Archive for amazon

The Book Booth: Autumn Leaves Edition

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Image: Brain Pickings

The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing. @SeattleDan, along with his wife, SeattleTammy, are operators of both an on-line bookstore here, as well as a brick and mortar storefront mini-store in Hoquiam, WA at 706 Simpson Ave (Route 101 South). Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: Autumn LeavesEdition

Oh, the leaves are turning and falling. The colors around here are so vibrant and beautiful. And I read an article this week that tells us that we should not be raking those leaves! No! Unraked leaves provide an eco-system for the insect world that benefits both them and ourselves. Do the world a favor and do not rake the leaves!

Amazon.com this week opened up its first brick and mortar store in the University Village shopping mall in Seattle. The mall itself is close to the University of Washington campus, and the neighborhood is up-scale. (I think most Seattle neighborhoods are up-scale now). Once upon a time the mall featured a quaint independent book store and a wonderful independent record store. Ah, fond memories! In any event, as the writer from Forbes points out, this Amazon outlet is not really about selling books. It is about collecting data.
Amazon Wants To Know Even More About You!

Former bookseller Dustin Kurtz, writing for the New Republic, was equally unimpressed with the store. In fairness, he found the staff to be very good and it is a good thing that the staff are paid well, at least by industry standards. But the store resembles the front page of Amazon website and the selection is limited.
Amazon's Brick-and-Mortar Store Reviewed

We are beginning to approach that time of year. You know. The holiday season. And most retailers are gearing up. I know, I know. We haven't had Veterans Day yet, much less Thanksgiving. Nevertheless, most of the publishers have released all their major titles for the year, as buzz and promotion on book titles gets lost after Halloween. And thusly, Publishers Weekly has announced what it considers to be the best titles for the year here. It is designed by subject and offers one the opportunity to purchase books from independent booksellers.
Publishers Weekly Wants You to See the Titles You Might Miss in the Hubbub of the Christmas Rush

A more interesting list comes from Patti Smith, whose new memoir M Train was recently released. Here she chose her fifty favorite books for Brain Pickings and the titles are ambitious.
What Books Does Patti Smith Read?

If you have not had the chance to see Ridley Scott's adaptation of Andrew Weir's The Martian, do yourself a favor and go see the movie. Until then, take a look at Weir's interview with the Daily Beast. He loved the film and dismissed the scientific errors as fairly trivial, considering that the story is a drama and not a science project.
The Man Behind 'The Martian' 

I keep thinking I should do more with the Twitter. I look at it briefly every day, and I get too easily distracted to keep up with it. But there are some fun things to read there and Buzzfeed found some of the better grammar nazi tweets, which are pretty funny.
Twitter and Grammar Nazis

I have to admit that when I enter a home or apartment I haven't been to before, I do check out, almost immediately, the bookshelves. But as the folks at Bustle point out, it's not just the titles one should look at; look at the shelves themselves. And what do they say about you? I am somewhere between alphabetical and cluttered and full.
What Do Your Bookshelves Say About You? 

Do take a book down from the shelves this weekend and treat yourself to a good read. And please do let us know how you're liking the book you choose! Have a most splendid Autumn weekend.

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The Book Booth: The Days Dwindle Down Edition

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Image: Boing-Boing

The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing. @SeattleDan, along with his wife, SeattleTammy, are operators of both an on-line bookstore here, as well as a brick and mortar storefront mini-store in Hoquiam, WA at 706 Simpson Ave (Route 101 South). Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: The Days Dwindle Down Edition

Just when you think that summer will never end, well, the rains return. The air is cooler. And did I see that some of the trees are already turning color? With the overcast skies, I guess seeing this weekend's full moon won't be possible.

