Archive for books

The Book Booth: The Sweetest Sounds Edition

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Image: Getty at 538.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.

The Book Booth: The Sweetest Sounds Edition

Sunday marks the 113th birthday of one of the most dominant persons of the American musical stage during the 20th century, Richard Rodgers. Rodgers was very attuned to the world of books. He and his lyricist Lorenz Hart adapted John O'Hara stories for their production of Pal Joey. And nearly all of Rodgers collaborations with Oscar Hammerstein had sources in books, including Oklahoma and Carousel (both based on stage plays), South Pacific, The King and I, Flower Drum Song and The Sound of Music. So a big Happy Birthday to Richard Rodgers.

Rodgers did encounter stiff resistance to the song Carefully Taught in South Pacific; both he and Hammerstein were resolute in keeping the song in the show. But banning songs and books is still part of the anti-intellectual stream among some Americans. Interestingly, over at 538, they couldn't find what book was the most banned in America. The reasons why are explained here.
Banned Books in America

One of the victims last week in the Charleston shootings was librarian Cynthia Hurd. So it was fitting and fine that the Charleston County Council stepped up and renamed the library she worked at for her.
Librarian Cynthia Hurd, Charleston Shooting Victim

I've noted in previous posts the problems David Brooks had with the "facts" in his latest opus, The Road to Character. Other similar problems have shown up now in some other works, prompting Vulture.com to wonder when publishers will start using fact checkers. And it seems some are now.
It's High Time Publishers Used Fact Checkers!

The novelist Milan Kundera has recently published a novella, The Festival of Insignificance, which has received atrocious reviews. How do we deal with a bad book by a great writer? Colton Valentine tackles the question over at HuffPo.
When Good Writers Write Bad Books

Miguel de Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote, and father or the modern novel, lived a life full of romance and excitement. Yet his remains are buried underneath a Spanish convent. NPR explains how this came to be here.
Cervantes's Final Resting Place

Yes, opening lines are important. Marley was dead. Call Me Ishmael. We remember them, if we remember nothing else about the book. Buzzfeed has come up some fifty plus of the greatest of the opening lines in literature.
Opening Lines of Great Books

I guess it comes as no shock that Powells Bookstore in Oregon is regarded as one of the best. So no wonder, then, that the Guardian has listed it as THE best bookstore in the world! It certainly has quite the inventory. From OregonLive.
Powells: The Best Bookstore in the World

Literature can inspire other kinds of artists to new heights. The folks at QuirkBooks recently listed their favorite top ten love songs based on good books. I was happy to see Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights on that list, a song about as haunting and eerie as the novel itself.
10 Love Songs Based on Good Books

I leave you now to a great weekend, filled with books and reading. And with great music. Here from Richard Rodgers musical, ground-breaking for its time, No Strings with Diahann Carroll and Richard Kiley singing The Sweetest Sounds.

Also...from South Pacific...'You've Got to Be Carefully Taught'

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The Book Booth: Fathers Day Edition

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Image: via Bustle

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.

The Book Booth: Fathers Day Edition

Happy Fathers Day to all you good dads out there. This year we have both Fathers Day and the summer solstice on the same day, which must mean something profound, though what that may be, escapes me. In any event, Happy Summer and do something fun with your ol' man.

I know I've indulged many a time, book vacations abroad. Which are totally great, if you happen to have the time and the money. But summer is also a great time to get outdoors and commune with nature. Bustle has some good recommendations, including Dharma Bums, to take along in your backpack.
Backpack Reading Worth Its Weight

Speaking of old Beats, NPR recently caught up with poet and bookseller, Lawrence Ferlinghetti. At age 96, he seems to be going strong, still writing and still generous with his time.
Interview with City Lights Publisher Owner Lawrence Ferlinghetti

A bit younger than Ferlinghetti, Anne Roiphe, only 79 years of age, has been writing novels for fifty years. Always a well-regarded author, her work has not received the attention it should. Here she reflects on what those many years of writing have taught her.
Anne Roiphe: Lessons From 50 Years of Writing

