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. @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: It Might As Well Be Spring Edition
Ok, ok, maybe it doesn't seem like Spring where you live, but I'll bet you wish it did. It certainly remains that way in my little town. And even with the equinox still two weeks from now, the explosion of flora around here is lovely. If it isn't where you live, rest assured that it will be soon.
On the book front, Kazuo Ishiguro, author of The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go, his first published work in a decade. It's titled The Buried Giant, and is set in Arthurian England. The book likes it might be fun, populated as it is with pixies and dragons and deals with collective memory. Ishiguro talked with HuffPo about the new book and you can read the interview here.
The Remains of the Day remains one of my favorite novels. It's narrator is one of those pesky unreliable ones, a long standing tradition in the novel. Recently at Publishers Weekly, Jeremy M. Davies and Colin Winnette discussed some of those slightly skewed story tellers. They purposely leave out Nabokov, Faulkner and Ford Maddox Ford. So some of the narrators, I'm not familiar with (aside from Beckett's Krapp).
But it is an interesting discussion.
Unreliable Narrators in Literature
Lisa Simpson, being one of the most well-read cartoon characters I know of, is probably well-versed in concepts like the unreliable narrator. But she's into Sabermetrics, too, and has Bill James on her shelf. The folks at Bustle examined her reading habits recently and it kind of puts me to shame.
What does Lisa Simpson read?
For the graphic novel enthusiasts among us, one of the great Japanese legends, the 47 Ronin has now been published in comic form. Pay no attention to poor American film adaptations and read the real thing. H/T to my friend, Ilsa.
If you are looking for someone new to pick up and read, check out Isaac Fitzgerald's suggestions of some contemporary writers of color over at Buzzfeed. He makes some solid choices, not the least of whom are Paul Beatty, Zadie Smith and Colson Whitehead, all brilliant novelists.
Contemporary Writers You Should Read
Then there are writers who grow to hate their creations and wish they had never published. Over at MentalFloss, nine authors who grew to hate their success are discussed, including Lewis Carroll, A.A. Milne and Anthony Burgess.
Success? Not for everyone.
At the recent Oscar ceremony, Lady Gaga performed a tribute on the 50 year anniversary to The Sound of Music, which, of course, was based on a memoir by Maria Von Trapp. At the outset, I have to say that I love both Broadway and Hollywood musicals. And I love the work of Rodgers and Hammerstein. Except for this one. I've always thought it overblown and sappy. (The best thing that came out The Sound of Music was the wonderful version of My Favorite Things by John Coltrane.) Nevertheless, I do acknowledge it as the cultural phenomenon that it has become. The BBC examines its impact here. Big H/T to Lucian for sending the link to me, and putting up with my email comments to him.
How A Simple Memoir Became 'The Sound of Music'
From the department of right-wing lunacy, it seems a certain Kansas state legislator, one Mary Pilcher-Cook, would like to criminalize certain books. Who knows which ones they might be, but I think we are going to see a lot more of this kind of thing in the future, bringing us all closer to some dystopian future. This is why local elections matter! H/T to both my friend Diane and Lucian, once again.
It's Right Wing Book Burning Time Again! (or almost)
On a brighter note, if you happen to be looking for a gift for your book-loving friend, check out some of these mugs featured at Buzzfeed. I love the Penguin mugs, so if you happen to be looking for a present for me....
Cool Book Mugs!
Finally, I talk a great deal about independent booksellers here. It seems that indies are, at last, finding their ground and beginning to compete with the chains and Amazon more effectively. The Daily Beast recently examined the state of modern independent bookselling here.
Indies Fight Back!
Have a wonderful, allergy-free weekend, filled with lots of books. And, by all means, please share with us what books you are enjoying.