Archive for Colson Whitehead

The Book Booth: First We Take Manhattan Edition

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Image: NYTimes

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: First We Take Manhattan Edition

It's been a hard week, but we have managed to get through it. The struggle for justice and peace will continue in spite of our setbacks. And, for now, life goes on.

The Awards continued with the announcement of the National Book Award winners at a ceremony this past Wednesday night. Larry Wilmore hosted the event, and as NPR reported "Host Larry Wilmore set the tone early, taking aim at the president-elect with a series of quips and barbs in his opening monologue. Of Trump's election last week, Wilmore noted: "It's exciting in the way that an asteroid hurtling toward Earth is exciting." Among the winners were novelist Colson Whitehead for his novel Underground Railroad and Representative John Lewis for his collaboration on a young adult book March: Book Three.
NBA Awards

As it turns out, Bob Dylan will not be attending the ceremony for the Nobel Prize. He cited schedule conflicts. He would not be the first laureate not to attend, and must only deliver or have delivered a lecture of some kind in the next few months.
Bob Dylan Will Not Attend Nobel Prize Ceremony

Obviously there has been a lot of reaction in the literary world to the election of Donald Trump. There is much wariness and alarm. Here you can read the statement from the Authors Guild which is frightening.
Authors Guild Statment On President-Elect Trump

The New Yorker asked several writers for short essays on the election results, including novelists Hilary Mantel, Toni Morrison, as well as political writer Jeffrey Toobin and the aforementioned Larry Wilmore. The responses are well worth your time.
New Yorker Authors on President-Elect Trump

For what is in store for us, who can tell. But the calls for resistance are beginning and not without cause. Emily Temple at Lithub suggests 25 books for dealing with the anger and for action.
It's Time for Action

Andrew Liptak at The Verge has some suggestions as well, including the best of the dystopian novels that the Sci-fi genre has to offer.
Get Ready for Dystopia Right Here in the US

Another writer we should be reading in these times would be Kurt Vonnegut. His writing was always perceptive, interesting and, at times, very funny, and who couldn't use a laugh? Marc Leeds has recently compiled The Vonnegut Encyclopedia and here, for Publishers Weekly, he lists his top ten books by that master of the word.
Best Kurt Vonnegut Books

Billy Pilgrim was Vonnegut's character in Slaughterhouse Five, a man who survived the fire bombing of Dresden and was a spastic in time. Time travel has long been a staple in science-fiction. Here John Lanchester reviews for the New York Review of Books a new work by James Gleick, Time Travel: A History, which gives a good overview of the subgenre.
Time Travel

One of the good guys in modern literature is Michael Chabon, author of many novels, including his latest one, Moonglow, a fictional memoir of his family. Here Doree Shafrir profiles the man and his work for Buzzfeed.
Michael Chabon: An Underdog On Top of the World?

Sadly this past week we also lost poet, novelist and songwriter Leonard Cohen, who'd only recently released a new album of songs. I remember in my late teens when I first heard him sing Suzanne, Sisters of Mercy and That's No Way to Say Goodbye on his first album. There were more great songs to come, and now he will be sorely missed.
Leonard Cohen

Again, do not despair. Find a good book, take some time to breathe and have the best possible weekend you can. Enjoy this tune by Mr. Cohen and please let us know what books you are loving.

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The Book Booth: September Song Edition

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Image Literary Arts Organization

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: September Song Edition

The direction of time is certainly moving toward Fall here. Many of the trees have those vibrant colors and the sun keeps setting earlier every night. SeattleTammy and I are preparing for the inevitable. We replaced the furnace filters this week and vacuumed out the ducts. Now to winterize the garden.

With the coming of the Fall come the prizes. The National Book Foundation revealed this week its longlist for the awards to be presented in November. In the fiction category, my money is on Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad.
National Book Foundation Awards

And with an awards ceremony of its own in late October, the Man Booker shortlist was also announced this past week and includes two American, two Canadian and two British authors. I have to admit I'm not familiar with these works, but Paul Beatty is a good and unusual nominee. The Nobel Prizes will be awarded in early October, so stay tuned.
Man Booker Award Coming Soon

If you happen to be in Portlandia Oregon on November 5th, go check out the annual Portland Book Festival, presented by the folks at Wordstock. There will be many, many authors attending.
Wordstock Portland Book Festival

So you'd like to be a writer but you're stuck. The blank page terrifies you and you don't know where to start, where to go, who to turn to. Well, these authors have advice and a lot of the suggestions here are quite a help. From the Guardian..
Yes! I Want to Write a Book! How Do I Get Started?

Some writers work fast, others take their time. Did you know it took Anthony Burgess less time to write A Clockwork Orange than it took Dickens to write A Christmas Carol? MentalFloss has a nice graphic here on how long it took certain works to be written.
How Long Did It Take to Write That Book?

Once you've written the book that's been inside you these many years, there comes the matter of getting it published. No easy task for many. But do take heart. The Stranger by Albert Camus had to overcome many obstacles to see the light of day, including getting by the censors of the occupying German army, as Alice Kaplan, author of Looking for the Stranger: Albert Camus and the Life of a Literary Classic, explains here.
Getting The Stranger Published Was No Piece of Cake

Jonathan Safran Foer, the author of Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, has a newly published novel out, Here I Am. The good people at Farrar Straus, and Giroux have an excerpt here for your perusal.
Excerpt from Here I Am

If I may, I'd like to suggest the work of my good friend John Olson. John is a charming and versatile poet as you can see from this piece he published at the Seattle Review of Books.
John Olson in the Seattle Review of Books

John has also written a new novel, In Advance of the Broken Justy, the details of which are here.

I am, as some of you may have noted, a big fan of the Library of America editions. It seems that they have now published American Musicals, a collection of some sixteen librettos of some of the best out there. But, as Steve Vineburg notes here, some musicals survive the transition from stage to screen better than others.
Musicals on the Big Screen

I'll leave you now to enjoy Walter Huston performing September Song, music written by Kurt Weill and lyrics by Maxwell Anderson for their 1938 show Knickerbocker Holiday.
 

 
Have a most gratifying weekend and please do let us know what books you are loving.

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