Archive for fall

The Book Booth: When the Weather is Fine Edition



Image: BBC

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 the Weather is Fine Edition

The heat abated here early in the week, but summer is not done with us, as it turns out. More heat has arrived and lethargy is sinking into the very marrow of our bones. Some things will wait till tomorrow to get done.

There are now a few signs of impending autumn. Of course all the stores have their back-to-school displays, which went up, I believe, the week after the school year ended in June. Some of the trees here have leaves that are turning color and beginning to drop to the ground. And football season is about to begin.

We do tend to think of football players as not being the sharpest knives in the drawer, which is a sad stereotype, especially when it turns out not to be true. Witness Seattle Seahawk defensive end Michael Bennett who has started a book club among his teammates with their first selection being Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers.
Michael Bennett's Book Club

If the Fall can't get here quickly enough for you, Bustle featured some 14 poems about the season. I'd forgotten how much I liked John Keats poem, and it is included here, as well as Robert Frost.
14 Poems about Fall

And speaking of Mr. Frost and the coming of the Fall, Nathan Gelgud has illustrated Frost's most famous poem, The Road Not Taken, here for Signature. It should put you in the mood for an autumnal stroll.
The Road Not Taken - Illustrated

One of the more interesting stories to come out this week was the news that the Spanish publisher Siloe will be publishing a facsimile edition of the mysterious Voynich manuscript, which has never been deciphered. They are accepting pre-orders and the cost will run you 8 to 9 thousand dollars.
Voynich Manuscript Facsimile Edition

So when did the Book as we know it first appear. I'm sure most of us are familiar with ancient texts having been written on scrolls, which were certainly not the most user-friendly way of reading. Keith Houston discusses the origin of the codex and the bound book here for the BBC.
When Did the Bible Become an Actual Book?

For those of us who have read Josephine Tey's Daughter of Time, we are aware of the controversy that surrounds the short reign of Richard III, who is quite the monster in Shakespeare's play, a classic case of the victors writing history. Here for the Folger Library, is a discussion between historians and Shakespeare scholars about the unfortunate monarch.
Historians and Scholars Debate Who Richard III Really Was

The New Yorker recently featured a couple of articles of note. First Patti Smith offered up some observations on giving book recommendations and making a cameo on the TV series The Killing. I'm not very familiar with the show, but I do see it is on Netflix.
Patti Smith Writes About Her Cancelled Detectives

At age 26, Joe McGinnis became the youngest writer to make the New York Times Bestseller list with his account of the 1968 election of Richard Nixon, The Selling of the President. Success and fame came early to him, as well as some very hard times. His son, Joe McGinnis Jr. recounts memories of the man and the struggles that he endured.
Joe McGinnis, Jr., Writes about His Dad

Finally, some welcome news in that John LeCarre will be publishing a memoir next month titled The Pigeon Tunnel. Publishers Weekly has a nice graphic of the man's work and the film adaptations of his books. I'm looking forward to reading the book.
John LeCarre's Memoir: The Pigeon Tunnel

We hope the weather is fine wherever you happen to be. Enjoy some fine books and let us know what books you are loving.


The Book Booth: More Awards Edition



From: 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. @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: More Awards Edition

Yep, it is that time of year, where awards and nominees for awards are announced. Last week's winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Svetlana Alexievich, was not particularly controversial; she had been the leading candidate in the betting halls. But, as The Telegraph points out, Vladimir Putin is probably not a fan. Here's some background on the new Laureate.
Who is Svetlana Alexievich?

Then, again, the choice of Alexievich may not suit all tastes. Consider the Amazon reviewers! Here are some classic reviews from Amazon about Alexievich, and other previous winners of the Nobel.
Amazon Reviews of Nobel Prize Winners' Books

And earlier this week, the winner of the prestigious Man Booker was announced. Marlon James is a Jamaican writer, who's long and ambitious novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings, is well-regarded by critics, and even described as one as a post-post colonial work. The novel deals with the actual assassination attempt on Bob Marley in 1976, and includes many, many characters and several plot turns.
Man Booker Prize Winner Marlon James

On the other hand, Jeff Chu at Vox thinks the Man Booker should have been Hanya Yanagihara's A Little Life, and he makes a persuasive case. The book is also nominated for the National Book Award, and perhaps will get some recognition there in Novemeber. H/T to my friends Jack John Hall and Marilyn Dahl for the link.
Should A Little Life Have Won the Man Booker?

