Archive for christmas

The Book Booth: Boxing Day Edition

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Image: Awesome Stories

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: Boxing Day Edition

Yes, I know Boxing Day was Friday. But I see no reason not to make a long weekend out of it. Here's hoping everyone had a joyous holiday and are now ready to take on the new year ahead.

Some of you may still be in the Christmas spirit. If so, you could check out the Guardian's top ten Christmases in literature. I was happy to see Joyce's The Dead included. Others were new to me, but that is one of the nice things about lists.
Guardian

Last week I closed the post with the haunting images of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol as the Ghost of Christmas Present departs from Scrooge. Clive Irving of The Daily Beast give the novella a proper context for both Dickens time and ours in a illuminating rumination.
How Dickens and Scrooge Saved Christmas

At least one Scrooge like policy has been overturned recently. Last year England and Wales stopped prisoners from receiving parcels of books. The BBC reports that the ban has been overturned. Good news, indeed.
Books in UK prisons.

For those of us keeping score, here is a recent study of book buying trends and demographics. None of this too surprising, except maybe in putting a number to how many purchases happen on the internets.
Online Book Sales

The end of the year continues to bring on the "Best of 2014" lists. But this one from James Woods at The New Yorker includes some titles that may have escaped the eye and are worth your time.
Best of 2014 You Might Have Missed

If you need more suggestions, NPR has some 250 books you can hear about, with niftty search bar and cover art for many of the discussed titles. And it has archives as well from years past.
NPR Book Lists

Chris Lane at the Houston Press has this amusing assessment from his time working in a chain bookstore. The pilfering of stock, alas, is a fact of life. In addition to the areas of books most lifted, I'd add certain kinds of writers. I know that at one point, one chain bookstore I know of, had to put all the Beat writers and Charles Bukowski behind the counter. And I can attest to some of the grosser things that happen. At one store I worked at we stocked the Sunday New York Times. This was before all the advances in technology and the paper wouldn't arrive to the store until Wednesday or Thursday of that week. We had the papers in a rack in front of the cash registers. Anyway, one evening a customer brought his purchases to be rung up and, unbeknowst to us, decided to "water" the paper. Sigh.
Behind the Scenes Working in a Chain Bookstore

Enjoy your weekend, and a Happy New Year to come. Give us some our top ten lists, too.

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Lauren Mayer: Good Ol' Down Home Country Hanukkah?

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Lauren Mayer is a singer/songwriter/pianist who writes comedy songs about everything from Supreme Court decisions to the Kardashians. She proudly supports leftist causes including equal pay, reproductive choice, fair minimum wage, addressing climate change, and marriage equality.
Note: Check out Lauren's CDs, including her latest, "If My Uterus Were A Gun (And Other Musical Rants From The News)" - available at "http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/laurenmayer8" as well as on iTunes and Amazon. Her website is laurenmayer.com. She's on Twitter at @laurenscomedy

From YouTube:

Relatives, fried food, and hunky Maccabean men . . . what could be more country than Hanukkah?

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The Book Booth: Happy Holidays Edition

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From Cedmagic.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: Happy Holidays Edition

The solstice is imminent, and Christmas Day is not far behind. I hope this finds one and all ready for the holidays, and that you may sit, relax and enjoy a warm beverage. And perhaps you can watch the falling, silent snow. Enjoy this video from The Guardian.  Snow

But if you haven't finished your shopping, our old friend, buddy, pal, chum and otherwise voracious reader, Bill Gates has some suggestions as he recently picked his favorite books for the year. H/T to Lucian for finding this story.  Bill Gates's Favorite Books

Then there are those problem people on your shopping list. What do you get Captain Ahab for Christmas anyway? The folks at Bustle have some ideas for gifts for fictional characters. (Though Richard III wasn't really fictional).
Gifts For Fictional Characters

Good news for fans of Judy Blume. The famed writer of books for young adults will publish a new novel, directed at adults, her first in 15 years, this next June. Flavorwire has the details.
Judy Blume Novel for Adults

But sad news for fans of Clifford the Big Red Dog, whose creator, Norman Bridwell, recently passed away at the age of 86.
Normal Bridwell

It seems that the Bard was not always the bees knees and certainly not during his lifetime. Apparently there was no Shakespearomania until long after his death. Salon has this interesting article on how Shakespeare became, well, Shakespeare.

And this is sweet. Neil Gaiman and Molly Oldfield reading A Christmas Carol for the New York Public Library.

It has become a tradition with me to close my holiday posts both here at The Political Carnival and back in the days when we wrote at Jesus' General, with this closing of the third "stave" as Charles Dickens called it, when the Spirit of Christmas Past takes his leave of Scrooge. It is haunting, sad and still all too relevant today.

"To-night at midnight. Hark! The time is drawing near."

The chimes were ringing the three quarters past eleven at that moment.

"Forgive me if I am not justified in what I ask," said Scrooge, looking intently at the Spirit's robe, "but I see something strange, and not belonging to yourself, protruding from your skirts. Is it a foot or a claw?"

"It might be a claw, for the flesh there is upon it," was the Spirit's sorrowful reply. "Look here."

From the foldings of its robe, it brought two children; wretched, abject, frightful, hideous, miserable. They knelt down at its feet, and clung upon the outside of its garment.

"Oh, Man, look here! Look, look, down here!" exclaimed the Ghost.

They were a boy and a girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out, and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shrivelled hand, like that of age, had pinched, and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds. Where angels might have sat enthroned, devils lurked, and glared out menacing. No change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any grade, through all the mysteries of wonderful creation, has monsters half so horrible and dread.

Scrooge started back, appalled. Having them shown to him in this way, he tried to say they were fine children, but the words choked themselves, rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude.

"Spirit, are they yours?" Scrooge could say no more.

"They are Man's," said the Spirit, looking down upon them. "And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!" cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. "Slander those who tell it ye. Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse. And abide the end."

"Have they no refuge or resource?" cried Scrooge.

"Are there no prisons?" said the Spirit, turning on him for the last time with his own words. "Are there no workhouses?"

From A Christmas Carol

Both Seattle Tammy and I wish to send along our seasons greetings to our fine readers. Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays everyone and good books for us all.

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Lauren Mayer: Don't They Know (Not Everyone Does Christmas)?

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Lauren Mayer is a singer/songwriter/pianist who writes comedy songs about everything from Supreme Court decisions to the Kardashians. She proudly supports leftist causes including equal pay, reproductive choice, fair minimum wage, addressing climate change, and marriage equality.
Note: Check out Lauren's CDs, including her latest, "If My Uterus Were A Gun (And Other Musical Rants From The News)" - available at "http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/laurenmayer8" as well as on iTunes and Amazon. Her website is laurenmayer.com. She's on Twitter at @laurenscomedy

From Lauren's email to me:

This week I'm taking on Bob Geldof's latest resurrection of his pretentious, patronizing monstrosity/holiday classic (depending on your perspective), to raise awareness of my own cause: Don't They Know (Not Everyone Does Christmas)?

From YouTube:

A plea for tolerance, in the grand tradition of overblown rock anthems

I get tired of explaining I don't WANT a Chanukah Bush!

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