Archive for books

The Book Booth: The Hugo Award Kerfluffle Edition

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Image: BoingBoing

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 Hugo Award Kerfluffle Edition

In the course of its history as a genre, Science-Fiction has always had political tensions. One can look at the beginnings in Jules Verne, who was a fairly bourgeois in his subject matter and H.G.Wells who was an avowed socialist. One can certainly read The Time Machine as a metaphor for class struggle. So, I suppose, that this years Hugo Awards are now a source of controversy isn't that remarkable. It seems that a right-wing group, calling themselves Sad Pupping has hijacked the rather arcane nominating process and called upon the vicious GamerGaters to lend them a hand. BoingBoing has an overview here.

And as Katy Waldman at Slate notes, the nomination process has long been manipulated in the past, but by individuals hoping to win something. She points to Orson Card Scott, among others.
Hugo Award Nominations

Another excellent discussion by Arthur Chu can be found at Salon, where he laments the intersection of lazy democracy and internet trolls.

Needless to say, there has been a great deal of backlash from the science-fiction community. Two nominated authors, Annie Bellet and Markos Kloos, have felt compelled to withdraw from the competition, as io9 reports.
Hugo Award Nominees Withdraw

Meanwhile George R.R. Martin has also weighed in. While apparently the nominations were within the "rules", he nevertheless deplores the developments.
Hugo Award Rules - Time to Change?

Internet security guru Bruce Schneier has some suggestions on how to change the process here.

And in wrapping up all the news about the Hugos, I think the best analysis of the whole darn thing comes from writer and old friend Eric Flint, who assesses the whole political background and wonders if the awards are meaningful anymore. H/T to Steve Timberlake!
Are the Hugo Awards Still Significant?

We'll note the passing of Nobel Laureate Gunter Grass this week. He was certainly no stranger to controversy himself and might have been amused by the Hugo Kerfuffle.
Gunter Grass Moves On

And whatever you may think of Hugo Chavez, his presentation of Open Veins of Latin America to President Obama brought the author Eduardo Galeano to prominence. I read Open Veins years ago and it is a brilliant and difficult study, well-worth reading. Al Jazeera has an appreciation here.
Eduardo Galeano Open Veins

In not so controversial news, the world of book collecting still seems vibrant, according to Steve Rosenbush at the Wall Street Journal. Here he talks about collecting and why you may want to take up the hobby yourself. http://www.wsj.com/articles/in-this-digital-age-book-collecting-is-still-going-strong-1428894136?utm_source=Publishers+Weekly&utm_campaign=cee2e42222-UA-15906914-1&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0bb2959cbb-cee2e42222-304469193

It seems that librarians like to mix it up as well. The New York Public Library recently discovered a large stack of librarian reviews of childrens books and some of them are priceless. Not everyone is a fan of Green Eggs and Ham! Who knew? http://mentalfloss.com/article/62612/18-retro-reviews-childrens-books-new-york-public-library

Finally, belated birthday wishes to author and Portland, Oregon's own Beverly Cleary, who recently achieved the age of 99. In celebration, Flavorwire featured 25 vintage covers from her classic books.
Beverly Cleary

A most excellent weekend to you all. Happy reading and please let us know what words are stirring you!

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The Book Booth: National Poetry Month 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 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: National Poetry Month Edition

Here we are, another spring, another April and once again it is National Poetry month. I'm pretty sure April was selected because of Chaucer and Eliot, and not because it coincides with opening day in baseball. But that's only a theory.

