Archive for pulitzer

The Book Booth: Pulitzer Prize 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. 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.

Some weeks are better than others and this past one pretty much sucked. Paddy and Laffy offer their mid-day distractions and I've need them this week. I hope that by talking about books, you may enjoy some diversion as well this weekend.

And, of course, the big news in Literature is the announcement of this years Pulitzer Prizes. Publishers Weekly has the list of winners here.

As there was no fiction last year, which provoked all sorts of controversy, NPR's Morning Edition discussed the financial aspects of having a winner during the business segement, with some commentary by Steve Inskeep and David Greene. Listen to the audio.

To be quite honest, I hadn't heard of Adam Johnson and his winning novel, The Orphan Master's Son, which takes place in the recesses of North Korea, so this feature on him in PW comes in handy.

For years, in mystery circles, their have been high accolades for the Belgian author, Georges Simenon. I have read one of his books, but it was in a Spanish translation for an advanced High School class, and I can't remember a thing about it. The blog Guernicamag. had this appreciation of him.

Speaking of my formative educational years, I can't remember any great "campus" novels during my years as an undergraduate. The best one that is close to the years I spent attending the University was Been Down So Long, It Looks Like Up to Me, by Richard Farina, which is still worth reading today. The other one I can think of is The Strawberry Statement, which is not. Flavorwire assures that the campus novel genre is still alive and kicking.

In other book recommends, ABEBooks had this fine feature on books by librarians. I love our local libraries and the librarians who, underpaid and understaffed, do such a great job of bringing the printed word to our communities.

Congrats and kudos to an old friend and colleague, Harry Kirchner, who has ventured into the publishing biz with a new line of re-issued out of print titles. The imprint is Pharos Editions and the announced titles are intriguing. I read Inside Moves years ago and enjoyed it a great deal. Basketball does not lend itself to great reads, but this is the exception. And McTeague, the novel by Frank Norris was famously filmed in the silent era as Greed by Erich Von Stroheim.

In the Book to Film department, it seems that a new documentary on the life and work of the reclusive J.D. Salinger will be released in September and then shown again on PBS this coming January. Rope of Silicon has the poster art and the story.

As far as I know, Salinger's works have never been filmed. He probably didn't need film adaptations to assure his fame. But other authors have benefited a great deal from having their work appear on the silver screen, and Word and Film has a list of six such authors.

Then, again, maybe having your novel filmed isn't such a great idea. Deja View has the list of ten films that have a passing resemblance to the works they're base upon.

Hang in there, dear readers, and enjoy the weekend. Tell us what books you have on your nightstand!

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The Book Booth: Memorial Day 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. 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.

I wish I had mentioned this last week, but it somehow eluded me. But yesterday was Towel Day, a celebration of the life and work of Douglas Adams. Please mark it on your calendars for next year. Or celebrate belatedly!

It is Memorial Day weekend. I hope everyone takes some time to honor those who served our nation in times of crisis. But that doesn't mean you can't do some grilling. Via our friends at Publishers Weekly, here is a very interesting grilling advice. Put the meat on the coals! They swear it works.

And as we wrap up the Merry Month of May, here is a literature quiz from the Guardian about this cheery month. And it isn't an easy one. Good luck.

Many books feature evil children. Who's the worst? Rhoda from The Bad Seed? Pinky from Brighton Rock is pretty darn nasty. And the children in The Midwich Cuckoos are very, very creepy. AbeBooks had a fun blog about these little demons with some great old cover art from the novels.

The big news in publishing this week concerned the annual stockholders meeting of Amazon in Seattle on Thursday. I am glad that Amazon will no longer help fund ALEC. I am also pleased that Amazon was shamed into announcing that they will install air conditioning in their way over-heated warehouses. I've heard many lame excuses and remedies over the years, but I found it galling that Bezos previously had said (and I paraphrase), well, we have paramedics on standby in case someone strokes out due to the heat. Really. How kind of you.

The Cannes Film Festival is taking place until the 27th. There are a number of films based on literature and Publsiher's Weekly gathered up many of the trailers of the films being shown. We've talked about On the Road. I am also looking forward to Cloud Atlas and Cosmopolis. The others look interesting as well.And The Guardian has some commentary here.

Currently there is a lot of buzz about the Christmas release of The Great Gatsby from director Baz Luhrmann. It will star Leonardo. Gatsby has been filmed twice before, the first time starring, improbably, Alan Ladd, and then in the early seventies starring an over-aged Robert Redford, and directed by Jack Clayton who also gave us a great and very frightening adapatation of The Turn of the Screw, The Innocents. The latter adaptation was penned by Francis Ford Coppola, and, alas, it just didn't work. You can see the trailer for the new remake here.

I like Luhrmann and I'm not particularly bothered by his stylized manner. I can see why he'd be attracted to the subject matter. And I'm sure the Academy is dying to give Leo a best acting award. But there has been some backlash to the trailer as evidenced by Vanity Fair. My hope is that Luhrmann goes with a different music score.

