Archive for New York Public Library

The Book Booth: Dad's 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.  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: Dad's Day Edition

Sunday is the day we honor our fathers, although we probably should be doing that daily and not on some Hallmark appointed day. If your dad is still with us, give him a call, send him a card, take him to lunch. And if he's no longer here, think some good thoughts about the ol' man.

My dad is the king of the pun. And he's been known to tell a joke or two. From Bustle, here are some literary Dad jokes from some contemporary writers.
Literary Dad Jokes!

One of the things my dad did when I was a teenage would-be intellectual and lover of arts was to indulge my interests by getting me subscriptions to magazines like Ramparts and Avant-Garde. It just so happens the old issues of the latter have now been digitized and are available on-line. H/T to my friend, Ray V. for sharing the link.
Ramparts and Avant-Garde Now Online

If your plans for the weekend include lazing about and watching movies, you may want to check out these recommendations from Public Books. I've seen most of these and recommend them myself. By the way, Turn: Washington's Spies is available for streaming on Netflix and it is a very interesting take on the Revolutionary war.
Revolutionary War Spies - on Netflix.

Speaking of the American Revolution, last Sunday the musical Hamilton swept the Tony Awards, winning eleven. If your curiosity has been piqued about Alexander, take a look at this New Yorker article about the books that he (and Aaron Burr) checked out from the Society Library back in the day.
What Did Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr Read?

Who could have predicted the rise of Donald Trump? Well, in a way, Sinclair Lewis did in his novel It Can't Happen Here. But as Cory Doctorow points out, Neal Stephenson did as well, 22 years ago in his novel Interface.

One of the great novels of the past 25 years or so is Don DeLillo's Underworld. The opening of the novel, the day the Giants beat my beloved Dodgers on Bobby Thompson's home run and the fate of that very baseball is one of the most breath-taking pieces of writing that I've read. Here DeLillo talks about the origin of the book with the Guardian.
Don DeLillo Discusses Underworld

I have been reading David Halberstam's mammoth history The Fifties and just finished his chapter on the Beats. So I was pleased to come across this illustrated poem of Allen Ginsberg's A Supermarket in California, his poem addressed to Walt Whitman.
Allen Ginsberg's A Supermarket in California

With some sadness comes the report of the passing of Spanish language translator Gregory Rabassa at age 94. His translation of One Hundred Years of Solitude was so good, Gabriel Garcia Marquez declared it greater than the Spanish language edition.
Gregory Rabassa, Marquez Translator

And if you're looking for weekend reading, why not try a work in translation. Daniel Saldana Paris, author of Among Strange Victims, deems these works originally written in Spanish as essential.
Best Spanish Language Books in Translation

Happy Fathers Day to all you dads out there. Have a great day and please let us know what novels you are now savoring.


The Book Booth: The Hugo Award Kerfluffle Edition



Image: BoingBoing

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: The Hugo Award Kerfluffle Edition

In the course of its history as a genre, Science-Fiction has always had political tensions. One can look at the beginnings in Jules Verne, who was a fairly bourgeois in his subject matter and H.G.Wells who was an avowed socialist. One can certainly read The Time Machine as a metaphor for class struggle. So, I suppose, that this years Hugo Awards are now a source of controversy isn't that remarkable. It seems that a right-wing group, calling themselves Sad Pupping has hijacked the rather arcane nominating process and called upon the vicious GamerGaters to lend them a hand. BoingBoing has an overview here.

And as Katy Waldman at Slate notes, the nomination process has long been manipulated in the past, but by individuals hoping to win something. She points to Orson Card Scott, among others.
Hugo Award Nominations

Another excellent discussion by Arthur Chu can be found at Salon, where he laments the intersection of lazy democracy and internet trolls.

Needless to say, there has been a great deal of backlash from the science-fiction community. Two nominated authors, Annie Bellet and Markos Kloos, have felt compelled to withdraw from the competition, as io9 reports.
Hugo Award Nominees Withdraw

Meanwhile George R.R. Martin has also weighed in. While apparently the nominations were within the "rules", he nevertheless deplores the developments.
Hugo Award Rules - Time to Change?

Internet security guru Bruce Schneier has some suggestions on how to change the process here.

And in wrapping up all the news about the Hugos, I think the best analysis of the whole darn thing comes from writer and old friend Eric Flint, who assesses the whole political background and wonders if the awards are meaningful anymore. H/T to Steve Timberlake!
Are the Hugo Awards Still Significant?

We'll note the passing of Nobel Laureate Gunter Grass this week. He was certainly no stranger to controversy himself and might have been amused by the Hugo Kerfuffle.
Gunter Grass Moves On

And whatever you may think of Hugo Chavez, his presentation of Open Veins of Latin America to President Obama brought the author Eduardo Galeano to prominence. I read Open Veins years ago and it is a brilliant and difficult study, well-worth reading. Al Jazeera has an appreciation here.
Eduardo Galeano Open Veins

In not so controversial news, the world of book collecting still seems vibrant, according to Steve Rosenbush at the Wall Street Journal. Here he talks about collecting and why you may want to take up the hobby yourself.

It seems that librarians like to mix it up as well. The New York Public Library recently discovered a large stack of librarian reviews of childrens books and some of them are priceless. Not everyone is a fan of Green Eggs and Ham! Who knew?

Finally, belated birthday wishes to author and Portland, Oregon's own Beverly Cleary, who recently achieved the age of 99. In celebration, Flavorwire featured 25 vintage covers from her classic books.
Beverly Cleary

A most excellent weekend to you all. Happy reading and please let us know what words are stirring you!