The folks at Buzzfeed asked their readers to submit favorite lines of theirs from poems and they came up with forty plus entries. Take a look, and see what you think. Were yours included? If nothing else, I hope that the list will make you want to take down a poetical anthology from your bookshelf.
Favorite Lines From Poetry

Or you could try some of these poetry collections from around the world as featured recently at Salon, as chosen by the good people at the PEN foundation. H/T to our own Lucian for sending the link along.
Make Your Summer More Poetic

Of course any project like a month devoted to poetry needs a good campaign to get attention. The folks at McSweeney's had some ideas that didn't seem to work when they first posted these slogans that were "rejected" and which haven't improved with age. Any ideas of your own?
National Poetry Month Rejected Slogans

April also happens to be Jazz Appreciation month. Jazz and poetry? Jack Kerouac comes to mind. Here he reads from his Mexico City Blues on an old Steve Allen show with Steve accompanying him on the piano.
Kerouac: Mexico City Blues

And yes, this week marked the opening of the Major League Baseball season. Baseball is probably the sport most written about and written about well. (The rule of thumb is the smaller the ball, the better the writing, though I've yet to read a great book about golf). John Williams at the New York Times has some suggestions for some good baseball reading.
Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

One of the great literary mysteries has been Joseph Mitchell, a celebrated New Yorker non-fiction writer who produced many fine articles over the years. But nothing after 1964, although he continued to go to and get paid by the magazine for the next thirty years until his death. Thomas Kunkel has written a biography of Mitchell, Man in Profile, and talks about those years here.
The Mystery of Joseph Mitchell

Perhaps, like many writers, Mitchell feared the tyranny of the blank page. It happens. If Mitchell had only had the opportunity to look at Flavorwire and get inspiration from some of these writers, things would have turned out differently.
Motivating Yourself to Write

A good thing for us, Toni Morrison knows she can write forever. Here is our most recent Nobel Laureate (1993!) profiled in the New York Times.
Toni Morrison

What are the greatest books in children's literature? I guess if we leave out Franklin W. Dixon and Carolyn Keene, this grouping from BBC Culture will fit the bill for the time being.
Children's Literature

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross identified the five stages of dealing with death and dying. Not to be outdone, the folks at Bustle have found twelve, count 'em, twelve steps in falling in love with a book, or a book series. You'll find them here.
Falling In Love With a Book

Finally we must note the passing of famed writer of the west, Ivan Doig, at age 75. He authored such works as his memoir This House of Sky and as well as a number of novels. He was one of the good guys.
Goodbye to the Author of The House of Sky

Enjoy some fine reading this weekend. And please let us know what titles that have enchanted you!

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The Book Booth: Happy Easter and Opening Day 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. @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 Easter and Opening Day Edition

Every few years Easter and baseball's opening day more or less coincide. So my best wishes to you celebrating Easter, and for those of you who belong to the Church of Baseball, happy opening day!

Spring is the time when, at least in popular lore, love blooms. And with love comes sometimes comes frustration. Unrequited love also rears its ugly head. Over at BBC Culture, Textual Healing offers guidance who suffer from all sort of love's maladies. H/T to Lucian.
Lovesick? Try Textual Healing

Love inspires passion, both in spirit and in carnal ways. MentalFloss recently featured some famous poets who, in their spare time, indulged themselves in writing some "dirty" verse.
NSFW Poems from Poets You Know
For myself, I only know some limericks that aren't safe for work.

Among those characters in literature that suffered in love's game was Jay Gatsby and his obsession with Daisy Buchanan. Anne Margaret Daniel gives some background to the novel and to the whereabouts of the Scott Fitzgerald's first draft here in this interesting post from HuffPo.
Some Insights Into The Great Gatsby

If springtime is not your cup of tea, and you'd rather get down and dirty with your reading, check out some Southern Gothic. Jamie Kornegay, a bookseller from Greenwood, Mississippi, has recently authored another addition to the genre, a new novel entitled Soil. And also chose for Publishers Weekly, his favorites. Some of the usual suspects are here and also some interesting titles I'm not familiar with.
Some Southern Gothic Titles You May Not Know

One of the best loved and best selling titles in Science Fiction of recent years has been Ernest Cline's Ready Player One. Well, it will be now made into a film and with a director no less than Steve Spielberg set.
Ready Player One to Become a Spielberg Film

Although Thomas Pynchon's novels are not science fiction per se, science plays a major thematic background, especially his early books, which concern themselves with entropy and the second law of thermodynamics. But could it be that the author predicted parallel universes and mini-black holes so many years ago in Gravity's Rainbow? Could be, says Jonathan Sturgeon at Flavorwire.
Parallel Universes Predicted by Thomas Pynchon?

