Archive for Harper Lee

The Book Booth: April Showers Edition



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.  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: April Showers Edition

In my case the title for the week is ironic. We've been having superb weather, with sun and temperatures in the mid-sixties. That will all end at the beginning of the week when the rain returns and April showers will return, and, one hopes, provide us with the May flowers.

Spring brings out the poetical in us. Chaucer begins his Tales praising the rains of April. Wordsworth wrote of daffodils. (And April is National Poetry Month). Flavorwire found ten other poems that praise the new season, ranging from the Bard himself to a particularly nice poem by Claude McKay. Not included is The Waste Land, which is kind of a downer when it comes to Spring.
Poems to Greet the Spring

I mentioned last week that we are fast approaching the 400th anniversary of the passing of William Shakespeare and we shall be seeing much-related stories of that playwright in the coming month. It now seems that Pelican, long a publisher of the plays, has had their cover art, which had been very plain for decades, redesigned in minimalist fashion by young artist, Manuja Waldia. I'm not sure what to make of them, but it took a while to get used to the Milton Glaser jacket art used on the Signet covers back in the sixties.
New Cover Art for Old Shakespeare Plays

Harper Lee passed away a few short weeks ago. Twenty nine of her letters are now up for auction, sold in separate lots with opening bids beginning at $750. Many of the letters complain about the invasion of her privacy, while others are more chatty. It is a little surprising that they weren't already offered to some University collection, but in any event, these ones are for sale. The Telegraph has the story.
Harper Lee Letters Up For Sale

Alas, novelist and poet, Jim Harrison died last week at age 78. He was best known for his novella Legends of the Fall, which was famously filmed in 1994 and starred Brad Pitt. NPR remembers him here.
Jim Harrison Remembered by NPR

The poet Rich Smith has this appreciation of Harrison the poet here that he wrote for the Seattle alternative paper, The Stranger. Harrison had some of the qualities himself that make one a legend.
Ode to Jim Harrison, Poet

I have been a big fan of novelist Leslie Epstein for some time now. I first encountered his long short story, The Steinway Quartet, many years ago in a literary magazine and loved it. I had the pleasure of briefly meeting him one time at a book collection, and I told him how much I admired his novel Pandaemonium (which is told brilliantly in the voice of Peter Lorre and is all about Hollywood in the thirties and early forties). He thanked me and said I seemed to be the only one who did. Here he talks about the importance of writing and reading.
Leslie Epstein Talks About Writing and Reading

The short novel is a form not often used these days, but has a long-standing tradition in literature. Heart of Darkness and The Death of Ivan Ilych both come to mind. At Publishers Weekly, Cynan Jones, author of the short novel, The Dig, discusses the pleasures of reading the short novel.
The Case for Very Short Novels

A wonderful weekend to you all and please do let us know what books are pleasing you.


The Book Booth: Another Oscar Show Edition



Image: Truthout

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: Another Oscar Show Edition

Indeed, they are rolling out the red carpets Sunday evening in Hollywood as the industry once again celebrates itself with lots of awards and stuff. May all the films you are rooting for win the statuette for outstanding work!

One of Hollywood's most valuable statuettes is actually a film prop, the one of which dreams are made of. Yes, if you have one of the original props of the Maltese Falcon, you've got yourself a treasure there. One year SeattleTammy gave me a replica for Christmas, but it was not enamaled in old jewels alas. Vanity has the story here of the priceless bird here.

Most film adaptations by author? I'd have guessed Stephen King. I'm not even close.
Whose Stories Make It to the BigScreen?

Good news for all Dr. Whovians! Last week saw the publication of the Dr. Who coloring book for your coloring pleasure. Time magazine tells the tale.
Dr. Who? Coloring Book

Although he has never won an Oscar (or been nominated for one), William Shatner has won both an Emmy and a Golden Globe award for his acting efforts. He now has another book available, Lenny, which details his friendship with Leonard Nimoy. Here he talks about Nimoy's second career as a poet.
William Shatner Writes About Leonard Nimoy in Lenny

I have long been fascinated about the relationships between different languages and what we can learn from those relationships. From BusinessInsider comes this wonderful chart, exploring them among the Indo-European and Uralic families. And there are cute cats!
How the Languages We Speak Are Interrelated

On the heels of the news that Harper Lee had passed away last week, we learned that novelist/philosopher Umberto Eco had also died at age 84. His The Name of the Rose is a wonderful mystery novel and more. If you haven't read it, go get a copy now.  NPR remembered the man here.
Umberto Eco Has Left Us at 84

The tribute poured in last week for Harper Lee. Here are five things you may or not have known about the author. I, for one, did not know she was a descendant of Robert E. Lee.
Remembrances of Harper Lee

Noam Chomsky, one of our remaining intellectuals, is still with us and his mind and writings are as active as ever. His new book, What Kind of Creatures are We? is a collection of recent lectures he has given. Here he discusses the work and other matters with Truthout.
Noam Chomsky Chooses Optimism Over Despair 

At my age now, I do try to exercise daily and while I'm not anyone's idea of fit, I do feel the benefits from it. Even better news is that for people who are at retirement age, belonging to a book group could be just as important as exercise in living longer.
More here.

