Archive for Paul Beatty

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: September Song Edition

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Image Literary Arts Organization

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: September Song Edition

The direction of time is certainly moving toward Fall here. Many of the trees have those vibrant colors and the sun keeps setting earlier every night. SeattleTammy and I are preparing for the inevitable. We replaced the furnace filters this week and vacuumed out the ducts. Now to winterize the garden.

With the coming of the Fall come the prizes. The National Book Foundation revealed this week its longlist for the awards to be presented in November. In the fiction category, my money is on Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad.
National Book Foundation Awards

And with an awards ceremony of its own in late October, the Man Booker shortlist was also announced this past week and includes two American, two Canadian and two British authors. I have to admit I'm not familiar with these works, but Paul Beatty is a good and unusual nominee. The Nobel Prizes will be awarded in early October, so stay tuned.
Man Booker Award Coming Soon

If you happen to be in Portlandia Oregon on November 5th, go check out the annual Portland Book Festival, presented by the folks at Wordstock. There will be many, many authors attending.
Wordstock Portland Book Festival

So you'd like to be a writer but you're stuck. The blank page terrifies you and you don't know where to start, where to go, who to turn to. Well, these authors have advice and a lot of the suggestions here are quite a help. From the Guardian..
Yes! I Want to Write a Book! How Do I Get Started?

Some writers work fast, others take their time. Did you know it took Anthony Burgess less time to write A Clockwork Orange than it took Dickens to write A Christmas Carol? MentalFloss has a nice graphic here on how long it took certain works to be written.
How Long Did It Take to Write That Book?

Once you've written the book that's been inside you these many years, there comes the matter of getting it published. No easy task for many. But do take heart. The Stranger by Albert Camus had to overcome many obstacles to see the light of day, including getting by the censors of the occupying German army, as Alice Kaplan, author of Looking for the Stranger: Albert Camus and the Life of a Literary Classic, explains here.
Getting The Stranger Published Was No Piece of Cake

Jonathan Safran Foer, the author of Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, has a newly published novel out, Here I Am. The good people at Farrar Straus, and Giroux have an excerpt here for your perusal.
Excerpt from Here I Am

If I may, I'd like to suggest the work of my good friend John Olson. John is a charming and versatile poet as you can see from this piece he published at the Seattle Review of Books.
John Olson in the Seattle Review of Books

John has also written a new novel, In Advance of the Broken Justy, the details of which are here.

I am, as some of you may have noted, a big fan of the Library of America editions. It seems that they have now published American Musicals, a collection of some sixteen librettos of some of the best out there. But, as Steve Vineburg notes here, some musicals survive the transition from stage to screen better than others.
Musicals on the Big Screen

I'll leave you now to enjoy Walter Huston performing September Song, music written by Kurt Weill and lyrics by Maxwell Anderson for their 1938 show Knickerbocker Holiday.
 

 
Have a most gratifying weekend and please do let us know what books you are loving.

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The Book Booth: Easter Edition

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Image: The New Yorker

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: Easter Edition

We are caucusing this Saturday morning in our state. We choose all our other political candidates by primary election. All except for presidential nominees. I'd much prefer a primary. Still, for whatever its faults, having a caucus does allow us to see our friends and neighbors. And pretty damn early in the morning.

With that in mind, there is a lot, far too much really, to take in this campaign season. So Jessica Tripler has these reading these political readings to help guide you. To which I can only add George Lakoff's Don't Think of an Elephant, a still relevant guide to political framing.
Political Philosophical Readings

The military thinker Carl Von Clausewitz observed that war is the continuation of politics by other means. And Janine di Giovanni had these recommendations for great books of war reportage. In my humble opinion, Orwell's Homage to Catalonia is a must-read. In addition to John Reed's Ten Days that Shook the World, you might also want to look at his Revolutionary Mexico.
War Reportage from Orwell to Gellhorn

The English novelist Pat Barker has explored the genre of the war novel extensively and well. NPR featured a review of her book Noonday, which has recently been released.

For those of you who'd like some adventure in your weekend reading, the novelist Ian McGuire, author of the new novel, The North Water, about a whaling ship from Yorkshire and set in the 19th century, recommended these titles and it is hard to disagree with his choices. Naturally, he includes Moby Dick.
The 10 Best Adventure Novels

I had never heard of Mairtin O'Cadhain before I come across this New Yorker article, which explores both his career and writing. His novel Churchyard Clay, written in Irish Gaelic, has now two translations and the description of the book with its graveyard voices resonated with me as I'm in the midst of reading Spoon River Anthology.
Graveyard Voices in Churchyard Clay

We are approaching the 400th anniversary of the death of the Bard of Avon. I expect we will be hearing a lot more about that in the next few weeks. The Daily Telegraph recently featured ten books whose titles derive from Big Bill himself, with some cool jacket art of those books to boot.
Titles by Shakespeare, Content by Others

JK Rowling has had rejection letters since publishing the Harry Potter books? Indeed! She recently shared those letters for the mystery The Cuckoo's Calling which she wrote under the name Robert Galbraith. And The Political Carnival's own Lucian Dixon highly recommends this series.
What's In A Name? The Difference Between Acceptance and Rejection in the World of Publishing. JK Rowling's Rejection Letters as 'Robert Galbraith'.

The National Book Critics Circle recently gave out its awards for 2015 and it was good to see Paul Beatty win for his novel The Sellout. Beatty has been around for a while now, and his White Boy's Shuffle is a fine novel.
National Book Critics Circle Award to Paul Beatty

It is spring and time to do some house cleaning. Maybe it is a function of aging, or maybe it's the time of year, but I have grown less and sentimental about possessing my books. Oh, sure, there are books I'll never give up, but the number of titles that particular category encompasses grows smaller and smaller every year. SeattleTammy and I donate a number of books to our local Friends of the Library. The folks at Bustle have some other ideas of what to do with those books you no longer want to keep.
What To Do When You Need The Space All Those Books Are Taking Up?

Happy Easter to all of you who are observing the day. And happy reading as well. Please do let us know what books you are currently obsessing over.

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