Archive for cult novels

The Book Booth: The May Day Edition


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: May Day Edition

Aside from the spring May pole dances and celebrations, May the first also is the International Workers Day. Though here in the US we honor working people in September (because, surely, we cannot do so on the day that the rest of the world, filled with socialists as it is, does so), the date was chosen to remember the working people who demonstrated at the Hay Market in Chicago so long ago. So Happy May Day all!

With that in mind, the Nation magazine recently suggested five books on African-American history, which includes the contributions of slaves as well as the sharecroppers who helped build our nation, albeit in bondage. The book Hammer and Hoe looks particularly interesting.
African-American History

As we head on into May, I have a few more April items to serve up. April is, as mentioned before, National Poetry Month and the folks at Mental Floss have a piece on the US Poet Laureate, which may clear things up for anyone confused on the matter. Including the fact that the Laureate is not paid by tax dollars, in case right-wing loons start to spout off.
The US Poet Laureate

April is also the birth and death month of the Bard of Avon, which I've probably be-labored the past few weeks. In any event, Shakespeare's work surely will outlast us all. Stephen Greenblatt had a nice appreciation of his legacy here at the New York Review of Books.
Still More on the Bard (Who Is Always Interesting)

And Literary Hub has links to other articles about Big Bill, including a discussion on Hamlet as a sexless bro and a feature on his second-best bed, which he bequeathed to his wife, Ann Hathaway.
The Bard's Possessions

If you are feeling tired this weekend, but feel guilty about not catching up on your reading of the classics, Lucian found these abridgments you might want to peruse.
Why Read the Classics When You Can Read these Super Short Synopses?

Then, again, some of us prefer to watch our books on film or on TV. So good news for those who'd rather see than read Neil Gaiman's Good Omens! He is adapting it for a TV series.
Neil Gaiman's Got Those Good Omens!

Robots and other automata have been staples of Science-Fiction for a long time. In a fascinating article at Literary Hub (again), the origin of these things is explored. I hadn't realized that even Edgar Allan Poe had been intrigued by the Turk Chess Player, going back to 1836 and before.
Science Fiction, Double Feature

The Hugo Awards are coming back and with them, our friends, the sad puppies, who once again have managed to load the nominations with their own special favorites. Because, you know, Lefty sci-fi is for wusses.
It's Hugo Awards Time Again
(and that means Hugo Awards Ideological Strife Again!)

I mentioned last week that novelist Don DeLillo has a new novel coming out, Zero K, which explores many of his previous themes, often of the pre-Apocalyptic type. Tony Tulathimutte discusses them here for the New Republic.
Don DeLillo's Themes

This is kind of fun. The folks at The Daily Telegraph picked fifty cult novels and grouped them by decade here. Many will be familiar, others long and happily forgotten.
Cult Novels

Finally, please note that Saturday is Indie Bookshop Day. Please help to keep your local independent store alive and thriving and go find a book to purchase from them. And let us know what that book is!


The Book Booth: Mockingbird Edition



Image via: the New York Times

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.

My guess is that many of you have already seen that a "new" Harper Lee novel will be released. The book was apparently written before she began work on To Kill a Mockingbird and involves an adult Scout Finch visiting her father Atticus after the events of Mockingbird. The Gray Lady has the story.  Harper Lee

Of course the news set the twitters aflame with title suggestions, as Salon explains.
Mockingbird Prequel/Sequel

And it set off some controversy. Ms. Lee is now in assisted living and there is some worry that she may have been pressured into publishing this work. I was a bit surprised when the story appeared in the first place. I had the feeling that she had said what she wanted to say in the one book and was content with it. But apparently she is "happy as Hell". And I'm good with it, too, even if it isn't nearly as good as Mockingbird.
Harper Lee is Happy as Hell

Another thing you may have seen this week is the touching letter written by Roald Dahl on the death of his daughter from measles in 1962. Coming on the heels of the new outbreaks of measles in this country and with the boneheads who wont have their children vaccinated, creating a public health menace, well, it gets my blood to boiling.
Roald Dahl's Daughter Died of Measles -

Happier news came from the recent conference of the American Library Association where it was announced that Kwame Alexander won the Newberry Award for his children's novel The Crossover and Dan Santat won the Caldecott for his book The Adventures of Beekle. Publishers Weekly has the story here.

Let us admit it. Even at our advanced ages, we love kids picture books. NPR recently featured some newer titles that look wonderful.  Kids Books for Adults

The news from Hollywood is that James Franco, English student extraordinaire and actor, is set to star in an adaptation of John Steinbeck's 1936 novel, In Dubious Battle. Franco has appeared in other literary adaptations, including a recent film of William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying. The LA Times has the scoop here.
James Franco

I have been blitzing through that very fine HBO series Boardwalk Empire and in reading the credits (yes, I read the credits), I noticed that Dennis Lehane, author of Mystic River and Shutter Island, among other great books, wrote for the show as well as served as "Creative Producer". Apparently this development is not unusual in Hollywood these days.
Novelists as Screenwriters and Producers

The Daily Telegraph posted this rather interesting and chronological look at fifty cult novels. And To Kill a Mockingbird is on the list!
Fifty Cult Novels

Finally, for anyone worried about what to read next, Publishers Weekly provides you some previews of books to be in stores this spring, including new works from Toni Morrison, Kazuo Ishiguro, Nick Hornby and Thomas McGuane, to name a few.
Spring Book Preview

Happy reading for us all this weekend and be sure to let us know what you've just pulled off the shelf.