Archive for banned books

The Book Booth: And Time a Thief Edition

Share

libraryinwoodsw260h244
Image: Bored Panda

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 Time a Thief Edition

The days are getting shorter here in our town. It seems that it wasn't so long ago that the sun was setting at nine and now...it is setting closer and closer to six. And when daylight savings ends and we approach the solstice, it will be setting much closer to four thirty. Blink on those days and you'll miss the daylight.

As you know from walking down the aisle of any major store, Halloween is approaching, and has been for months. One of the spookiest of American writers was Shirley Jackson, best known for her novel The Haunting of Hill House and her short story The Lottery. She is the subject of an new biography by Ruth Franklin, Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life and Ms. Franklin tells Publishers Weekly about eleven things you may not know about Jackson here.

Jackson's story The Lottery, long a set piece for anthologies and Selected Shorts, is now the subject of a new graphic novel adaptation by Miles Hyman. You can see an excerpt from the new work at LitHub here.

Ah, what to read this weekend, the perpetual question. Well, Kyle Lucia Wu has some suggestions for short novels, including authors like Julian Barnes and the late Roberto Bolano here for Read it Forward.

Bruce Springsteen's memoir Born to Run has now been published. And author Richard Ford reviewed it for the New York Times Book Review. He liked it. Has it really been 43 years now since Greetings from Asbury Park been released? I guess it has.
Richard Ford Reviews The Boss's Born to Run

Lucian has found a couple of fun links. First if you happen to be traveling and staying in hostels, and you find yourself in Tokyo, definitely make it over to Book and Bed where you can fall asleep amid a library of 3000 books. And you'll have a night light. Cheap at $34 per night!
A Literary Bed On Which to Lay Your Head in Tokyo

Unfortunately I don't think you can make a reservation to stay the night at Hemmelig Rom, a secluded library in upstate New York. But you can see how lovely it is from these photographs at Bored Panda.
A Library of Your Own (Where Virginia Woolf Would Have Felt at Home)

I've probably mentioned it before, but my favorite play by William Shakespeare is The Tempest. It is one of the last plays he wrote, at his full maturity with some of the best poetry he wrote. Now Margaret Atwood has written a novel based on the play, Hag-Seed, set in Canada in the year 2013. She writes about the work here for the Guardian, and I'm looking forward to reading her adaptation.
The Tempest as a Novel by Margaret Atwood

Being an inmate in a Texas prison is a harsh life. And it is not made any easier by the powers that be when it comes to providing reading to those prisoners. The method of banning some books is, at best, capricious. The latest to be banned is a non-fiction work, Wolf-Boys by Dan Slater, which chronicles the story of two boys smuggled into America by the cartels. A grim story, yes. However a prisoner can always read Mein Kampf or some work by David Duke. Again, from the Guardian.
Books Banned Behind Bars

May your weekend reading be a bit more gratifying than that experienced in Texan prison cells. And please let us know what books you are appreciating. I'll leave you with Mary Martin and Kenny Baker singing Speak Low from the show One Touch of Venus, music by Kurt Weill and lyric by Ogden Nash. Please enjoy.

Share

The Book Booth: Autumnal Rhythms Edition

Share

BookBoothGirlReadingKitchenw284h202B

Image: Stylist

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: Autumnal Rhythms Edition

The Fall is settling in. The daylight hours are just a wee bit shorter than the nighttime. The baseball playoffs are looming, with the season nearly over. There is football to take us into the winter months. And school is back, kids with backpacks going in the morning, and returning home in the afternoon.

I am of that generation that learned to read using the Dick and Jane primers. (I don't exactly remember learning to read and am told that I was reading before first grade, though). Those readers have seemingly been around forever. MentalFloss has some tid-bits of information on them in the article linked to below, and if you grew up with Dick and Jane, you'll find them interesting. Including the fact that Dr. Seuss hated them.
Dick and Jane Readers

I do remember as well the Raggedy Ann books being around, though I don't think I ever read one. I seem to recall having the doll around, which probably belonged to my sister. In any event, the doll and her brother Andy are celebrating their 100th birthdays this year.
Raggedy Ann Celebrates 100th - and Brother Andy Too!

