Archive for New Zealand

The Book Booth: October Edition



Image: 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: October Edition

Ok, I'm good with it being October. My medicare kicked in on the first, which is a good thing. The leaves are beginning to look spectacular. The sun is shining and no hurricane looms where I live. However, I was at our local chain drug store and lo, the store has its Christmas aisle up already! And I had just gotten used to seeing the Halloween displays. Apparently our war on Christmas is not succeeding yet.

Pope Francis paid a visit to the US Congress last week to great fanfare. In his address to the members, he mentioned the American Catholic activists Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton, which sent many scurrying to Wikipedia. They both wrote autobiographies, Day's The Long Loneliness and Merton's Seven-Story Mountain. These books are truly outstanding and certainly worth the time even for the non-believer.
Pope Francis, Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton

Of course the Pontiff's visit has not been without controversy. The revelation that he met somehow and in some way with Kim Davis has had a deflating effect on progressives. And then there have been the relentless attacks on Planned Parenthood. But I bear you good news! The author Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, and his wife, Lisa Brown, donated one million dollars to that good organization.
Lemony Snicket's Planner Parenthood Donation

And still more good news. Last week I noted that the book Into the River by Ted Dawe, a young adult novel, had been banned in New Zealand. Well, the folks at Polis Books here in the USofA has obtained the rights here and will publish the book for release probably in June of next year.
Into The River

As noted above, Halloween is a mere twenty-eight days away. Don't put things off to the last minute! If you have children and need some ideas on costuming, take a look at these literary ideas from Buzzfeed!
Trick Or Booking

From the Department of Regrets. Yes, some books get published that their authors would just as soon go out of print and fade from the public memory. Bustle has collected some of these. And yes, Ian Fleming's The Spy Who Loved Me is truly dreadful, though it does have the virtue of being short.
Successful Books Their Authors Hated

Perhaps the "blurb" is an even more important element to a book's design than is its cover art. Blurbs are funny things, and there have been times when I've read some work only to discover that the blurb writer has read a different book than I have. Or at least seemed to. Then there are the writers who also use pseudonyms for some of their work and use their real names to recommend said pseudonym's new book. In any case, NPR took a look at the blurb recently here.
Those Irrestible Blurbs

Here's something Ernest Hemingway and I have in common. We're both pack rats. However the detritus of my life will never be on display at the Morgan Library and Museum as Hemingway's recently has.
Papa Was a Pack Rat

The passing of literary agent Carmen Balcells at age 85 last week may have slipped under the radar of many. But she was a force and helped to champion the Latin American literary Renaissance of the sixties and beyond. The New Yorker profiled her here.
Carmen Balcells Latino Literary Agent Extraordinaire

Yes, this may be the age of the electronic reader, for all its ills and virtues. Still, there really is nothing like holding a book in your hands. Bustle outlines the pleasures of the printed page here.
There's Nothing Like a Real Book!

Have a great weekend, filled with some good words and stories and please let us know what books have captured your imagination.


The Book Booth: Autumnal Rhythms Edition



Image: Stylist

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: Autumnal Rhythms Edition

The Fall is settling in. The daylight hours are just a wee bit shorter than the nighttime. The baseball playoffs are looming, with the season nearly over. There is football to take us into the winter months. And school is back, kids with backpacks going in the morning, and returning home in the afternoon.

I am of that generation that learned to read using the Dick and Jane primers. (I don't exactly remember learning to read and am told that I was reading before first grade, though). Those readers have seemingly been around forever. MentalFloss has some tid-bits of information on them in the article linked to below, and if you grew up with Dick and Jane, you'll find them interesting. Including the fact that Dr. Seuss hated them.
Dick and Jane Readers

I do remember as well the Raggedy Ann books being around, though I don't think I ever read one. I seem to recall having the doll around, which probably belonged to my sister. In any event, the doll and her brother Andy are celebrating their 100th birthdays this year.
Raggedy Ann Celebrates 100th - and Brother Andy Too!

