Archive for christmas season

The Book Booth: New Years Edition



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, as well a brick and mortar in small town Washington State. Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

A premature Happy New Years to everyone! I'm hoping the next year is one we will all remember fondly at its end and that among your resolutions is to read More Books!

While I don't expect perfection for the coming year, and think perfection might kill us all, Gabe Habash of Publishers Weekly continues his search for the perfect literary sentence. If not perfect, these examples he found are pretty darn good.

Over at Flavorwire Alison Natasi chose her favorite literary catch phrases. And not all of them come from the Bard!

Book covers are where the fine arts meet the written word. They are designed to make you buy a book for its cover and Lincoln Michel at Buzzfeed found some outstanding ones for the past year.

Seattle Tammy found this site with vintage posters promoting our libraries. Just some really fine art.

Where and when we should talk to strangers is always an awkward situation. I find I will talk more readily to someone I don't know if the comment I want to make is about books. Again from Buzzfeed, here are some acceptable places to strike up a conversation. Especially the airport security line, where silence is the norm for fear of saying the wrong thing.

Serendipitous finds like the one recently made at the Cleveland Library are very cool indeed. Only 6000 copies of Dickens' A Christmas Carol were originally printed. And the Cleveland collection has one!

I suppose we all know the Tolstoy quote that opens Anna Karenina.
“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Over at HuffPo they found some truly spooky families from literature that may make you feel grateful that you have the family you do have.

On the brighter side, novelist Anakana Schofield described some more upbeat characters from contemporary novelists. I'd include the irrepressible Mr. Micawber from David Copperfield.

Here's the kind of year-end book list I like. Just books that these New York Times book reviewers liked and recommend.

Finally, among your other resolutions for 2014, I hope that not only do you read more books, you will shop for them at your local independent bookseller. Emma Cueto at Bustle gives you plenty of good reasons why you should. H/T to my old friend Ted Lucia for finding this.

Happy New Year everyone. Be safe, read more and tell us what books you've got going right now.


The Book Booth: The Political Yule Edition


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, as well a brick and mortar in small town Washington State. Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

A Happy Solstice/Yule to all of you. I hope it is turning into a great season for everyone and that all are enjoying some holiday cheer.

It seems that the world of literature has rallied against our surveillance masters. You know the ones; the ones that think that whatever you put on the internets is worth their time to read. Over 500 authors, even those with conservative political views, have condemned this oversight and have called on the United Nations to work on a digital bill of rights. The Guardian had the story.

This past year really has not seen much in the way of justice for the prisoners at Guantanamo. And as DangerousMinds tells us, what literature that they are allowed to read seems random. And what they are not allowed to read, even more random.

Probably Portland Oregon's most famed living author is Ursula LeGuin. She has tackled many issues with vision and clarity in her fiction. Well, she has finally been interviewed by The Paris Review. An overview of that interview can be found here.

I have seen it argued that our contemporary writers shy away from the political. One writer at Alternet, in a post that seems to be no longer available, wondered why no American writer has reflected why we are now perpetually at war. However, Tim Kreider at the New Yorker says the political is alive in the writings of Kim Stanley Robinson, and we are better off for him doing so.

Of course many writers have written about both the political and the environment. JRR Tolkien was no exception and the folks at Climate Watch via Scientific American give you the report on what Middle Earth resembled back in the days of yore.

For those of you looking for progressive fiction and non-fiction books, Alyssa Rosenberg at ThinkProgress offers her selections of the best (and a couple of the worst) books of 2013 here.

A part of the great culture wars we have experienced for what seems to be ages now is the attitudes we hold toward sexuality. Thus it may have always been so, as Peter Brown's review of Kyle Harper's From Shame to Sin:The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality in Late Antiquity argues.

As much as I would have liked to tell you this past year about the withering of Amazon, no such luck. But before our beloved publishing industry withers itself, it should look into how it bolsters and fosters one company's hegemony. Again, from the Guardian.

So many titles get published each year, and so many fall through the cracks. As luck would have it, the good folks at Indie Reader have put together a fine list of books you probably have not heard of that you may just love to peruse.

Charles Dickens may dominate Christmas writing. But Jason Diamond at Flavorwire has found a few other passages that evoke this time of year by some other pretty good writers.

Those of you who may have read my posts at the General's and/or here at The Political Carnival know that I hold Dickens in high esteem as a novelist and social commenter and that each year I post a link to that section of A Christmas Carol where the spirit of Christmas Present reveals the waifs Ignorance and Want to Scrooge. I would be remiss to not do so this year.

