Archive for David Bowie

The Book Booth: Birds Flying High Edition



Image: Signature Reads / Shutterstock
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: Birds Flying High Edition

Another week and again the news does not fail to amaze. I'm sure everyone's heard all the jokes already and I don't have anything to add. But my neck is sore from all the head shaking.

The great Meryl Streep made headlines with her acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globe Awards earlier in the week, prompting Signature to identify her top ten film roles based on literary sources. Of course her take on Sophie in Sophie's Choice is wonderful, but I have a sneaky regard for her Susan Orlean in the film Adaptation, the Spike Jonez/Charlie Kauffman film.
Meryl Streep is a Wonderful Actress

I posted last week on other film adaptations from books that will be released this coming year. The Guardian has its own list which includes other movies not on that list. There will be a Trainspotting 2; and Margaret Atwood has another work being adapted in Alias Grace in addition to the new version of The Handmaid's Tale.
More Film Adaptations We'll See in 2017

During the past week we also saw the first anniversary of the passing of David Bowie. It turns out that he and the novelist of The Hours, Michael Cunningham, attempted to collaborate on a musical that did not come to fruition. Mr. Cunningham discusses the work as well as his relationship with Bowie here for GQ Magazine.
Michael Cunningham on Working with David Bowie

The Persian poet Rumi has had a following among readers in the West for some time now. Rumi was, of course, a Sufi mystic, and Sufism is a sect of Islam. However, as Rozina Ali explores in this New Yorker article, the poet's Islamic faith is somehow being erased from his legacy.
Where Did Rumi's Islamic Faith Go?

The unreliable narrator has been a part of the novelistic tradition for some time now, and pre-dates its use by Joseph Conrad and Ford Maddox Ford at the beginning of the 20th century. Here Sarah Pinborough discusses her top ten unrelialbe narrators for the Guardian. And for what it is worth, I have not yet read Girl on a Train.
Unreliable Narrators in Fiction

Unless the writer is an adherent of Jack Kerouac's dictum on spontaneous prose, most authors revise their first drafts. Over and over again. Twelve writers discuss the revision process here for LitHub.
Those First and Second and Third and Fourth Drafts

The idea of the Great American Novel goes back to 1868 and there have been many candidates since that time. Ernest Hemingway famously said (incorrectly) that all American Literature comes from Huck Finn. But other writers have their own ideas on what that work might be as Emily Temple lists, once again, for LitHub.
So...Has Anyone Written the Great American Novel Yet?  What Is It?

Say you're a librarian and you love so many books that are going to be discarded from your system because no one has checked those books in over a year. What do you do? You go rogue, of course! But be careful about getting caught. Thanks to Lucian for this link.
Rogue Librarians Fight Back!

Alas, this past week we lost the author and jazz critic Nat Hentoff at age 91. He wrote for The Village Voice for many years and shared his passions for civil liberties and for jazz. He will be missed. NPR has this appreciation.
Nat Hentoff Has Moved On

On Monday we will celebrate the life of Martin Luther King jr. With the upcoming inauguration, we must never forget what this man meant for our country and our hopes for freedom. And what does freedom feel like? Ms. Nina Simone tells us in this song written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley for the musical The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd.

Please note: For some reason YouTube says that I cannot 'embed' this song (which would mean that you could play it directly from the Book Booth.  Since I can't, please go to YouTube directly here.

Have a wonderful weekend, read much and let us know what words you are devouring. We'd love to know. Attachments area


The Book Booth: When Librarians Gather Edition



Image: LA Times

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: When Librarians Gather Edition

This past week librarians from around the country gathered for the mid-winter meeting of the American Library Association, to confer with their fellow librarians and do other remarkable stuff to keep the written word alive.  And while they met, the ALA announced this years winners for the Newberry Medal, awarded this year to Matt De La Pena for Last Stop on Market Street, and the Caldecott Medal, given to Sophie Blackall for Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear. You can see the other winners here.

The librarians also awarded the Carnegie Medals.
You can read to whom for what here.

