Archive for books

The Book Booth: Super Bowl Edition

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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: Super Bowl Edition

Yes, our national attention once again returns with much anticipation and nail-biting as on Sunday we will know if either the Denver Broncos or Carolina Panthers will become NFL champions. I hope your favorite team wins. Other than that, I have no pony in this race.

The Center for Fiction has an interesting page up, featuring the books that turned them into readers. The link will take you to Stephen King's pick, but there are plenty more on the sidebar. King's pick was Dr. Seuss. I loved the good doctor myself as a child, but I am not sure I can pinpoint the book or author that made me a reader. Though Franklin W. Dixon of Hardy Boys fame comes to mind.
The Book That Made Me A Reader

Have you ever been tempted to lie about having read a certain book? You know, so you don't look stupid or dense at a fashionable cocktail party you're attending? If so, you are not alone. And in England, it seems that the most lied about book is not War and Peace, but Alice's Adventures in Wonderland!
The Most Lied-About Books in the UK

I don't think I've ever lied about having read a certain book. But I've faked some of Finnegan's Wake, a book I've dabbled into from time to time over the years. It is a difficult book, with some pleasant rewards if one persists. But now there are some recordings by artists reading from Joyce's work, which may be one way to approach its density.
Can't Read Finnegan's Wake? Why Not Listen To It Instead?

I know that Charles Harold St. John Hamilton was not a writer with whom I'd have been familiar, but he certainly wrote a great deal. In fact, according to the New York Times, he was the most prolific writer ever.
Charles Harold St. John Who?

The Stanislavski Method to approaching a character in acting has been around a long time now. The immersion into character has delighted and thrilled many a movie and theater goer, with amazing performances by Brando, De Niro, Hoffman and many others. Thomas W. Hodgkinson, who has recently published his novel Memoirs of a Stalker, wonders if writers do not also use the same "method" when writing their own novels.
The Stanislavski Methods for Writers?

A couple of lists for your enjoyment. Callan Wink, who has had his story collection Dog Run Moon recently published, picked his favorite top ten books about the American West. It's an interesting list, with some fine books. Though it does lack some Wallace Stegner.
Rootin' Tootin' Shootin' Wild West Books!

Have you ever missed those heady days of the Cold War? Me, neither. But it did produce a lot of very good books. The Guardian lists some here. I may have picked LeCarre's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy instead of Spy Who Came in from the Cold; and I would have added Pat Frank's Alas Babylon, a neglected work from the 1950's, or Eugene Burdick/Harvey Wheeler's Fail-Safe.
Cold War Books

Even the best of writers need the occasional pick-me-up, the pat on the back, the affirmations that keep one writing. Octavia Butler was no exception, and here are some of her reflective boosts. From Buzzfeed.
Reflective Boosts

Finally, I don't think tea will be the beverage of choice for many of you watching the Big Game on Sunday. But if it happens to the thing you'll be brewing, George Orwell has some tips on making a great cup of tea.
How to Brew Tea (for the Big Game!)

Have a great weekend my friends. Enjoy the game if you're watching. And by all means, let us know what books you'll be reading at half-time.

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The Book Booth: Groundhog Day Edition

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Image: HuffPo


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: Groundhog Day Edition

Yes, once again it is time for the large rodent in Pennsylvania to let us know if we have six more weeks of winter coming, or if we'll have an early spring. It's all "grounded" in science, of course, and we all should pay great attention. Or end up like Bill Murray in the movie and have to do it over and over again.

Do you want to read classic literature but, you know, those pesky words get in the way? Well, the folks at MentalFloss have the solution! Yes, you can now get these posters of Alice, Peter Pan and Huck Finn that do away with verbiage and go straight to the punctuation marks!
Simplified Classics (No Words!)

I'm sure some of you have manuscripts laying about the desk, that you know are sure-fire bestsellers and monuments to Literature. Get those pages out! But before you do, review these mistakes many, many writers make before their submissions.
Beginning Writers' Mistakes

Of course some novice writers are prone to over-writing. Or working with a blind editor. Here are fifty over-wrought sentences from a new novel, published by a company known for quality, that, well, are not going to make Proust or Joyce sweat.
Overwritten Sentences

To cleanse the palate, here are some quotes on writing from Virginia Woolf. We celebrated the 134th anniversary of her birth this past week.
Virginia Woolf on Writing

Now this new production of War and Peace looks intriguing. It is produced by Harvey Weinstein, who has done much quality filmmaking. I've never seen the Soviet-era production, which is supposed to be great, but the American one from the fifties, although noble in attempt, had lots of problems, including the casting of Henry Fonda as Pierre when he was about twenty years too old for the part.
War and Peace Casting

It's the end of the month, and time to restock on books! Go visit your local independent bookstore. But failing that, you can read some great books set in bookstores! HuffPo has a list that you'll want to check out.
Great Books Set in Bookstores

Have a great weekend, filled with words and punctuation marks and please let us know what delightful books you are enjoying this weekend.