A Merry Christmas to all of you celebrating this coming week and a joyous season to you all. Keep reading and let us know what titles are intriguing you now.


The Book Booth: Tis the Season Edition



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, as well a brick and mortar in small town Washington State. Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

Here's hoping everyone is enjoying the Season and that you are not in too frenetic a mode. The country seems to have been in the midst of a cold snap and we even had our dusting of snow earlier in the week, which always makes life interesting in our little town.

Last week we featured some Best Of lists and this week we have even more. First, NPR has a list of more than 200 titles. It is a good list. Click on the covers and get a brief summary.

C. Max Magee over at The Millions has a long list of authors and bloggers describing their past year in reading. I'm sure you'll find some books of interest and some you may have missed while perusing.

And Kit Steinkeiner at Book Riot also had four titles she felt were both neglected or overlooked this year.

PublishersWeekly asked ten authors to name their favorite book of the year. I would have to whole-heartedly agree with James McBride's pick of John LeCarre's A Delicate Truth. The rest you can read here.

ABEBooks had a list of what were deemed to be the top 50 historical fiction titles.
Again, there is a great array of cover art. But, as with any list of this kind, there are many omissions. America's pre-eminent historical novelist, Gore Vidal, is completely unmentioned. The comments have several other authors, including Patrick O'Brian.

Back in the day, before he'd pissed off most of his friends, Truman Capote threw a huge party called The Black and White Ball. I remember it because as a young teen, I saw the photo spread of the event in Life Magazine. In any event, Jason Diamond at Flavorwire has the story.

Capote was, of course, famous for his literary feuds, of which, he conducted many. Fortunately the tradition of the feud continues and the New Yorker reviews this years here.

One of the most important "disputes" that resonate today would be the one between Plato and Aristotle. Arthur Herman has recently written a book on the topic and wrote this short essay for Publishers Weekly. Where do you stand? I am now and will remain a confirmed follower of Aristotle.

On a higher note, Paddy found this article detailing a public art project coming to London next summer. Isn't it great when money is spent like this?

And in honor of the 100th anniversary of its founding, the Department of Labor is seeking title submissions of books that shaped our country and its labor force. BoingBoing had the story which has a link where you can submit your ideas.

In the good news for us department, SeattleTammy and I now will have Obamacare, beginning at the start of the year. Thank you, Obama! We will be able to take care of some nagging medical problems, including the lingering one with my right eye. So I could empathize with Charles McGrath's article at the New York Times about his year as judge for the National Book Awards.

Have a great and warm weekend, folks. When out and about, take your time and be sure to let us know what you're currently reading.


PhotOH! On "small business Saturday" President Obama buys books to promote independent shops. VIDEO ADDED.


Image by Getty/Getty Images

Image by Getty/Getty Images

 Images via BuzzFeed


President Obama and his beautiful goils Sasha and Malia went Christmas shopping at an Arlington, Virginia book store to promote "small business Saturday."

Or as I like to call it, putting your money where your mouth is.

The idea was to encourage shoppers to spend their money at mom-and-pop businesses, which is exactly what he did when he bought 15 children's books as gifts for family members.

The photo of the president looking at his BlackBerry was snapped as he was looking up a book title.

Source: AP


Video- Lamest Season’s Greetings From Team Newt Ever!




To our wonderful readers: Merry Everything!



To our wonderful readers:

Paddy and I wish you all who celebrate Christmas the warmest, coziest, most prosperous, healthiest, happiest, merriest one ever.

To those who don't, we send identical wishes, no matter what you celebrate or don't celebrate.  As an atheist Jew, I enjoy every holiday and justify them all by eating like a pig to make the point.

I'll be away for a few days (thanks to my brother who will be keeping an eye on things at home), but I will be popping in when I can. Yes, we're attempting yet another road trip (You can stop laughing now.) to San Francisco, land of the best dirty, rancid, smelly, stinky, Marxist, socialist, Kenyan, French, liberal hippies ever.

While I'm away, please be kind to Paddy and our guest bloggers. They are the BEST for covering while I take a badly needed break with my family.

Enjoy the week! Again, I’ll be dropping in whenever time and decent computer connections allow.

Thank you all for giving us the best gift in the world: You.

Love, Laffy


Video Mid Day Distraction- Terry Gilliam's Christmas Card