In Spokane, last weekend and while it was still plenty hot, the WorldCon was held and, finally, the Hugo Awards were announced. Alison Herman has a review of the controversy here at Flavorwire.
Hugo Awards Controversy

Among the winners was Chinese author Cixin Liu whose novel The Three Body Problem took top prize. But all in all, there were five awards not given at all.
Five Hugo Awards Not Awarded This Year

And among the big loser were both the Sad and the Rabid Puppies, whose agenda to get some meaty right-wing fiction recognized, failed badly. At least their efforts have prompted some rule changes.
Hugos: Sad and Rabid Puppies

Arthur Chu attended the WorldCon and had these thoughts on the Hugos for Salon magazine. H/T to Lucian for sending the link along.
The Future of the Hugos Does Not Belong to the Right Wing

Jonathan Sturgeon recently provided a list at Flavorwire of the best books ever assigned in High School. It's an interesting list, but I cannot remember any of these were ever read in my alma mater.
Best High School Book Assignments

The Great Gatsby was one of those works I did read in high school, and I'm glad it was. Now it seems that there are some unpublished works from Scott Fitzgerald. Lots of writers have stories and drafts shoved into a drawer somewhere. And with good reason. The Guardian asks if we should care if there is work from the great writers that largely goes unseen.
Unpublished Stories and Drafts: Should We Be Interested?

Nearly twenty years ago, the Thurber Awards were established to honor the best in humor writing and the past winners have included Jon Stewart and David Sedaris. But a woman humorist has never won. This year may just see that change.
Thurber Awards for Humor: Will A Woman Win This Year For the First Time?

The literary sensation this year in Great Britain is a novel by Paul Kingsnorth entitled The Wake. And, no, other than sharing a loving affinity for language, it isn't like Finnegans Wake. The story is about the Norman conquest and its aftermath in England, with not a few words in Olde English. I am intrigued. NPR has the story.
The Wake

I missed this earlier in the summer. The New Yorker asked several writers what they planned on reading during the warmer days and the list is interesting. If you still need to fill in your summer reading list, you may want to get some ideas.
It's Still Summer! Writers' Reading Lists!

Enjoy these final days of summer. September is just around the corner. Schools will re-open. We will have the last meals cooked on the grill. But we will always have books. Let us know what books you're loving.

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The Book Booth: Hot Enough For You? Edition

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Image: The Guardian

The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing. @SeattleDan, along with his wife, SeattleTammy, are operators of both an on-line bookstore here, as well as a brick and mortar storefront mini-store in Hoquiam, WA at 706 Simpson Ave (Route 101 South). Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: Hot Enough for You Edition

Summer may be winding down, but you wouldn't know in most places. Even here in our little town, the days are warm. Very warm. Hot, even, for a place that normally gets off-shore breezes and temperate weather.

And while we are speaking of hot, Amazon.com and its founder, Jeff Bezos, are in the proverbial hot waters. The New York Times revealed a work culture that was less than benign. Evil, even. Publishers Weekly offered an overview here.
Life Working for Amazon

I personally don't know firsthand the corporate doings at Amazon headquarters. I'm pretty sure the warehouse work conditions are just this side of medieval, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Times article was, for the most part, accurate. In any event, the story has stirred controversy, and some disagreement even over at the Gray Lady.
How Accurate Was the Portrayal of Amazon's Work Culture?

Our own Lucian Dixon pointed me to this article about Harper Lee. It was written before the publication of Watchman but I think it provides the best context I've seen for Ms. Lee and the events leading to her decision to bring out the novel.
Let's Talk About Harper Lee

Moving on to lighter fare, it's time for a quiz. Last lines are important to novels. You know, "They lived happily ever after". Buzzfeed asks if you can identify the last lines to these novels. I think I got about half of them and it is multiple choice. Have at it!
Do You Know Your Last Lines?

And titles! The Great Gatsby was called by Fitzgerald many things before the title was finally decided. Here's the story of some other works which had other working titles. By the way, the initial title for Lolita shouldn't be much of a surprise, considering how large the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe looms over the story.
Original Original Titles Tell a Story

Multiple narrators/narratives? Why sure! Susan Barker, whose most recent novel, The Incarnations, is a multi-generational novel set in China, recently listed her favorite ten novels that employ a multi-narrative scheme. And, yes, Nabokov is listed here again.
Wait! Who's Narrating This Story Again?

