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The Book Booth: Labor Day Edition

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Labor Day
Image: 9pixs.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.

Welcome to the Labor Day Weekend, and the unofficial end of summer. We hope you have good weather for your cookouts, picnics and lounging while reading a good book. And take a moment to remember the men and women who have worked so hard to make our lives much better.

Labor Day also (usually) marks the beginning of the new school year and a lot of assigned readings. Students who want to take a break from some of the more stodgy prose might want to check out the eclectic recommendations from Emily Temple at Flavorwire of books not likely to be taught in school.

Returning students may also want to refresh their vocabulary lists for the new year. MentalFloss helps out with a list of ten words that seem to confuse and get misused. And you don't want to be one of those students.  Confused and misused words.

For those English Lit students, chances are you will be grateful that none of these 18th century novels will get assigned. The Toast.net provides them in alphabetical order.  Real Titles of 18th Century Novels

I don't read literature to get advice, but sometimes it is there anyway. Again from Flavorwire, here is a compilation of words to take to heart.  Life Advice from Literature

One author I probably wouldn't want advice from is the very odd Patricia Highsmith, author of The Talented Mr.Ripley and Strangers on a Train. But her talent as a writer is undeniable. Joan Schenkar at Publishers Weekly lists the top ten of Highsmith's novel.  Patricia Highsmith

I am new to emojis but I found this list of opening lines written in it to be a lot of fun. :)  Emoji Opening Lines

A sense of place seems so important to a novelists perspective. Just think of Faulkner. Or Joyce. Novelists Thomas Mallon and Mohsin Hamid discussed the connection recently at the New York Times Book Review.  Where Novelists Live and What They Write

Of course it would not hurt to have a writing studio like one of these.  Stunning Writing Studios

And speaking of places, there are the totally imagined ones. Middle-Earth is one of the most vividly imagined. So for you Tolkien fans, BuzzFeed created this list of facts about Lord of the Rings that you may not know.  Lord of the Rings Places

Finally it seems that some authors marry well and some do not. The Guardian offers a quiz on literary wives. Where William Shakespeare is concerned Ann Hath a way.  Literary Wives

We hope you all have a great holiday weekend, filled with good food and even better books. And let us know what those books are!

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The Book Booth: Ice Bucket Edition

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StevenKingIceBuckerw212h212

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.

It seems everyone is taking the Ice Bucket challenge and it is certainly for a worthy cause. Why even certain authors are participating... Ice Bucket Authors

An ice bucket may have been more appropriate for King's protagonist in The Shining, Jack Torrance. That novel and several other good ones are featured in Mark Watson's list of great novels with hotel settings. Not listed is Vicki Baum's Grand Hotel, published back in the late twenties. How soon they forget. Hotel Novels

The World Science Fiction Convention (Loncon3) was held last week and by all accounts, it was well attended and enjoyable. During the conference, the Hugo Awards were announced and you can view the winners here. SciFi Winners

Also announced at the Convention, and good new for fans of The Time Traveler's Wife, is that the author Audrey Niffenegger will be writing a sequel. The Bookseller has the news. Sequel

The Italian novelist Italo Calvino was known for his stories of whimsy and the fantastic, and very well worth reading today. Here he offered fourteen reasons why one should read the classics.

For the fantastic, look no further than Susan Hoerth's book sculptures! Here fairy tale characters jump out from their texts.  Book Sculptures

There are defenders of "the canon" who absolutely hate Harry Potter. Well, screw 'em. The novels will hold up, in my opinion, for a very long time and be enjoyed immensely for young adults (as well as old adults). And the influence of the series cannot be denied. Here is an analysis on how the books have affected the Millennials from the New Statesman, with a h/t to our friend Lucian. Harry Potter's Influence on the Real World

So you've written your novel and it has been published and lo, and behold, your publisher thinks so highly of the work that you are off on a book tour to help promote sales. Sounds like fun, doesnt' it? Novelist Lesley Kagan begs to differ.  Book Tour Stories

Here's another article by Laura Miller at Salon about the Amazon/Hachette contremps that continues unabated. This one is particularly good as it gives a good context for what is happening. Amazon & Hachette: Still Duking it Out

And you know me. Please patronize your local independent bookstore. Tom Roberge of New Directions publishers gives some very compelling reasons for doing so.  Why You Should Buy Your Books from your Local Independent Bookstore.