When I visit our local library late in the afternoon, there are dozens of students huddled in the stacks and around the computer stations. And our local librarians handle them with aplomb. Of course librarians are heros as they should be. io9 featured some from both books and movies.
Our Librarians, Our Heroes

We hear much more about censorship and book banning here in the States than we do elsewhere in the world. But it still happens, even in other English-speaking states. Recently, New Zealand has banned a young adult novel entitled Into the River by Ted Dawe. H/T to Lucian.
New Zealand Young Adult Novel Banned

The author responded to the ban in this interview with the Observer.
Ted Dawe Responds To Ban

The Book Club phenomenon continues unabated. If you have ever wanted to start a group, the Stylist recently published a simple set of rules to get going. Rule number 7 seems to be the most important. Heh.
Book Clubs Are 'In' Again

The use of the nom de plume seems so 19th century. One thinks of George Eliot or George Sand. Even Dickens. But a poem by one Yi-Fen Chou that has been chosen to be included in the annual Best American Poetry collection has stirred some controversy. It seems Chou is actually one Michael Derrick Hudson, who is not Chinese-American, but a white man.
A 'Nom de Plume' With A Twist. Bias, Anyone?

I noted last week that the longlists for the National Book Awards have been released. If you look at those lists, you might wonder which ones you may want to actually read. Salon has conveniently described each one with the adjectives used in the blurbs. Who doesn't want to read a book that is "engrossing" or even "orgiastic"?
In the Mood for an 'Orgiastic' Book Today?

Finally I make another plea for reading the short story. There can be so much that is enriching in the short form and it is not an easy genre to master. Andrew Malan Milward, whose own collection, I Was a Revolutionary, has been published recently, suggests these collections that excel in evoking the sense of place.
Publishers Weekly on Short Stories

Have a most wonderful weekend with lots of books! Please let us know what books are giving you pleasure.

Share

The Book Booth: Fourth of July Edition

Share

BookBoothTugboatw291h202

Image: From Mentalfloss via Flickr (credit bottom right of image)

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: Fourth of July Edition

A Happy Fourth of July, dear readers. It's a great day to celebrate with fireworks and BBQs and all that. But it's also a good day to reflect that this nation was conceived on the concept that all men are created equal. And our history is the long road to try to achieve something like that.

Do you remember the Little Golden Books. In my early youth, my mother kept me well supplied, though I'm sure she got sick unto death of constantly reading me The Saggy, Baggy Elephant, surely a classic. MentalFloss has the history of these gems here.
Little Golden Elephant Books

Writers can find inspiration in many places. Recently author Stephen Jarvis, who's novel Death and Mr. Pickwick, shared the story behind the novel, which draws its story from the Dickens novel. And Brian Ferry. And other musicians. Ideas can seem to come from anywhere.
Where Do Ideas Come From?

We learned not too long ago that the Starz network has picked up Neil Gaiman's American Gods for a mini-series. Even better news for Gaiman fans is that the author will also be writing some of the episodes. Apparently he has written teleplays in the past for Dr. Who and Babylon 5, so he is no stranger to adaptation.
Neil Gaiman's Teleplays

Have some time on your hands this weekend? Then take the challenge! Can you guess the 100 most commonly used words in English? And do it in twelve minutes? You can give a try here.
How's Your Vocabulary?

