Archive for reading

The Book Booth: Lazy Crazy Hazy Days of Summer Edition

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From: BostonHerald/Associated Press

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: Lazy, Crazy, Hazy Days of Summer Edition

The days are sunshiny, bright and warm, but not too hot, here in my little town. There's a gentle breeze outside the window, brushing the magnolia leaves against the window. Damn, I gotta get out there and prune that thing!

It's been a great summer for reading. There is nothing like sitting back with a cool drink and leafing the pages of a book while lounging in a comfortable setting. And the folks at the LiteracySite remind us why we both enjoy and need that time.
Why We Enjoy Reading

With the publication of Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman, the New Republic wondered what other works by famous authors have gone unpublished while sitting in some desk drawer. To me, it seems that some of these works probably deserve the obscurity that the authors wanted for these tomes. Others look interesting.
Unpublished Works by Famous Authors

For myself, I remain wary of reading Watchman. For all the reasons Maureen Corrigan explains over at NPR. Some things I just don't want to know about Atticus. H/T to Lucian for sending me this link.
Should You Read Watchman?

With the recent controversy over the Confederate flag andthe arguments over "heritage" to conceal racism, I have been thinking about the American Civil War, now 150 years finished. So I am excited to learn of this new graphic novel, Battle Lines, a collaboration between historian Ari Kelman and graphic artist Jonathan Fetter-Vorm. I've placed a hold on it at the library, and I'll let you know if it is good.
A Graphic Novel About the Civil War

Some good news from the war on censorship. A federal judge has blocked an Arizona law that banned nude photos in books, papers and other media. The law's original intent was to stop "revenge" porn, but it really extended basically to anything "nude". The American Booksellers Association has the full story here.
Arizona Censorship Law Struck Down

Part of my development as a young reader was the adventures of Frank and Joe Hardy (as well as Tom Swift and the Tarzan series), something for which I readily admit. No, I didn't read classics at age 10. But I may never have read literature at all without the Hardy Boys. Here MentalFloss explores some facts many people don't know about those intrepid young sleuths.
Who Were The Hardy Boys?

By my teens, I was reading the American masters of modernism, though, including Steinbeck, Fitzgerald and Hemingway. But I never did get around to Hemingway's Green Hills of Africa (or Death in the Afternoon). The book is being reissued with some additional material from his family and it looks to be a more interesting work.
Green Hills of Africa Reissued (with additional material)

Earlier in the Spring, I discussed the Hugo Award Kerfuffle. (You can see that post here: Hugo Award Controversy.

Voting for the Hugo Awards is still going on and Game of Thrones author George RR Martin is encouraging folks to vote, no matter what. More On The HA Controversy

Author E.L. Doctorow passed away this week at age 84. My favorite two novels of his were Book of Daniel, a novel about the children of two executed cold war spies, and the brilliant Ragtime. If you've never read him, go check some of his work out. Doctorow

Somehow the folks at Buzzfeed snuck into my house and found that every available surface space is covered by books. At least they didn't get a shot of the mountain of books that are on SeattleTammy's bed table that looks to be a catastrophe in the making.
Secret Lives of Booklovers Revealed.

To all of you, a splendid summer weekend, filled with books and reading. We'll see you next week and please do let us know what books you are enjoying

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The Book Booth: Academy Awards Edition

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Image: Oregon Life

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: Academy Awards Edition

Yet another year and once again, the Academy has neglected to nominate me for any awards at all. And after all the years I've put in, watching movies. I don't get it. But others will "get" their awards and, for me, another year of neglect.

Another guy neglected by the Academy was Norman Mailer. Of course if you've ever seen the screen versions of The Naked and the Dead or An American Dream, maybe that is understandable. But at least he'll be having a film adaptation coming up of his Armies of the Night, his account of the march on the Pentagon in 1967.
Armies

F. Scott Fitzgerald closed out his all too brief life, living in Hollywood, where he did screenplay doctoring and had a credit for his work on Three Comrades. His decline is well documented, and sad. Jeff Baker at Oregonlive has these reflections on his Hollywood career.
FSF in LaLa Land

The film version of 50 Shades of Grey opened this past weekend to mega millions of dollars in receipts. I don't think we'll be seeing it nominated for much of anything at next year's Oscars, but who knows? However someone should give an award to Gilbert Gottfried for his reading of the book, which absolutely Not Safe for Work.
50 Shades

I'm certainly not opposed to eroticism in fiction, if done well. TimeOut has these suggestions for books much better written than 50 Shades. I, for one, liked Vox by Nicholson Baker, very much.
Eroticism in Fiction

Here is a fun graphic timeline of books that have been banned over the centuries from PrinterInk. I don't think 50 Shades has made the cut yet for being an important banned book.
Banned Books

Of course To Kill a Mockingbird has been banned at various times and in various places. And with the announcement of a new Harper Lee novel coming out this summer, Sam Tanenhausl at Bloomberg reflects on the endurance of Mockingbird.
Why To Kill a Mockingbird Won't Die

In more fun book news, a new Dr. Seuss book will be published this coming July. It was discovered in his office, fully written, illustrated and entitled What Pet Should I Get. Publishers Weekly has the story here.

How well up are you on your Edgar Allan Poe quotations? And, for that matter, how well do you know your Goth song lyrics? Flavorwire challenges you to guess what is what here in this quiz. Good luck!  Edgar Allen Poe Goth Lyrics Quiz

This week saw the passing of former US Poet Laureate Philip Levine. He was a fine poet, accessible and thoughtful. NPR had this story on his life and work.
Philip Levine Has Left Us

Finally, our little town has had a very mild winter, if we don't count the eight inches of rain we had one day, leading to some major flooding. But the rest of the country seems to have snow. A lot of snow. And a great time to catch up on your reading. Buzzfeed looks at the upside of being snowbound.