And speaking of the National Book Awards, the shortlist of nominees is now available. I'm afraid I can't be much help on any of the titles, having read none of them. But my guess is that any or all of them are worth your attention. From Publishers Weekly.
National Book Awards Nominee Shortlist

Most of these writers are no longer in need of writing tips or manuals. But in case you might be, check out these from the novelist William Gass, whose latest work is Eyes: Novellas and Short Stories, and whose previous novels include Omensetter's Luck and The Tunnel. The advice is weird and idiosyncratic. But kind of fun.
Writing Tips from William Gass

Well, it is that time of year, with Halloween looming. The readers at Buzzfeed had these recommendations for great and overlooked horror novels. And I would concur with the selection of M.R. Carey's zombie novel, The Girl with All the Gifts, which is quite good, with thumbs up from both me and Seattle Tammy.
Underrated Horror Books

And I guess these pumpkin spiced lattes are quite the rage this season as well. Quirk Books recently listed some literary characters who probably enjoy quaffing a latte. Though, somehow, Proust's Marcel didn't make the list. I guess he would have stuck with tea along with his madeline cookies.
Pumpkin Spice Latte Drinkers Literature

I've always found Henry David Thoreau as a bit odd and a bit holier than thou. So I read this article by Kathryn Schulz about the mans moral compass very interesting when Lucian passed it along to me. Then, again, other than being an abolitionist, I don't think I'd have been a good transcendentalist.
Kathryn Schulz Trashes Henry David Thoreau in The New Yorker (with good reason)

Finally from the Good News Department, comes a couple of items. First, the powers that be in New Zealand have seen fit to lift the ban on Ted Dawe's young adult novel, Into the River, news of which cheered the author.
NZ Ban on Into the River Lifted

And this is very cool! The Metropolitan Museum of Art now offers as a free download over 400 books for your perusal and enjoyment. Thanks to OpenCulture for alerting us and h/t to my friend Diane Frederick for the link.
Metropolitan Museum of Art - Free Download of Art Books

Have a most pleasant weekend. Try one of those pumpkin-spiced drinks and read some great books. And by all means, let us know what books you are treasuring.


The Book Booth: Nobel Prize Edition


From BookRiot

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: Nobel Prize Edition

Yes, it is the week for the Nobel Prizes and on Thursday the prize in Literature was announced. This years winner is Svetlana Alexievich, a writer of non-fiction from Belarus. Her two best known works, Voices from Chernobyl and Zinky Boys: Soviet Voices from the Afghanistan War, will both be reprinted and released soon. Publishers Weekly has the details here.
Who is Svetlana Alexievich?

And as NPR notes, this is the first non-fiction award in a very long time, when back in the day, both Bertrand Russell and Winston Churchill won the literature award.
NPR on Svetlana Alexievich

It is my birthday weekend, and the family and I are off to the movies to see Ridley Scott's adaptation of Andrew Weir's novel, The Martian. I haven't read the book, but I'm looking forward to the movie. When I was a young boy, I thoroughly enjoyed a movie called Robinson Crusoe on Mars, which I think shares some of the same plot features as The Martian. Incidentally, Angela Watercutter at Wired believes The Martian proves that movies are better than books now. I'm not buying that, but her article has some interesting things to say.
Are Movies Now Better than Books?

Another movie that should spark some reading interest is Suffragette, which stars Meryl Streep and Carey Mulligan, due later this month. BookRiot has some books to suggest about that struggle to obtain the vote for women.
Women's Struggle to Get the Vote

There is a new historical novel that I'm going to check out soon. It's titled Mrs. Engels, and tells the story of Lizzie Burns, who was the mistress of Friedrich Engels, the political partner of Karl Marx. This work is the debut novel of Gavin McCrea who offered up these thoughts on becoming the character one is writing about here.
Becoming the Character You Write About

I don't think the ancient Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh has ever been filmed. But it gets a revision of sorts as twenty new lines have recently been discovered, adding some dimension to our hero.
New Gilgamesh Text Discovered

The next installment of the memoirs of Patti Smith, M Train, has been released. Here she speaks with David Remnick of The New Yorker about the book and some of her works in progress.
Patti Smith Discusses M Train in The New Yorker.

