Image: Getty at 538.com
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: The Sweetest Sounds Edition
Sunday marks the 113th birthday of one of the most dominant persons of the American musical stage during the 20th century, Richard Rodgers. Rodgers was very attuned to the world of books. He and his lyricist Lorenz Hart adapted John O'Hara stories for their production of Pal Joey. And nearly all of Rodgers collaborations with Oscar Hammerstein had sources in books, including Oklahoma and Carousel (both based on stage plays), South Pacific, The King and I, Flower Drum Song and The Sound of Music. So a big Happy Birthday to Richard Rodgers.
Rodgers did encounter stiff resistance to the song Carefully Taught in South Pacific; both he and Hammerstein were resolute in keeping the song in the show. But banning songs and books is still part of the anti-intellectual stream among some Americans. Interestingly, over at 538, they couldn't find what book was the most banned in America. The reasons why are explained here.
Banned Books in America
One of the victims last week in the Charleston shootings was librarian Cynthia Hurd. So it was fitting and fine that the Charleston County Council stepped up and renamed the library she worked at for her.
Librarian Cynthia Hurd, Charleston Shooting Victim
I've noted in previous posts the problems David Brooks had with the "facts" in his latest opus, The Road to Character. Other similar problems have shown up now in some other works, prompting Vulture.com to wonder when publishers will start using fact checkers. And it seems some are now.
It's High Time Publishers Used Fact Checkers!
The novelist Milan Kundera has recently published a novella, The Festival of Insignificance, which has received atrocious reviews. How do we deal with a bad book by a great writer? Colton Valentine tackles the question over at HuffPo.
When Good Writers Write Bad Books
Miguel de Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote, and father or the modern novel, lived a life full of romance and excitement. Yet his remains are buried underneath a Spanish convent. NPR explains how this came to be here.
Cervantes's Final Resting Place
Yes, opening lines are important. Marley was dead. Call Me Ishmael. We remember them, if we remember nothing else about the book. Buzzfeed has come up some fifty plus of the greatest of the opening lines in literature.
Opening Lines of Great Books
I guess it comes as no shock that Powells Bookstore in Oregon is regarded as one of the best. So no wonder, then, that the Guardian has listed it as THE best bookstore in the world! It certainly has quite the inventory. From OregonLive.
Powells: The Best Bookstore in the World
Literature can inspire other kinds of artists to new heights. The folks at QuirkBooks recently listed their favorite top ten love songs based on good books. I was happy to see Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights on that list, a song about as haunting and eerie as the novel itself.
10 Love Songs Based on Good Books
I leave you now to a great weekend, filled with books and reading. And with great music. Here from Richard Rodgers musical, ground-breaking for its time, No Strings with Diahann Carroll and Richard Kiley singing The Sweetest Sounds.
Also...from South Pacific...'You've Got to Be Carefully Taught'