Archive for L. Frank Baum

The Book Booth: Memorial Day 2016 Edition



Image: Mental Floss

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: Memorial Day 2016 Edition

The long weekend is here, and if you only looked at grocery store flyers, you'd think that one should devote it to grilling. But Memorial Day is more than the unofficial beginning of summer. I hope we all take a little time to remember those who sacrificed all they ever had or would have in service to our country.

Enough preaching. It is still political season and the Donald has now clinched enough delegates to be the GOP nominee this coming fall. But as you might suspect, most of the writers we know and love oppose his candidacy and have signed this open letter to America about that.
Open Letter from Writers Opposed to Trump Presidency

I think a great many writers these days compose their works on their computers. But, kids, there was a day when writers didn't have computers and if they didn't compose in long-hand, they used typewriters. MentalFloss relates which typewriter brands were popular among the authors of yesteryear.
Typewriters Authors Loved

Writers are good at excuses for any number of quirks and problems, like, say for procrastination and not facing the tyranny of the blank page. From Bustle, here are 14 things writers tell themselves and their friends.
Writers' Excuses for Procrastination

I don't know if it is procrastination, or laziness, or what that keeps George R.R. Martin from delivering his next installment of Game of Thrones. But if you are one of those who still eagerly anticipating its publication, the folks at Vox have recommendations of other authors you might want to check out in the meantime.
No New Game of Thrones?  Don't Panic! Here's Who You Can Read Until It Arrives! 

Philip Pullman, who is best known as the author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, relates to the Guardian how he was inspired by comic books and most notably, American comic books. Maybe he should share some with Mr. Martin.
Philip Pullman: Why I Love Comics

It is hard to know where some writers do get their inspiration from. Herman Melville's Moby Dick is one such work. The book was dedicated to Nathaniel Hawthorne with whom Melville had something of a bromance. But Michael Shelden, whose book Melville in Love will be published in June, suggests that it may have been an affair with a young woman of his acquaintance that had more to do with that novel.
An Illicit Romance Inspired Moby Dick?

For those of us who enjoy the literary short story, the 2016 selections for the O. Henry Awards will be published by Anchor Books in September. In the meantime, LiteraryHub has listed those works here.
O.Henry Award Selections

It is interesting what can be discovered with urban renewal. Recently in Rome, the headquarters of the Praetorian Guard, the Emperor's own small army, was dug up. And in London, the Curtain theater where some of the early plays of William Shakespeare has been unearthed. And from the internal evidence of the plays, it could mean that some of those plays prologues were added after their initial performances.
Unearthing Shakespeare

It is the long weekend before summer, and one would hope that there will be plenty of time for reading. But what of those days and weeks where we don't have that extra day? The Reading Room suggests five ways to expand your leisure reading time.
How You Can Find More Time To Read

Please have a safe and good weekend. And let us know what books are inspiring you!


The Book Booth: Midsummer Nights Edition


Image via Mental Floss
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: Midsummer Nights Edition

The other night the cats dragged in a small branch for some cat reason, and the leaves were already brown. It made me think that the Fall isn't that far away. But I'm not quite ready to give up the I'm going with mid-summer as long as I can. With maybe slightly cooler afternoons.

There is no holding off the march of time completely, and Fall is the colorful season, and quite lovely around here. And the Fall is the time of year publishers tend to schedule their Big books, for the holiday season. Publishers Weekly has a list here of the most anticipated titles, including new novels from John Irving, Jonathan Franzen and Orhan Pamuk.
Anticipated Fall Big Books

Time does pass by so quickly, the older one gets. I was recently reminded that it has been 26 years since Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses was published. In these days, Rushdie believes he would not have received the same level of support from the writing community that he did back in 1989, due to political correctness. I tend not to agree, but he may have a point.
What Would Happen if The Satanic Verses Were Published Today?

From the New Yorker, a couple of articles of interest. First, a remembrance of novelist James Salter from Mary Norris who attended a memorial for the man up in the Hamptons.
Mary Norris Remembers James Salter and His Commas

And then, Benjamin Moser wrote this appreciation of Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector, who passed away in 1977, but whose stories examined the links between literature and witchcraft. I have not read Ms.Lispector, but it seems I need to check her out.
Bell, Book, Candle, Witchcraft and Literature?

