The Book Booth: And Winter Came Edition



Image: FSG

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 Winter Came Edition

Winter begins later next week, but the signs are everywhere. Here in our little town, the temperatures go from a high of 39F to lows below freezing. We had a dusting of snow last week, but nothing that lasts. One hopes the snow packs this year will be big for all those places that have been plagued by drought.

The Nobel Ceremonies took place last week and, as expected, Bob Dylan did not attend. He did send a speech that was delivered by the American Ambassador to Sweden, Azita Raji. Here is the text and it is probably the most humble thing I've ever seen from the man.
Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize Speech

Patti Smith performed the entirely appropriate Dylan song A Hard Rain is Gonna Fall, backed by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, in what the New Yorker called a transcendent presentation. You can watch it here, and I urge you to do so. It is quite moving.
Patti Smith Accepts Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize

Ms. Smith describes the whole experience for the New Yorker here and how emotional it was for her.
Patti Smith on Singing At Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize Ceremony

In a week where I've encountered so much lack of empathy and the failure of some imaginations, it is good and wise to be reminded of the role literature can play in allowing us to engage our better natures in thinking of others. Amanda Michalopoulou explores literature and empathy here for the Guardian.
Literature and Empathy

The surge recently of hate crimes and hate speech is certainly one facet of that failure of imagination and it affects us readers and book lovers. Libraries have not been spared this scourge and I fear we will see more of this behavior as the next administration takes over. The New York Times has the details.
Libraries and Hate Crimes

On a cheerier note, Brian Seibert has a new non-fiction work out entitled What the Eye Hears: A History of Tap Dancing. He discusses the book and provides many video examples here for Works in Progress.
Tap Dancing

If winter traveling is on your schedule, you might want to check out these bookstore locations. Seven writers, including Ta-Nehisi Coates and Geraldine Brooks, describe their favorite emporiums here for the New York Times, places ranging from Nigeria to Tasmania.
Traveling? Great Bookstores Wherever You're Going

Winter does approach quickly. Time to find your hot drink, a good book, and perhaps listen to Enya's tune, As Winter Came. And please do let us know what books you are enjoying this holiday season. A good one for us all.


The Book Booth: I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plan 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: I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan Edition

Just when you think things can't get weirder, the coming new regime surprises with cabinet and department head choices. Generals, wrestling mavens and all in all horrible unexperienced people are heading to DC to govern. What a mess.

But there are still books to savor, and with the year-end, we are still getting Best Of lists. Here is the one from NPR Concierge that includes the book jackets, and recommendations. Many recommends.
NPR Concierge Best Of for 2016

Speaking of dust jackets, Jarry Lee at Buzzfeed found her favorite 32 jackets from this past year and some of them are striking.
Most Beautiful Book Covers of 2016

The folks at Mashable have teamed up with the writers organization PEN to announce its long list of notable works from the past year. The lists are worth a look and include some books that passed by my radar, and I'd guess yours as well.
PEN Literary Awards

Probably the most notable literary feud of the 20th Century was between novelist Vladimir Nabokov and critic Edmund Wilson, ostensibly over the former's English translation of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin. But there was more to the feud than that as Alex Beam, author of The Feud: Vladimir Nabokov and Edmund Wilson and the End of a Beautiful Friendship, tells us in a short essay at Publishers Weekly.
Vladimir Nabokov & Edmund Wilson's Feud

On the other hand, the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez remained best friends forever. In fact, it seems Fidel offered suggestions and criticisms to "Gabo" over the years and none of them were ideological. Not surprisingly, Fidel was a voracious reader. Via my friend Nakaima Oh. Castro and Marquez: A Long Literary Friendship

It seems that the daughter of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Rose, is up for canonization by the Catholic Church. It seems she lived abroad many years, married and later became a nun and founded an order to care the terminally ill cancer patients. Suzanne Raga has the story at MentalFloss.
Rose Hawthorne To Be Canonized?

As I noted, Bob Dylan will not be attending the Nobel Ceremony this month due to some preexisting commitments. But he has written a speech that will be delivered by someone. It would be neat if, in fact, Patti Smith, who will be performing a Dylan song at the ceremony, were to give the speech.
Bob Dylan's Speech to the Nobel Prize Committee

From The Tropic of Cancer to Catch-22, many books have been banned or shunned due to obscenity. Louis Menand has a great article on the history of controversial books and reviews the attempts of two publishers, Jack Kahane and Barney Rosset, to get many of these works into print. From the New Yorker.
Banned Books and Blockbusters

One of the drawbacks of not having a television machine is that I don't get to see programs until they show up on Netflix or Prime. One of those programs is Westworld. Apparently the show is replete with literary references which Tom Blunt at Signatures discusses here.
Westworld's Literary References

Winter is fast approaching. In fact we've seen a few snowflakes around our town recently and expect more next week. And what do book lovers do in the cold season? Bustle has some suggestions.
Snuggle Up By The Fire Winter Reading

The election has, well, just about screwed up everything and then some. It's going to be a long four years and we must get ourselves prepared for the winter of our discontent. We're going to have to change our plans, I guess. In the meantime enjoy the song as performed by Ambrose and His Orchestra with vocals by Sam Browne.

