Archive for book links

The Book Booth: How's Your Weather 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, as well a brick and mortar in small town Washington State. Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

We have the usual winter gloom here in our little town. A lot of rain, a bit of wind and temperatures in the forties. How's it going for you? I suspect that wherever you may be, snuggling in with a good book might be a great idea.

And if you were looking to catch up on some contemporary literature, take a gander at Jason Diamonds's list of important books from the past five years from Flavorwire. It is an exhaustive, if not exhausting, look at fifty books.

2014 will be yet another year of movie adaptations. Arielle Calderon at Buzzfeed suggests you might want to read these sixteen books before the movies hit the theaters. Among them is Mark Helprin's Winters Tale which SeattleTammy adored. Let's hope the film does it justice.

Back in 1971 a group of activists burgled a Pennsylvania FBI office and discovered files that more than confirmed our more paranoid suspicions that the Bureau spied extensively on anti-war and civil rights organizations. The perps were never caught and only now have their identities been revealed. NPR looks at Betty Medsger's The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover's Secret FBI here.

NPR also featured the legacy of Amiri Baraka, the controversial and always interesting African-American poet and playwright who passed away this week at age 79. Before he adopted the Baraka name, he was called LeRoi Jones and his work of non-fiction, Blues People is an excellent study of black music in white culture.

Last week I mentioned that a US court recently ruled that Arthur Conan Doyle's character, one Sherlock Holmes, was now in the public domain.(The Doyle Estate,as I understand, is appealing the ruling). Well, for all you Sherlock fans out there, The Guardian offers a quiz on the good detective. And it isn't easy.

Over at HuffPo, Antonio Garrido looks at eleven women from literature who rebelled against the mores of their times. It's a good list, but I will never understand the fascination people have with Scarlett O'Hara. I find her to be one of the most unlikeable characters,man or woman, in literature.

Most of imagine writers at work sitting at a desk, scribbling on tablets or typing away at their laptops. But some writers prefer a more relaxed position....reclined on their beds. Again, from HuffPo, Bernd Brunner looks at few of those recumbent authors.

There are the famous dystopian novels nearly everyone has read. 1984. Brave New World. Then there are some others worthy of our attention, that seem a little more obscure. Jason Diamond featured fifteen such titles, again from Flavorwire.

Obscurity beats out being non-existent, though. Gabe Habash at Publishers Weekly lists off nine famous books that never saw the light of day, including one on asteroids by a certain Professor Moriarty.

I hope this finds you all warm and comfortable, no matter what your weather may be. Curl up with a good book, have an outstanding weekend and let us know what you are reading.

Photo by my df Cat.

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The Book Booth: Another Odds and Ends 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, as well a brick and mortar in small town Washington State. Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

It is that time of year when it is quiet in the world of books. Publishers are gearing up for their Spring releases, and booksellers catch their collective breaths after what one hopes was a busy holiday season. But there is always some news and interesting tidbits to share.

For those of us recovering from perhaps too much holiday cheer comes the good news that reading helps your brain functions in all sorts of good ways.

If you haven't finished welcoming in the New Year, or want some of the hair of the dog, Flavorwire has these suggestions from literature that you may want to try.

I'd recommend drinking at home. The humiliation of drinking at a bar when you're involved in books could end up looking like this.

We have some good news for writers who would like to use Sherlock Holmes in your narratives. Sherlock, Doctor Watson and all those characters from Arthur Conan Doyle are now in the public domain.

Then there are writers who suffer from writers block or need to think some aspects of their works-in-progress through and end up doodling. Among these writers are those given to self-portraiture. Brainpickings offers some examples here.

Oh, the trials and tribulations of working in a bookstore. Author and bookseller Susan Coll had this funny piece in the Washington Post and it reminded me of the days when I'd be asked for a book by a customer who neither knew the title or the author, but could tell me it was yellow; or the elderly lady who wanted me to shape the gift wrap ribbon into a cute dog.

Places and homes often function as characters in fiction. Manderlay. Wuthering Heights. Shortlist came up with this very useful floor plan guide for some of the more classic homes in literature.