And in happier film adaptation news, it looks like one of our favorite novels, A Confederacy of Dunces, may come to the silver screen. I'd have high hopes for this one.

There is a new biography of John Kennedy Toole available now (Da Capo $26.00) which SeattleTammy talks about at our blog.

A good Holiday weekend to everyone. What's on your nightstand?

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The Book Booth: New Moon 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. 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.

We begin this weekend's edition by noting the passing of another literary icon, Carlos Fuentes. Probably best known on our side of the border for his novel, The Old Gringo, he also authored The Death of Artemio Cruz and his highly ambitious Terra Nostra, and his most recently publshed work, Destiny and Desire. Any work by Fuentes is fervently recommended.

Yet more from the Pulitzer Prize contremps, eight authors weighed in at the New York Times Magazine on their choices. Two votes went to David Foster Wallaces's The Pale King.

An interesting short article from the U.K.'s The Guardian on the influences, or lack of them, on contemporary writers. I'm not at all convinced that this is a good thing.

I don't suppose that I am alone in my love for historical fiction. The following list, again, is from the Guardian, and is weighted toward the European. I would have included Gore Vidal. Vidal's novel, Julian, is a brilliant reconstruction of the late Roman Empire. And his novels on American history, Burr, 1876 and Lincoln are all very, very good. And a salute to Mr. Vidal, one of the last remaining public intellectuals left from his generation.

Who doesn't love a flow chart? Here's a great one on books

And here's a phone app for your iphone I bet you never thought you needed!

Finally, we have a profile of Shakespeare and Company, the English language bookstore in Paris that was founded by Sylvia Beach, who was also the original publisher of James Joyce's Ulysses back in the day. The store still exists. I have very fond memories of visiting the store and buying one of Ross McDonald's Lew Archer novels. I devoured the book, while drinking gin avec schweppes at an outdoor cafe. I kept returning to the bookstore, where i bought all the remaining McDonald novels they had, and to the same cafe, where I learned to love the mystery novel. Ahh, the memories.

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The Book Booth: Spring BBQ Edition

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Braten grill given to David Cameron by President Obama.

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.

Last year at about this time, we had what amounted to be the wettest Spring on record. This weekend, though, promises to be near Summer like. Time to haul out the grill and fire up the briquets. May your weekend weather be just as awesome as ours.

The sad news in the world of books this week was the passing of the wonderful children's writer/illustrator, Maurice Sendak, at the age of 83. Publishers Weekly had this short obit.
Earlier in the year, we mentioned and linked the very funny interview Sendak had with Stephen Colbert. And, oddly, on the day of his death, Colbert's own childrens book, I am a Pole was released.

We stocked the book, and I have to say, it is very, very funny. The jacket blurbs are worth the price alone. And, of course, the major blurbist is Sendak himself who said of it, "The sad thing is, I like it", and "terribly, supremely ordinary"

As you might have suspected, Paul Krugman is something of a Sci-Fi nerd. This is an interesting interview about the economist's recreational reading. I love what he says about reading devices and bookstores.

From Cory Doctorow's place at boingboing comes this neat looking interior design piece.

Ever wondered what the literati likes to drnk? The folks at the Kitchn has a list. Over the years, I've tried many of these. And liked them.

Over the past few years, one of the phenomena that has become big in the world of publishing is Fan Fiction. Nothing has become so popular as the Fifty Shades trilogy. And although I never like to link to Amazon, you might find this amusing. I did.

The James Beard Awards were announced earlier this week. You can find the winners here.

We were very happy to note that the fine novelist, Laurie Colwin was inducted into the Cookbook Hall of Fame. Colwin passed away some years ago, but her cookbooks, Home Cooking and More Home Cooking still serve as inspirations for our meals. H/T to our friend Janet Brown for passing along this information.

In other award news, our friend Kathrin King Segal won the bronze prize for popular fiction from the Independent Publisher Book Awards for her novel We Were Stardust.
We simply love this book. SeattleTammy blogged about it here.

Finally we have book recommends. Longtime friend and pal, George Carroll, Sales Rep extraordinaire, passed along to us the catalog from Seagull Books. It is one of the most eye catching and beautiful catalogs we have ever gazed upon. Better yet, the books listed in the catalog look to be amazing. We also were sent a copy of the book, The Gaze of the Gazelle. SeattleTammy read and loved this book. Her full book report is here.

What's on your nightstand? Happy grilling!

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The Book Booth: Cinco de Mayo 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. 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.

A Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone! It looks like we will be enjoying pleasant weather in our little town, which is also celebrating the Shorebird Festival. The little guys are making their spring stopover to fill up on food as they continue their flight to Alaska from Mexico.

