Archive for fascism

The Book Booth: What Keeps Mankind Alive Edition



Image: Publishers Weekly

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: What Keeps Mankind Alive Edition

Thanksgiving has passed and our tummies should now be sated and well-fed again. Black Friday has come and gone and I hope you all remembered to shop locally, which is especially important in the days and years to come. I hope everyone enjoyed their feasts and are ready to settle back with a good book.

The Oxford Dictionaries have announced their word for the year, 'post-truth' which means: “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”. Seems appropriate. It beat out 'alt-right', a word invented by its proponents and that I won't use to describe them when 'fascist' seems a lot handier.
'Post-truth' is Oxford Dictionaries' Word of the Year

The rise of American fascism was predicted by Sinclair Lewis in his 1935 work It Can't Happen Here, a book I read earlier this year. It certainly resonates today and with the election of Trump, the sales of the book has remarkably increased. I'd recommend reading it, if you haven't already.
Sinclair Lewis's 'It Can't Happen Here'

What should we read now that we are in the post-election blues? Booksellers around the country have some suggestions for you that can either cheer you up or help you understand what the hell happened.
What Should We Read Now?

Trump's election has also seen an influx of donations to Planned Parenthood (good) and an increase in women seeking long-term birth control, a precaution that is very understandable considering the clowns Trump has surrounded himself with. Emily Temple at LitHub has, in view of the current state of affairs. come up with a list of forty new feminist works that are well worth looking for and reading.
Feminist Classics You Should Read

On a lighter note, the Literary Review has issued its short list for the Bad Sex in Writing Award for this past year. And, yes, the writing here is pretty awful. Here are the nominees with passages included for your edification.
Bad Sex in Writing

Frank Herbert's Dune and its sequels have long been achieved the status of classics. But for those of us who have not read them, and attempted to understand it through the lens of David Lynch's film, are still in the woods about what it's all about. Fortunately for us, a new team of producers has picked up the rights to the books for film and tv, so now we may have a chance to join the club of Dune lovers.
Dune Revisited - On the Big Screen?

Looking for something different to give as a gift this holiday season? Check out these literary tights, which look pretty darn good.
Read Classic Texts On Literary Tights

We lost another literary limelight this past week in William Trevor who passed away at age 88. His short stories have been compared quite favorably to Chekov's. I saw his play Scenes from an Album performed at the Abbey Theater in Dublin many years ago. It was a play that explored the tensions between the Anglo-Irish gentry and the Catholic population and was quite powerful, as I recall.
William Trevor Has Left Us

I'll close with an anti-thanksgiving song of a sort. It is hard to not be cynical now, and I do fight its temptation, but there is truth here in what Tom Waits sings in this Brecht-Weill song from The Threepenny Opera.

I hope all and everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving holiday with much cheer and food and companionship. Now is the time to digest, kick back and enjoy a good book. And please do tell what works you are enjoying this weekend.


The Book Booth: First We Take Manhattan Edition



Image: NYTimes

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: First We Take Manhattan Edition

It's been a hard week, but we have managed to get through it. The struggle for justice and peace will continue in spite of our setbacks. And, for now, life goes on.

The Awards continued with the announcement of the National Book Award winners at a ceremony this past Wednesday night. Larry Wilmore hosted the event, and as NPR reported "Host Larry Wilmore set the tone early, taking aim at the president-elect with a series of quips and barbs in his opening monologue. Of Trump's election last week, Wilmore noted: "It's exciting in the way that an asteroid hurtling toward Earth is exciting." Among the winners were novelist Colson Whitehead for his novel Underground Railroad and Representative John Lewis for his collaboration on a young adult book March: Book Three.
NBA Awards

As it turns out, Bob Dylan will not be attending the ceremony for the Nobel Prize. He cited schedule conflicts. He would not be the first laureate not to attend, and must only deliver or have delivered a lecture of some kind in the next few months.
Bob Dylan Will Not Attend Nobel Prize Ceremony