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The Book Booth: The History Edition

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Image: BBC


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 History Edition

In my more Orwellian moments, I become scared that history is being lost, re-written by the Ministry of Truth and myth is replacing reality. Of course one doesn't have to look further than the GOP and the candidates who want to lead this country. Imagine history books as written by Donald Trump or Sarah Palin. I shudder.

Take, for instance, the recent release of a book published by Scholastic that depicts the "servants" of George Washington happily baking the father of our country a birthday cake. The furor has caused the publisher to withdraw the book. H/T to Lucian for the link.
George Washington's Happy Servants (according to Scholastic)

Clare Fallon at HuffPo has the background on the controversy here as well as stories about American slavery for younger readers that are more grounded in reality.
A Real Overview of Slavery

The birthday of Edgar Allan Poe just past this week (he was just about a month older than Lincoln and Darwin). But did you know, (strike up the therermin music) that the master of the macabre and father of the detective story was a time-traveler? HistoryBuff has the proof!
Edgar Allen Poe's Time Machine

I've always suspected that world mythologies and folk tales were in some way related, at least as far as the Indo-Europeans were concerned, but not being a folklorist myself, did not know for sure. It seems that this may be the case and that some old tales are very old, indeed.
Fairy Tale Origins

Back in 1965, the Nobel Prize in Literature went to Soviet writer Mikhail Sholokov. It seems he beat out some tough competition in Vladimir Nabokov, Pablo Neruda and Juan Luis Borges. Nabokov certainly should have won some year, but did not, and Neruda was awarded the prize the year before his death. Still Sholkov's And Quiet Flows the Don did inspire one of the great contemporary folk songs, Pete Seeger's Where Have All the Flowers Gone.
Nobel Prize in Literature for Russian Authors

Although he has never achieved the literary limelight of the likes of Hemingway, Steinbeck or Faulkner, Herman Wouk has produced a number of good novels, including the Caine Mutiny and Winds of War. He has now attained his 100th year and NPR did this profile in his honor.
Herman Wouk Profile by NPR

Sadly, last week we saw the passing of that fine actor, Alan Rickman from cancer at age 69. BookRiot posted this tribute to him in all his roles that were based on book characters. Rickman also wrote the play I Am Rachel Corrie and knew a bit or two about words.
Alan Rickman Has Left Us

This story has been making the rounds on the internets, but in case you have missed it, Ursula LeGuin recently gave the dunderheads holding the park refuge hostage a piece of her mind. And very succinctly. Thanks to old friend Mortaljive for the link.
Bird Refuge Dunderheads Upbraided by Ursula LeGuin

We've been doing some house interior work for our many books, and this little piece on library ladders gives inspiration. Check them out!
Library Ladders for the Home

Have a most pleasant weekend, dear readers, and let us know what books have enthralled you.

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The Book Booth: When Librarians Gather Edition

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Image: LA Times


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: When Librarians Gather Edition

This past week librarians from around the country gathered for the mid-winter meeting of the American Library Association, to confer with their fellow librarians and do other remarkable stuff to keep the written word alive.  And while they met, the ALA announced this years winners for the Newberry Medal, awarded this year to Matt De La Pena for Last Stop on Market Street, and the Caldecott Medal, given to Sophie Blackall for Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear. You can see the other winners here.

The librarians also awarded the Carnegie Medals.
You can read to whom for what here.

The New York Public Library recently released a virtual ton of digital images and the good folks at Flavorwire featured some great book jacket art from the 1920's and 1930's.
NYPL Book Jacket Art

Thursday morning, way too early for anyone to be really awake on the west coast, the Academy Award nominations were announced, and movies based on books did pretty well. The Revenant, novel by Michael Punke, picked up many nominations, including best picture and actor for Leonardo diCaprio. The Martian, book authored by Andrew Weir, was also nominated for best picture and actor for Matt Damon. And The Big Short, non-fiction by Michael Lewis, was nominated as well for best picture. The nominees are here.
Academy Award Nominations

And with some luck, good box office and positive reviews, these movies have a chance at glory next year. Interesting that the Tarzan franchise is getting revisited. But the two I'll be looking forward to are Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Because who can get enough of zombies?
Read These Books Before They're Made Into Movies

We note the passing of the great and illustrious David Bowie. As one might suspect, he was an avid reader. Here is his eclectic favorite 100 books.
David Bowie's Favorite 100 Books

President Obama gave his State of the Union address this week, and once again stunned us with his facility with words and speech-making. But we shouldn't be surprised. He's always shown his abilities at critical reasoning, even at the age of 22 when he wrote a friend about T.S. Eliot.
President Obama as Literary Critic

The human need to find and categorize damn near everything isn't anything new. Check out this beautiful Dutch book, published in 1692, of finding every color known to us. It is a stunning looking tome.
Every Color Under The Sun

Have a great weekend, enjoy some leisure time and be sure to let us know what great books you are loving.

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