Read a Short Story on the Internet Instead

And there is the great African-American writer Langston Hughes, whose short stories featuring Simple are a treasure. The New Yorker has published this story by Hughes, which has not been in print before.
A Langston Hughes Story Never Before in Print

Adam Ehrlich Sachs's short story collection, Inherited Disorders, has received some good reviews. Here, for Publishers Weekly, he picks his favorite ten comic novels, and while some are easier going than others, it has some fine titles to peruse.
Adam Ehrlich Sachs's Favorite 10 Comic Novels

I have never read Harry Crews, although he has been recommended to me time and again. Now, after reading Steve Oney's appreciation here at The Daily Beast, I think I should find some of his work.
Steve Oney on Harry Crews

Ah, the ageless pursuit for the truth. I'm not sure hot weather is the best climate to make that quest, but some short pithy quotes from famous authors may help us along. I particularly like the one from film director/writer, John Waters.
14 Quotes by Authors on Mankind's Search for Truth

The romance of running a bookstore! You get to sit around, read all day and talk to other people who also love to read. Well, not really. Dan Dalton relates his experience in running a bookshop in Scotland, and it's not exactly what he expected.
So You Want to Own a Bookshop? You Might Rethink That After Reading This Article.

If you have ever entertained the idea of opening a used bookshop, you probably want advice and attending a rare book school is a good idea. Andy Wright discusses what happened when he attended one at the link below.
What's a Rare Book School Like?

SeattleTammy and I have somehow ended up living with four cats. It just sort of happened. But with a house full of books, how do we keep the felines entertained? Here's an idea that we like.
A Bookshelf Designed for Cats

Speaking of bookshelves, how do you organize your collection of books? I am an alphabetical kind of guy. Then I know where everything is. QuirkBooks analyzes the different kind of book organizers here.
Different Ways to Organize Your Books

Here's hoping none of you get too hot and have time to read some of your favorite works. Please let us know what you're enjoying, while holding a cool beverage in your hand.


The Book Booth: Memorial Day 2016 Edition



Image: Mental Floss

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: Memorial Day 2016 Edition

The long weekend is here, and if you only looked at grocery store flyers, you'd think that one should devote it to grilling. But Memorial Day is more than the unofficial beginning of summer. I hope we all take a little time to remember those who sacrificed all they ever had or would have in service to our country.

Enough preaching. It is still political season and the Donald has now clinched enough delegates to be the GOP nominee this coming fall. But as you might suspect, most of the writers we know and love oppose his candidacy and have signed this open letter to America about that.
Open Letter from Writers Opposed to Trump Presidency

I think a great many writers these days compose their works on their computers. But, kids, there was a day when writers didn't have computers and if they didn't compose in long-hand, they used typewriters. MentalFloss relates which typewriter brands were popular among the authors of yesteryear.
Typewriters Authors Loved

Writers are good at excuses for any number of quirks and problems, like, say for procrastination and not facing the tyranny of the blank page. From Bustle, here are 14 things writers tell themselves and their friends.
Writers' Excuses for Procrastination

I don't know if it is procrastination, or laziness, or what that keeps George R.R. Martin from delivering his next installment of Game of Thrones. But if you are one of those who still eagerly anticipating its publication, the folks at Vox have recommendations of other authors you might want to check out in the meantime.
No New Game of Thrones?  Don't Panic! Here's Who You Can Read Until It Arrives! 

Philip Pullman, who is best known as the author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, relates to the Guardian how he was inspired by comic books and most notably, American comic books. Maybe he should share some with Mr. Martin.
Philip Pullman: Why I Love Comics

It is hard to know where some writers do get their inspiration from. Herman Melville's Moby Dick is one such work. The book was dedicated to Nathaniel Hawthorne with whom Melville had something of a bromance. But Michael Shelden, whose book Melville in Love will be published in June, suggests that it may have been an affair with a young woman of his acquaintance that had more to do with that novel.
An Illicit Romance Inspired Moby Dick?