Pynchon famously avoids the public eye. He has said he's not reclusive; he merely doesn't like to talk to the press. Of course, that said, few have seen him and photos are rare. (Well there is the paper bag disguise he cleverly used when appearing on the Simpsons>) Again from BBC Culture, Lucy Scholes talks about Pynchon and the idea of being "reclusive".
The Author No One Has Ever Seen

Tired of reading? Like to use your fingers and be creative? Try one of these coloring books featured recently at NPR.
Coloring Books for Grownups? Why Not?

Finally, does anyone really know what time it is? Does anyone really care? Via SeattleTammy comes this clock.
What Time is It?  Book O'Clock of Course!

A Happy Easter to all of you celebrating the day! And may your favorite team go to the World Series this season and be defeated by the mighty Seattle Mariners. And, let us know what books you've got going! We'd love to hear about them.

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The Book Booth: April Come She Will Edition

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From: Feed Your Need to Read

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: April Come She Will Edition

Spring has sprung and April is right around the corner. Ah, April, the month of baseball, sunshine, blooming trees, fragrant odors, lawns that need to be mowed. Maybe Eliot was right.

Speaking of smells, there is nothing quite like the aroma of a used bookstore. And if you'd like to keep that smell with you all day, you know can with this new perfume. H/T to my good friend, Caleb Bullen for finding this item that can be yours for a mere eighty dollars.
Eau de Old Books

We're still at the tail end of March and with it, the continuing athletic displays of collegiate hoops, known as March Madness. I am not one to fill out brackets, as I don't really follow the game closely. I'm sure it leads to madness and obsession, much like the characters in the books Flavorwire recently highlighted in an article from Emily Temple.
Madness

Speaking of obsession, one book club in Boston has, for the past 18 years, met to discuss one book and one book only. That book would be Finnegan's Wake. Hats off to such persistence.
Finnegan's Wake Book Club

Some booksellers and librarians clearly have too much time on their hands, producing book/song parodies. These are seriously a lot of fun. Enjoy.
Book/Song Parodies

Back in 1966, Paul Simon asked if the theater was really dead in his song The Dangling Conversation. (I seem to have old Paul Simon songs on the brain this week.) The same question has hung over the novel for well over a century now. Vox recently time-lined the proclamation of the book's demise here.
The Book's Demise? Not So Fast!

If the novel were really dead, and I have serious doubts about it, we could always re-read some favorites. I like to re-read books. I just recently finished re-reading David Hadju's Positively Fourth Street, a fine look at the early days of the folk revival in the early sixties, focussed on the intertwined lives of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Richard and Mimi Farina. But there can be dangers in going back to a well-loved book. Susie Rodarme examined some of those dangers here at Book Riot.
You Can't Read That Book Again (Or Maybe Shouldn't)

Alas, the famed historian of folk and blues music, Samuel Charters, has passed away at age 85. The New York Times had this lengthy obituary.
So Long, It's Been Good to Know You, Samuel Chambers

I have a few items from the intersection of books and politics to share. First off, it seems that Stephen King is no pal of Maine's teabagging governor. Governor LePage recently intimated that King does not pay taxes; King called him out.
King to LePage: Stop Lying

Meanwhile, activists helped to shut down Hancock Air Base in New York state and used oversized books to make their point in a creative display of protest.
Anti-Drone Activists

And who knew that the path to literacy in the Soviet Union could be so much fun? THIS IS NOT SAFE FOR WORK. DO NOT OPEN THIS LINK IN FRONT OF CHILDREN. Enjoy. H/t to old pal and publisher, Richard Grabman.
Soviet Erotic Alphabet

In happy news, the great songwriter Elvis Costello has a new memoir in the works, due to be published by a Penguin imprint sometime in October. This news will no doubt please SeattleTammy who is probably Mr. Costello's biggest fan.
Elvis Costello Memoir

May you all have sweet smelling weekends, filled with books and good music. Let us know what books you've got going, and, heck, tell us what music you are loving.

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