Archive for fall

The Book Booth: Happy Fall Edition


Image: ElectricLit

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 Fall Edition

The autumn leaves have begun to fall, if my backyard is any indication. I mowed the other day, and I chopped a few of them into little pieces. There is something satisfying about the crunching sounds the leaves make when the mower passes over them. I hope all of you are enjoying the new season.

With the new season, it is time to enjoy the harvest. SeattleTammy looks forward to making good soups, which she does very well, mind you. And with good food, there should be good books. ElectricLit recommends some Good Eating Books!

Do you ever wonder what the Lords of Silicon Valley read? The folks at Wired checked out Marc Andreessen's of Andreessen/Horowitz and were surprised by what they found. Pogo, Peanuts and Kevin Brownlow's cinema history and much more. H/ t to Lucian for the link.
Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist's Library

I've recently been talking about the new Library of America edition of Ursula Le Guin's early novels. It just so happens, that the Paris Review has excerpted Ms. Le Guin's introduction which you can read here.
Ursula LeGuin on Her Work:
The MotherlandFinding—and writing—the worlds where only I had been

I've noticed that as a general rule, people on the political right often lack imagination. They seem not to enjoy reading, the stage, or stories in general. For those of us who do read, we seem to have more sympathetic, even empathetic qualities. There may be good reason for this phenomenon, as Tom Blunt at Signature explains.
How Literary Fiction Teaches Us to be Human

For those of you who'd like a poetry fix, check out the profile in the New Yorker of English poet Alice Oswald by Dan Chiasson. Her work taking off on Homer looks very interesting.
Poetry Fix! Poetry Fix! Get Your Poetry Fix Here!

This link from BuzzFeed is fun. It has over twenty underused words. And here I thought absquatulate meant running off with the bosses wife. I was close.
Give Those Underused Words Some Exercise!

Sadly we lost two fine writers this past week. W. P. Kinsella was a prolific Canadian writer, often using baseball as a touchstone. His Shoeless Joe is a masterwork, turned into the good Kevin Costner film Field of Dreams. Alas, I'm unconvinced that Joe Jackson deserves a shot at the Hall of Fame, but the novel has some wonderful moments.
Shoeless Joe Author Kinsella Has Left Us

And playwright Edward Albee, who penned Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, among many other works, passed away at 88.
Edward Albee Has Also Moved On to The Next Adventure

Enjoy this new season and our hopes that your harvests have been good to you. Sit back, relax and read a good book. And let us know what works you are loving this weekend.


The Book Booth: September Song Edition


Image Literary Arts Organization

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: September Song Edition

The direction of time is certainly moving toward Fall here. Many of the trees have those vibrant colors and the sun keeps setting earlier every night. SeattleTammy and I are preparing for the inevitable. We replaced the furnace filters this week and vacuumed out the ducts. Now to winterize the garden.

With the coming of the Fall come the prizes. The National Book Foundation revealed this week its longlist for the awards to be presented in November. In the fiction category, my money is on Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad.
National Book Foundation Awards

And with an awards ceremony of its own in late October, the Man Booker shortlist was also announced this past week and includes two American, two Canadian and two British authors. I have to admit I'm not familiar with these works, but Paul Beatty is a good and unusual nominee. The Nobel Prizes will be awarded in early October, so stay tuned.
Man Booker Award Coming Soon

If you happen to be in Portlandia Oregon on November 5th, go check out the annual Portland Book Festival, presented by the folks at Wordstock. There will be many, many authors attending.
Wordstock Portland Book Festival

So you'd like to be a writer but you're stuck. The blank page terrifies you and you don't know where to start, where to go, who to turn to. Well, these authors have advice and a lot of the suggestions here are quite a help. From the Guardian..
Yes! I Want to Write a Book! How Do I Get Started?

Some writers work fast, others take their time. Did you know it took Anthony Burgess less time to write A Clockwork Orange than it took Dickens to write A Christmas Carol? MentalFloss has a nice graphic here on how long it took certain works to be written.
How Long Did It Take to Write That Book?

Once you've written the book that's been inside you these many years, there comes the matter of getting it published. No easy task for many. But do take heart. The Stranger by Albert Camus had to overcome many obstacles to see the light of day, including getting by the censors of the occupying German army, as Alice Kaplan, author of Looking for the Stranger: Albert Camus and the Life of a Literary Classic, explains here.
Getting The Stranger Published Was No Piece of Cake

Jonathan Safran Foer, the author of Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, has a newly published novel out, Here I Am. The good people at Farrar Straus, and Giroux have an excerpt here for your perusal.
Excerpt from Here I Am

If I may, I'd like to suggest the work of my good friend John Olson. John is a charming and versatile poet as you can see from this piece he published at the Seattle Review of Books.
John Olson in the Seattle Review of Books

John has also written a new novel, In Advance of the Broken Justy, the details of which are here.

I am, as some of you may have noted, a big fan of the Library of America editions. It seems that they have now published American Musicals, a collection of some sixteen librettos of some of the best out there. But, as Steve Vineburg notes here, some musicals survive the transition from stage to screen better than others.
Musicals on the Big Screen

I'll leave you now to enjoy Walter Huston performing September Song, music written by Kurt Weill and lyrics by Maxwell Anderson for their 1938 show Knickerbocker Holiday.

Have a most gratifying weekend and please do let us know what books you are loving.


