Archive for J.K.Rowling

The Book Booth: What Are You Doing On New Year's Eve Edition


Image: GatesNotes
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 Are You Doing New Years Eve Edition

We are now at year's end, a year that for many of us, really and truly sucked. We live in an age when we can conceive of multiverses, perhaps countless of them. And if true, we somehow ended up in this one, where we have an evil man about to take the reins of power. I'm not sure what we did to deserve this, but as is observed in the movie Unforgiven, maybe deserve has nothing to do with it.

Still there is art and literature, and there is no short supply of good works. Publishers Weekly asked a number of writers, including Colson Whitehead, what their favorite books of the year were and received some interesting picks.
Writers Pick Their Favorite Books of the Year

The PW staff also chose their own best books read during the past year. Some are golden oldies, others are newer. I'm intrigued enough to want to read The ABCs of Socialism, published through the good people at Verso and Jacobin Magazine.
Publishers Weekly Staff's Picks for 2016

Bill Gates weighed in on his favorite books for the past year. He's known to be a voracious reader....but he seems to prefer non-fiction to fiction titles.
What Books Did Bill Gates Read in 2016?

Every year has its share of neglected and overlooked titles and who better to know what those books are but independent booksellers themselves. If you're looking for something a bit different, take a look at some of these.
Independent Booksellers Weigh In on the Best Overlooked Books of 2016

Emily Temple at LitHub has collected some of the year's stories, in case you've been wandering around in a daze for the past couple of months, as many of us have.
LitHub's Favorite Stories of 2016

Have you read everything you wanted to read that was published in 2016? Looking forward to the new books arriving this coming Spring? Publishers Weekly has its top picks for forthcoming books here, conveniently arranged by category.
Publishers Weekly on 2017's Forthcoming Books

If that were not enough, JK Rowling revealed this past week that she is currently on two new books, one by her nom de plume Robert Galbraith, and the other under her own name. Which has led to speculation that Harry Potter may return.
Watch for Two New J.K.Rowling Books in 2017!

Speaking of Harry Potter and books for younger readers, we note the passing of Richard Adams, author of the now classic Watership Down, at age 96.
Richard Adams Has Moved on to the Next Adventure

We've all suspected that reading print makes us both smarter and healthier, and now science confirms. I'm not at all sure it makes you richer in any financial way, as the subtitle of this article indicates; it hasn't for me. But I do feel reassured. H/T to my friend Dwight Johnson for the link.
Does Reading Print Make You Richer?

Finally, here's a project for 2016. Read these 100 essential novels and then scratch the books off this cool chart to reveal another cover for the work. From Pop Chart Lab who has other charts that may amuse you.
A New Year's Resolution Reading Project Chart

Our best wishes for a Happy New Year. 2017 couldn't be worse, could it? And Ella and I wonder what you're doing New Year's Eve? Sip some bubbly and curl up with a good book? Sounds like a good idea to me. Happy New Year, dear reader.


The Book Booth: More Harry Potter Edition



Image: Buzzfeed

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: More Harry Potter Edition

It has been a remarkable week and I am enjoying every bit of the meltdown. It couldn't happen to a nicer man and political organization. In the mornings, I look for the latest gaffe to chuckle over. I guess I am a mean person.

The past weekend saw the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two, and the parties saw many happy fans. And the sales? Well, the play script is selling quite well, thank you.
Cursed Child Script Selling Well

An interesting Slate conversation with Jonathan Franzen on fame, fascism, and why he won't write a book about race.
Franzen on Slate

In case you are not going to London any time soon to watch the play, BuzzFeed has some pictures from the production. I don't think that is Daniel Radcliffe playing Harry, though.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Production Photos

I've heard that the book itself has received some mixed reviews, though I haven't seen them or gone looking for them for that matter. But The Telegraph in London loved the stage production as this review will attest. Thanks to Lucian for sending the link along.
Harry Potter Stage Production Reviews