For those of us who enjoy the literary short story, the 2016 selections for the O. Henry Awards will be published by Anchor Books in September. In the meantime, LiteraryHub has listed those works here.
O.Henry Award Selections

It is interesting what can be discovered with urban renewal. Recently in Rome, the headquarters of the Praetorian Guard, the Emperor's own small army, was dug up. And in London, the Curtain theater where some of the early plays of William Shakespeare has been unearthed. And from the internal evidence of the plays, it could mean that some of those plays prologues were added after their initial performances.
Unearthing Shakespeare

It is the long weekend before summer, and one would hope that there will be plenty of time for reading. But what of those days and weeks where we don't have that extra day? The Reading Room suggests five ways to expand your leisure reading time.
How You Can Find More Time To Read

Please have a safe and good weekend. And let us know what books are inspiring you!


The Book Booth: Full Moon Saturday Edition



Image: The New Yorker

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: Full Moon Saturday Edition

One of these days, there will be a new moon on Monday, and I can title one of the posts after the Duran Duran song. But until then, there is a full moon tonight, Saturday, and it supposed to be a nice one. I hope the overcast here in our town dissipates some and we can enjoy it.

The writer's organization PEN recently held their annual gala where the honored, among others, J.K. Rowling and she had some choice words for presumptive GOP presidential nominee (how weird to write this) Donald Trump. Publishers Weekly has the story here.]
J,K. Rowling Calls Trump a Bigot

The Korean writer Han Kang won this years International Man Booker Award for her novel The Vegetarian. I don't know the work, but from the reviews I've subsequently read, it looks to be both good and disturbing. Again, PW reports on the award.
Man Booker Award to Han Kang

The New Yorker magazine has had a couple of articles of interest recently. The first is an assessment by Adelle Waldman on Samuel Richardson, whose novel Pamela is considered the first real English modern novel. I've never been able to bring myself to read the book and I have no desire to do so in the immediate future. But the article is worth reading.
Samuel Richardson

The novelist Jonathan Franzen also wrote a piece that chronicles his trip to Antarctica, where he planned to do some bird-watching.
Jonathan Frantzen in Antartica

And it seems that author Franzen also made an appearance on Jeopardy's Power Players Week. Although he came in second, Franzen, who is well-known for his passion for birds, ran the bird category with aplomb.
Jonathan Frantzen on Birds

The issue of plot in literature has been of controversy ever since the advent of Modernism and continued into the Post-Modern era. But "plot" has made something of a comeback in recent times. John Mullan at the Guardian has a good discussion about it here.
Plots and Modernism

And speaking of the modernists, Marcel Proust was certainly one of its leading lights. There is a lot in In Search of Lost Time that is difficult, including the 900 plus word sentence (that I once saw a poster for where the maker had diagrammed the sentence). Sarah Boxer details in The Atlantic her struggles with the work and her attempt to read Proust on her iPhone.
Reading Proust on Your Cellphone!

The British writer J.G. Ballard is probably best known here in the States as the author of the semi-autobiographical novel Empire of the Sun, about a young British boy's experience during World War Two of the Japanese occupation of Shanghai and filmed by Steven Spielberg. But he was also a well-regarded science-fiction writer, often compared to William S. Burroughs. And as Alison Nastasi points out over at Flavorwire, Ballard made some eerie and chilling predictions about the future.
J.G. Ballard's Predictions for the Future

With the on-going discussion of public bathroom usage, the folks at McSweeney's has put forth a patent for a device that surely will solve all the problems, ahem.
Finally! A Solution to the 'Who's Allowed in this Bathroom?' Problem! 

We leave you this week with some health tips from Walt Whitman, who not only wrote great poetry, but had advice for nearly any occasion.
Health Advice from Walt Whitman

Have a great weekend and, if you can, get out to look at that ol' devil moon while it shines in its fullest. And by all means, let us know what books are delighting you.