Archive for books

The Book Booth: Lawn Mowing Edition

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Image: from Children's Book Council

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: Lawn Mowing Edition

We finally broke down and purchased an new electric mower a couple of weeks ago. Generally I like to see our yard meadow out, which is certainly more colorful, but our neighbors, and the city government, aren't so happy when we allow that to happen. So I mowed the lawn mid-week, before our first summer rain. And I'll have to do it again before the 4th of July as fireworks are legal in our town, and I'd rather not have a lawn fire. But two hours of mowing (we have a large back yard) takes a lot out of an aging and soon to be grumpy man.

I know that the solstice just happened, and we're really just beginning summer. But that won't stop us from looking forward to the autumn and the new books coming. Publishers Weekly has the fall book preview here and includes a new memoir from Bruce Springsteen and novels from Jonathan Safran Foer, Michael Chabon and Zadie Smith. Read more about them here.

PW also featured these debut novels arriving later in the year, and you may want to check out these young writers.
Debut Novels by Young Writers

The 112th anniversary of Bloomsday has now come and passed and Joyceans around the world celebrated the day Leopold Bloom traveled around Dublin's fair city. Louis Menard explored for the New Yorker why Ulysses is no longer shocking to us after all these years, and talks about a new book by Tasha Lewis who did art for every page of the work in her Illustrating James Joyce's Ulysses in Eight Weeks.
Thoughts on Ulysses

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein remains a much-pondered and taught work in colleges around the world. Here novelist Francine Prose looks at the origins of the work and the social context in which the book was written.
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein - Origins and Context

The stories of Arthur Conan Doyle about detective Sherlock Holmes have been adapted to nearly all media. One of Charlie Chaplin's earliest roles was on the English stage in a play about Holmes. And of course films and radio. Here OpenCulture has radio adaptations, starring John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson for your listening pleasure.
Sherlock Holmes on the Wireless

From Farrar Straus Giroux's blog Work in Progress, take a look at an excerpt from Terry Tempest Williams' new book on the national parks, titled The Hour of Land.
An Excerpt from The Hour of Land

And while we are discussing the "classics", Daniel Mendelsohn offered this essay for the New York Review of Books, reviewing the intersection of the arts and civic life, which he argues has been mostly lost to us, but was integral to ancient Athenians, for whom tragedy could, indeed, save the polis.
The Interception of the Arts and Civic Life.

At the Millions, Michael Bourne wonders what kind of literary critic and defender of the Western Canon Donald Trump would make. And with all things Trump, it is scary.
#NeverTrump

Have a great weekend, read lots and let us know what great books have got their hooks in you.

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The Book Booth: Dad's Day 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.  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: Dad's Day Edition

Sunday is the day we honor our fathers, although we probably should be doing that daily and not on some Hallmark appointed day. If your dad is still with us, give him a call, send him a card, take him to lunch. And if he's no longer here, think some good thoughts about the ol' man.

My dad is the king of the pun. And he's been known to tell a joke or two. From Bustle, here are some literary Dad jokes from some contemporary writers.
Literary Dad Jokes!

One of the things my dad did when I was a teenage would-be intellectual and lover of arts was to indulge my interests by getting me subscriptions to magazines like Ramparts and Avant-Garde. It just so happens the old issues of the latter have now been digitized and are available on-line. H/T to my friend, Ray V. for sharing the link.
Ramparts and Avant-Garde Now Online

If your plans for the weekend include lazing about and watching movies, you may want to check out these recommendations from Public Books. I've seen most of these and recommend them myself. By the way, Turn: Washington's Spies is available for streaming on Netflix and it is a very interesting take on the Revolutionary war.
Revolutionary War Spies - on Netflix.

Speaking of the American Revolution, last Sunday the musical Hamilton swept the Tony Awards, winning eleven. If your curiosity has been piqued about Alexander, take a look at this New Yorker article about the books that he (and Aaron Burr) checked out from the Society Library back in the day.
What Did Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr Read?

Who could have predicted the rise of Donald Trump? Well, in a way, Sinclair Lewis did in his novel It Can't Happen Here. But as Cory Doctorow points out, Neal Stephenson did as well, 22 years ago in his novel Interface. http://boingboing.net/2016/06/10/reminder-neal-stephenson-pred.html

One of the great novels of the past 25 years or so is Don DeLillo's Underworld. The opening of the novel, the day the Giants beat my beloved Dodgers on Bobby Thompson's home run and the fate of that very baseball is one of the most breath-taking pieces of writing that I've read. Here DeLillo talks about the origin of the book with the Guardian.
Don DeLillo Discusses Underworld

I have been reading David Halberstam's mammoth history The Fifties and just finished his chapter on the Beats. So I was pleased to come across this illustrated poem of Allen Ginsberg's A Supermarket in California, his poem addressed to Walt Whitman.
Allen Ginsberg's A Supermarket in California

With some sadness comes the report of the passing of Spanish language translator Gregory Rabassa at age 94. His translation of One Hundred Years of Solitude was so good, Gabriel Garcia Marquez declared it greater than the Spanish language edition.
Gregory Rabassa, Marquez Translator

And if you're looking for weekend reading, why not try a work in translation. Daniel Saldana Paris, author of Among Strange Victims, deems these works originally written in Spanish as essential.
Best Spanish Language Books in Translation

Happy Fathers Day to all you dads out there. Have a great day and please let us know what novels you are now savoring.