Another top 100 novels in English. I rather like this list. Robert McCrum, probably best-known here as the co-author of The Story of English, composed this one for The Guardian, and he takes a historical approach, rather than doing it from his favorite to his 100th favorite.
Another (But Different) 'Best 100 Novels' List

Finally, you know the aroma, the lovely aroma, of entering a bookstore. You want to know the reason why? It's something like vanilla..H/T to my friend Caleb.
Oh, Yum - What's That Smell? Is It 'Ulysses'? For Whom The Bell Tolls?

Keep cool and have a great weekend, filled with some fine reading. And please let us know what books you've got going now.

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The Book Booth: Thanksgiving Edition

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Image via Examiner.com (article on Thanksgiving children's books)

The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing. @SeattleDan, along with his wife, @SeattleTammy, are operators of both an on-line bookstore here, as well as a brick and mortar storefront mini-store in Hoquiam, WA at 706 Simpson Ave (Route 101 South). Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

It's still a few days away, but it is coming up! Thanksgiving always means good eating, and a long weekend of not going to Black Friday sales or Walmart, but catching up on some good reading. And many thanks to Lucian for covering for me last week when I was suffering from my first cold in a very long time.

Nor where was I? Oh, yeah, there were a few things going on. It seems that Amazon and publisher Hachette have buried the hatchet. I've always been a sucker for a happy ending. PC has the story.  Amazon Hatchette Happy Ending

But not all Amazon endings are happy. Over in Seattle, things are changing rapidly and if you're young and single, not necessarily for the better. Tricia Romano has a few complaints over at Salon.
Seattle for Singles
(H/T to old friend George Carroll for finding this one.)

The National Book Awards were announced during the week, including a lifetime award presented to Ursula LeGuin. Who had a few unkind words for Amazon monolith.  LeGuin

Speaking of Seattle, during the years we lived there, we often rode the public buses, which were more convenient than trying to find parking places when going to work. (My work subsidized my bus pass, and thank you to Seattle University for that?. One of the pleasures in bus riding was being able to get some reading done, not the least of which were the poems placed in the ad areas. Seattle Metro discontinued the practice a while back, but happy to say, poetry has returned!  Seattle

Bruce Springsteen had recently published a childrens book, Outlaw Pete. Well, the Boss appeared not too long ago on The Daily Show to talk about the book and he and Jon Stewart seemed to have a good time.  The Boss and Jon Stewart

If you've been worried about Bryan Cranston's career since the concluding episodes of Breaking Bad, not to worry. He,too, has leaped into the field of Childrens books with a narration of Adam Mansbach's new "kids" book, You Have to F**king Eat.  Eat!

Springsteen and Cranston are not the only celebrities delving into literature of late. Tom Hanks recently published a short story in the New Yorker and has a contract now for a collection of short stories. And there are many more published actors than Mr. Hanks. Word and Film presented some of them here.
Tom Hanks's Short Story

Both SeattleTammy and I are looking forward to seeing Interstellar on the big screen. We would have, in fact, but my cold intervened. For those of you who loved the film, the good news is that the writer of the film, Jonathan Nolan is now developing Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy for HBO.
Asimov

For all you Lord of the Rings nerds, here is a great quiz from MentalFloss where you have to name the top fifty characters by the number of mentions in the trilogy. I sent this one to my close friend John Miller who knows most a great deal about Tolkien and he scored 46. I didn't even try. Who's Who in Tolkien?

With some sadness I will note the passing of LA Times film critic and author Charles Champlin. While he wasn't perhaps in the league with Pauline Kael or Andrew Sarris, his passion for the cinema was always evident and I enjoyed reading him during my LA years. Charles Champlin Has Moved On

Finally on a more upbeat note, David Rosenberg at Slate has this great article on the photographs by Brian David Griffith's on the many great independent bookstores across this nation. The photos give us hope that the death of Indies is exaggerated, and for that, I am thankful.
Independent Bookstores Still With Us

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving good people and please let us know what books you've got going this weekend.

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