Archive for best of

The Book Booth: Twas the Week Before Christmas Edition

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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: Twas the Week Before Christmas Edition

I hope this finds everyone enjoying the holiday season and feeling in a festive mood. Alas, I do miss those days of yore when there would be tons of Christmas specials where Perry Como, or Andy Williams, or the great Der Bingle would serenade us with holiday songs. These days all we have our Republican debates and those hardly put anyone into the Christmas spirit.

Let that not be said of actor Benedict Cumberbatch who has written to Father Christmas with an eloquent plea for that merry ol' soul. Here's his letter, plus others written by some noted British celebrities.
Letters to Santa (aka 'Father Christmas')

On the other hand, it seems that Ayn Rand sent Christmas cards, and I'm pleased I never received one from her. Here are some imagined seasons greetings from that sour person.
Imagined Seasons Greetings Cards from Ayn Rand

Last week we took a look at some of the "best of 2015" lists. The New Yorker book reviewers have now chimed in with their selections. Again, a lot of books I need to catch up on.
The 'New Yorker's 'Best of 2015 List

Then, again, I did catch up on some classics reading using the Sad and Useless ultra-condensed versions.
The Classics 'Sad and Useless' Versions

You'll have noticed that the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is condensed for your pleasure. But once again, a school has stopped teaching the book to its 11th graders. You'd think these Quakers would know better. H/T to Lucian for the link.
Censoring 'Huckleberry Finn' Again!

With the success of The Martian at the box office and at bookstores throughout the land, there seems to be a new (or retro) trend towards real science in Science Fiction. Examples would include not only Andrew Weir, author of The Martian, but long-time established writers like Neal Stephenson and Kim Stanley Robinson, as NPR reports.
New Interest in Science Fiction as a Result of 'The Martian'?

Did you know that way back in 1974, soon after the earth formed, the US National Institute on Drug Abuse commissioned sci-fi author Robert Silverberg to survey the use of drugs in science fiction stories? Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing has the story here.
How Often Do Drugs Play a Role in Science Fiction Stories? 

It seems odd and quaint in these technological days, that writers would not avail themselves of it and write first drafts with pen and paper. But that is exactly what Neil Gaiman does and here are some examples of those initial drafts.
Neil Gaiman's First Drafts Written with Pen and Paper

James Lee Burke, author of the Dave Robicheaux mysteries, doesn't say whether he writes on the computer or with a pen, but he did offer some tips on writing recently for Publishers Weekly.
Writing Tips from James Lee Burke

Finally, it has been sixty years since Vladimir Nabokov's groundbreaking novel Lolita was published by Olympia Press. Here are some appreciations of the work by the Lolita Fan Club.
'Lolita' Turns 60 - Some Thoughts

A Merry Christmas to all of you celebrating the holiday. And please let us know what books you are loving at this time of year.

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The Book Booth: The Best of 2015 Edition

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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 Best of 2015 Edition

We seem to be in the midst of the holiday season, now, and a Happy Hanukkah to all of you who celebrate the festival of lights. Seattle Tammy and I are getting our house in shape so we can set up a tree this year. Which is something we really haven't done in a while. So we are enjoying so far.

It is also that time of year when the critics give us their "best-of" lists, which always are fun to explore. For instance, the Boston Globe has an exhaustive list here.
The Boston Globe's 'Best Of' List

And of course the New York Times has their selection of the best ten books here.
The New York Times' 'Best Of' List

NPR has its list, complete with dust jacket art, which is pretty cool.
NPR's 'Best Of' List

President Obama has his own opinions. He recently shared with ABC his picks for favorite novel (Lauren Groff's Fates and Furies) as well as his favorite movie and song.
President Obama's 'Best Of' List

All these lists make me realize, I have so many books I need to catch up on.

Tracy Chevalier is probably best known for her novel Girl with a Pearl Earring. She also has had published The Last Runaway and her novel At the Edge of the Orchard will arrive in March of next year. Both of those novels deal with mid-19th century America. So she is well-acquainted with novels from the Civil War and she chose her top five here. I would add Daniel Woodrell's A Woe to Live On, which was filmed by Ang Lee some years back as Ride with the Devil.
Tracy Chevalier's Recommendations

Ethan Hawke is both a versatile actor and novelist. His most recent novel is Rules for a Knight. The New York Times interviewed him here and I must say, he has good taste in literature.
NYT Inverview with Author Ethan Hawke

For graphic novel fans, this one looks like a good one. It is the life of Rosa Luxembourg as visualized by Kate Evans. Here's an excerpt from the Nation Magazine.
Graphic Novel on the Life of Rosa Luxembourg

So what are the best novels ever written by a British author? The BBC sought the opinions of over 80 book critics that live outside Merrie Olde England and came up with this list of the top 25.
25 Greatest British Novels (chosen by non-Brits)

Mark Twain lived to see a great many things that we now take for granted. Electrical lighting. The automobile. The airplane. And the advent of motion pictures. Here he is from 1909, the year before his death, filmed by non less than Thomas Edison.
Mark Twain Filmed by Thomas Edison

Finally, in case you need any convincing, Bustle provides the 11 reasons you should give books as gifts this year. But I doubt you need the convincing. And you probably have your own good reasons.
Why You Should Give Books as Gifts This Holiday Season

Have a wonderful weekend and please let us know what books you're asking Santa for this year.

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Video Overnight Thread- Epic Best of the Web Compilation

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Via.

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Video- Best of President Obama at White House Correspondents Dinner 2013

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