Before we bid 2013 a fond adieu, ABEBooks handy review of the past year, complete with dust jacket art.

Often lost in the shuffle of the books published during the course of the year are those works translated into English. Juan Vidal shared three such works at NPR that look terrific and worth your time pursuing.

And finally at NPR station KUOW in Seattle comes these recommendations from librarian extraordinaire Nancy Pearl. From her short list here, I sought out Kevin Jackson's Constellation of Genius: 1922 Modernism Year One and so far, it is a great read and literary history.

Have a most pleasant weekend. Enjoy some fine books and let us know what books you are enjoying!

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The Book Booth: New Years 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, as well a brick and mortar in small town Washington State. Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

A premature Happy New Years to everyone! I'm hoping the next year is one we will all remember fondly at its end and that among your resolutions is to read More Books!

While I don't expect perfection for the coming year, and think perfection might kill us all, Gabe Habash of Publishers Weekly continues his search for the perfect literary sentence. If not perfect, these examples he found are pretty darn good.

Over at Flavorwire Alison Natasi chose her favorite literary catch phrases. And not all of them come from the Bard!

Book covers are where the fine arts meet the written word. They are designed to make you buy a book for its cover and Lincoln Michel at Buzzfeed found some outstanding ones for the past year.

Seattle Tammy found this site with vintage posters promoting our libraries. Just some really fine art.

Where and when we should talk to strangers is always an awkward situation. I find I will talk more readily to someone I don't know if the comment I want to make is about books. Again from Buzzfeed, here are some acceptable places to strike up a conversation. Especially the airport security line, where silence is the norm for fear of saying the wrong thing.

Serendipitous finds like the one recently made at the Cleveland Library are very cool indeed. Only 6000 copies of Dickens' A Christmas Carol were originally printed. And the Cleveland collection has one!

I suppose we all know the Tolstoy quote that opens Anna Karenina.
“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Over at HuffPo they found some truly spooky families from literature that may make you feel grateful that you have the family you do have.

On the brighter side, novelist Anakana Schofield described some more upbeat characters from contemporary novelists. I'd include the irrepressible Mr. Micawber from David Copperfield.

Here's the kind of year-end book list I like. Just books that these New York Times book reviewers liked and recommend.

Finally, among your other resolutions for 2014, I hope that not only do you read more books, you will shop for them at your local independent bookseller. Emma Cueto at Bustle gives you plenty of good reasons why you should. H/T to my old friend Ted Lucia for finding this.

Happy New Year everyone. Be safe, read more and tell us what books you've got going right now.

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The Book Booth: The Political Yule 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, as well a brick and mortar in small town Washington State. Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

A Happy Solstice/Yule to all of you. I hope it is turning into a great season for everyone and that all are enjoying some holiday cheer.

It seems that the world of literature has rallied against our surveillance masters. You know the ones; the ones that think that whatever you put on the internets is worth their time to read. Over 500 authors, even those with conservative political views, have condemned this oversight and have called on the United Nations to work on a digital bill of rights. The Guardian had the story.

This past year really has not seen much in the way of justice for the prisoners at Guantanamo. And as DangerousMinds tells us, what literature that they are allowed to read seems random. And what they are not allowed to read, even more random.

Probably Portland Oregon's most famed living author is Ursula LeGuin. She has tackled many issues with vision and clarity in her fiction. Well, she has finally been interviewed by The Paris Review. An overview of that interview can be found here.

I have seen it argued that our contemporary writers shy away from the political. One writer at Alternet, in a post that seems to be no longer available, wondered why no American writer has reflected why we are now perpetually at war. However, Tim Kreider at the New Yorker says the political is alive in the writings of Kim Stanley Robinson, and we are better off for him doing so.

Of course many writers have written about both the political and the environment. JRR Tolkien was no exception and the folks at Climate Watch via Scientific American give you the report on what Middle Earth resembled back in the days of yore.

