Archive for Halloween

The Book Booth: His Back Pages Edition

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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.  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: His Back Pages Edition

I had mentioned in previous posts up to the Nobel announcement, that Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami had been the favorite to win, and I think he will in the next year or two. He well deserves the prize. The two American authors favored were Philip Roth and Joyce Carol Oates. So the reaction to Bob Dylan's "win" was highly unanticipated (his odds had been listed at like 50 to 1) and met with some furor. I don't know why that should be. The man writes words. His words have had a huge impact and influence in the literary world. That he is a mere lyricist is nonsense. Here are some of the reactions for your consideration. Please note the gracious response from Ms. Oates.
Joyce Carol Oates on Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize Win

Actually Jon Pareles of the New York Times says it a whole lot better than I can.
John Pareles on Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize Win

And certainly there are other writers who appreciate the words of Bob Dylan and some of them reflected for the New Yorker on their favorite lines.
Writers Thoughts on their Favorite Bob Dylan Lines

Not so oddly for anyone who has followed his career, Bob Dylan himself has made no public comment on the award, and even the Swedish committee has not really talked to him. Who knows if he'll show up at the ceremony in December or not? I suspect he will. He's accepted many academic awards in person. I see no reason other than having a disruption in his touring schedule that he won't go.
Will Bob Dylan Appear at the Nobel Prize Awards Ceremony?

From My Poetic Side is a cool map, that show how many writers have won for each country.
Literature Nobel Prize Winners by Country

D.H. Lawrence never won the Nobel Prize. Had he lived past his 44th year, maybe he'd have had a shot at it. Personally, I've never been a fan. However as a passionate defender of the First Amendment and hater of censorship, I can still appreciate what Barney Rosset of the Grove Press tried to do in getting Lady Chatterly's Lover published.
D.H.Lawrence and Lady Chatterly's Lover Changed America

With the holidays coming up, so is party season. The folks at Electric Lit have listed the eleven most famous parties in literature. It does not include the famous party which appears near the conclusion of Proust's In Search of Lost Time, which has epiphanic affect on the narrator, but oh well. And by the way, speaking of parties, the long neglected writer from the 1920's, Carl Van Vechten, has a whole novel devoted to parties and it's well worth reading.
Literary Parties

In case you are invited (and who hasn't been,eh?) to a literary themed Halloween party, you may want to check out these costume ideas from Bustle. Miss Havisham is particularly creepy.
Creepy Literary Costume Party Ideas

We all have, if we have pets, the smartest cats and dogs that are to be had. My cats are, of course, exceptional. But it would seem there are other animals that are pretty darn bright. The Guardian features some that you'll find on the printed page.
Bright Animals in Literature

Leaves of Grass is one of the masterworks of American Literature. But until I saw this article, I had no idea that Edward Weston the photographer had published an illustrated edition many years ago. Allison Meier at Hyperallergic has the story here.
Leaves of Grass Illustrated by Edward Weston's Photography

Have a most relaxed and entertaining weekend and please let us know what your reading pleasures are.

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The Book Booth: Halloween Edition

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Smiling Pumpkin image from 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: Halloween Edition

Today is the day. All the ghosts and goblins and witches will invade our neighborhoods, demanding candy and other goodies. The full moon has just passed, adding to the overall eerie night. Be careful opening that door! You don't know what creepiness might await you...and just what is that rapping noise coming from the attic?

Still haven't carved that pumpkin? No worries. The folks at Bustle have you covered with these spooky literary ideas.
Literary Pumpkins

For those of you planning to attend a Halloween party tonight and you're stuck for a costume idea, check out these suggestions that are also from Bustle.
Literary Halloween Costumes

Of course you could go to a Halloween party dressed as one of the GOP candidates, any of which could scare you nearly to death. Clown makeup would be a must. Perhaps not so over the top as Pennywise in the novel It. But you certainly would induce coulrophobia among the other guests. In any event, politicians have always been on the receiving end of many an insult. Here is some of the best insults by authors for their political foes.
Writers Insult Politicians

And if visiting haunted homes is your idea of a great vacation, there are plenty of literary ones to choose from, including Shirley Jackson's and H.P. Lovecraft's. One hope Cthulu doesn't answer the door.
Literary Haunted Houses

Although it would be very cool to visit Middle Earth, one really cannot in the physical sense. But if one could, it sure would be handy to have a map annotated by J.R.R. Tolkien.
J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth Map

So you woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across your head, made your way downstairs and had a cup, looked up and noticed you were late...and made the bus in seconds flat...But you forgot your book! No worries! The French have solved that pesky problem. HT to good friend Caleb for the link.
Get Your Short Stories Here!