I hope your ice buckets are chilling some favorite drink of yours this weekend, and that is near where ever it is you happen to be reading. And do tell us what book that might be! Happy Weekend everyone.

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The Book Booth: If They Asked Me, I Could...Edition

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Book

Image: CNN

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.

If they asked me, I could write a book. And then, maybe, I could be one of these fine writers who "own" the literary internets. Of course, I'd have to be on twitter a lot more than I am, and have the time to stop working on the great American novel. The Literary Internet

In these days of DVDs and directors cuts of their theatrical releases, Andrew Ladd at the New Republic suggests perhaps the same could be done for authors. Though I am not at all sure that adding back the 60,000 words trimmed by Maxwell Perkins from Look Homeward Angel would really make that work any more powerful. Re-edit the classics?

Some great news for short story fans. The New Yorker has started the process of opening up its archives, making some fine writing available. H/T to Lucian for finding this link. New Yorker Archives

And bonus good news! Elmore Leonard's early short stories from the 1950's will see the light of day sometime next year. In those days, Leonard also wrote in the Western genre (think Hondo and 3:10 to Yuma) as well as his thrillers. The Guardian has the story. Elmore Leonard

From the more things change, the more they stay the same, Buzzfeed recently featured some book jacket art of some famous novels as they have changed over the years. Book Jacket Art

Never say never again. At least not to Chuck Palahniuk. His Fight Club returns soon in a comic books series published by Dark Horse. USA Today looks at the author and his thoughts on the graphic medium. Chuck Palahniuk in Comics

Who knew? We've been talking about the controversial Harper Lee biography The Mockingbird Next Door the past couple of weeks. I haven't read it, but some of the revelations as revealed by Book Riot are startling! (Snark alert). Harper Lee.

And for those of you with a wagering spirit, taking odds and making book on this years literary awards, please note that the longlist for the Booker Prize, which will be awarded in October, has been announced. Or if you happen to be on this years jury, you might want to get started reading. Booker Prize Longlist

We've all encountered stories where we are incredulous at the decisions some characters make,or have previously made. The folks at Bustle wondered why some of these famous literary couples didn't break up before it all blew up on them. Dysfunctional Literary Couples

After I purchase the winning lottery ticket this weekend, SeattleTammy and I intend to travel. And we will check out these bookstores around the world.

In the meantime I'll be reading this weekend. Currently I'm checking out the highly acclaimed series of spy novels by Charles McCarry, beginning with The Miernik Dossier. Let us know what pages you are turning this weekend. And enjoy!

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The Book Booth: A Midsummer Edition

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Book Hammock

Image: The Daily Mail

Baseball's mid-season classic is over with the American League prevailing and marking (sort of) the half season mark. The summer days seem sweetly long. And temptation lures us to sit under a tree, or on a bench with a book in hands, transporting us to other worlds and times. Summertime, oh, yes.

Earlier this week a memoir by Marja Mills concerning the author Harper Lee and titled The Mockingbird Next Door was released. And to quite a bit of controversy. Although not quite as reclusive as, say, Thomas Pynchon, Ms. Lee does keep to herself. And she is not happy with this book.  More here.

But not so fast, says Ms. Mills. Both Harper Lee and her sister Alice knew that a book about them was in the works and both Ms. Mills and her publisher, Penguin Press, stand by the book.

The whole affair opens up other, old, controversies. Did Harper Lee, who has published only one book in her life, really write Mockingbird, or did her friend Truman Capote have a hand, maybe a heavy hand, in its composition? Frankly, anyone who has ever read Capote and Mockingbird shouldn't have any doubts. To Kill a Mockingbird reads NOTHING like a Capote story or novel. That he may have made a suggestion or two, sure. The folks over at LiberaLand have this take on the whole can of worms here. H/T to Lucian! Harper Lee: You Don't Know Me.