Last week marked the 150th anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter, famed writer of many fine children's works, including the Peter Rabbit books. But not many of us know of her work in the field of nature, and most especially in the lives of the fungus. Here the Guardian explores her work in mycology.
From Harry Potter to Beatrix Potter on Mycology

I've been talking up the literary podcast here recently and I've stumbled upon another good one, particularly for Shakespeare and culinary arts enthusiasts. Her, Wendy Wall, author of the recently published Recipes for Thought: Knowledge and Taste in the Early Modern English Kitchen, discusses some in the time of the Bard at the Folger Library.
Shakespearean Recipes

In 2013, Claire Conner published her memoir of growing up in the John Birch Society, Wrapped in the Flag. (You can read Rick Perlstein's interview and discussion here for The Nation:
How the John Birch Society was 'Grown' 

Now there is another interesting book on the same subject published, JG Daniel's Hate or Be Hated. Alternet has an excerpt here.
An Excerpt from Hate or Be Hated

The annual Ernest Hemingway competition was held last week in Key West. And the winner was no less than Dave Hemingway! No relation, apparently.
Dave Hemingway Wins the Hemingway Competition!

I've long made the case that the novels of Ross MacDonald that feature detective Lew Archer are gems and that MacDonald should be regarded as the equal of Chandler and Hammett. Here Mary Ann Gwinn makes the case more eloquently for the Seattle Times, and notes that some of the work is now available in the beautiful Library of America series.
Get Reacquainted with Ross McDonald

So many of us know the opening lines to great works of literature. You know, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times; A screaming comes across the sky, etc. But how many of us remember the great closing lines. My favorite may be the conclusion of Moby Dick (which, of course, has one of the great openings as well): It was the devious-cruising Rachel, that in her retracing search after her missing children, only found another orphan. Tom Blunt has twelve more good ones that he found for Signature.
Great Closing Lines

Oprah Winfrey's book club is still going strong and she has picked as her next selection The Underground Railroad by that fine writer, Colson Whitehead. Here the New York Times profiles Mr. Whitehead.
Colson Whitehead on Slavery

If you are looking for the next good book to read, you may want to check out what other booksellers are recommending for summer reading. Here seven book people have suggestions made for NPR.
What Books Are Booksellers Recommending?

Here's to a fine weekend, filled with books and laughter. And please let us know what books you are recommending!


The Book Booth: Harry Potter Returns Edition


James Schamus and Logan Lerman on the set of ‘Indignation’/Image © Roadside Attractions

Image: Signature

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: Harry Potter Returns Edition

The speechifying is now over, and maybe we can all relax for a day or two. It has been an interesting couple of weeks, with many, many contrasts which have been both illuminating, funny and frightening. Time to pull out a good book and get some reading done.

The youthful wizard returns this weekend with the midnight release on Sunday morning of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I and 2 at your local independent bookstore. This story is actually based on the play script of Jack Thorne, based on ideas from J.K. Rowling herself. Hard to believe it has been nine years since we heard of Harry last and I'm sure many of you will welcome his return.
New Harry Potter!

What would you pick as the perfect graphic novel? Art Spiegelman's Maus comes to my mind. But not so fast says Calvin Reid, Publishers Weekly's graphic novelist guru. In a podcast interview, he chose City of Glass which was written by that marvelous writer Paul Auster and published some time ago. You can listen to the interview here.
Calvin Reid on City of Glass

Speaking of literary podcasts, if you are looking for some good discussions to listen to, Christopher Linforth of The Millions has a list of some of the better ones around.
Smart People Who Know Their Literature Discuss It

Back in the day, Simon and Garfunkel asked in the song Dangling Conversation if the theater was really dead. And recently Edna O'Brien asked the same thing of literature. The cartoonist Tom Gauld imagines for the Guardian here what reading will be like in AD 2500, which served to remind me of the Burgess Meredith episode from a long ago Twilight Zone episode. Without the sad ending.
Reading in 2500 A.D.