The New York Public Library recently released a virtual ton of digital images and the good folks at Flavorwire featured some great book jacket art from the 1920's and 1930's.
NYPL Book Jacket Art

Thursday morning, way too early for anyone to be really awake on the west coast, the Academy Award nominations were announced, and movies based on books did pretty well. The Revenant, novel by Michael Punke, picked up many nominations, including best picture and actor for Leonardo diCaprio. The Martian, book authored by Andrew Weir, was also nominated for best picture and actor for Matt Damon. And The Big Short, non-fiction by Michael Lewis, was nominated as well for best picture. The nominees are here.
Academy Award Nominations

And with some luck, good box office and positive reviews, these movies have a chance at glory next year. Interesting that the Tarzan franchise is getting revisited. But the two I'll be looking forward to are Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Because who can get enough of zombies?
Read These Books Before They're Made Into Movies

We note the passing of the great and illustrious David Bowie. As one might suspect, he was an avid reader. Here is his eclectic favorite 100 books.
David Bowie's Favorite 100 Books

President Obama gave his State of the Union address this week, and once again stunned us with his facility with words and speech-making. But we shouldn't be surprised. He's always shown his abilities at critical reasoning, even at the age of 22 when he wrote a friend about T.S. Eliot.
President Obama as Literary Critic

The human need to find and categorize damn near everything isn't anything new. Check out this beautiful Dutch book, published in 1692, of finding every color known to us. It is a stunning looking tome.
Every Color Under The Sun

Have a great weekend, enjoy some leisure time and be sure to let us know what great books you are loving.


Walk On The Wild Side With Lou Reed


Lou Reed

This week we lost Lou Reed. Many remember the name, but all remember his music. His career included stints with the Velvet Underground and as a solo artist. But one song stands out to me more than all the rest. It's the 1972 song, Walk On The Wild Side from Reed's album, TRANSFORMER. It was produced by legendary great David Bowie.

The song is about transvestites who come to New York City and become prostitutes.  And Reed's inspiration was real life. The "girls" were "Holly," "Candy," and "Jackie." They are based on Holly Woodlawn, Candy Darling, and Jackie Curtis-- three real drag queens who appeared in Andy Warhol's 1972 movie Women In Revolt. And each verse introduces a new character, all real and all cronies at the infamous Andy Warhol Factory, where Lou often hung out.

"Take a walk on the wild side" is what these rental transvestites would say to potential customers.

If the public understood what he was writing about, it would have certainly been banned.  Remember, this was 1972. Rob and Laura Petrie weren't even allowed to sleep in the same bed though married. A female character on TV wasn't allowed to be divorced. Yes the times were a lot different then. There was a lot more to the song than "And the colored girls say, Doo, doo-doo Doo, doo-doo Doo, doo-doo.

In a 1972 interview with Disc and Music Echo,

Reed described Walk On The Wild Side as an "outright gay song," saying it was "from me to them, but they're carefully worded so the straights can miss out on the implications and enjoy them without being offended. I suppose though the album is going to offend some people." '

This came out at a time when audiences were intrigued by cross-dressing and homosexuality in music. "Glam Rock," where the performers wore feminine clothes, was big, and artists like David Bowie and Elton John were attracting fans both gay and straight.

He was certainly ahead of his time with his socially conscience awareness and his anecdotal tunes. He knew he was pushing the envelope and yet he was able to get away with it overall. From Songfacts:

This [Walk On The Wild Side] was not banned by the notoriously conservative BBC or by many US radio stations because censors did not understand phrases like "giving head." Depending on the regional US market, the song was, however, edited for what we now call political correctness. Reed leads into the female vocalists' "Doo, doo-doo" hook with the words, "And the colored girls say," but some stations played a version that replaced the phrase with, "And the girls all say."

So while we pause to pay tribute to an amazing artist, why not watch and listen to this great version by Lou R himself.




Video Overnight Thread- Commander Chris Hadfield Performs "Space Oddity" from International Space Station