Archive for JK 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: Full Moon Saturday Edition



Image: The New Yorker

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: Full Moon Saturday Edition

One of these days, there will be a new moon on Monday, and I can title one of the posts after the Duran Duran song. But until then, there is a full moon tonight, Saturday, and it supposed to be a nice one. I hope the overcast here in our town dissipates some and we can enjoy it.

The writer's organization PEN recently held their annual gala where the honored, among others, J.K. Rowling and she had some choice words for presumptive GOP presidential nominee (how weird to write this) Donald Trump. Publishers Weekly has the story here.]
J,K. Rowling Calls Trump a Bigot

The Korean writer Han Kang won this years International Man Booker Award for her novel The Vegetarian. I don't know the work, but from the reviews I've subsequently read, it looks to be both good and disturbing. Again, PW reports on the award.
Man Booker Award to Han Kang

The New Yorker magazine has had a couple of articles of interest recently. The first is an assessment by Adelle Waldman on Samuel Richardson, whose novel Pamela is considered the first real English modern novel. I've never been able to bring myself to read the book and I have no desire to do so in the immediate future. But the article is worth reading.
Samuel Richardson

The novelist Jonathan Franzen also wrote a piece that chronicles his trip to Antarctica, where he planned to do some bird-watching.
Jonathan Frantzen in Antartica

And it seems that author Franzen also made an appearance on Jeopardy's Power Players Week. Although he came in second, Franzen, who is well-known for his passion for birds, ran the bird category with aplomb.
Jonathan Frantzen on Birds

The issue of plot in literature has been of controversy ever since the advent of Modernism and continued into the Post-Modern era. But "plot" has made something of a comeback in recent times. John Mullan at the Guardian has a good discussion about it here.
Plots and Modernism

And speaking of the modernists, Marcel Proust was certainly one of its leading lights. There is a lot in In Search of Lost Time that is difficult, including the 900 plus word sentence (that I once saw a poster for where the maker had diagrammed the sentence). Sarah Boxer details in The Atlantic her struggles with the work and her attempt to read Proust on her iPhone.
Reading Proust on Your Cellphone!

The British writer J.G. Ballard is probably best known here in the States as the author of the semi-autobiographical novel Empire of the Sun, about a young British boy's experience during World War Two of the Japanese occupation of Shanghai and filmed by Steven Spielberg. But he was also a well-regarded science-fiction writer, often compared to William S. Burroughs. And as Alison Nastasi points out over at Flavorwire, Ballard made some eerie and chilling predictions about the future.
J.G. Ballard's Predictions for the Future

With the on-going discussion of public bathroom usage, the folks at McSweeney's has put forth a patent for a device that surely will solve all the problems, ahem.
Finally! A Solution to the 'Who's Allowed in this Bathroom?' Problem! 

We leave you this week with some health tips from Walt Whitman, who not only wrote great poetry, but had advice for nearly any occasion.
Health Advice from Walt Whitman

Have a great weekend and, if you can, get out to look at that ol' devil moon while it shines in its fullest. And by all means, let us know what books are delighting you.


The Book Booth: Easter Edition



Image: The New Yorker

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: Easter Edition

We are caucusing this Saturday morning in our state. We choose all our other political candidates by primary election. All except for presidential nominees. I'd much prefer a primary. Still, for whatever its faults, having a caucus does allow us to see our friends and neighbors. And pretty damn early in the morning.

With that in mind, there is a lot, far too much really, to take in this campaign season. So Jessica Tripler has these reading these political readings to help guide you. To which I can only add George Lakoff's Don't Think of an Elephant, a still relevant guide to political framing.
Political Philosophical Readings

The military thinker Carl Von Clausewitz observed that war is the continuation of politics by other means. And Janine di Giovanni had these recommendations for great books of war reportage. In my humble opinion, Orwell's Homage to Catalonia is a must-read. In addition to John Reed's Ten Days that Shook the World, you might also want to look at his Revolutionary Mexico.
War Reportage from Orwell to Gellhorn

The English novelist Pat Barker has explored the genre of the war novel extensively and well. NPR featured a review of her book Noonday, which has recently been released.