Please have a beautiful weekend with lots of reading and books. By all means, let us know what is delighting you...and have fun watching the Oscars!


The Book Booth: Odds and Curious Facts Edition



Image: NBC News

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: Odd and Curious Facts Edition

Well, it isn't exactly Ripley's Believe It or Not, but I found a few things this week that my surprise. Or not. And who, on this fine and pleasant weekend morning, doesn't want some amusement?

We all know that it takes some books some time to get published and editors often don't know what they have until it gets published somewhere else. It took James Joyce years to get Dubliners published. And Ulysses was essentially privately published. Literary history has many examples of books that were rejected outright as Litreactor notes here.
Books by Authors Who Refused to Take 'No' for an Answer

We all like to read stories that reflect our own lives in some way (though I'm in the midst of reading Melville and have no desire to become a whaler), and Marley Dias, an 11 year old black girl, is no exception. She managed to collect and donate 1000 books that featured young black girls, truly inspiring and landed her a spot on Larry Wilmore's show. H/T to my friend Caleb for finding the link.
The Image of Black Girls in Literature (from Books Collected by a Black Girl)

Then there is the truly obsessed reader. Since 1999 Michael Orthofer has graded the books he has read at his website, The Complete Review, and the number totals more than 3500 books so far. Which is pretty amazing. Admittedly, I read slowly, so I am impressed. The New Yorker profiled Mr. Orthofer here.
Michael Orthofer's Impossible Quest to Read and Review the World

As those of you who have patiently looked at my weekly articles here know, I like good jacket art. Buzzfeed recently featured some new designs for some old classics, and the result is impressive.
New Book Jacket Designs for Old Classics

With so many ads delivered to us these days electronically, we forget that in the days of yore, before radio and tv, not to mention the internet, most advertisements appeared in print, either in newspapers or magazines. Bookriot featured a few of those book ads from 1910. Remember any of these?
Book Ads from 1910

Looking for a gift for your book lover friends, but afraid to get a book they may all ready have? Take a gander at some of the cool items that Mallory McInnis has found at, again, Buzzfeed.
Great Non-Book Gifts for Book Lovers (Accio Books!)

Finally, as I'm sure you have seen, Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, passed away at age 89. NPR appreciated her here.
Nell Harper Lee Leaves This World at the Age of 89:
Publishers Weekly

Enjoy your weekends with lots of reading and many books. And please let us know what books you are loving this week.


The Book Booth: Hot Enough For You? 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. @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: Hot Enough for You Edition

Summer may be winding down, but you wouldn't know in most places. Even here in our little town, the days are warm. Very warm. Hot, even, for a place that normally gets off-shore breezes and temperate weather.

And while we are speaking of hot, and its founder, Jeff Bezos, are in the proverbial hot waters. The New York Times revealed a work culture that was less than benign. Evil, even. Publishers Weekly offered an overview here.
Life Working for Amazon

I personally don't know firsthand the corporate doings at Amazon headquarters. I'm pretty sure the warehouse work conditions are just this side of medieval, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Times article was, for the most part, accurate. In any event, the story has stirred controversy, and some disagreement even over at the Gray Lady.
How Accurate Was the Portrayal of Amazon's Work Culture?

Our own Lucian Dixon pointed me to this article about Harper Lee. It was written before the publication of Watchman but I think it provides the best context I've seen for Ms. Lee and the events leading to her decision to bring out the novel.
Let's Talk About Harper Lee

Moving on to lighter fare, it's time for a quiz. Last lines are important to novels. You know, "They lived happily ever after". Buzzfeed asks if you can identify the last lines to these novels. I think I got about half of them and it is multiple choice. Have at it!
Do You Know Your Last Lines?

And titles! The Great Gatsby was called by Fitzgerald many things before the title was finally decided. Here's the story of some other works which had other working titles. By the way, the initial title for Lolita shouldn't be much of a surprise, considering how large the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe looms over the story.
Original Original Titles Tell a Story

Multiple narrators/narratives? Why sure! Susan Barker, whose most recent novel, The Incarnations, is a multi-generational novel set in China, recently listed her favorite ten novels that employ a multi-narrative scheme. And, yes, Nabokov is listed here again.
Wait! Who's Narrating This Story Again?

Another top 100 novels in English. I rather like this list. Robert McCrum, probably best-known here as the co-author of The Story of English, composed this one for The Guardian, and he takes a historical approach, rather than doing it from his favorite to his 100th favorite.
Another (But Different) 'Best 100 Novels' List

Finally, you know the aroma, the lovely aroma, of entering a bookstore. You want to know the reason why? It's something like vanilla..H/T to my friend Caleb.
Oh, Yum - What's That Smell? Is It 'Ulysses'? For Whom The Bell Tolls?

Keep cool and have a great weekend, filled with some fine reading. And please let us know what books you've got going now.