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The Book Booth: Summer Breezes Edition

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Image: Gizmodo

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: Summer Breezes Edition

When it does get hot here in our little town, it doesn't fool around. But we are close to the ocean shores and, man, those Pacific breezes feel so good. The forecast is for rain, which is not unusual for us in June. By the fourth of July, though, it will get plenty warm.

I was reminded of the breezes by this essay by Darryl Pinckney about his days as a young man, working around Manhattan as a handyman, including among his clients, the great and reclusive American writer, Djuna Barnes, author of Nightwood.
Sweet Evening Breeze

Meanwhile, Lit Hub has initiated something new in literary criticism with something called Book Marks, which grades novels, sort of like a Rotten Tomatoes for books. I don't know if these works are graded based on the curve or not. In any event, Alex Shepherd at the New Republic examines the new site and the state of the lit-crit biz these days here.
A New Site for Lit Crit

With sadness, we note the passing of Muhammad Ali from our midst. Though I am not a pugilism enthusiast, I admired the man and what he accomplished. How many of you know that he once fought Superman? It was a huge comic book event in the late 1970's and io9 has the story of its making.
Superman Fights Muhammad Ali!

The Greek poet Sappho remains a mystery to us 2500 years after her life. So it is interesting that astronomers have tried to date her Midnight Poem for her description of the night sky all those millenia ago.
Sappho's Midnight Poem - Where Were The Stars When She Wrote It?

The young adult novels from the Fairyland series by Catherynne Valente began as a crowd-funded web series in 2009. A much different world that Sappho wrote her work in, no doubt. Stephen Burt examines both the process and the books themselves for the New Yorker.
Crowd Funding Your Book - How It Worked for Catherynne Valente

The Film Society of Lincoln Center has this fascinating idea of pairing up a book with a film that is not an adaptation. They have author Lydia Millet's Sweet Lamb of Heaven paired with a showing of the Japanese horror film Ringu. Alison Nastasi at Flavorwire had some other suggestions for book/film pairings.
Book and Film Pairings

Game time! Can you guess the book title when all the vowels from the title have been removed? You've got four minutes to complete the quiz from Mental Floss.
Cn Y Gss Ths Bk Ttls? (Mental Floss Book Title Quiz - No Vwls!)

And it is time to start thinking about summer reading. Nothing like sitting outside, book in one hand, a cool libation in the other and indulge. Buzzfeed wonders what summer reading sins you engage in.
Summer Reading 'Sins'

Here's that you can start your reading outdoors this weekend while a cool breeze wafts by. And please do let us know what books you are enjoying!

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The Book Booth: Because It's June Edition

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Image: Buzzfeed

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: Because It's June Edition

You wouldn't think it right now, here with the overcast skies and constant drizzle, but we have a heat advisory for this weekend. Because it's June and time for some summer weather. Better check to make sure the ice cube tray is full and ready.

In very warm weather, I find my attention span wandering, and fixed on being too hot. So perhaps for weekend reading, I should try some short stories. It just so happens HuffPo has these suggestions that are free on the internets.
No Time to Read a Novel? Read a Short Story on the Internet Instead

And there is the great African-American writer Langston Hughes, whose short stories featuring Simple are a treasure. The New Yorker has published this story by Hughes, which has not been in print before.
A Langston Hughes Story Never Before in Print

Adam Ehrlich Sachs's short story collection, Inherited Disorders, has received some good reviews. Here, for Publishers Weekly, he picks his favorite ten comic novels, and while some are easier going than others, it has some fine titles to peruse.
Adam Ehrlich Sachs's Favorite 10 Comic Novels

I have never read Harry Crews, although he has been recommended to me time and again. Now, after reading Steve Oney's appreciation here at The Daily Beast, I think I should find some of his work.
Steve Oney on Harry Crews

Ah, the ageless pursuit for the truth. I'm not sure hot weather is the best climate to make that quest, but some short pithy quotes from famous authors may help us along. I particularly like the one from film director/writer, John Waters.
14 Quotes by Authors on Mankind's Search for Truth

The romance of running a bookstore! You get to sit around, read all day and talk to other people who also love to read. Well, not really. Dan Dalton relates his experience in running a bookshop in Scotland, and it's not exactly what he expected.
So You Want to Own a Bookshop? You Might Rethink That After Reading This Article.

If you have ever entertained the idea of opening a used bookshop, you probably want advice and attending a rare book school is a good idea. Andy Wright discusses what happened when he attended one at the link below.
What's a Rare Book School Like?

SeattleTammy and I have somehow ended up living with four cats. It just sort of happened. But with a house full of books, how do we keep the felines entertained? Here's an idea that we like.
A Bookshelf Designed for Cats

Speaking of bookshelves, how do you organize your collection of books? I am an alphabetical kind of guy. Then I know where everything is. QuirkBooks analyzes the different kind of book organizers here.
Different Ways to Organize Your Books

Here's hoping none of you get too hot and have time to read some of your favorite works. Please let us know what you're enjoying, while holding a cool beverage in your hand.

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