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, as well a brick and mortar in small town Washington State. Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.
I know the holiday is still a few days off, but you wont see another post from me for another week when all the hoopla is over and we are all still digesting food. So a great holiday, all!
Giving thanks this past week were the winners of the National Book Awards. In something of a surprise, James McBride won for his novel Good Lord Bird, a story narrated by an escaped slave. Not so surprising was that Thomas Pynchon was a no-show.
We can only hope that the Awards don't go to the winners heads. As Lindesay Irvine at the Guardian explains, success can be the kiss of death for some authors.
With Thanksgiving coming up, you know there will be plenty of football to watch on the TV machine. It has been said that as a rule of thumb, when it comes to writing about sports, the smaller the ball, the better the writing. Jason Diamond at Flavorwire shows this isn't necessarily true (though there is one baseball book) with his recommendations for sports books that even non-fans would enjoy.
With it being the 150 year anniversary of the American Civil War, I've been watching (again, because I keep forgetting who wins), the Ken Burns documentary that aired some years ago. Of course one of the most charismatic of the commenters on that show was the late Shelby Foote. So it was something of a surprise to learn that he was a huge Marcel Proust fan. And now that it has been 100 years since Proust self-published Swann's Way, William Carter at Speakeasy wonders how well the book has held up. (And makes me wonder what people will be still reading 100 years from now.)
Making the rounds of book signings and reading has been space flyer Chris Hadfield, who recently published An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth. Paddy passed along this fine post and book trailer from BoingBoing. And in case you missed it a couple of weeks ago, here is a good interview of Hadfield from Bob Edwards Weekend show.
The folks at the Oxford English Dictionary recently announced their new word of the year. It turns out that Selfie (I had to go look it up) beat out such other fine neologisms as "schmeat" and "twerk".
Years ago, when I worked for what was then a major chain store, books were tagged with both the price as well as number that indicated to us clerks what section of the store to stock these books. We had to be careful, though, as sometimes there would be slip-ups. For instance, Philip Roth had published a book entitled The Breast, and the tag helpfully noted it should be stocked in the Health section. And I guess these slip-ups continue at other stores. This one was bound to upset some people.
(From Seatle Tammy- P.S. to the Costco Bible story. This guy says he had posted it as snark, and it went viral on him. I think it's interesting that preachers aren't allowed a sense of humor in modern America.)
I don't use Twitter nearly as much as I should. But, then again, I'm not a famous literary personage. So here are some first tweets by the famous of the writing arts.
This past week saw the passing of the writer and Nobel Laureate, Doris Lessing at age 94. HuffPo had this remembrance and video about her.
It is wonderful thing to be able to discover a forgotten writer or book, as I did recently with John Williams and his beautiful novel Stoner. Gabe Habash at Publishers Weekly has the same feeling about the obscure but wonderful writer, Barry Hannah.
Finally, 2013 also marks the centennial of the birth of Albert Camus. The Guardian took the opportunity to offer this quiz on how existential you are. I guess I'm not as much as I thought I'd be.
A Happy Holiday for our readers, who I hope will be able to enjoy a long weekend of food and books. And let us know what tome you're paging through!