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The Book Booth: It Might As Well Be Spring Edition

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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.
47 Ronin

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.

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The Book Booth: March Comes In Like a Lion Edition

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Image: Michigan Daily

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: March Comes in Like a Lion Edition

April might be the cruelest month, but March has its own reputation. I know many of my friends are having a very cold and snowy winter, so maybe March will provide some relief. Here in our little town, it has been such a mild winter that the Magnolia tree outside my window is in full bloom. It's gorgeous and a month too early.

The red carpets have been rolled up, the parties are long since over and the Oscar ceremony is finished for this year. The film Birdman won the big one, of course. For those who haven't seen the movie (and that would include me), the plot centers around a stage production of a short story by Raymond Carver, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. And this has sparked a new interest in the writer often described as America's Chekov. Publishers Weekly examined the revival here.

Time travel has been a staple in science-fiction for a very long time. Also in film. Those of us old enough to remember George Pal's adaptation of The Time Machine from the early sixties who were enchanted by the Eloi and appalled by the Morlocks still love a good time travel setting. i09 has some suggestions from literature that would make very entertaining films.

Maybe some Hollywood producer would like to do a re-boot of Sherlock Holmes. Oh, wait. It's been done. Twice in the past decade alone. Well, if the writers for these need further inspiration from Arthur Conan Doyle himself, maybe they should be searching the attics of some English houses.
English Attics Hold Treasures

I mentioned a few weeks back that author and perennial Nobel Prize candidate for literature, Haruki Murakami, has begun to write an advice column, that is posted on his website. It has begun, and he has been getting some intriguing questions, and he has given both sympathetic and amusing answers.
Here are some examples. Advice from Haruki Murakami

Most writers would describe their private lives to be dull and rather humdrum. Yet, we, as readers, are fascinated by the lives of the authors. Bustle looked at some recent novels that delve into the inner drama of the literary life.
Authors' Inner Drama

It seems no one was more fascinated by the lives of the writers than J. Edgar Hoover and his acolytes at the FBI. And during the sixties, Hoover seemed to be utterly transfixed by African-American writers, and especially James Baldwin, whose file approached nearly 2000 pages. William Maxwell has written a book about the Bureau and black writers in a new book, F.B.Eyes, where he examines these would-be literary critics. Maxwell talks about his new book here.

I know many of my east coast friend, and in particular my friends in New England, are sick unto death of snow. So I'm not sure that they will love and appreciate these chilly scenes of snow in literature from MentalFloss.
Snow in Literature

Finally, it is a fun parlor game to come up with great first lines and great last lines from literature. The DailyMail in England recently polled its readers for their favorites and the winner was Peter Pan, an unusual choice. Here is the list, which is fairly Anglo-centric, though it was nice to see Dr. Seuss in there. What would be some of your favorite opening lines be?
Your Favorite Opening Lines?

May March bring you all some mild weather and beautiful flowers. And by all means, please let us know what great books you are reading this weekend.

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The Book Booth: Academy Awards Edition

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Image: Oregon Life

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: Academy Awards Edition

Yet another year and once again, the Academy has neglected to nominate me for any awards at all. And after all the years I've put in, watching movies. I don't get it. But others will "get" their awards and, for me, another year of neglect.

Another guy neglected by the Academy was Norman Mailer. Of course if you've ever seen the screen versions of The Naked and the Dead or An American Dream, maybe that is understandable. But at least he'll be having a film adaptation coming up of his Armies of the Night, his account of the march on the Pentagon in 1967.
Armies

F. Scott Fitzgerald closed out his all too brief life, living in Hollywood, where he did screenplay doctoring and had a credit for his work on Three Comrades. His decline is well documented, and sad. Jeff Baker at Oregonlive has these reflections on his Hollywood career.
FSF in LaLa Land

The film version of 50 Shades of Grey opened this past weekend to mega millions of dollars in receipts. I don't think we'll be seeing it nominated for much of anything at next year's Oscars, but who knows? However someone should give an award to Gilbert Gottfried for his reading of the book, which absolutely Not Safe for Work.
50 Shades

I'm certainly not opposed to eroticism in fiction, if done well. TimeOut has these suggestions for books much better written than 50 Shades. I, for one, liked Vox by Nicholson Baker, very much.
Eroticism in Fiction

Here is a fun graphic timeline of books that have been banned over the centuries from PrinterInk. I don't think 50 Shades has made the cut yet for being an important banned book.
Banned Books

Of course To Kill a Mockingbird has been banned at various times and in various places. And with the announcement of a new Harper Lee novel coming out this summer, Sam Tanenhausl at Bloomberg reflects on the endurance of Mockingbird.
Why To Kill a Mockingbird Won't Die

In more fun book news, a new Dr. Seuss book will be published this coming July. It was discovered in his office, fully written, illustrated and entitled What Pet Should I Get. Publishers Weekly has the story here.

