Archive for Dickens

The Book Booth: Happy Merry Christmas Edition

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Image: Cedmagic

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: Happy Merry Christmas

I've done this post every year since the time SeattleTammy and I did book reviews for Jesus' General and for here at The Political Carnival. I've emphasized the importance of what Dickens warns us about all that time, but it seems this year, more than ever, we need to remember. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Good Kwanzaa to all and let us make merry in spite of everything.

"'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.'" - A Christmas Carol, Stave 3: The Second of the Three Spirits

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The Book Booth: Full Moon Saturday Edition

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Image: The New Yorker

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: Full Moon Saturday Edition

One of these days, there will be a new moon on Monday, and I can title one of the posts after the Duran Duran song. But until then, there is a full moon tonight, Saturday, and it supposed to be a nice one. I hope the overcast here in our town dissipates some and we can enjoy it.

The writer's organization PEN recently held their annual gala where the honored, among others, J.K. Rowling and she had some choice words for presumptive GOP presidential nominee (how weird to write this) Donald Trump. Publishers Weekly has the story here.]
J,K. Rowling Calls Trump a Bigot

The Korean writer Han Kang won this years International Man Booker Award for her novel The Vegetarian. I don't know the work, but from the reviews I've subsequently read, it looks to be both good and disturbing. Again, PW reports on the award.
Man Booker Award to Han Kang

The New Yorker magazine has had a couple of articles of interest recently. The first is an assessment by Adelle Waldman on Samuel Richardson, whose novel Pamela is considered the first real English modern novel. I've never been able to bring myself to read the book and I have no desire to do so in the immediate future. But the article is worth reading.
Samuel Richardson

The novelist Jonathan Franzen also wrote a piece that chronicles his trip to Antarctica, where he planned to do some bird-watching.
Jonathan Frantzen in Antartica

And it seems that author Franzen also made an appearance on Jeopardy's Power Players Week. Although he came in second, Franzen, who is well-known for his passion for birds, ran the bird category with aplomb.
Jonathan Frantzen on Birds

The issue of plot in literature has been of controversy ever since the advent of Modernism and continued into the Post-Modern era. But "plot" has made something of a comeback in recent times. John Mullan at the Guardian has a good discussion about it here.
Plots and Modernism

And speaking of the modernists, Marcel Proust was certainly one of its leading lights. There is a lot in In Search of Lost Time that is difficult, including the 900 plus word sentence (that I once saw a poster for where the maker had diagrammed the sentence). Sarah Boxer details in The Atlantic her struggles with the work and her attempt to read Proust on her iPhone.
Reading Proust on Your Cellphone!

The British writer J.G. Ballard is probably best known here in the States as the author of the semi-autobiographical novel Empire of the Sun, about a young British boy's experience during World War Two of the Japanese occupation of Shanghai and filmed by Steven Spielberg. But he was also a well-regarded science-fiction writer, often compared to William S. Burroughs. And as Alison Nastasi points out over at Flavorwire, Ballard made some eerie and chilling predictions about the future.
J.G. Ballard's Predictions for the Future

With the on-going discussion of public bathroom usage, the folks at McSweeney's has put forth a patent for a device that surely will solve all the problems, ahem.
Finally! A Solution to the 'Who's Allowed in this Bathroom?' Problem! 

We leave you this week with some health tips from Walt Whitman, who not only wrote great poetry, but had advice for nearly any occasion.
Health Advice from Walt Whitman

Have a great weekend and, if you can, get out to look at that ol' devil moon while it shines in its fullest. And by all means, let us know what books are delighting you.

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The Book Booth: A Christmas Carol Edition

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Image: CedricMagic


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: A Christmas Carol Edition

As is my tradition, I post this portion of the end of what Dickens called Stave 3 of A Christmas Carol, as the spirit of Christmas Present takes his leave of Scrooge. The warning holds as true this year as it did for Dickens in 1844. Want and Ignorance remain with us, especially as we have witnessed this past Fall among the Republican candidates.

Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate the day and here's hoping for a splendid 2016 for us all.

"'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.'" - A Christmas Carol, Stave 3: The Second of the Three Spirits

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The Book Booth: Small Business Saturday Edition

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Image via The Guardian

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.

Today is Small Business Saturday and it is my fervent prayer that you all saved your pennies and did not shop any of the retailers open on Thanksgiving (and aid the corporate bastards) or get suckered into a Black Friday deal. Maybe next year when Black Friday comes we can all stand by the door and catch the gray men when they dive from the fourteenth floor.

One of the more interesting things that happened during the week was the discovery of a First Folio Shakespeare in a library in France. Only some 230 copies exist. When originally published in 1623, the cost was four pounds, which was a considerable amount of money then. I wonder if they'd sell it to me now for that much. I sort of doubt it.  Shakespeare

Another find during the week is the fabled "Joan Anderson" letter that a young Neal Cassady wrote to Jack Kerouac in the early fifties that ultimately changed Kerouac's prose style. NPR had the story here and is worth a listening. Kerouac

One of the perks of being a novelist (unless you're J.D.Salinger) is that sometimes you end up as a character in another writer's novel. Shakespeare, Dickens, Austen, Poe...and many others feature in this list of fifty novels with characters based on real authors from Flavorwire. Authors as Characters

Or you could end up, or have one of your characters, on a tee-shirt. Lucian passed along this selection of T's from Buzzfeed.
Literary T-Shirts

On the flip side from Buzzfeed, authors certainly hope that they're not put into these embarrassing situations at your local bookstore. Watch the signage folks!
Signage!

And speaking of fails, this is why local elections are important. You could have the Texas Board of Education making atrocious decisions on textbooks that affect the rest of the nation.
Texas Textbooks

It is coming on Winter and the days are growing shorter. And darker. Those afflicted with SAD probably should not take up the recommendations from Emily Temple at Flavorwire of the fifty gloomiest novels written.
Winter Literary Gloom

If civil war is more to your tastes, the Guardian had these suggestions, which is more international in scope. However, in my most humble opinion, there are much better books out there about the American Civil War than Gone with the Wind. Read Daniel Woodrell's A Woe to Live On, or Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain. Or The Red Badge of Courage.
Civil War Books

Sadly we note the passing of British mystery writer P.D. James at age 94. NPR has the story here.
P.D James has moved on.

Finally here is a sweet remembrance of the founder of the great New Directions publishing company James Laughlin by his friend Jonathan Galassi. It is not always the big publishing houses that bring out "litertature", but those small houses like ND or City Lights that make perusing a bookstore so delightful.
Smaller Publishers

We hope everyone had a most wonderful and splendid Thanksgiving. And please, if you are going to do some shopping today, please patronize your local small business. And by all means, let us know what books you're reading! We want to know.

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