The Fall is truly here in my little town now. The rain has returned and the leaves are spectacular. For those of you who, like me, love this season, may enjoy these literary quotes celebrating the season, from Sarah Seltzer at Flavorwire.
Literary Quotes to Welcome Fall

For some reason I cannot fathom, other than the fact that he never existed, Franklin W. Dixon has never received Nobel Prize consideration. The master writer of the Hardy Boys series certainly was prolific enough. But Frank and Joe Hardy never seemed to have grown up. John Ortved at The New Yorker has these suggested titles for when the boys finally achieve adulthood here. I can't wait to read What Happens at 9:00 PM.
Mysteries theHardy Boys Faced as they Became the Hardy Men

Here's hoping everyone has a fine weekend, filled with pumpkin spiced drinks and lots and lots of books. Please do let us know what titles are charming you


The Book Booth: October Edition



Image: Bustle

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: October Edition

Ok, I'm good with it being October. My medicare kicked in on the first, which is a good thing. The leaves are beginning to look spectacular. The sun is shining and no hurricane looms where I live. However, I was at our local chain drug store and lo, the store has its Christmas aisle up already! And I had just gotten used to seeing the Halloween displays. Apparently our war on Christmas is not succeeding yet.

Pope Francis paid a visit to the US Congress last week to great fanfare. In his address to the members, he mentioned the American Catholic activists Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton, which sent many scurrying to Wikipedia. They both wrote autobiographies, Day's The Long Loneliness and Merton's Seven-Story Mountain. These books are truly outstanding and certainly worth the time even for the non-believer.
Pope Francis, Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton

Of course the Pontiff's visit has not been without controversy. The revelation that he met somehow and in some way with Kim Davis has had a deflating effect on progressives. And then there have been the relentless attacks on Planned Parenthood. But I bear you good news! The author Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, and his wife, Lisa Brown, donated one million dollars to that good organization.
Lemony Snicket's Planner Parenthood Donation

And still more good news. Last week I noted that the book Into the River by Ted Dawe, a young adult novel, had been banned in New Zealand. Well, the folks at Polis Books here in the USofA has obtained the rights here and will publish the book for release probably in June of next year.
Into The River

As noted above, Halloween is a mere twenty-eight days away. Don't put things off to the last minute! If you have children and need some ideas on costuming, take a look at these literary ideas from Buzzfeed!
Trick Or Booking

From the Department of Regrets. Yes, some books get published that their authors would just as soon go out of print and fade from the public memory. Bustle has collected some of these. And yes, Ian Fleming's The Spy Who Loved Me is truly dreadful, though it does have the virtue of being short.
Successful Books Their Authors Hated

Perhaps the "blurb" is an even more important element to a book's design than is its cover art. Blurbs are funny things, and there have been times when I've read some work only to discover that the blurb writer has read a different book than I have. Or at least seemed to. Then there are the writers who also use pseudonyms for some of their work and use their real names to recommend said pseudonym's new book. In any case, NPR took a look at the blurb recently here.
Those Irrestible Blurbs

Here's something Ernest Hemingway and I have in common. We're both pack rats. However the detritus of my life will never be on display at the Morgan Library and Museum as Hemingway's recently has.
Papa Was a Pack Rat

The passing of literary agent Carmen Balcells at age 85 last week may have slipped under the radar of many. But she was a force and helped to champion the Latin American literary Renaissance of the sixties and beyond. The New Yorker profiled her here.
Carmen Balcells Latino Literary Agent Extraordinaire

Yes, this may be the age of the electronic reader, for all its ills and virtues. Still, there really is nothing like holding a book in your hands. Bustle outlines the pleasures of the printed page here.
There's Nothing Like a Real Book!

Have a great weekend, filled with some good words and stories and please let us know what books have captured your imagination.