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: Happy Holidays Edition
The solstice is imminent, and Christmas Day is not far behind. I hope this finds one and all ready for the holidays, and that you may sit, relax and enjoy a warm beverage. And perhaps you can watch the falling, silent snow. Enjoy this video from The Guardian. Snow
But if you haven't finished your shopping, our old friend, buddy, pal, chum and otherwise voracious reader, Bill Gates has some suggestions as he recently picked his favorite books for the year. H/T to Lucian for finding this story. Bill Gates's Favorite Books
Then there are those problem people on your shopping list. What do you get Captain Ahab for Christmas anyway? The folks at Bustle have some ideas for gifts for fictional characters. (Though Richard III wasn't really fictional).
Gifts For Fictional Characters
Good news for fans of Judy Blume. The famed writer of books for young adults will publish a new novel, directed at adults, her first in 15 years, this next June. Flavorwire has the details.
Judy Blume Novel for Adults
But sad news for fans of Clifford the Big Red Dog, whose creator, Norman Bridwell, recently passed away at the age of 86.
It seems that the Bard was not always the bees knees and certainly not during his lifetime. Apparently there was no Shakespearomania until long after his death. Salon has this interesting article on how Shakespeare became, well, Shakespeare.
And this is sweet. Neil Gaiman and Molly Oldfield reading A Christmas Carol for the New York Public Library.
It has become a tradition with me to close my holiday posts both here at The Political Carnival and back in the days when we wrote at Jesus' General, with this closing of the third "stave" as Charles Dickens called it, when the Spirit of Christmas Past takes his leave of Scrooge. It is haunting, sad and still all too relevant today.
"To-night at midnight. Hark! The time is drawing near."
The chimes were ringing the three quarters past eleven at that moment.
"Forgive me if I am not justified in what I ask," said Scrooge, looking intently at the Spirit's robe, "but I see something strange, and not belonging to yourself, protruding from your skirts. Is it a foot or a claw?"
"It might be a claw, for the flesh there is upon it," was the Spirit's sorrowful reply. "Look here."
From the foldings of its robe, it brought two children; wretched, abject, frightful, hideous, miserable. They knelt down at its feet, and clung upon the outside of its garment.
"Oh, Man, look here! Look, look, down here!" exclaimed the Ghost.
They were a boy and a girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out, and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shrivelled hand, like that of age, had pinched, and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds. Where angels might have sat enthroned, devils lurked, and glared out menacing. No change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any grade, through all the mysteries of wonderful creation, has monsters half so horrible and dread.
Scrooge started back, appalled. Having them shown to him in this way, he tried to say they were fine children, but the words choked themselves, rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude.
"Spirit, are they yours?" Scrooge could say no more.
"They are Man's," said the Spirit, looking down upon them. "And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!" cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. "Slander those who tell it ye. Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse. And abide the end."
"Have they no refuge or resource?" cried Scrooge.
"Are there no prisons?" said the Spirit, turning on him for the last time with his own words. "Are there no workhouses?"
From A Christmas Carol
Both Seattle Tammy and I wish to send along our seasons greetings to our fine readers. Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays everyone and good books for us all.