Archive for books

The Book Booth: Full Moon Saturday Edition



Image: The New Yorker

The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing.  It is written by @SeattleDan and SeattleTammy, operators of an on-line bookstore (which you can find here) , who have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: Full Moon Saturday Edition

One of these days, there will be a new moon on Monday, and I can title one of the posts after the Duran Duran song. But until then, there is a full moon tonight, Saturday, and it supposed to be a nice one. I hope the overcast here in our town dissipates some and we can enjoy it.

The writer's organization PEN recently held their annual gala where the honored, among others, J.K. Rowling and she had some choice words for presumptive GOP presidential nominee (how weird to write this) Donald Trump. Publishers Weekly has the story here.]
J,K. Rowling Calls Trump a Bigot

The Korean writer Han Kang won this years International Man Booker Award for her novel The Vegetarian. I don't know the work, but from the reviews I've subsequently read, it looks to be both good and disturbing. Again, PW reports on the award.
Man Booker Award to Han Kang

The New Yorker magazine has had a couple of articles of interest recently. The first is an assessment by Adelle Waldman on Samuel Richardson, whose novel Pamela is considered the first real English modern novel. I've never been able to bring myself to read the book and I have no desire to do so in the immediate future. But the article is worth reading.
Samuel Richardson

The novelist Jonathan Franzen also wrote a piece that chronicles his trip to Antarctica, where he planned to do some bird-watching.
Jonathan Frantzen in Antartica

And it seems that author Franzen also made an appearance on Jeopardy's Power Players Week. Although he came in second, Franzen, who is well-known for his passion for birds, ran the bird category with aplomb.
Jonathan Frantzen on Birds

The issue of plot in literature has been of controversy ever since the advent of Modernism and continued into the Post-Modern era. But "plot" has made something of a comeback in recent times. John Mullan at the Guardian has a good discussion about it here.
Plots and Modernism

And speaking of the modernists, Marcel Proust was certainly one of its leading lights. There is a lot in In Search of Lost Time that is difficult, including the 900 plus word sentence (that I once saw a poster for where the maker had diagrammed the sentence). Sarah Boxer details in The Atlantic her struggles with the work and her attempt to read Proust on her iPhone.
Reading Proust on Your Cellphone!

The British writer J.G. Ballard is probably best known here in the States as the author of the semi-autobiographical novel Empire of the Sun, about a young British boy's experience during World War Two of the Japanese occupation of Shanghai and filmed by Steven Spielberg. But he was also a well-regarded science-fiction writer, often compared to William S. Burroughs. And as Alison Nastasi points out over at Flavorwire, Ballard made some eerie and chilling predictions about the future.
J.G. Ballard's Predictions for the Future

With the on-going discussion of public bathroom usage, the folks at McSweeney's has put forth a patent for a device that surely will solve all the problems, ahem.
Finally! A Solution to the 'Who's Allowed in this Bathroom?' Problem! 

We leave you this week with some health tips from Walt Whitman, who not only wrote great poetry, but had advice for nearly any occasion.
Health Advice from Walt Whitman

Have a great weekend and, if you can, get out to look at that ol' devil moon while it shines in its fullest. And by all means, let us know what books are delighting you.


The Book Booth: Spring Flowers Edition



Image: Louise Erdrich - NYTimes

The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing.  It is written by @SeattleDan and SeattleTammy, operators of an on-line bookstore (which you can find here) , who have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: Spring Flowers Edition

We have an explosion of beautiful colors in our back yard. All the rhodies are in luxuriant bloom. The apple trees is showing signs of life, and we have berries in the deepest recesses. A very lovely time of year.

Some Rhodies straight from our garden for you!
Rhodies 2016 001_1
Rhodies 2016 004

One artist who knew something about color was Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli. It seems there are a couple of galley exhibitions of his work in London at the moment. Andrew Butterfield here examines Botticelli and his illuminations for Dante's Divine Comedy for the NY Review of Books.
Butterfield on Botticelli

The Shakespeare celebration continues, as it will all year long, I'm sure and the BBC wonders how many of these phrases and neologisms originated with the Bard. I really stunk at this short quiz.
Authentic Or Fake: C'est la Question.

