Archive for marilynne robinson

The Book Booth: Halloween Edition


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.


The Book Booth: More Awards and Other Stuff Edition


book booth booker prize flanagan

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.

It is still that time of year, when writers are rewarded for their works with any number of prizes. And one of the most prestigious is the Man-Booker Award, which, these days, seems to be open to anyone who writes in English. This years recipient is the Australian author and screen-writer Richard Flanagan who's novel Narrow Road to the Deep North is about a doctor's experience in a Japanese prisoner of war camp during World War II. The BBC has the scoop here.

I'm not familiar with Mr. Flanagan's work, but both the book and the man seem to be interesting, so I'll look forward to checking his work out. In the meantime, the Wall Street Journal featured this interview with him; he seems like the kind of guy it would be fun to have a beer with. Richard Flanagan

Also the National Book Foundation announced the shortlists for its awards this week. Some of the nominees include novelist Marilynne Robinson, cartoonist Roz Chast and drama critic John Lahr. NPR provides an overview of the nominees here. The winners will be feted at a ceremony on November 19th.  Shortlists

As we noted last week, the French writer Patrick Modiano won the Nobel Prize for literature. And that we've never heard of him. Maybe we shouldn't be so surprised, though. Vauhini Vana of the New Yorker explores the reasons many good foreign writers remain obscure to those of here in the States. Foreign Writers' Obscurity in US

Of course, one of the great omissions from the list of Nobel winners is Leo Tolstoy. Tolstoy's career was long and varied. As was his reading list. BrainPickings has the story. What Did Tolstoy Read?

Publishers Weekly asked Lucy Worsley, who has published her The Art of the English Murder, a study of the birth of the genre, for her list of the ten top literary detectives. It is idiosyncratic, as most lists of this type are, and there is really only one she chose that would be on mine. Philip Marlowe.  Top Ten Literary Detectives

Detectives are always pursuing the bad guys. Anthony Horowitz put together this quiz on literary villains for the Guardian. I'm afraid I didn't score all that well.  Literary Villains.

We are getting closer and closer to Halloween and many folks like to visit and revisit some old horror masters. One of these writers include H.P. Lovecraft and his old pal Cthulhu. However, it is true that Lovecraft was a notorious racist. Laura Miller at Salon asks how we deal with his racism and still appreciate his writing. H.P.Lovecraft's Racism

In the meantime Buzzfeed has some costume ideas for all you literary trick or treaters. Some of these are very clever.
Literary Halloween Costume Ideas

Finally, we wrap with some advice for all you would-be writers staring at that blank page. Novelist Jane Smiley tells what to do.
Ready, Set, Write!

Here's hoping you all have a great weekend, filled with words and please let us know what's on your booklist!


Quote of the Day- Patriotic American, Marilynne Robinson Version


Compare this to what Mary Matalin and Lindsey Graham are peddling. By the way, didn't what Mittens is doing used to be called tax evasion?

Sitting just behind him during the speech was Marilynne Robinson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the novel “Gilead” and a teacher at the Iowa Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa.

In an interview before Obama’s speech, as Robinson and her son, James, stood in line, Robinson made an argument that mirrored the one the president would deliver. Her income exceeds the $250,000-per-year threshold, she said, but she’s happy to pay higher taxes.

“I’ve prospered a great deal from living in this country, from things like public education and so on,” she said. “I want to help other people also prosper and enjoy living in this country. As far as I’m concerned, it’s patriotism.”