Obviously there has been a lot of reaction in the literary world to the election of Donald Trump. There is much wariness and alarm. Here you can read the statement from the Authors Guild which is frightening.
Authors Guild Statment On President-Elect Trump

The New Yorker asked several writers for short essays on the election results, including novelists Hilary Mantel, Toni Morrison, as well as political writer Jeffrey Toobin and the aforementioned Larry Wilmore. The responses are well worth your time.
New Yorker Authors on President-Elect Trump

For what is in store for us, who can tell. But the calls for resistance are beginning and not without cause. Emily Temple at Lithub suggests 25 books for dealing with the anger and for action.
It's Time for Action

Andrew Liptak at The Verge has some suggestions as well, including the best of the dystopian novels that the Sci-fi genre has to offer.
Get Ready for Dystopia Right Here in the US

Another writer we should be reading in these times would be Kurt Vonnegut. His writing was always perceptive, interesting and, at times, very funny, and who couldn't use a laugh? Marc Leeds has recently compiled The Vonnegut Encyclopedia and here, for Publishers Weekly, he lists his top ten books by that master of the word.
Best Kurt Vonnegut Books

Billy Pilgrim was Vonnegut's character in Slaughterhouse Five, a man who survived the fire bombing of Dresden and was a spastic in time. Time travel has long been a staple in science-fiction. Here John Lanchester reviews for the New York Review of Books a new work by James Gleick, Time Travel: A History, which gives a good overview of the subgenre.
Time Travel

One of the good guys in modern literature is Michael Chabon, author of many novels, including his latest one, Moonglow, a fictional memoir of his family. Here Doree Shafrir profiles the man and his work for Buzzfeed.
Michael Chabon: An Underdog On Top of the World?

Sadly this past week we also lost poet, novelist and songwriter Leonard Cohen, who'd only recently released a new album of songs. I remember in my late teens when I first heard him sing Suzanne, Sisters of Mercy and That's No Way to Say Goodbye on his first album. There were more great songs to come, and now he will be sorely missed.
Leonard Cohen

Again, do not despair. Find a good book, take some time to breathe and have the best possible weekend you can. Enjoy this tune by Mr. Cohen and please let us know what books you are loving.


The Book Booth: You Fascists Are Bound To Lose Edition



Image: YouTube

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: You Fascists are Bound to Lose Edition

That was sure one horrible, no good week. I don't know what I can say that will make it any better. But we do have books, written words that can help salve and heal and help us move on to change things.

For those of you who have some need of historical background on the men who have served as President, for good or bad, the publisher Melville House has a story for each one.
44 Stories About Our Presidents

I was reminded the other night that the most admired memoir from a President is probably Ulysses S. Grant's. Grant had some help in writing from Mark Twain, of course. And remarkably, Grant is considered to have been a poor President, with one of the more corrupt administrations in our history. But when it comes to writing, Barack Obama is no slouch, and his memoir should make him a dime or two.
Who Will Publish President Obama's Bio?

The President-elect will not find that he has a fan in Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin. Here's from Martin's blog, from a day or two ahead of the election.
What Game of Thrones Author George RR Martin Thinks of Our Next President

Stephen Price has written a historical novel By Gaslight, which he talks about here for WorkinProgress. The story revolves around William Pinkerton, son of Detective Alan, and the Civil War. Price tells us "Somehow By Gaslight became, in the end, a story of witness, of what comes next, asking what it means to survive in a catastrophic age, when a country is divided, and willing to tear itself apart." Which seems to be highly relevant today.
Stephen Price on Writing By Gaslight

Actress Emma Watson of Harry Potter film series fame, is following in the footsteps of Bryan Cranston and leaving books around in public places. Ms. Watson has a book club, Our Shared Shelf, that she is promoting. I think this is a wonderful idea.
That Book You See on a London Underground Bench Might Have Been Left There By Hermione Granger

Publisher Christopher Kimball is the well-known founder of the Cooks Illustrated magazine and America's Test Kitchen, which he recently left with some amount of acrimony to found a new magazine, Milk Street. Not so fast say his ex-colleagues at Test Kitchen, who delivered a 39 page lawsuit to Mr. Kimball. The New York Times has the story.
What's Cooking in the Test Kitchen?