Summer movies! There are a ton of them, or at least so it seems to me. And many are based on books. This years batch include two classics, Far From the Madding Crowd and Madame Bovary, both of which have had previous adaptations. Honestly, I've never thought Bovary to be a particularly cinematic read, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong. HuffPo has a list of eleven summer film adaptations here.
Films Adapted from Books On Your Movie Screens This Summer

The latest installment of the Jurassic Park enterprise has already become this year's mega-hit at the box office, earning nearly a bazillion dollars so far. There are, as Sarah Brown at Quirk reminds us, other classic books about man's encounters with the big lizards, including Arthur Conan Doyle's other hero, Professor Challenger who ventured off to The Lost World. Sadly, she does not feature my favorite, Syd Hoff's magnificent Danny and the Dinosaur.
Dinosaurs As Fiction Heroes

Good news for Neil Gaiman fans from the Starz network. Gaiman's American Gods has been picked up for serialization and it sounds like it's a go. I wont be surprised to see other adaptations be realized now that Game of Thrones has taken the television world to new and illustrious heights.
American Gods to be Serialized on Starz

Alas, Gaiman's graphic novel, The Sandman, along with three other graphic novels, were the subject of one student's attempt to have them "eradicated" from the syllabus in an English class at Crafton Hills College in California. Perhaps this young woman would be happier at Bob Jones University or Liberty College, where I'm sure these books are not among the assigned readings.
College Says No to Censorship

I've tried to imagine the work that goes into the graphic novel. Obviously, there is a lot of work from inception to finished product. Jonathan Case is an artist and author of the new graphic novel The New Deal. He discussed the making of the book here for Publishers Weekly.
How Do You Make a Graphic Novel?

And then there is the terror of the blank page. Here are some authors who faced the demon of writers block. Some of these authors never really got over it.
The Demon of Writers Block

Please do enjoy your weekend with lots of books. Give your dad a hug and buy him lunch. And give him a book he'll love..

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The Book Booth: Happy Bloomsday Edition

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Image: from Bustle

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.

The Book Booth: Happy Bloomsday Edition

Despite the fact that Google spellcheck doesn't like how I spelled Bloomsday, the anniversary of Leopold Bloom's trek around Dublin on June 16th 1904 is upon us. So grab yourself a gorgonzola sandwich, pour yourself a glass of burgundy and if you happen to be in Dublin, stop into Davy Byrne's pub to celebrate.  #Bloomsday

The summer season is fast approaching with the solstice but days ahead. With that in mind those of us lucky enough to live near large bodies of water can head out to the beach with lotions and books at hand. Bustle has these recommendations for good beach reading. I can't say I'm familiar with any of these titles, but then again, I'm old.
Beach Reading Suggestions

For those of us who'd prefer literary titles, MentalFloss collected these favorite books by well-known authors. Scroll past the Ayn Rand, whom they feature first as she wouldn't have known good literature from a hole in the ground. The rest of them are good. Who knew that Samuel Beckett loved Catcher in the Rye?
What Books Do (or Did) Famous Authors Recommend?

Then there are the stories about the glamorous and not so glamorous in Hollywood. Author Michael Friedman, whose novel Martian Dawn was recently republished, had these novels of Tinseltown on his personal list of the best over at Publishers Weekly. Of course both The Last Tycoon and Day of the Locust are must reads.
10 Best Tinseltown Novels

The New York Times Book Review recently had this short interview with Stephen King. Asked about some of his favorite non-fiction writers, I was pleased to see him name Rick Perlstein, author of some very fine modern American histories, Nixonland and The Invisible Bridge. And I was taken by his selection of Don Robertson as his numero uno novelist.
Stephen King's Favorite NonFiction Writers

You know what modern novels lack? A good duel. I'm sure there is plenty of fisticuffs in today's fiction, but no ten paces, turn around and fire stuff. So it's good to see James Guida at the New Yorker discuss the swashbuckling duels in literature.
Swashbucklers!