For those of you who'd like some adventure in your weekend reading, the novelist Ian McGuire, author of the new novel, The North Water, about a whaling ship from Yorkshire and set in the 19th century, recommended these titles and it is hard to disagree with his choices. Naturally, he includes Moby Dick.
The 10 Best Adventure Novels

I had never heard of Mairtin O'Cadhain before I come across this New Yorker article, which explores both his career and writing. His novel Churchyard Clay, written in Irish Gaelic, has now two translations and the description of the book with its graveyard voices resonated with me as I'm in the midst of reading Spoon River Anthology.
Graveyard Voices in Churchyard Clay

We are approaching the 400th anniversary of the death of the Bard of Avon. I expect we will be hearing a lot more about that in the next few weeks. The Daily Telegraph recently featured ten books whose titles derive from Big Bill himself, with some cool jacket art of those books to boot.
Titles by Shakespeare, Content by Others

JK Rowling has had rejection letters since publishing the Harry Potter books? Indeed! She recently shared those letters for the mystery The Cuckoo's Calling which she wrote under the name Robert Galbraith. And The Political Carnival's own Lucian Dixon highly recommends this series.
What's In A Name? The Difference Between Acceptance and Rejection in the World of Publishing. JK Rowling's Rejection Letters as 'Robert Galbraith'.

The National Book Critics Circle recently gave out its awards for 2015 and it was good to see Paul Beatty win for his novel The Sellout. Beatty has been around for a while now, and his White Boy's Shuffle is a fine novel.
National Book Critics Circle Award to Paul Beatty

It is spring and time to do some house cleaning. Maybe it is a function of aging, or maybe it's the time of year, but I have grown less and sentimental about possessing my books. Oh, sure, there are books I'll never give up, but the number of titles that particular category encompasses grows smaller and smaller every year. SeattleTammy and I donate a number of books to our local Friends of the Library. The folks at Bustle have some other ideas of what to do with those books you no longer want to keep.
What To Do When You Need The Space All Those Books Are Taking Up?

Happy Easter to all of you who are observing the day. And happy reading as well. Please do let us know what books you are currently obsessing over.


The Book Booth: The Waters of March Edition


Image: Rolling Stone

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: The Waters of March Edition

We are getting the waters of March here in our town, with the pineapple express bringing us late winter rains. It's probably good that all northwesterners have webbed feet to help guide us along our soggy roads. And the Waters of March is one of the great tunes that the wonderful Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim has given us; you will see the youtube link at the bottom.

So I'm in a musical frame of mind and it just so happens, Rolling Stone recommends four new reads. I'm particularly intrigued by the new bio of Nina Simone, who's life was recently presented in documentary form by Netflix.
Nina Simone's Life/Rock Books

Great literature has lent itself to other art forms for centuries, including opera. But I had no idea that works like Grapes of Wrath, Lolita, and Moby Dick had made it to the stage.
Operatic Adaptions of Famous Novels

Elton John is no stranger to the musical stage. Beyond years and years of live performances, he also composed the score to The Lion King which has played on Broadway since the days of George M. Cohan.  Sir Elton is also a voracious reader and he does much of his book shopping at Book Soup in Hollywood.
Book Soup

Music legend and the "fifth" Beatle, George Martin passed away this past week at age 90. All Beatle fans know of his contributions to their songs. But the news of his passing led to panic among Game of Thrones fans who thought that George Martin had passed, prompting the author to deny rumors of his death.
George Martin Denies Being Dead (Game of Thrones)

Speaking of fanboys and fangals, it seems that President Obama is a big Peanuts fan and has written the preface to the last volume of 25 republished by Fantagraphics and due out soon.
President Obama Pays Tribute to Peanuts

As for myself, I am a huge, if not outsized, fan of Orson Welles. So it was a pleasure to read film critic Michael Wood's appreciation of the great American director, including some interesting thoughts on Welles' Chimes at Midnight, here in the New York Review of Books.
Michael Woods on Orson Welles

With the opening of relations with Cuba, Publishers Weekly has announced a petition campaign to end the book embargo against the island nation. About time, I'd say.
PW Says End the Book Embargo Against Cuba (Petition)

J.K. Rowling is keeping herself busy. She has just published the first part of a new series. Magic in North America, on the Pottermore site.
J.K. Rowling: 'Magic in North America'

Finally I note the passing of author Pat Conroy last week from cancer. He was a fine writer and The Prince of Tides is something of a masterpiece. If you haven't read his work before, give yourself the pleasure.
Pat Conroy

And as promised, The Waters of March as sung by its composer Antonio Carlos Jobim. Please enjoy and let us know what great books you've got going this weekend.
The Waters of March (on YouTube)