Marc Myers new book Anatomy of a Song describes the origin of 45 popular songs from varied genres, including Midnight Train to Georgia and Street Fighting Man. The Washington Post reviews it here and it does look like a lot of fun.
The Stories Behind the Songs

With a big sigh, we conclude our week in hopes that we do not despair and live our lives in fear. Remember what Woody told us and let's get going! I hope your weekend is filled with books and with hope.


The Book Booth: Don't Stand in the Doorway Edition


bookboothfavoritechairsw284h202Image: Book Keeping

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: Don't Stand in the Doorway Edition

Well, here it is, kids. We have a big week ahead of us. For those of you who live in a mail-in state, get those ballots to the PO. And if you live in a state that has early voting, go do it. Or if you wait till Tuesday, by all means, get to the polling place. Vote like your life depends on it, because it might vey well.

Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan finally spoke about the prize. He'll be there if "he at all can" to pick up his award. I guess even Bob Dylan can feel overwhelmed.
Bob Dylan Will (probably) Attend the Nobel Prize Ceremony

As I noted last week, Paul Beatty became the first American to win the Man-Booker Prize for fiction. For those of you unfamiliar with his work, check out this illuminating interview with Guernica, where he discusses his work at some length.
Paul Beatty on His Fiction

Here are a couple of interesting articles from publisher Farrar Straus Giroux's blog, Works in Progress. First comes Witold Rybczynkski's meditation on chairs, talking about favorite chairs, and his new book Now I Sit Me Down. Do you have a favorite chair? Mine is the orange swivel chair in front of my computer. The cats like it, too, and often try to steal it from me. Being cats, they do not like sharing it with me.
Favorite Chairs

David Hadju is one of our finest writers on music. His biography of Billy Strayhorn, Lush Life, is a fascinating read about one of the great jazz composers and arrangers. And his work Positively 4th Street is one of the best books about the young Bob Dylan. His new book is Love for Sale: Pop Music in America. Here he talks about eleven popular songs and their significance today.
Love for Sale: Pop Music in America

It must be that time of year. Publishers Weekly revealed its picks for the best books of 2016.
Best Books of 2016

Bryan Cranston is not only a terrific actor (check out his turn as Dalton Trumbo in the eponymous movie, not just his work in Breaking Bad), but he's a swell guy. He's recently published his memoir A Life in Parts and has developed a penchant for buying copies of his book, signing them, and leaving them for strangers to pick up and read.
Bryan Cranston Buys and Signs Books for You!

Quiz time. Can you name the titles of these books by their cover art? I knew most of them, though I admit to missing a couple here.
Can You Tell a Book by Its Cover?

And we may as well indulge ourselves in a graph. Here is something of a pie-chart that illustrates word count and the time taken to write for certain novels. No real surprises, but still kind of cool.
A Pie Chart Graph of Word Count vs Time to Write

I suppose it is time to think about holiday gift giving, especially if shopping on line. Here are some book accessories for your friend or family member who has every book ever published and really doesn't need another book.
What to Get for the Book Lover Who Already Has Far Too Many Books?  Book Accessories, Of Course!

Finally, along with my urging to vote, here's what could be at stake. Umberto Eco in 1995 defined these fourteen qualities of fascism, which all are recognizable in our politics today. H/T to my nephew Derek for posting this on Facebook where I could find it.
What's At Stake in This Election? A Fascist or a Democratic Future for the USA - No Less, Not an Exaggeration

Go vote now if you can! And then settle back with a good book and try not to let your nerves get fried. Please let us know what books have you engrossed and let's hope for the best this coming week