Adapting quality writing to the silver screen is no easy feat. James Schamus, who co-wrote Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon as well as producing Brokeback Mountain, has directed the just-released the movie Indignation based on the novel of Philip Roth. Here he talks to Signature about the difficulties of adapting the book.
Adapting Indignation

We're sad to note the passing of novelist James Alan McPherson. He was the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1978 for his collection Elbow Room. In his younger days, he was a protege of Ralph Ellison and was long associated with the fabled Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa.
James Alan McPherson Has Left Us

Earlier in the week, in response to Michele Obama's speech at the Democratic Convention, noted "historian" Bill O'Reilly mentioned that the slaves who built the White House didn't have it so bad and that the peculiar institution was a benign thing. Uh huh. Well, several writers have taken Mr. O'Reilly to task. David Graham gives the context here for the Atlantic Monthly.
Bill O'Reilly Taken to Task for Slavery Remarks

Have a spectacular weekend all! Enjoy the weather, and read some good books. And please do tell what books they might be.


The Book Booth: Soon To Be June Edition



Image: Wikipedia

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: Soon to Be June Edition

Time flies, especially when one gets older, and here we are, approaching the mid-year. Hard to know where the time all went and there remains plenty to do. Here's hoping most of you can have a relaxing weekend before you go back to the grind. So get outside and support one of your local independent bookstores, or make a trip to the library. There also remains a lot to be read.

To help you out with a selection, try this Buzzfeed quiz which purports to aid you in making deciding which new book you'll want to read this summer. Apparently I will be wanting to read the Harper Lee novel, Go Set a Watchman.

If your preferences is for something classic and scary, check out the suggestions made by Amelia Gray, author of the story collection, Gushot, at Publishers Weekly.
Looking for 'Scary' to read? Try these suggestions.

Then, again, catch up on some classic weirdness from some great women writers (Margaret Atwood being featured often here) that Sarah Seltzer recommends at Flavorwire.
Weird Books by Women

Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing thinks very highly of newer novel, The Subprimes by Karl Taro Greenfield, which seems to be a road novel, set in the near future of plutocrats and evil doers. Thanks to my friend Naka for passing this one along.
New Karl Taro Novel

One of the best American writers from the mid-20th century was William Gaddis. His novel, The Recognitions, is a tour de force and albeit very long, well worth attention. Joseph Tabbi has written a new biography of the man, Nobody Grew But the Business. Tabbi ranked his estimation of Gaddis's novels here.
A Look at William Gaddis

Another possibility is a different kind of classic, perhaps a bit obscure, like Dorothy Baker's Young Man with a Horn, based on the sad life of jazz musician, Bix Beiderbecke, and filmed in 1950 with a cast including Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, Doris Day and Hoagy Carmichael (who was a friend of Bix's back in the days of the Paul Whiteman band). The New York Review of Books has republished it.
Young Man with a Horn

And, speaking of films, the folks at Film Comment has a list of their favorite films about authors. Great to see Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, with a screenplay by one of our friends, Randy Sue Coburn, on the list.
Favorite Films about Authors

Independent bookstores, although perhaps not thriving, seem to be doing much better. And good news comes that Jeff Kinney, author of The Wimpy Kid Series, has opened his own store in Plainville, Mass. where he will occasionally man the cash register. If you're in the area, pay a visit! H/T to friend Polly for finding this.
New Independent Bookstore in Plainville, Massachusetts - owned by Jeff Kinney

NPR also examined the revival of indie stores recently. I'm glad to see this story getting some attention.
Bookstores are 'Hanging In There' !

For those of us wanting to expand our vocabularies, check out these more obscure words that MentalFloss found. Very interesting about the vomitorium, a word my spell checker thinks I have misspelled.
Old English Words You Can Still Use Today if You Want! 

Finally, in the wake of the vote in Ireland to legalize same-sex marriage, J.K. Rowling suggested a union between Dumbledore and Gandalf in the offing. This seemed to upset the folks at the Westboro Church, who threatened to picket the said event! Rowling had a great reply which you can read at HuffPo.
Dumbledore and Gandalf to Tie the Knot?  Read what J.K. Rowling has to say about it.

Enjoy some books this weekend, and let us know what books are enthralling you!