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.
For those of us lucky enough to have clear skies this weekend, we may (or may not) be in for a big treat as the Camelopardalid (phew) showers will strew the evening skies. Of course, having read Day of the Triffids, and watched the movie, these events always worry me a bit. So be careful, if you do go out to watch the skies.
Dystopian futures have become a big staple in both young adult and adult fiction these days. Sarah Ang at Mashable suggest, however, that there may be some good works out there that are not so reliant on what has become formula writing. Read their thoughts here.
There was some great news for J.R.R. Tolkien fans this week as it was discovered that a reel-to-reel tape of a speech that he made to some Danish fans in the late 1950's has been unearthed. The details were posted here at HuffPo.
In the Irony is not Dead Department, it seems that Edward St. Aubyn's novel Lost for Words, a book that mocks literary prizes, has one an award for best comic novel. NPR has the story here.
In other good news, it seems the short-story is not only alive and kicking, but thriving. We love good short stories. Currently I am waiting for SeattleTammy to finish up a collection by musician Ry Cooder entitled LA Stories, published a couple of years ago. Sam Baker at the Telegraph has a good essay on the genre, with suggestions of good collections from the past and some contemporary writers to look out for.
Then again, there is the sub-genre of literary fraud. I remember well the controversy surrounding Clifford Irving's "autobiography" of Howard Hughes in the early 1970's. Unfortunately for Irving, Hughes was still alive and denied any involvement. But there are others as well, as the CBC notes here.
Then there are authors who feel that they have perpetuated frauds on their readers and disown their own works. io9 has ten such authors. And I'd agree, Ian Fleming's The Spy Who Loved Me, does pretty much suck.
If a writer does plan on committing fraud or a hoax, it might be best to adopt a pen name. There is fine literary tradition in doing so; witness Boz, George Eliot or George Orwell. Jonathan Wray at the New Yorker had these observations on the use of the pseudonym.
Some writers do not go gentle into the good night. It is good to see Larry McMurtry out there, alive and kicking, and featured in this Grantland article.
A new documentary movie, Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia, is soon to be released. Salon has a very interesting article on Vidal's career as writer and public intellectual, highlighting many of the contradictions in his life and attitudes.
With the long weekend ahead of us, we should find time to do some reading and Flavorwire has some handy suggestions for doing so in style and comfort.
Please enjoy your days off and let us know what's good in your pile of books!