Archive for Nobel Prize for Literature

The Book Booth: First We Take Manhattan Edition

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Image: NYTimes

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: First We Take Manhattan Edition

It's been a hard week, but we have managed to get through it. The struggle for justice and peace will continue in spite of our setbacks. And, for now, life goes on.

The Awards continued with the announcement of the National Book Award winners at a ceremony this past Wednesday night. Larry Wilmore hosted the event, and as NPR reported "Host Larry Wilmore set the tone early, taking aim at the president-elect with a series of quips and barbs in his opening monologue. Of Trump's election last week, Wilmore noted: "It's exciting in the way that an asteroid hurtling toward Earth is exciting." Among the winners were novelist Colson Whitehead for his novel Underground Railroad and Representative John Lewis for his collaboration on a young adult book March: Book Three.
NBA Awards

As it turns out, Bob Dylan will not be attending the ceremony for the Nobel Prize. He cited schedule conflicts. He would not be the first laureate not to attend, and must only deliver or have delivered a lecture of some kind in the next few months.
Bob Dylan Will Not Attend Nobel Prize Ceremony

Obviously there has been a lot of reaction in the literary world to the election of Donald Trump. There is much wariness and alarm. Here you can read the statement from the Authors Guild which is frightening.
Authors Guild Statment On President-Elect Trump

The New Yorker asked several writers for short essays on the election results, including novelists Hilary Mantel, Toni Morrison, as well as political writer Jeffrey Toobin and the aforementioned Larry Wilmore. The responses are well worth your time.
New Yorker Authors on President-Elect Trump

For what is in store for us, who can tell. But the calls for resistance are beginning and not without cause. Emily Temple at Lithub suggests 25 books for dealing with the anger and for action.
It's Time for Action

Andrew Liptak at The Verge has some suggestions as well, including the best of the dystopian novels that the Sci-fi genre has to offer.
Get Ready for Dystopia Right Here in the US

Another writer we should be reading in these times would be Kurt Vonnegut. His writing was always perceptive, interesting and, at times, very funny, and who couldn't use a laugh? Marc Leeds has recently compiled The Vonnegut Encyclopedia and here, for Publishers Weekly, he lists his top ten books by that master of the word.
Best Kurt Vonnegut Books

Billy Pilgrim was Vonnegut's character in Slaughterhouse Five, a man who survived the fire bombing of Dresden and was a spastic in time. Time travel has long been a staple in science-fiction. Here John Lanchester reviews for the New York Review of Books a new work by James Gleick, Time Travel: A History, which gives a good overview of the subgenre.
Time Travel

One of the good guys in modern literature is Michael Chabon, author of many novels, including his latest one, Moonglow, a fictional memoir of his family. Here Doree Shafrir profiles the man and his work for Buzzfeed.
Michael Chabon: An Underdog On Top of the World?

Sadly this past week we also lost poet, novelist and songwriter Leonard Cohen, who'd only recently released a new album of songs. I remember in my late teens when I first heard him sing Suzanne, Sisters of Mercy and That's No Way to Say Goodbye on his first album. There were more great songs to come, and now he will be sorely missed.
Leonard Cohen

Again, do not despair. Find a good book, take some time to breathe and have the best possible weekend you can. Enjoy this tune by Mr. Cohen and please let us know what books you are loving.

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The Book Booth: Don't Stand in the Doorway Edition

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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: Don't Stand in the Doorway Edition

Well, here it is, kids. We have a big week ahead of us. For those of you who live in a mail-in state, get those ballots to the PO. And if you live in a state that has early voting, go do it. Or if you wait till Tuesday, by all means, get to the polling place. Vote like your life depends on it, because it might vey well.

Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan finally spoke about the prize. He'll be there if "he at all can" to pick up his award. I guess even Bob Dylan can feel overwhelmed.
Bob Dylan Will (probably) Attend the Nobel Prize Ceremony

As I noted last week, Paul Beatty became the first American to win the Man-Booker Prize for fiction. For those of you unfamiliar with his work, check out this illuminating interview with Guernica, where he discusses his work at some length.
Paul Beatty on His Fiction

Here are a couple of interesting articles from publisher Farrar Straus Giroux's blog, Works in Progress. First comes Witold Rybczynkski's meditation on chairs, talking about favorite chairs, and his new book Now I Sit Me Down. Do you have a favorite chair? Mine is the orange swivel chair in front of my computer. The cats like it, too, and often try to steal it from me. Being cats, they do not like sharing it with me.
Favorite Chairs

David Hadju is one of our finest writers on music. His biography of Billy Strayhorn, Lush Life, is a fascinating read about one of the great jazz composers and arrangers. And his work Positively 4th Street is one of the best books about the young Bob Dylan. His new book is Love for Sale: Pop Music in America. Here he talks about eleven popular songs and their significance today.
Love for Sale: Pop Music in America

It must be that time of year. Publishers Weekly revealed its picks for the best books of 2016.
Best Books of 2016

Bryan Cranston is not only a terrific actor (check out his turn as Dalton Trumbo in the eponymous movie, not just his work in Breaking Bad), but he's a swell guy. He's recently published his memoir A Life in Parts and has developed a penchant for buying copies of his book, signing them, and leaving them for strangers to pick up and read.
Bryan Cranston Buys and Signs Books for You!

Quiz time. Can you name the titles of these books by their cover art? I knew most of them, though I admit to missing a couple here.
Can You Tell a Book by Its Cover?

And we may as well indulge ourselves in a graph. Here is something of a pie-chart that illustrates word count and the time taken to write for certain novels. No real surprises, but still kind of cool.
A Pie Chart Graph of Word Count vs Time to Write

I suppose it is time to think about holiday gift giving, especially if shopping on line. Here are some book accessories for your friend or family member who has every book ever published and really doesn't need another book.
What to Get for the Book Lover Who Already Has Far Too Many Books?  Book Accessories, Of Course!

Finally, along with my urging to vote, here's what could be at stake. Umberto Eco in 1995 defined these fourteen qualities of fascism, which all are recognizable in our politics today. H/T to my nephew Derek for posting this on Facebook where I could find it.
What's At Stake in This Election? A Fascist or a Democratic Future for the USA - No Less, Not an Exaggeration

Go vote now if you can! And then settle back with a good book and try not to let your nerves get fried. Please let us know what books have you engrossed and let's hope for the best this coming week

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The Book Booth: Little Red Wagon Edition

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Image: Daily Dot
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: Little Red Wagon Edition

In the continuing saga of Bob Dylan and the Swedish Academy, there is still silence. Mr. Dylan has not acknowledged the Nobel, nor may any public comment. And the Academy considers his non-communication as arrogance. There is no doubting Dylan's quirky sense of himself and Adam Kirsch at the New York Times opines that perhaps the ghost of Jean-Paul Sartre haunts the whole procedure, bad faith and all.
Adam Kirsch on Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize Silence

In happier news, Paul Beatty was announced to be the first American writer to win the Man-Booker award this past week for his novel, The Sellout.
Paul Beatty First American to Win Man-Booker Award

Beatty has been a well-regarded writer here in the States for some time now. But not so much in the UK. The rules for the Man-Booker changed a few years ago, allowing anyone writing in English and published in Great Britain to be eligible for the prize. And as Charlotte Higgins explains in this interview with the author, it was no easy thing to get his novel published there.
Publishing Paul Beatty in the UK

It may have taken over 400 years, but Christopher Marlowe is getting his due recognition this week. The Oxford University Press will now credit the murdered playwright as a co-author with the Bard on the Henry VI plays. H/T to Lucian for the link.
Oxford University Press Gives Credit Where It's Due

Last week marked the 162nd anniversary of the birth of famed Irish writer Oscar Wilde. Ever Sullivan has written a new biography of the man, Fall of the House of Wilde: Oscar Wilde and His Family. Here the biographer shares ten things you may or may not have known about Oscar for Publishers Weekly.
Oscar Wilde Just Had a Birthday. How Much Do You Know About Him?

And how could we not celebrate Oscar's birthday without sharing some of his bon mots. Here, from a Signature piece published a couple of years ago, are quotes concerning Art with a capital A Wilde essayed.
Oscar Wilde on Art

Good news for J.R.R. Tolkien fans! There will be a new book, unearthed by his son Christopher, published next year entitled Beren and Luthien, detailing the love affair between the eponymous characters. The story has werewolves in it!
Lost 'Lord of the Rings' Book to be Published Next Year!