Robert McCrum of the Guardian presented his top ten first lines in literature. Not a bad list at all, and I am impressed that he begins with one of my favorites, Ulysses. I might have included Call Me Ishmael. And certainly the opening line "Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul.", but that's just me.

And while we are on the topic of great literature, the folks at Publishers Weekly has put Madame Bovary into pie chart form for easier accessibility.

If you home is still over-loaded with books, you might check out the creative way this excess can be put to use! Erect a building! From our friends at Flavorwire.

I'm sure many of you are struggling with writing that best-seller you know that's in you and is dying to come out. The fine crime writer, James Hall, has some suggestions for you via Salon.

Writers in the news. Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison has a new novel being published by Knopf next week, Home. New York Magazine had this interesting profile of her.

While over at the New York Times, the author Neil Gaiman discussed his reading habits.

I've always thought Stephen King a reasonable man, and an admirable one. He gives generously to literary magazines and promotes literature in our fair nation. The following is an amazing screed about the need to tax the rich, including himself. He pulls no punches here. Enjoy!

I'll bet you weren't aware that among President Obama's many talents, he is a rather astute student of poetry and of T.S. Eliot in particular. By way of Politico.

Finally, Seattle Tammy and I had a pleasant time selling books to the librarians of the Timberland Library system last Saturday morning. The featured speaker was Jim Lynch who wrote The Highest Tide, Borderlands and his latest novel Truth Like the Sun which features the Seattle World's Fair of 1962. Tammy discusses the event and the book at our blog.

What's on your nightstand? Enjoy the Fifth of May!

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The Book Booth: May Day 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. 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.

It isn't quite May, actually, but it will be soon enough. I hope the April Showers will bring out your May Flowers!

Last Monday was World Book Night and here in the States, over 500,000 books were given away. The copies we had were donated to a homeless shelter in Aberdeen, Washington which services at-risk children. Publishers Weekly has the story here.
And SeattleTammy posted a Daily Kos diary as well.

April 23rd also marked the birthday of the Bard of Avon. It also marked the 396th anniversary of his death. I hope everyone celebrated in an appropriate manner, though I wouldn't suggest murdering your step-father or mother, or unfaithful wife, or King, or what have you as a good way to do so. Huffington Post had a quiz on quotes from the plays.

Had you been in the market for a typewriter, this one, alas, is no longer available. Which reminds me that I could have purchased the visitor's dugout from Seattle's old Kingdome for about the same amount. Capote's typewriter? Baseball dugout? The choice is hard.

The fallout from the brouhaha over the Pulitzer Prize continues. The Guardian's Robert McCrum weighs in (again) on whether this maters or not.

The movie The Raven has opened with John Cusack playing Edgar Allen Poe.
Mr. Cusack was honored earlier in the week with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In that he is portraying one of the father of American Literature, it seems very cool that the star is in front of Larry Edmunds Bookshop,

Once again, if you are looking for book recommendations, you can't go wrong by checking out what booksellers across the land have to say about some new releases at IndieBound.

Nor can you go wrong by checking out SeattleTammy's glowing review of Mark Kram's Like Any Normal Day, at our blog. I've started the book myself, and it is very, very good.

What's on your nightstand?

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The Book Booth: The Pulitzer 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. 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.

Well, the big news this week in the book world was the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction or lack thereof. For the first time since 1977, no prize was given in the fiction category. Huffington Post had some of the details.

Of course, the failure to give a book award meet with consternation. Like the Oscar is for movies, the Pulitzer is for books. That is, it means sales.

As Publisher's Weekly notes, the winners in the other categores are going back to press.

Robert McCrum of the Guardian suggested that perhaps the Pulitzer committee follow the model of the British Orange Prize and expand it's shortlist.

As for myself, I think any of the nominated books would have been worthy. It would have been nice to honor the late David Foster Wallace, whose novel, Infinite Jest is proving to be a enduring modern masterpiece. I haven't read the novel yet, but Karen Russell's debut novel Swamplandai was well-reviewed and esteemed by reviewers I respect. Nor have I read Denis Johnson's Train Dreams; but I have read his early short story collection Jesus' Son. And I thought his novel Tree of Smoke, a winner of the National Book Award, one of the best novels of the past decade, if not one of the best I've ever read. He was certainly Pulitzer worthy.

Ahh, Paris! It has been far too many years since I've been there. But the darker side of Parisian life and Parisians is explored here, in a report from NPR by writer Amy Thomas.

For all the Harry Potter readers out there, you need to check out this website. Enjoy!

I grew up reading the cartoons of Jules Feiffer in the Calendar section of the LA Times. It always seemed sophisticated. And he was always funny. So it I was delighted to see he is still going strong and is planning a graphic novel, Kill My Mother, due out next year. Publisher's Weekly has the story.

Finally, SeattleTammy found this cool website. What fictional character shares your birthday. As it turns out, I have the same birthday as The Count from Sesame Street. How cool is that?

What's on your nightstand?

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