How well up are you on your Edgar Allan Poe quotations? And, for that matter, how well do you know your Goth song lyrics? Flavorwire challenges you to guess what is what here in this quiz. Good luck!  Edgar Allen Poe Goth Lyrics Quiz

This week saw the passing of former US Poet Laureate Philip Levine. He was a fine poet, accessible and thoughtful. NPR had this story on his life and work.
Philip Levine Has Left Us

Finally, our little town has had a very mild winter, if we don't count the eight inches of rain we had one day, leading to some major flooding. But the rest of the country seems to have snow. A lot of snow. And a great time to catch up on your reading. Buzzfeed looks at the upside of being snowbound.

Good luck to all you Oscar nominees and hoping I can join you on the red carpet next year! In the meantime, let us know what books you've got going and recommend. A good weekend to us all.

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The Book Booth: St. Valentines Day Edition

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Image: Flavorwire

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: St. Valentines Day Edition

A Happy Valentines Day to all you lovers and sweethearts out there. May you all have a candy tray filled with messaged hearts!

For those of you without a loved one to share the day, perhaps if you were even more interesting than you already are, your love life would spark up. With that in mind, take a look at Emily Temple's list of books that will make you more attractive intellectually. Or maybe not. In any event, Flavorwire has the list here.

The fallout from the news that there is another Harper Lee novel, a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, continues. For a more detailed look at the controversy, The New York Times devoted a lengthy article. Mockingird Prequel/Sequel?

But yet more controversy! Who exactly owns the screen rights to the new novel? Well, my guess is Ms. Lee does. But that doesn't stop people in Hollywood from talking. The Los Angeles Times reports. Mockingbird / Watchman Screen Rights?

Still, really, the big media news story this past week was Jon Stewart's announcement that he would be leaving the Daily Show later this year. Surely, we will all miss the caustic humor of Jon Stewart. But who will miss him the most? Why book publicists, of course, says the Washington Post.
Jon Stewart Is Moving On

Americans are woefully ignorant of literature written outside the United States. That so many of us had never heard of Patrick Modiano until he won the Nobel Prize for literature last year is evidence of that. That used not to be true. I remember when South American writing was all the rage and lively discussions were to be had over many European writers. Why this has come to pass, I don't really know. Bill Morris at the Daily Beast tackles the question here.
European Writers / Foreign Fiction

Maybe we should all try to adopt the plan of English writer Ann Morgan, who tried to read a different book from a different country, all within one year. She described how she blogged her activities and turned those posts into a book for the BBC. H/To to Lucian for finding this one.
Read the World!

In the used book business, we get lots of folks looking for out-of-print tomes all the time. Some are very easy to find. Yet others are obscure and difficult to obtain without a lot of cost. Bookfinder.com has come up with its list of the most requested OP titles for the past year. Not a lot of surprises, but I was sort of stunned to see Stephen King titles in the list. Who lets King go out of print? Thanks to our friend Mark McKay for sending the link along.
Stephen King Out of Print? Say It Isn't So!

To become a good Antiquarian bookseller, it takes a good eye and a lot of knowledge about the history of books, including types of paper, printing processes, etc. Susan Halas knows a great deal more than I do and shared the information some time ago here. Another h/t to Lucian.
Things to Know If You're a Newcomer in the Book Biz

Over the years, Margaret Atwood's A Handmaids Tale has been a classic of dystopian literature. Surprisingly for me, at least, the current Freshman class at West Point was required to read the book. And, even more surprisingly, Ms. Atwood ventured to the Academy to discuss the work and take questions from the cadets. Laura Miller at Salon has the story here.
Margaret Atwood at West Point

Perhaps some sort of dystopia is not that far away. And in the wrong hands, technology just might become evil! What of a future where the book cover judges you? A scary thought that is on the verge of happening. As Kevin McCarthy shouted, They're here, they're here!
Dystopia is Already Here

A Happy Valentines Day for us all. And whether the current book you are reading is romantic or not, let us know what good books you have piled up.

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