The Book Booth: Here Comes the Rain Again Edition



Image: 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.  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: Here Comes the Rain Again Edition

I generally refuse to acknowledge that Labor Day marks the end of summer. Officially the equinox is not until September 22nd and that is nearly three weeks after the holiday. However, our weather is mild here, the leaves keep turning and we had a rain front move through the other night, so I guess I'll have to review the situation.

With September we do have back-to-school going on. I see the kids in my neighborhood, backpacks attached, walking to and from school. They look...ready. I'm not seeing glee in their faces, but then, again, they don't look bored either. And with back-to-school, we have a list from the Guardian of the best College novels. It's a good one, especially with the now forgotten Lucky Jim included. However the list does not have the best one written, Stoner, the fascinating novel by John Williams which you should now go read if you haven't already.
Campus Novels / University Life

If like me, you won't give summer up just yet, the author Jess Walter offers up a summer tale, In the Woods, which Mr. Walters advises you should stay the hell out of.
The Woods: Not a Place You Want to Be

If you're in the mood for a comical short story, take a look at Robert Coover's latest, Invasion of the Martians, over at the New Yorker. It takes on contemporary politics as well as some of the sillier aspects of popular culture. And I do recommend reading Coover. I think his novel about Richard Nixon and the Rosenbergs, The Public Burning, still holds up after forty years.
When Martians Invade!

We are all familiar with the tales of the Brothers Grimm, Snow White, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood. Well, the folks at MentalFloss have for you some of their more obscure tales, and they are weird, indeed.
Less Known Grimm Brothers' Fairy Tales

Some good news from Scribners this past week. Next year they will publish short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald that have not seen print before. Apparently at the time he wrote them, they were deemed a bit too controversial for most 1930's magazines.
Unpublished Stories from F Scott Fitzgerald to Finally See the Light of Day

One of the most fascinating figures from the 19th century was the Swiss writer and explorer, Isabelle Eberhardt. Here Jamie James describes her life in an excerpt from his new book The Glamour of Strangeness: Artists and the Last Age of the Exotic.
Isabelle Eberhardt's Life

We have grown accustomed to first person and unreliable third person narratives. But it seems the growing trend is a return to the omniscient narrator in fiction which Elliott Holt discusses here for the New York Times Book Review.
Who Knows What the Shadow Knows? The Omniscient Narrator 

Sad news in the field of young children's books in that the author and illustrator Anna Dewdney passed away this week at age 50 from brain cancer. NPR had this appreciation of the woman best known for her Llama Llama series.
Llama Llama Author Leaves Us

Have a most pleasant weekend, filled with good books, as always. Let us know what book is sitting on top of your to-be-read pile and enjoy.


The Book Booth: Keep Watching The Skies Edition



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: Keep Watching the Skies Edition

There has been a lot of news from the world of astronomy as late. A possible earth-like planet in the Centurai system, our closest neighbor in this part of the galaxy. Weird fluctuations from the Tabby star which may or may not indicate intelligent life elsewhere. Or the odd radio waves from a star some 95 light years away; our first radio transmission would just now be received there, and any extraterrestrials there would learn we'd elected Warren Harding president.

With that in mind, there is news from the genre of Science Fiction this week. And although she dislikes being "pigeonholed" as a writer exclusively of that, it was announced that Ursula Le Guin's early work will soon appear in the Library of America. For the New York Times here she muses on her work and her chances of winning the Nobel Prize for literature.
Ursula LeGuin Speaks with NYT about her Early Work

This past week JetBlue flew the first commercial flight from the US to Havana in decades. Perhaps now we will know more about the literary scene in Cuba these days. As a start, Paul La Farge reviews the history of sci-fi writing there for The New Republic.
History of Sci-Fi Literature in Cuba

We also have celebrated the birth anniversary of one of the mothers of science fiction this week in Mary Shelley, born in 1797. It isn't often I get to link to a site like Classic Monsters, which is fun to look around in.
Who Was Mary Shelley?

Come November you may want to check out this movie, Arrival, a science fiction film featuring a linguist as hero and based on Ted Chiang's novella Story of Your Life. Quartz talks about it here, along with a trailer for the film. ?
A Linguist as a Hollywood Hero?

Congrats to N.K. Jemisin who became the first African-American to win the Hugo for Best Novel this year with her book The Fifth Season. (Octavia Butler and Samuel Delany both won Hugos, but not for best novel). She talks about the work, and its relationship to modern day issues like diversity here.
N.K. Jemisin on Writing

Before 1945, nuclear weapons were the stuff of science fiction. Not so much after that, except in apocalyptic literature that abounded soon thereafter. It has been seventy years since the New Yorker devoted a full issue to John Hersey's great work Hiroshima. The Millions has the story behind it here.
The Story of John Hersey's Hiroshima

I suppose we might consider Thomas More's Utopia something of precursor to the genre. In any event, it has now celebrated its 500th birthday, and certainly doesn't look a day over 450. Erik Reece at Works-in-Progress talks about the legacy of More's work here.
Thomas More's Utopia

Ms. Le Guin is not the only writer to have had an edition published in the Library of America series. Elmore Leonard's Four Later Novels has also been released and includes his Hollywood novel Get Shorty. Greg Sutter explains the origin of that work for us here.
Lithub Covers the Writing of Get Shorty

Oh, the hazards of book translations. Esther Allen has recently translated the novel Zama, a classic work from Argentina and explains that Google translate isn't the tool you'd want to use.
Esther Allan on Translating

Have a great Labor Day weekend my friends and have some fun with your reading. And please let us know what great books you've got going that we may be missing out on.