That authors, like Capote and Lee, should seek each others company and advice shouldn't be any surprise. Literary history has many such examples and Claire Fallon at HuffPo examines a few of them here.  Author Friendships

The world being such as it is, and because we all need a chuckle from time to time, Jason Diamond has put together a list of 25 books that will make you laugh out loud. There are some missing here....

Which the staff at Publishers Weekly makes up for with this list that includes both James Thurber and Catch-22.  PW's Funny Book Staff Picks.

Fortunately, humor is not a verboten area for writers. At least not yet. But are there still taboos in the world of publishing and subject matter. Francine Prose and James Parker ponder the question at the New York Times.  The Last Literary Taboos.

As a kid, I was much more of a DC comics guy. I liked Superman, Batman, the Flash, Green Lantern. All those guys. But once I exhausted the monthly issues of those super-heroes, I would catch up on Riverdale's own Archie Andrews and wonder what did he ever see in Veronica. Alas, Archie has grown up and is scheduled for a noble death, saving the life of his best friend.

On a sadder note, the South African novelist and Nobel Laureate Nadine Gordimer passed away this week at age 90. The Guardian had this appreciation of both her life and her work here.

And to top of this fine summer day's post, and for those of us taking a staycation this year, take a gander at this list from Eilsabeth Donnelly at Flavorwire detailing a non-fiction tour of the US of A with an eclectic and delightful selection of books.

Enjoy your day in the sun and please let us know what you are reading these days. We'd love to hear from you.

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The Book Booth: Fifth of July Edition

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BookFireworksw247h244

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 their holiday yesterday with magnificent pyrotechnic displays and that your eardrums are not shattered, there were no cinders in your eyes and that you ended the day with as many digits as you began the day with.

It being a holiday weekend, I'm sure many of you may be heading to the beach to soak some rays. In our little town, not far from the ocean, we are seeing a lot of RVs and surfboards as the tourists pass through. And I'd think many of them have reading material with them. The beach read is now a long tradition, as MentalFloss points out. And it is nice to see the all-too forgotten Ring Lardner appear on the shortlist. Beach Reads From 100 Years Ago

The busy folks at MentalFloss also picked the most favorite novels set in all the states. They ask if you agree or not. For my state, they picked Twilight, which takes place about 100 miles north of us. I'd hate to think that title is representative of the great state of Washington. I might have gone with something by Tom Robbins (pick one). At least something without vampires with angst. Most Famous Book Set In Each State

I learned long ago that an author may not copyright a title. If I so wished, I could write a novel and title it Gone with the Wind if I so chose. Not that I would. I'd go with Treasure Island or The Great Gatsby, or something I liked better. It seems that duplicate titles are something of a problem and the Guardian asks if writers are running out of titles.

Maybe decisions about titles are a matter of writers block. Andrew Lewis Conn, who has recently published a novel O Africa, a title I have not seen used before, suggested seven ways to get past the tyranny of the blank page. How To Get Past Writer's Block

Or you could go with Brian Eno's whimsical and fun Oblique Strategies.

For those of you looking for new and off-the-beaten path books, you might want to take a look at the New York Times' article on new and young African authors. Africa seems to be going into a literary renaissance that only the post-colonial scholars have been aware of.

SeattleTammy and I are regular users of our local library. Ours is staffed by some fine and knowledgable librarians and it is always a delight to browse the shelves. The folks at Pew recently conducted a survey on library usage and discovered some interesting facts about them. It would seem most people think libraries are a good thing! Even if they don't use them much.

Finally, are you stuck at home? Not going to the beach or your local cafe to take in the ambience? You could be dreaming about going to one of these places and luxuriate in a book-friendly world. Via BuzzFeed. Places Bookworms Would Rather Be Right Now

Have a great weekend, enjoy yourselves and please let us know what you've pulled off the bookshelf to enjoy.

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The Book Booth: New Moon Edition

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Photo by lwdgrfx of a LittleFreeLibrary in Jackson, MS littlefreelibrary.org

THE BOOK BOOTH

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.

No, if you look at the sky tonight, you wont be seeing the moon. So if you are camping, you will need to bring your flashlight in order to read. And there is so much reading to do.

And we have many suggestions that you may want to follow up on. First, librarian Nancy Pearl has some ideas for summer reading, titles that may fly under the radar for many readers.