For those of you looking for progressive fiction and non-fiction books, Alyssa Rosenberg at ThinkProgress offers her selections of the best (and a couple of the worst) books of 2013 here.

A part of the great culture wars we have experienced for what seems to be ages now is the attitudes we hold toward sexuality. Thus it may have always been so, as Peter Brown's review of Kyle Harper's From Shame to Sin:The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality in Late Antiquity argues.

As much as I would have liked to tell you this past year about the withering of Amazon, no such luck. But before our beloved publishing industry withers itself, it should look into how it bolsters and fosters one company's hegemony. Again, from the Guardian.

So many titles get published each year, and so many fall through the cracks. As luck would have it, the good folks at Indie Reader have put together a fine list of books you probably have not heard of that you may just love to peruse.

Charles Dickens may dominate Christmas writing. But Jason Diamond at Flavorwire has found a few other passages that evoke this time of year by some other pretty good writers.

Those of you who may have read my posts at the General's and/or here at The Political Carnival know that I hold Dickens in high esteem as a novelist and social commenter and that each year I post a link to that section of A Christmas Carol where the spirit of Christmas Present reveals the waifs Ignorance and Want to Scrooge. I would be remiss to not do so this year.

A Merry Christmas to all of you celebrating this coming week and a joyous season to you all. Keep reading and let us know what titles are intriguing you now.

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The Book Booth: Tis the Season 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, as well a brick and mortar in small town Washington State. Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

Here's hoping everyone is enjoying the Season and that you are not in too frenetic a mode. The country seems to have been in the midst of a cold snap and we even had our dusting of snow earlier in the week, which always makes life interesting in our little town.

Last week we featured some Best Of lists and this week we have even more. First, NPR has a list of more than 200 titles. It is a good list. Click on the covers and get a brief summary.

C. Max Magee over at The Millions has a long list of authors and bloggers describing their past year in reading. I'm sure you'll find some books of interest and some you may have missed while perusing.

And Kit Steinkeiner at Book Riot also had four titles she felt were both neglected or overlooked this year.

PublishersWeekly asked ten authors to name their favorite book of the year. I would have to whole-heartedly agree with James McBride's pick of John LeCarre's A Delicate Truth. The rest you can read here.

ABEBooks had a list of what were deemed to be the top 50 historical fiction titles.
Again, there is a great array of cover art. But, as with any list of this kind, there are many omissions. America's pre-eminent historical novelist, Gore Vidal, is completely unmentioned. The comments have several other authors, including Patrick O'Brian.

Back in the day, before he'd pissed off most of his friends, Truman Capote threw a huge party called The Black and White Ball. I remember it because as a young teen, I saw the photo spread of the event in Life Magazine. In any event, Jason Diamond at Flavorwire has the story.

Capote was, of course, famous for his literary feuds, of which, he conducted many. Fortunately the tradition of the feud continues and the New Yorker reviews this years here.

One of the most important "disputes" that resonate today would be the one between Plato and Aristotle. Arthur Herman has recently written a book on the topic and wrote this short essay for Publishers Weekly. Where do you stand? I am now and will remain a confirmed follower of Aristotle.

On a higher note, Paddy found this article detailing a public art project coming to London next summer. Isn't it great when money is spent like this?

And in honor of the 100th anniversary of its founding, the Department of Labor is seeking title submissions of books that shaped our country and its labor force. BoingBoing had the story which has a link where you can submit your ideas.

In the good news for us department, SeattleTammy and I now will have Obamacare, beginning at the start of the year. Thank you, Obama! We will be able to take care of some nagging medical problems, including the lingering one with my right eye. So I could empathize with Charles McGrath's article at the New York Times about his year as judge for the National Book Awards.

Have a great and warm weekend, folks. When out and about, take your time and be sure to let us know what you're currently reading.

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The Book Booth: Lists 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, as well a brick and mortar in small town Washington State. Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

It must be darn close to being winter. Our little town received a dusting of snow this week and everyone is beginning to issue their "Best Of" lists in the world of lists. The New York Times leads it off with its top ten for 2013 with a list of intriguing works in fiction and non-fiction.