The Library of America does beautiful reprints from the best in American literature. Christopher Carduff was hand-picked by John Updike to edit Updike's works. Here Carduff chooses the top ten from the authors works for Publishers Weekly. Oddly, he did not mention Couples, which was something of a breakout novel for Updike. But he did pick my favorite, Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu.
The 10 Best John Updike Books

It is something quite remarkable and good that we currently have a President who loves to read and read fiction. Here is the interview (part 2) that President Obama had with novelist Marilynne Robinson.
Marilynne Robinson Interviews President Obama On His Reading

We note the passing of the much admired novelist Paul West, who has struggled with health issues for some time now. I very much liked his The Very Rich Hours of Count Von Stauffenberg, his richly imagined narrative of the man who attempted to assassinate Hitler. The New York Times has the obituary here.
Paul West Has Left Us at 85

Finally, some book decorating inspirtation. Buzzfeed recently featured these beautiful rooms which prove Virginia Woolf's dictum that books do furnish a room. Enjoy.
How Books Complete Rooms

Have a happy, safe and very spooky Halloween! And by all means let us know what books have given you the chills on these autumn nights.

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The Book Booth: October Edition

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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.

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The Book Booth: All Souls Day Edition

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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.

Here's hoping everyone survived Halloween. Today is the Day of the Dead, celebrated in many Latin American countries and tomorrow is All Souls Day. And a good time to remember those who have left us.

I'm guessing all your pumpkins have already been carved and you may be thinking of taking them to compost bin. But you might want to save this link for next year, as Buzzfeed has some great literary ideas for the orange gourds. Pumpkins

Even with Halloween over for this year, one might still be in the mood for some scary stories. Emily Temple at Flavorwire listed her favorite fifty short stories which seems exhaustive. Short Stories

And if that isn't enough, ElectricLit has its own list of macabre stories to chill your blood.  Macabre Stories

Our own Lucian has alerted me that as a special Halloween treat, J.K. Rowling has posted a new Harry Potter story online. Buzzfeed has the scoop.  Dolores Umbridge

Speaking of things fantastic, J.R.R. Tolkien has long been the subject of adulation among his legion of fans. Recently MentalFloss reposted an article from 2010 in which it is suggested that you may not know all you think you know about the man.  Who Was JRR Tolkien?

I have long been a big fan of Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano, memorably filmed by John Huston. So it is exciting news that a draft of a novel that Lowry had worked on before Volcano and long thought lost, is now to be published. The BBC has the story of Ballast to the White Sea here: Ballast

To be quite honest, I never was a huge Archie Andrews fan. I was much more into the DC superheroes. But times change and so has the crew from Riverdale High School. The comics have become edgy.  Archie Has Changed

It is now that time of year when we will begin to see the Best of 2014 lists. Lists of this kind, even with two months to go in the year, aren't unusual. Publishers, for the most part, have released all the books they want to see sold during the holidays. There just isn't much that gets published in November and December. So here is Publishers Weekly Best of 2014 in books.

In the on-going controversy between publishers and Amazon, Matt Yglesias recently weighed in, wondering if publishers are actually needed. Evan Hughes takes Yglesias to task here in the New Republic. Lord only knows what Yglesias is thinking. Via old pal, George Carroll.  Matt Yglesias Has It Wrong

Finally we note the passing of poet Galway Kinnell at age 87. He wrote many a beautiful line and was an inspiration to me in my youth. The New York Times has the obit here.  Galway Kinnell

Have a wonderful weekend, and, as always, let us know what books are keeping you up late at night.

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