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The Book Booth: The Watchman Edition

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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. @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 Watchman Edition

Not the Watchmen. The Watchman, as in Go Set a Watchman. Yes, Harper Lee's novel has finally hit the bookstores. It has been anticipated for a while, with some trepidation. The first chapter was released before Tuesday's release and met with some mixed reviews and feeling, as Publishers Weekly reports.
Early Reviews of Go Set a Watchman

And, as to be expected, the sales on Tuesday were astounding.
Watchman's First Day Sales

In case you need refreshing on the controversy surrounding the book, NPR discussed the background on this podcast. You'll need to scroll to the Monday, January 13th edition.
Watchman Publishing Controversy
(scroll down to Monday, July 13th, 2015 - Hour 1)

PW also asked a number of authors for their reflections on To Kill a Mockingbird and the impact that book made on them as persons and writers.
Mockingbird's Influence on Authors

And could there be more Harper Lee books to come? CNN reported that there may be yet another novel and a non-fiction work no longer hidden in a drawer somewhere.
Still Another? Harper Lee Novel Out There?
I'm certain that there will be no forthcoming unpublished novels by Jane Austen. Well, at least I'm reasonably sure. Nevertheless, despite all the years since her novels were released, there is still much to learn about them. MentalFloss lists ten things you may not know about Pride and Prejudice here.

If you are in the mood for something different, and you enjoy short stories, you may want to check out the recommendations from Mia Alvar, whose own collection, In the Country, was recently released. Some of these I don't know, but Pam Houston is always a hoot and Bienvenido Santos's Scent of Apples is a treasure to be discovered, if you haven't already.
10 Short Story Collections You've Never Read

Everyone has a favorite summer song. I always liked Chad and Jeremy's Summer Song. And, of course, The Beach Boys, pick a song, any song. Amy Sachs posted some of her favorite books which inspired songs over at Bustle.
Summer Songs, Summer Books

Ahh, nothing like enjoying a libation while lazing about on a summers day and reading a book. Kristian Wilson suggested some drink and book pairings here.
Summer Drinks, Summer Books

Finally, we are book nerds, aren't we? Admit it. Farrah Penn at Buzzfeed has conveniently charted and Venn Diagramed what that exactly means.
What Does It Mean to be a 'Book Nerd'?

Good readings to you all this weekend. If you happen to be reading Go Set a Watchman, let us know how you like it. Or let us know about any other book you are enjoying.

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The Book Booth: An Odds and Ends Edition

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Image: WSJ

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: An Odds and Ends Edition

As you'll all notice, this weeks post is abbreviated. Yours truly had a cataract removed from his right eye earlier in the week, and this operation, while successful, cut, so to speak, into my time for finding links. But I hope you enjoy the links I did find.

The big news of the week is that Harper Lee's other novel, Go Set a Watchman is set to be released on July 14th. The first chapter has been previewed in various locales and to some mixed reviews:
Watchman Review 1
Watchman Review 2

We often look to literature for guidance in our lives. This search may not be a particularly good idea for those of us who seek advice on romance, as the folks at Bustle remind us
Terrible Advice on Love and Relationships in Literature.

Then, again, if you're house-hunting, there are some fine and elegant places that you may enjoy from literature. I took this quiz from the Reading Room and it seems I am best suited to the Burrow from the Harry Potter novels. Hmm.
What Literary Domicile Would Suit Me Best?

One shouldn't judge a book by its cover. But while browsing in the bookstore, a good cover may very well have you pick it up to peruse. And for me, I do love a good book cover design. Here are some of the best from this year as chosen by Paste Magazine.
Good Cover Designs

Over at Locus Magazine, Cory Doctorow argues that Science Fiction is not good at predicting the future, but it is great about both the past and times in which a particular book may have been written. Take a look at his illuminating essay here.
Science Fiction Predicts the Future? Wrong.

Another Jack Kerouac letter is about to be auctioned. The letter is interesting, detailing his thoughts about the novel he never finished, Spotlight, to his agent Sterling Lord. Also available is the rather classic photo Allen Ginsberg took of Kerouac, smoking a cigarette while standing on the outside staircase of an apartment. Buzzfeed has the story here.
Kerouac Letter

One of the most powerful novels of the past ten years is Don Winslow's The Power of the Dog, a novel I heartily recommend. The book describes the War on Drugs from many points of view and details the harsh realities of the Mexican drug cartels. Winslow has now written a sequel, The Cartel, which both SeattleTammy and I look forward to reading.
New Don Winslow Novel

Please enjoy another fine summer weekend with lots of reading and books. Take care of your eyes, and do let us know what books are giving you thrills.

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The Book Booth: Fourth of July Edition

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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.

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The Book Booth: The Sweetest Sounds Edition

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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'

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