Or you could spend your time more wisely by finding some new writers to read. The folks at Quartz have these recommendations of young Latin American writers who would be worth perusing. H/T to old friend George Carroll for the link.
Young Latin American Writers

Then there are those who use their time in more frivolous ways. Like F. Scott Fitzgerald, who conjugated the verb to cocktail for Blanche Knopf. And thanks to another pal, Diane Frederick, for sharing.
F.Scott Fitzgerald Conjugates 'To Cocktail'

Far from frivolous, these teachers at a middle school in Biloxi, Mississippi know how to spend their days off this summer. Take a look at how they transformed the hallway in one of the school buildings.
Biloxi, Mississippi Teachers Transform a School Hallway

Ken Bruen is no stranger to the noir novel. He has written many himself, featuring Jack Taylor. His latest novel is Green Hell. Here he lists his rather idiosyncratic top ten noir novels. Many of these, I don't know, but David Goodis was one heckuva writer and not read enough these days.
Top 10 Noir Novels (per David Goodis)

Many years ago, after having left her job as a sales rep for Penguin Books, Seattle Tammy was at loose ends. One day she received a phone call from the owner of Seattle Mystery Bookshop, Bill Farley, asking her if she wouldn't want to work the odd day and some hours at the shop located in Seattle's Pioneer Square. Tammy agreed and over the years, she eventually became the manager of the store. Bill was her mentor and her friend over these past years. Earlier this week, Bill passed away at age 83. We will miss him and thank him for his many generosities and friendship.
Bill Farley (of the Seattle Mystery Bookshop) Has Passed Away

Enjoy the holiday, Be Safe, and let us know what you have on the grill....and what books your reading this weekend.

Share

The Book Booth: The Sweetest Sounds Edition

Share

BookBoothPenguinsw267h202

Image: Getty at 538.com

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 Sweetest Sounds Edition

Sunday marks the 113th birthday of one of the most dominant persons of the American musical stage during the 20th century, Richard Rodgers. Rodgers was very attuned to the world of books. He and his lyricist Lorenz Hart adapted John O'Hara stories for their production of Pal Joey. And nearly all of Rodgers collaborations with Oscar Hammerstein had sources in books, including Oklahoma and Carousel (both based on stage plays), South Pacific, The King and I, Flower Drum Song and The Sound of Music. So a big Happy Birthday to Richard Rodgers.

Rodgers did encounter stiff resistance to the song Carefully Taught in South Pacific; both he and Hammerstein were resolute in keeping the song in the show. But banning songs and books is still part of the anti-intellectual stream among some Americans. Interestingly, over at 538, they couldn't find what book was the most banned in America. The reasons why are explained here.
Banned Books in America

One of the victims last week in the Charleston shootings was librarian Cynthia Hurd. So it was fitting and fine that the Charleston County Council stepped up and renamed the library she worked at for her.
Librarian Cynthia Hurd, Charleston Shooting Victim

I've noted in previous posts the problems David Brooks had with the "facts" in his latest opus, The Road to Character. Other similar problems have shown up now in some other works, prompting Vulture.com to wonder when publishers will start using fact checkers. And it seems some are now.
It's High Time Publishers Used Fact Checkers!

The novelist Milan Kundera has recently published a novella, The Festival of Insignificance, which has received atrocious reviews. How do we deal with a bad book by a great writer? Colton Valentine tackles the question over at HuffPo.
When Good Writers Write Bad Books

Miguel de Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote, and father or the modern novel, lived a life full of romance and excitement. Yet his remains are buried underneath a Spanish convent. NPR explains how this came to be here.
Cervantes's Final Resting Place

Yes, opening lines are important. Marley was dead. Call Me Ishmael. We remember them, if we remember nothing else about the book. Buzzfeed has come up some fifty plus of the greatest of the opening lines in literature.
Opening Lines of Great Books

I guess it comes as no shock that Powells Bookstore in Oregon is regarded as one of the best. So no wonder, then, that the Guardian has listed it as THE best bookstore in the world! It certainly has quite the inventory. From OregonLive.
Powells: The Best Bookstore in the World

Literature can inspire other kinds of artists to new heights. The folks at QuirkBooks recently listed their favorite top ten love songs based on good books. I was happy to see Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights on that list, a song about as haunting and eerie as the novel itself.
10 Love Songs Based on Good Books

I leave you now to a great weekend, filled with books and reading. And with great music. Here from Richard Rodgers musical, ground-breaking for its time, No Strings with Diahann Carroll and Richard Kiley singing The Sweetest Sounds.

Also...from South Pacific...'You've Got to Be Carefully Taught'

Share