Our own Laffy has some suggestions for you as well. This first one by KC Boyd looks like a very good novel, with a timeliness and sense of urgency. Being Christian

And for those of you with stage fright, Laffy suggests you check out Marion Claire's aid to public speaking. Secrets of a Unique Sexy Speaker

Mathphobia is another prevalent malady of our age. But it doesn't have to be. Laffy's friend, Jeff Wilfahrt recommends How Not to Be Wrong.  Jeff discovered the book while perusing the UW Madison alumni magazine and says of the book " Upon reading the article I bought the darn thing and find it absolutely fascinating, certainly in part because he rips apart all the neocon economic arguments and why they are dead wrong, and he does it oh so well. "

Time-travel has long been the stuff on fiction and the Guadian had these titles for younger readers to check out. Time Travel Books

I am of an age that I remember Shel Silverstein as a cartoonist for Playboy magazine, writer of such songs as A Boy Named Sue, and overall as the perverse Uncle Shelby. Who knew that he would become one of the most pre-eminent author of books for children.  Shel Silverstein

Recently the New York Times featured a discussion on author biographies and the reading of fiction. It is an interesting topic and I think it is a matter of degree. Though I would say reading Richard Ellman's James Joyce certainly helped in my understanding of Joyce's work.  How Relevant is the Author's Biography?

But you don't need to know anything about Flannery O'Connor to appreciate this.  Flannery O'Connor on Ayn Rand Readers

In an interesting article in Salon, we discover that Karl Marx is enjoying a deserved reconsideration. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised with the recent publication of Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century.  Karl Marx is Making a Comeback

Once again, I remind you that you need not visit Amazon for your every book need. As Esquire magazine tells you, there are real bookstores to visit! And Erin La Rosa at Buzzfeed has some stunning pictures of bookstores we all should visit.  h/t to old friend Derrel Maury.
Bookstores that Will Change Your Life

Our best wishes for a great weekend. And when you take a break from your latest book, let us know what exactly it is that you are reading!

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The Book Booth: The Solstice 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.

Happy Summer everyone! Yes, it is here, or just about here, depending
on when you read this. I've been posting several lists recently for
summer reading. NPR provides even more lists for the summer, no matter
how you are getting to your destination and they seemed to have had a
good time compiling them. So here you go! Reading is About the Journey

Planning to attend the World Cup games in Brazil? YahooTravel has a
list of five defining books about that immense country. But please
note that the author of Dona Flor is Amado and not Amando. Brazil

Armchair travel is a fine tradition and the next best thing to being
there. Of course, there are some lands that are only accessible by the
written word. And a map can help. The Guardian wonders if you can identify the book from the map.

In other book news, the battle between Amazon and the Hachette Book
Group continues. Not to mention the on-going struggle for independent
stores to keep some market share from the on-line behemoth. Susie
Madrak at Crooks and Liars reports on how some independents are doing
it in the UK
.

In much happier news, twenty unpublished poems written by the great
Chilean poet Pablo Neruda
have been recently discovered, and they are
supposed to be wonderful. It seems we will find out sometime later
this year or early next.

We have all struggled with certain books. Some seem unreadable period
and others are daunting due to length. Two critics at Publishers
Weekly discuss some of the favorite "difficult" books and suggest some
approaches to tackling the works. Difficult Books

Of all the genres, Science-fiction seems to be the one that has the
best cover art. Publishers do spend a great deal of money to get your
eye's attention when you browse, and considering the number of sci-fi
titles put out every year, it is probably money well-spent. Short list
featured what they consider to be the forty best covers.

I've never had a book dedicated to me. No, I'm not whining. Actually
I'm kind of grateful, considering some of the dedications Buzzfeed has
found. 27 Greatest Book Dedications

I doubt that a lack of a book dedication was the root cause for some
of these literary squabbles reported on by Flavorwire. But a good one
might have smoothed things over. At least for a while. Literary Dedications

Finally, in the just to make you feel old department, Bustle listed
five outstanding children's books that are now fifty years old. Ah,
and it seems like only yesterday.

Go out and enjoy the first weekend of summer. Find a good book, soak
up some rays and let us know what good reading you have discovered.

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