And speaking of torrid love affairs, you may now be able to own the gun that poet Paul Verlaine attempted to shoot his lover, Arthur Rimbaud, with back in 1873. Christies will be auctioning the piece on November 30th. So if you happen to have a spare $60,000, make a bid!
A Literary Gun for Real Up for Auction

No doubt that Barack Obama is one of the best-read Presidents to have served our nation. Here for Wired, Obama lists his essential reads with a plan to read these works in only 89 hours. Thanks to my friend Naka for sharing this link.
President Obama's Reading List

In the WTF department this week, the head writer for the Daily Show, Daniel Radosh, had to give his permission for his son to read Fahrenheit 451 for school. Mr. Radosh's response has gone viral, and you can read it here:
Literary Irony of the Week: Permission Required to Read Fahrenheit 451

In other social media, Antonio French set off a hilarious twitter hashtag event when he complained that Donald Trump's answers on policy during the last debate sounded like a book report from a student who hadn't read the book.
#TrumpBookReport Hashtag

Remember, we are now a mere eleven days from the election. If your state allows early voting, what's keeping you? Get your votes in, and vote down ticket this year. It is so important. And then kick back, pour yourself a glass of your favorite drink or brew and enjoy a good book. And please let us know what that book is!

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The Book Booth: His Back Pages Edition

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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.  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: His Back Pages Edition

I had mentioned in previous posts up to the Nobel announcement, that Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami had been the favorite to win, and I think he will in the next year or two. He well deserves the prize. The two American authors favored were Philip Roth and Joyce Carol Oates. So the reaction to Bob Dylan's "win" was highly unanticipated (his odds had been listed at like 50 to 1) and met with some furor. I don't know why that should be. The man writes words. His words have had a huge impact and influence in the literary world. That he is a mere lyricist is nonsense. Here are some of the reactions for your consideration. Please note the gracious response from Ms. Oates.
Joyce Carol Oates on Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize Win

Actually Jon Pareles of the New York Times says it a whole lot better than I can.
John Pareles on Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize Win

And certainly there are other writers who appreciate the words of Bob Dylan and some of them reflected for the New Yorker on their favorite lines.
Writers Thoughts on their Favorite Bob Dylan Lines

Not so oddly for anyone who has followed his career, Bob Dylan himself has made no public comment on the award, and even the Swedish committee has not really talked to him. Who knows if he'll show up at the ceremony in December or not? I suspect he will. He's accepted many academic awards in person. I see no reason other than having a disruption in his touring schedule that he won't go.
Will Bob Dylan Appear at the Nobel Prize Awards Ceremony?

From My Poetic Side is a cool map, that show how many writers have won for each country.
Literature Nobel Prize Winners by Country

D.H. Lawrence never won the Nobel Prize. Had he lived past his 44th year, maybe he'd have had a shot at it. Personally, I've never been a fan. However as a passionate defender of the First Amendment and hater of censorship, I can still appreciate what Barney Rosset of the Grove Press tried to do in getting Lady Chatterly's Lover published.
D.H.Lawrence and Lady Chatterly's Lover Changed America

With the holidays coming up, so is party season. The folks at Electric Lit have listed the eleven most famous parties in literature. It does not include the famous party which appears near the conclusion of Proust's In Search of Lost Time, which has epiphanic affect on the narrator, but oh well. And by the way, speaking of parties, the long neglected writer from the 1920's, Carl Van Vechten, has a whole novel devoted to parties and it's well worth reading.
Literary Parties

In case you are invited (and who hasn't been,eh?) to a literary themed Halloween party, you may want to check out these costume ideas from Bustle. Miss Havisham is particularly creepy.
Creepy Literary Costume Party Ideas

We all have, if we have pets, the smartest cats and dogs that are to be had. My cats are, of course, exceptional. But it would seem there are other animals that are pretty darn bright. The Guardian features some that you'll find on the printed page.
Bright Animals in Literature

Leaves of Grass is one of the masterworks of American Literature. But until I saw this article, I had no idea that Edward Weston the photographer had published an illustrated edition many years ago. Allison Meier at Hyperallergic has the story here.
Leaves of Grass Illustrated by Edward Weston's Photography

Have a most relaxed and entertaining weekend and please let us know what your reading pleasures are.

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