When I visit our local library late in the afternoon, there are dozens of students huddled in the stacks and around the computer stations. And our local librarians handle them with aplomb. Of course librarians are heros as they should be. io9 featured some from both books and movies.
Our Librarians, Our Heroes

We hear much more about censorship and book banning here in the States than we do elsewhere in the world. But it still happens, even in other English-speaking states. Recently, New Zealand has banned a young adult novel entitled Into the River by Ted Dawe. H/T to Lucian.
New Zealand Young Adult Novel Banned

The author responded to the ban in this interview with the Observer.
Ted Dawe Responds To Ban

The Book Club phenomenon continues unabated. If you have ever wanted to start a group, the Stylist recently published a simple set of rules to get going. Rule number 7 seems to be the most important. Heh.
Book Clubs Are 'In' Again

The use of the nom de plume seems so 19th century. One thinks of George Eliot or George Sand. Even Dickens. But a poem by one Yi-Fen Chou that has been chosen to be included in the annual Best American Poetry collection has stirred some controversy. It seems Chou is actually one Michael Derrick Hudson, who is not Chinese-American, but a white man.
A 'Nom de Plume' With A Twist. Bias, Anyone?

I noted last week that the longlists for the National Book Awards have been released. If you look at those lists, you might wonder which ones you may want to actually read. Salon has conveniently described each one with the adjectives used in the blurbs. Who doesn't want to read a book that is "engrossing" or even "orgiastic"?
In the Mood for an 'Orgiastic' Book Today?

Finally I make another plea for reading the short story. There can be so much that is enriching in the short form and it is not an easy genre to master. Andrew Malan Milward, whose own collection, I Was a Revolutionary, has been published recently, suggests these collections that excel in evoking the sense of place.
Publishers Weekly on Short Stories

Have a most wonderful weekend with lots of books! Please let us know what books are giving you pleasure.


Double Standard With Blurred Lines


Blurred Lines
Robin Thicke’s BLURRED LINES is undoubtedly one of the biggest, most talked about (and sexist) hits of 2013. It’s prompted not only huge downloads but both the “PG” and the “R” rated versions of the video exploded.

In case you’re one of the few who don’t recognize the title of the song, it’s lyrics were considered “X” rated so there were two versions of the song recorded for radio play. They did the same thing with Cee Lo Green's "Forget You."

Along with fame comes satire and send-ups (and Miley Cyrus’s explosion into the adult world with her much talked about, raunchy VMA performance). They’re usually rushed to market to take advantage and gain impact. Quality and production values are generally of lesser concern.

The comes along an exception to that rule. Three talented ladies from New Zealand who call themselves, the Law Revue Girls. In response to the hype/criticism surrounding "Blurred Lines," they created a wonderful parody called "Defined Lines."

It went up on YouTube. And then… it disappeared.


The Independent reported that "Defined Lines" was removed from YouTube briefly on Monday after being flagged for "inappropriate" sexual content, but has since been restored. Lubbock called the video's removal a "massive double standard," since the models in Thicke's original video are arguably far more sexualized.

"It's just funny that the response has been so negative when you flip it around and objectify males," Lubbock told the AAP.

So why the double standard? Fortunately, you’ll get to judge for yourself because after much uproar and cries of sexism, YouTube has put the video back up. Check it out, and enjoy. (WARNING: Adult language and imagery)


"Now some California Republicans want teachers to be armed. Who is next? Have we become totally unhinged?"


crazy smaller

Another L.A. Times letter to the editor, because our voices matter:

Re "GOP bill proposes arming teachers," Jan. 31

Following the 9/11 attacks, pilots were allowed to carry guns in the cockpit. Now some California Republicans want teachers to be armed. Who is next? Have we become totally unhinged?

In New Zealand, even police officers usually don't carry guns. They know arming themselves encourages would-be criminals to do likewise. New Zealand has more sheep than people, and we have almost as many guns as people. Maybe the Kiwis know something we don't.

David Amitai

Los Angeles