Not too long ago, I noted here that Kazuo Ishiguro had recently published a new novel, his first in years, The Buried Giant, and that it contained elements of fantasy. Apparently the book has stirred a bit of controversy among fantasy novel fans and brought out the issues of genre. So at The New Republic, Neil Gaiman and Ishiguro recently discussed the notion of genre and what it means for the literary writer.
What is 'Genre'?

In other book news, the successor to Charles Wright as US Poet Laureate was announced this week. He is the poet Juan Felipe Herrera, author of such collections as Half of the World in Light and Senegal Taxi. I salute the former UCLA Bruin and hope he enjoys his tenure.
New US Poet Laureate is Former UCLA Bruin!

Amazon.com is no stranger to legal probes and the behemoth gets some more scrutiny as European Union regulators will soon examine its dealings in e-readers. NPR reports here.
Amazon and the European Union Antitrust Probe

I know I can be fairly obsessive about books and so can my wife. But I guess I'd really start worrying if either of us displayed any of these symptoms of serious book collecting from this amusing list provided by the New Antiquarian.
How Are Serious Book Collectors Different From You and Me?

Have a splendid weekend my book loving friends and please let us know what books you are enjoying on an early summers day.

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The Book Booth: School's Out for Summer Edition

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Image: Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg (via the BBC)

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.

The Book Booth: School's Out for Summer Edition

It is that most favorite time of year for students and teachers both, Summer Vacation! And for us book lovers that can mean only one thing: more time to read more books!

And it looks like there will plenty of books to choose from for summer reading. There are new novels from Harper Lee as well as Stephen King, among many more. USAToday recommended their top 25 reads here.
Summer Reading Suggestions from USAToday

For those of us whose tastes are a bit more literary, check out the BBC's top ten books for June. H/T to our own Lucian for finding this link.
Summer Reading Suggestions from the BBC

Here's a title that looks particularly interesting. It is a biography of that great musician, Tom Waits, written by Barney Hoskyns and entitled Lowside of the Road. Apparently the biographer got absolutely no help from his subject, or his close friends. And normally I'm reluctant to read biographies of people who'd rather stay reclusive. But in this case, I may make an exception. From the BookForum.
Tom Waits Unauthorized Bio

But feel free to cast aside any copies of Ayn Rand you may have. Flannery O'Connor tells you that Rand is not worth your time or money.
Flannery O'Connor on Ayn Rand

O'Connor was a much better critic than Rand, of course. Yet in this day of consumer "reviews", I can only wonder what O'Connor would have done with a star system. In case you haven't seen any of these types of things, the literary magazine Ploughshares has collected a few for your amusement.
Star Review Systems Under the Microscope (or is that 'Telescope')

And speaking of odd reviews, it seems that novelist Edith Wharton has returned from the afterlife to review the new Starbucks that recently opened in her childhood home!
Edith Wharton? Reviews Local Starbucks?

On the other hand, I doubt that Amazon.com much welcomed this review of its business practices from Ursula LeGuin recently. Ms. LeGuin awards no stars at all! Thanks to old friend George Carroll for finding this story.
No Amazon Stars for Ursula LeGuin!

This year is the centennial of Saul Bellow's birth and with, inclusion of his novels in the Library of America series. Although I don't share the enthusiasm for Bellow that the editor of these new editions, James Woods, has, I did admire Humboldt's Gift when I read it years ago. NPR had this appreciation of Bellow
Saul Bellow Appreciation by NPR

Recently at Publishers Weekly, Martin Edwards, author of the new history of the detective novel, The Golden Age of Murder, outlined that history here. Edwards believes the modern detective novel begins with E.C.Bentley's Trent's Last Case, published in 1913. It is an interesting essay, but completely avoids the hard-boiled novels of Hammett and Chandler.
How the Modern Detective Novel was Born

Last week featured the annual get together of booksellers, authors and publishers at BookExpoAmerica (which we abbreviate to the BEA). And if you needed any more reasons to read, like you need one, Jarry Lee at BuzzFeed asked some of the attendees why people should read and here is here photo essay of the responses.
Why Should People Read? (photo essay from BEA)

So go enjoy this summer with books, reading and the pleasures of the word. And by all means, let us know what books you've got going. Have a great weekend, folks.

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