America's best newspaper not actually in American, The Guardian has several top book categories. It is a bit Brit-centric but the books listed are notable and worth paying attention to.

For those of you with money to burn and a penchant for fashion will enjoy this list of the Best Gift Books from Flavorwire's Jason Diamond.

Small Business Saturday came and went last week. Sparked by an idea from Sherman Alexie had, Indies First became a nationwide movement of authors actually working in Independent bookstores and drew a number of well-known writers to support their favorite stores. The Christian Science Monitor had the story here.

Among those shopping on Small Business Saturday was the President, who bought nearly two dozen volumes at DC's Politics and Prose bookshop. The New York Times examined the works POTUS purchased.

It seems the President jumped the gun by bringing his daughters along to shop. Today is Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, a movement that seems to be growing. H/T to Paddy!

Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing finds the most interesting photographs. Here he has found some fine images from libraries around the world.And wouldn't it be cool if your library had this beautiful score playing in the background? Though I hope you wont need your snorkel to enjoy.

With the success of some self-published novels, like 50 Shades of Gray, some folks thing that writing may just make them rich. And fast. Not so fast, says crime novelist Ian Rankin. It doesn't quite work that way.

This past week saw the passing of publisher/editor Andre Schiffrin, who helped bring into print many of the most important books of the last 50 years. His New Press has published many fine books and if you see that imprint on a book you may be interested in, you can be assure of its quality.

Finally, have you ever wondered about the process of actually getting a book printed? Paddy passed along this extraordinary photo gallery of how one Sci-fi novel becomes an actual book.

Enjoy your weekend and let us know what books you are enjoying right now!

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The Book Booth: Black Saturday 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, as well a brick and mortar in small town Washington State. Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

I hope everyone enjoyed your Thanksgiving Holiday and meals and feel contented this fine day. And I hope you all didn't participate in the Thursday night box-store shopping frenzy. Today is Small Business Saturday. I would ask all of you to please patronize your local businesses and keep your towns and cities vibrant. You know the small business people. They are your friends and neighbors and add so much to the character to wherever you live.

It is the gift-buying season and if you're reading this post, then I'll bet books are high on the list. The Guardian recently asked a number of authors what their favorite books were for the past year and I'm sure some the suggestions here will intrigue.

In the bygone days of yore, authors often endorsed other products than books, like they were celebrities or something. In this post from Flavorwire, it seems Ballantine Ale was the alcohol of many a writer.

However, if you were planning to purchase a copy of the rare Bay Psalm Book for a loved one this year from Sotheby's, you're out of luck. It's already been sold. Via Paddy.

Paddy also found these cool bookcases, which I would guess are bit more affordable.I also love the name of this site...Geeksaresexy. Darn tootin'!

It seems that some of J.D. Salinger's early and unpublished stories are available on line. I haven't read them, but sometimes I suspect that some stories remain in the drawer for a reason.

The Short Fiction of Flann O'Brien was published earlier this year. The average reader probably doesn't know O'Brien well, which is lamentable as his quirky works are a lot of fun. The editors of the Short Fiction have a list at Publishers Weekly of some of the works that wouldn't exist without Mr. O'Brien.

And speaking of the obscure, another list from Flavorwire featured ten works that time has forgotten. To be honest, some of these I've never heard of but my curiosity has been piqued.

Here's an interesting article of minor literary history. It seems Dorothy Parker published a story in the New Yorker entitled Lolita, three weeks before Nabokov novel was published in Paris. Parker's story had a middle-aged man, a young bride and jealous mother in it. Here is the background.

I do admire the authors of children's literature. I wouldn't have the first idea of where to begin. But as MentalFloss shows, many of the classic tales come from the bed-time story telling time.

Finally for all you Michael Connelly fans, Harry Bosch will be coming, it seems,to the silver screen of your TV machine with Titus Welliver playing Harry.

So a great weekend, everyone! If you go out shopping, don't forget your local independent bookstore. And don't forget to let us know what you're reading!

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