Archive for measles

The Book Booth: St. Valentines Day 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. @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: St. Valentines Day Edition

A Happy Valentines Day to all you lovers and sweethearts out there. May you all have a candy tray filled with messaged hearts!

For those of you without a loved one to share the day, perhaps if you were even more interesting than you already are, your love life would spark up. With that in mind, take a look at Emily Temple's list of books that will make you more attractive intellectually. Or maybe not. In any event, Flavorwire has the list here.

The fallout from the news that there is another Harper Lee novel, a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, continues. For a more detailed look at the controversy, The New York Times devoted a lengthy article. Mockingird Prequel/Sequel?

But yet more controversy! Who exactly owns the screen rights to the new novel? Well, my guess is Ms. Lee does. But that doesn't stop people in Hollywood from talking. The Los Angeles Times reports. Mockingbird / Watchman Screen Rights?

Still, really, the big media news story this past week was Jon Stewart's announcement that he would be leaving the Daily Show later this year. Surely, we will all miss the caustic humor of Jon Stewart. But who will miss him the most? Why book publicists, of course, says the Washington Post.
Jon Stewart Is Moving On

Americans are woefully ignorant of literature written outside the United States. That so many of us had never heard of Patrick Modiano until he won the Nobel Prize for literature last year is evidence of that. That used not to be true. I remember when South American writing was all the rage and lively discussions were to be had over many European writers. Why this has come to pass, I don't really know. Bill Morris at the Daily Beast tackles the question here.
European Writers / Foreign Fiction

Maybe we should all try to adopt the plan of English writer Ann Morgan, who tried to read a different book from a different country, all within one year. She described how she blogged her activities and turned those posts into a book for the BBC. H/To to Lucian for finding this one.
Read the World!

In the used book business, we get lots of folks looking for out-of-print tomes all the time. Some are very easy to find. Yet others are obscure and difficult to obtain without a lot of cost. has come up with its list of the most requested OP titles for the past year. Not a lot of surprises, but I was sort of stunned to see Stephen King titles in the list. Who lets King go out of print? Thanks to our friend Mark McKay for sending the link along.
Stephen King Out of Print? Say It Isn't So!

To become a good Antiquarian bookseller, it takes a good eye and a lot of knowledge about the history of books, including types of paper, printing processes, etc. Susan Halas knows a great deal more than I do and shared the information some time ago here. Another h/t to Lucian.
Things to Know If You're a Newcomer in the Book Biz

Over the years, Margaret Atwood's A Handmaids Tale has been a classic of dystopian literature. Surprisingly for me, at least, the current Freshman class at West Point was required to read the book. And, even more surprisingly, Ms. Atwood ventured to the Academy to discuss the work and take questions from the cadets. Laura Miller at Salon has the story here.
Margaret Atwood at West Point

Perhaps some sort of dystopia is not that far away. And in the wrong hands, technology just might become evil! What of a future where the book cover judges you? A scary thought that is on the verge of happening. As Kevin McCarthy shouted, They're here, they're here!
Dystopia is Already Here

A Happy Valentines Day for us all. And whether the current book you are reading is romantic or not, let us know what good books you have piled up.


Lauren Mayer: 'It's Been Proven After All (the 'Vaccines-Are-Safe-Already' song)'



UPDATE: If you're in the #SanFrancisco area, be sure to catch Lauren and her husband, crooner Scott Grinthal tonight and tomorrow night at Society Cabaret, in San Francisco, 8 p.m. The website is 

The show is "Yes, Dear!" (A Marital Cabaret) 

Lauren Mayer is a singer/songwriter/pianist who writes comedy songs about everything from Supreme Court decisions to the Kardashians. She proudly supports leftist causes including equal pay, reproductive choice, fair minimum wage, addressing climate change, and marriage equality.
Note: Check out Lauren's CDs, including her latest, "If My Uterus Were A Gun (And Other Musical Rants From The News)" - available at "" as well as on iTunes and Amazon. Her website is She's on Twitter at @laurenscomedy
Lauren's podcasts are on IndieMediaWeekly

From YouTube

Anti-vaccine-hysteria has spread from Northern California granola-heads to right-wing politicians to Disneyland . . . is nothing sacred?

From the song:

It's a world of zanies, a world of jerks...folks denying how basic science works.

From Lauren's email to me:

The combination of a public health crisis, Disneyland, and a subject on which Hillary Clinton and Ben Carson agree was just too tempting!


The Book Booth: Mockingbird Edition



Image via: the New York Times

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.

My guess is that many of you have already seen that a "new" Harper Lee novel will be released. The book was apparently written before she began work on To Kill a Mockingbird and involves an adult Scout Finch visiting her father Atticus after the events of Mockingbird. The Gray Lady has the story.  Harper Lee

Of course the news set the twitters aflame with title suggestions, as Salon explains.
Mockingbird Prequel/Sequel

And it set off some controversy. Ms. Lee is now in assisted living and there is some worry that she may have been pressured into publishing this work. I was a bit surprised when the story appeared in the first place. I had the feeling that she had said what she wanted to say in the one book and was content with it. But apparently she is "happy as Hell". And I'm good with it, too, even if it isn't nearly as good as Mockingbird.
Harper Lee is Happy as Hell

Another thing you may have seen this week is the touching letter written by Roald Dahl on the death of his daughter from measles in 1962. Coming on the heels of the new outbreaks of measles in this country and with the boneheads who wont have their children vaccinated, creating a public health menace, well, it gets my blood to boiling.
Roald Dahl's Daughter Died of Measles -

Happier news came from the recent conference of the American Library Association where it was announced that Kwame Alexander won the Newberry Award for his children's novel The Crossover and Dan Santat won the Caldecott for his book The Adventures of Beekle. Publishers Weekly has the story here.

Let us admit it. Even at our advanced ages, we love kids picture books. NPR recently featured some newer titles that look wonderful.  Kids Books for Adults

The news from Hollywood is that James Franco, English student extraordinaire and actor, is set to star in an adaptation of John Steinbeck's 1936 novel, In Dubious Battle. Franco has appeared in other literary adaptations, including a recent film of William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying. The LA Times has the scoop here.
James Franco

I have been blitzing through that very fine HBO series Boardwalk Empire and in reading the credits (yes, I read the credits), I noticed that Dennis Lehane, author of Mystic River and Shutter Island, among other great books, wrote for the show as well as served as "Creative Producer". Apparently this development is not unusual in Hollywood these days.
Novelists as Screenwriters and Producers

The Daily Telegraph posted this rather interesting and chronological look at fifty cult novels. And To Kill a Mockingbird is on the list!
Fifty Cult Novels

Finally, for anyone worried about what to read next, Publishers Weekly provides you some previews of books to be in stores this spring, including new works from Toni Morrison, Kazuo Ishiguro, Nick Hornby and Thomas McGuane, to name a few.
Spring Book Preview

Happy reading for us all this weekend and be sure to let us know what you've just pulled off the shelf.