The World Science Fiction Convention is coming up on August 22nd, near Spokane, Washington. At the Convention, the Hugo Awards will be announced.You can see some of the details here.

The folks at io9 suggested these classic titles to read, in case you haven't, which might be a good idea, if you're planning to attend the convention.
Classic Titles to Actually Read Before the World SciFi Convention

My guess is that most of you have read L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz, published a mere 115 years ago. MentalFloss listed some thirteen facts about the book that you may not know about the book or its author.
Oz and L. Frank Baum Facts

(And for a deeper look at the book with its political overtones, you may enjoy this article)
Following the Yellow Brick Road

With the many changes now occurring at the Vatican, this is welcome news. The library there is now being put on-line, and it looks to be amazing.
The Vatican Library Online For Free!

For those of us who enjoy a scandalous read now and then, check out Nick Tosches new novel Under Tiberius. Scott Simon interviewed the author for NPR here.
Looking For Some Scandal? Look No Further.

Novelist Alan Cheuse recently died at age 75 from injuries sustained in a car accident. I always enjoyed his book reviews at NPR. I didn't always agree with him, but he was a book enthusiast, and I will miss his commentaries.
Alan Cheuse Has Left Us at 75

Embrace the summer and enjoy! And please let us know what books you are savoring this weekend.


The Book Booth: Mothers Day Edition



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, as well a brick and mortar in small town Washington State. Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

A Happy Mothers Day to all our fine readers. Either you are a mother or you have a mother, (or both) and fine reasons for celebration. And, remember, books make great gifts for moms everywhere.

We are still observing the 450th birthday of the Bard of Avon and recently The Millions asked five Shakespeare experts what they thought was his greatest play. The scholars came up with some interesting answers and make compelling arguments for their choices. They are all wrong, of course. Not one picked The Tempest, Shakespeare's most mature and poetic play. You can find the expert choices here.

It is May and while the Derby has already been run, the Preakness and Belmont are coming up. Mothers Day is Sunday. Memorial Day isn't too far ahead. So you might want to start making your Summer vacation travel plans. With the 75th anniversary of the publication of The Grapes of Wrath, you may want to consider Steinbeck country. Monterey is a beautiful locale and there is much to see there. (HT to Lucian for finding this one).

If travel sparks the imagination, perhaps you may want to read about some adventurous travelers. Mary Miller at Publishers Weekly listed her favorite road novels and, oddly, Kerouac doesn't make the list. L. Frank Baum does.

Visiting foreign lands has its intrigue as well and perhaps there is no more intriguing city in Europe than Berlin. Rory MacLean recently offered his top ten Berliners in literature over at the Guardian.

Of course London can be quite lovely this time of year and Buzzfeed has twelve literary locales book lovers will enjoy.

If armchair travels into the past is your cup of tea, you wont need Wells' time machine to do so. Here are some suggestions from the Telegraph and its top 15 great works of Classical literature.

If you've been thinking of venturing into the realm of graphic novels, Brie Hiramine at Flavorwire believes these 25 titles to be essential. I haven't read all these myself, but I do highly recommend Persepolis, V for Vendetta and Maus, all richly imagined and well worth your time.

Ah, the aroma of old books! Here are some great quotes about being surrounded by musty volumes of lore and wisdom.

The New York Times Book Review recently took on the question of whether literary critics could make good novelists as well. It is an interesting question and I have no firm opinion myself. Susan Sontag's name comes up in both responses and while I admire her fiction, I do tend to remember her criticism with more admiration.

Sadly the news came this week of the passing of the splendid Canadian author Farley Mowat at age 92. His Never Cry Wolf had a profound influence on my attitudes about nature (and nature writing). The CBC has this remembrance.

A Happy Mothers Day to everyone. I will remember my mother who was a voracious reader and nurtured my love of books and reading this weekend. Please let us know what books you've got piled up and are enjoying!