The political awakening of women is still a potent source for the writer's imagination and Sarai Walker of the Guardian has some suggestions for some of the best fictional works on the topic.
Women's Political Awakening in Literature

One of the best American authors alive today is Louise Erdrich who has recently published a new novel, LaRose. Charles McGrath profiles her (and her bookstore!) for the New York Times here.
La Vie en LaRose - Louise Erdrich

Of course, one of the great questions of our time is What will I read next? I am currently reading William Shirer's Berlin Diary on the recommendation of the Linkmeister, Steve Timberlake who blogs here.
The Linkmeister

The book is a fascinating and detailed look by the then Berlin correspondent for CBS radio and one of the reporters referred to as "The Murrow Boys". But in case you wondered what you need to read next, check out some of the choices from some famous authors. Who knew Langston Hughes was such a fan of Carl Sandburg?
Favorite Authors' Favorite Books

However, unless you already happen to own these works already, it is unlikely you'll be able to read any of these works, and for good reason. Incidentally, Madonna's books Sex is one of the most sought after out-of-print books today. Good luck finding a cheap copy.
7 Books Which Will Probably Never Be Printed Again

It would seem that Fyodor Dostoyevsky disliked public book readings as well as Ivan Turgenev. Some authors read aloud better than others, I've noticed. And there are some fine writers who are better served by different readers. Daniel Torday explains at lithub.
Not Every Writer Reads Aloud Well

Meanwhile, at the same place, Peter Constantine assess the legacy of Anton Chekhov as the father of literary modernism.
Chekhov Ahead of His Time?

Buzzfed recently offered up 18 confessions that only a book lover could understand. I am guilty of a few of these things myself. How many of these ring a bell with you?
Fess Up, Book Lovers!

Here's hoping your garden is abloom and that you are enjoying your current read. Please let us know.


The Book Booth: The Days Grow Long Edition



Image: The Guardian

The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing.  It is written by @SeattleDan and SeattleTammy, operators of an on-line bookstore (which you can find here) , who have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: The Days Grow Long Edition

As we head to the summer solstice, we are having some wonderful weather in our town. The skies are clear, the temperatures in the mild low-seventies and the sun sets well after 8 pm. Eventually sunset will be well after 9, making for long evenings outside by the grill waiting for the nightfall.

Today is Free Comic Book Day! It is actually the 15th anniversary of the event. Sadly, I was not even aware of it, but it's been a while since I've bought one, though I do enjoy graphic novels. In any event, NPR has a guide here, including a link so that you can find your own participating comic book store. Let me know how Superman is doing.
Free Comic Books !

John Ashberry may be the greatest living American poet these days. I remember loving his work Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, and probably a good place to start reading him. Here is a lengthy and interesting interview with him for the Brooklyn Rail.
John Ashberry Interview

Obviously this year has been crazy in its politics. We have a nativist and ignorant man who will be the nominee for President for a major American political party. And the Guardian suggests that this is a very good time for poets to have their voices heard.
It's Time for Poets to Speak Up!

One of those voices was stilled last week when Daniel Berrigan passed away at age 94. He was both a poet and activist who influenced an entire generation. The novelist James Carroll, a protoge of Fr. Berrigan, has this remembrance here at the New Yorker.
Daniel Berrigan, My Dangerous Friend

Another voice now long passed is enjoying a deserved revival as the Library of America publishes James Baldwin's works in omnibus editions. Baldwin still remains after all these years a figure of controversy and many writers now embrace his artistry. Nathaniel Rich has this appreciation at the New York Review of Books.
James Baldwin: Fear of a Nation

Sadly, the blog Bookslut is closing its doors after a long run. But the founder Jessica Crispin is going out with bang and not a whimper. As she leaves she has these thoughts on the current state of literature. H/T to Lucian for the link.
Bookslut Is Closing Its Doors But Not Silently