And find yourself a good book, take a deep breath and let us know what books you are putting a smile on your lips. Attachments area


The Book Booth: Our Day Will Come Edition



Image:New York Times Photo by Yana Paskova

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: Our Day Will Come Edition

Once again we've come to that time of year when the Best Of lists are making the rounds. We'll start off here with the Grey Lady's listing of its notable 100. To be quite honest, I haven't read any of these yet (been working my way through Melville this year), but I do look forward to Richard Russo's Everybody's Fool, Zadie Smith's Swing Time, Don DeLillo's Zero K. and Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run in the coming weeks.
New York Times Notable 100 of 2016

The Guardian also has a top 100 and the interesting thing is that they have other writers to choose their picks. The lists are a bit UK centric, but there are some gems here I had not heard about.
The Guardian's Top 100 of 2016 - Part 1

And part two of the Guardian listings here.
The Guardian's Top 100 of 2016 - Part 2

A list of a different sort here from the Guardian as Marcus Sedgwick picks his top ten books about borders. Cormac McCarthy's The Crossing is a great read, and anything by Graham Greene is worth attention. The interesting choice here is Robert Graves' Goodbye to All That, an excellent memoir about the Great War and it hadn't occurred to me that The Front would mark a border of a sort, but it certainly does.
The Guardian's Top 10 List of Books About Borders

And speaking of borders, Rajini Srikanth makes the case of why literature matters in discussions of race and immigration for the Conversation. You probably already knew that, but it is good to hear the case made again emphatically.
Race and Immigration: A Conversation

On a lighter note, a couple of items from Buzzfeed to pass the time away. First they ask what kind of book nerd are you. Turns out I'm the Broke Book-Lover, which seems accurate enough.
What Kind of Book Nerd Are You?

And Cassie Smith of Buzzfeed wonders how many books you've lied about reading. I am horrible at faking having read a book, so I can honestly say I've never lied about any of the books she has listed, and I haven't read all the ones she lists.
How Many Books Have You Lied About Reading?

The Yale University Press is set to release a facsimile of the mysterious Voynich manuscript, the mysterious and as yet, undeciphered work from the early fifteenth century. Josephine Livingstone discusses the work here for the New Yorker.
The Mysteries of the Voynick Manuscript

There is a joke in the book business that goes, How do you make a million dollars in the book business? Well, first you start with two million. Which isn't too far from the truth. Opening a bookstore and running a successful one is not easy, as Jonah Engel Bromwich describes in full detail for the New York Times.
Thinking of Opening a Bookstore? You Might Want to Read This First

It's been a rough few weeks since the election, and it is easy enough to get a deep blues over the results and our impending future. We must keep our hopes alive. We will have a future and our day will come, as Ruby and the Romantics tell us.

Have as pleasant as possible a weekend, and the best way to assure that is with a good book and, perhaps, some cheese, crackers and wine. By all means let us know what books you are devouring. We'd love to know.


The Book Booth: What Keeps Mankind Alive Edition



Image: Publishers Weekly

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: What Keeps Mankind Alive Edition

Thanksgiving has passed and our tummies should now be sated and well-fed again. Black Friday has come and gone and I hope you all remembered to shop locally, which is especially important in the days and years to come. I hope everyone enjoyed their feasts and are ready to settle back with a good book.

The Oxford Dictionaries have announced their word for the year, 'post-truth' which means: “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”. Seems appropriate. It beat out 'alt-right', a word invented by its proponents and that I won't use to describe them when 'fascist' seems a lot handier.
'Post-truth' is Oxford Dictionaries' Word of the Year

The rise of American fascism was predicted by Sinclair Lewis in his 1935 work It Can't Happen Here, a book I read earlier this year. It certainly resonates today and with the election of Trump, the sales of the book has remarkably increased. I'd recommend reading it, if you haven't already.
Sinclair Lewis's 'It Can't Happen Here'

What should we read now that we are in the post-election blues? Booksellers around the country have some suggestions for you that can either cheer you up or help you understand what the hell happened.
What Should We Read Now?

Trump's election has also seen an influx of donations to Planned Parenthood (good) and an increase in women seeking long-term birth control, a precaution that is very understandable considering the clowns Trump has surrounded himself with. Emily Temple at LitHub has, in view of the current state of affairs. come up with a list of forty new feminist works that are well worth looking for and reading.
Feminist Classics You Should Read

On a lighter note, the Literary Review has issued its short list for the Bad Sex in Writing Award for this past year. And, yes, the writing here is pretty awful. Here are the nominees with passages included for your edification.
Bad Sex in Writing

Frank Herbert's Dune and its sequels have long been achieved the status of classics. But for those of us who have not read them, and attempted to understand it through the lens of David Lynch's film, are still in the woods about what it's all about. Fortunately for us, a new team of producers has picked up the rights to the books for film and tv, so now we may have a chance to join the club of Dune lovers.
Dune Revisited - On the Big Screen?

Looking for something different to give as a gift this holiday season? Check out these literary tights, which look pretty darn good.
Read Classic Texts On Literary Tights

We lost another literary limelight this past week in William Trevor who passed away at age 88. His short stories have been compared quite favorably to Chekov's. I saw his play Scenes from an Album performed at the Abbey Theater in Dublin many years ago. It was a play that explored the tensions between the Anglo-Irish gentry and the Catholic population and was quite powerful, as I recall.
William Trevor Has Left Us

I'll close with an anti-thanksgiving song of a sort. It is hard to not be cynical now, and I do fight its temptation, but there is truth here in what Tom Waits sings in this Brecht-Weill song from The Threepenny Opera.

I hope all and everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving holiday with much cheer and food and companionship. Now is the time to digest, kick back and enjoy a good book. And please do tell what works you are enjoying this weekend.