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.
There is no escaping it. The Holidays are approaching at apparently an alarming rate. This past Monday I had a doctor's appointment and Christmas music was piped in through the office. Believe me there is nothing like having your prostate examined while Santa Claus is Coming to Town is playing the background.
On a cheerier note, The New York Times Book Review recently asked the novelists Thomas Mallon and James Parker what influenced them most, other than other books. Both gave interesting answers. Mallon loves photographs while Parker likes, it seems, drummers. H/T to Lucian for the link.
What Influences Your Writing?
Other artists who are not known for their book writing can be influenced by books, of course. Bruce Springsteen, who has just had a childrens book published called Outlaw Pete, talked to the New York Times about his reading habits. Not too bad for a self-educated man. The Boss's Reading Habits
And if you'd like to know what the Boss' favorite books are, he gave the list to Brain Pickings. Thumbs up to the Richard Ford novels! What Does the Boss Read?
The late David Foster Wallace was one of the great novelists of recent years. He also taught at the University level and taking one of his classes must have been intense, judging from the syllabus that Salon provides here. Syllabus.
In need of some inspiration? Look no further than these motivational posters captioned by the one and only Dorothy Parker. Motivational Posters
End of the year lists continue to pour in. This week Publishers Weekly listed its favorite comic/graphic novel list. It is always "pleasant' to see Roz Chast on any list. Comic/Graphic Novels
I guess in some ways that lists that are the best of can be sort of an exercise in futility. If asked what my favorite or the best Bob Dylan album is, I can't really tell you. In a way, it is like picking a favorite child. But lists do stir discussion and there certainly isn't any harm in them. Bearing that in mind, here is a recent list of the best Mark Twain books as compiled by Harry Katz, author of MarkTwain's America. Best Mark Twain Books
Planning a trip to Southern California? Sure there are the usual suspects to visit. But why not seek out the literary? While not exactly a map to the home of the stars, Carolyn Kellogg at the LA Times offered up a sort of map for some of the famous and now departed writers final resting places. Writers in LA: Final Resting Places.
They say that first paragraphs will make or break a book and help the reader decide if they wish to continue reading. Publishers Weekly presented some great first pages here. Read through them, see if you don't get sucked in.
Great First Paragraphs
Finally, believe me, I know what a tough and hard this past week was. It would be easy to become overly depressed and/or cynical. But we always have our books! And Buzzfeed reminds us what a pleasure and source of solace they can be.
Books as a Source of Solace
Have a great weekend gentlepeople, and let us know what books are getting you through the days ahead.