In the past, I have praised the short form, stories and novellas. But I do love me some long works. I admire the epic work. So does Martin Seay whose own new novel, The Mirror Thief, weighs in at nearly 600 pages. Here he gives us a list of ten long works well worth spending some reading hours with.
Like Your Reading to Take a While? Ten Long Books for You

Margaret Atwood fans can rejoice as Hulu recently announced that her The Handmaid's Tale will become an on-going series for television. The dark, dystopian novel still has much to say to us about our possible future.
The Handmaid's Tale (as a series) on Hulu

You are truly a book nerd if you have done one or more of the following things. I know I'm guilty of at least five that I will admit to.
Are You a Book Nerd? How to Tell

A good weekend for us all and may it be filled with books and reading. Please let us know what great books you've got going...and if you are using the receipt as a bookmark.


The Book Booth: The May Day Edition


The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing.  It is written by @SeattleDan and SeattleTammy, operators of an on-line bookstore (which you can find here) , who have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: May Day Edition

Aside from the spring May pole dances and celebrations, May the first also is the International Workers Day. Though here in the US we honor working people in September (because, surely, we cannot do so on the day that the rest of the world, filled with socialists as it is, does so), the date was chosen to remember the working people who demonstrated at the Hay Market in Chicago so long ago. So Happy May Day all!

With that in mind, the Nation magazine recently suggested five books on African-American history, which includes the contributions of slaves as well as the sharecroppers who helped build our nation, albeit in bondage. The book Hammer and Hoe looks particularly interesting.
African-American History

As we head on into May, I have a few more April items to serve up. April is, as mentioned before, National Poetry Month and the folks at Mental Floss have a piece on the US Poet Laureate, which may clear things up for anyone confused on the matter. Including the fact that the Laureate is not paid by tax dollars, in case right-wing loons start to spout off.
The US Poet Laureate

April is also the birth and death month of the Bard of Avon, which I've probably be-labored the past few weeks. In any event, Shakespeare's work surely will outlast us all. Stephen Greenblatt had a nice appreciation of his legacy here at the New York Review of Books.
Still More on the Bard (Who Is Always Interesting)

And Literary Hub has links to other articles about Big Bill, including a discussion on Hamlet as a sexless bro and a feature on his second-best bed, which he bequeathed to his wife, Ann Hathaway.
The Bard's Possessions

If you are feeling tired this weekend, but feel guilty about not catching up on your reading of the classics, Lucian found these abridgments you might want to peruse.
Why Read the Classics When You Can Read these Super Short Synopses?

Then, again, some of us prefer to watch our books on film or on TV. So good news for those who'd rather see than read Neil Gaiman's Good Omens! He is adapting it for a TV series.
Neil Gaiman's Got Those Good Omens!

Robots and other automata have been staples of Science-Fiction for a long time. In a fascinating article at Literary Hub (again), the origin of these things is explored. I hadn't realized that even Edgar Allan Poe had been intrigued by the Turk Chess Player, going back to 1836 and before.
Science Fiction, Double Feature

The Hugo Awards are coming back and with them, our friends, the sad puppies, who once again have managed to load the nominations with their own special favorites. Because, you know, Lefty sci-fi is for wusses.
It's Hugo Awards Time Again
(and that means Hugo Awards Ideological Strife Again!)

I mentioned last week that novelist Don DeLillo has a new novel coming out, Zero K, which explores many of his previous themes, often of the pre-Apocalyptic type. Tony Tulathimutte discusses them here for the New Republic.
Don DeLillo's Themes

This is kind of fun. The folks at The Daily Telegraph picked fifty cult novels and grouped them by decade here. Many will be familiar, others long and happily forgotten.
Cult Novels

Finally, please note that Saturday is Indie Bookshop Day. Please help to keep your local independent store alive and thriving and go find a book to purchase from them. And let us know what that book is!