Good luck to all you Oscar nominees and hoping I can join you on the red carpet next year! In the meantime, let us know what books you've got going and recommend. A good weekend to us all.

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The Book Booth: St. Valentines Day Edition

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Image: Flavorwire

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: St. Valentines Day Edition

A Happy Valentines Day to all you lovers and sweethearts out there. May you all have a candy tray filled with messaged hearts!

For those of you without a loved one to share the day, perhaps if you were even more interesting than you already are, your love life would spark up. With that in mind, take a look at Emily Temple's list of books that will make you more attractive intellectually. Or maybe not. In any event, Flavorwire has the list here.

The fallout from the news that there is another Harper Lee novel, a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, continues. For a more detailed look at the controversy, The New York Times devoted a lengthy article. Mockingird Prequel/Sequel?

But yet more controversy! Who exactly owns the screen rights to the new novel? Well, my guess is Ms. Lee does. But that doesn't stop people in Hollywood from talking. The Los Angeles Times reports. Mockingbird / Watchman Screen Rights?

Still, really, the big media news story this past week was Jon Stewart's announcement that he would be leaving the Daily Show later this year. Surely, we will all miss the caustic humor of Jon Stewart. But who will miss him the most? Why book publicists, of course, says the Washington Post.
Jon Stewart Is Moving On

Americans are woefully ignorant of literature written outside the United States. That so many of us had never heard of Patrick Modiano until he won the Nobel Prize for literature last year is evidence of that. That used not to be true. I remember when South American writing was all the rage and lively discussions were to be had over many European writers. Why this has come to pass, I don't really know. Bill Morris at the Daily Beast tackles the question here.
European Writers / Foreign Fiction

Maybe we should all try to adopt the plan of English writer Ann Morgan, who tried to read a different book from a different country, all within one year. She described how she blogged her activities and turned those posts into a book for the BBC. H/To to Lucian for finding this one.
Read the World!

In the used book business, we get lots of folks looking for out-of-print tomes all the time. Some are very easy to find. Yet others are obscure and difficult to obtain without a lot of cost. Bookfinder.com has come up with its list of the most requested OP titles for the past year. Not a lot of surprises, but I was sort of stunned to see Stephen King titles in the list. Who lets King go out of print? Thanks to our friend Mark McKay for sending the link along.
Stephen King Out of Print? Say It Isn't So!

To become a good Antiquarian bookseller, it takes a good eye and a lot of knowledge about the history of books, including types of paper, printing processes, etc. Susan Halas knows a great deal more than I do and shared the information some time ago here. Another h/t to Lucian.
Things to Know If You're a Newcomer in the Book Biz

Over the years, Margaret Atwood's A Handmaids Tale has been a classic of dystopian literature. Surprisingly for me, at least, the current Freshman class at West Point was required to read the book. And, even more surprisingly, Ms. Atwood ventured to the Academy to discuss the work and take questions from the cadets. Laura Miller at Salon has the story here.
Margaret Atwood at West Point

Perhaps some sort of dystopia is not that far away. And in the wrong hands, technology just might become evil! What of a future where the book cover judges you? A scary thought that is on the verge of happening. As Kevin McCarthy shouted, They're here, they're here!
Dystopia is Already Here

A Happy Valentines Day for us all. And whether the current book you are reading is romantic or not, let us know what good books you have piled up.

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The Book Booth: Mockingbird Edition

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Image via: the New York Times

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.

My guess is that many of you have already seen that a "new" Harper Lee novel will be released. The book was apparently written before she began work on To Kill a Mockingbird and involves an adult Scout Finch visiting her father Atticus after the events of Mockingbird. The Gray Lady has the story.  Harper Lee

Of course the news set the twitters aflame with title suggestions, as Salon explains.
Mockingbird Prequel/Sequel

And it set off some controversy. Ms. Lee is now in assisted living and there is some worry that she may have been pressured into publishing this work. I was a bit surprised when the story appeared in the first place. I had the feeling that she had said what she wanted to say in the one book and was content with it. But apparently she is "happy as Hell". And I'm good with it, too, even if it isn't nearly as good as Mockingbird.
Harper Lee is Happy as Hell

Another thing you may have seen this week is the touching letter written by Roald Dahl on the death of his daughter from measles in 1962. Coming on the heels of the new outbreaks of measles in this country and with the boneheads who wont have their children vaccinated, creating a public health menace, well, it gets my blood to boiling.
Roald Dahl's Daughter Died of Measles -

Happier news came from the recent conference of the American Library Association where it was announced that Kwame Alexander won the Newberry Award for his children's novel The Crossover and Dan Santat won the Caldecott for his book The Adventures of Beekle. Publishers Weekly has the story here.

Let us admit it. Even at our advanced ages, we love kids picture books. NPR recently featured some newer titles that look wonderful.  Kids Books for Adults

The news from Hollywood is that James Franco, English student extraordinaire and actor, is set to star in an adaptation of John Steinbeck's 1936 novel, In Dubious Battle. Franco has appeared in other literary adaptations, including a recent film of William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying. The LA Times has the scoop here.
James Franco

I have been blitzing through that very fine HBO series Boardwalk Empire and in reading the credits (yes, I read the credits), I noticed that Dennis Lehane, author of Mystic River and Shutter Island, among other great books, wrote for the show as well as served as "Creative Producer". Apparently this development is not unusual in Hollywood these days.
Novelists as Screenwriters and Producers

The Daily Telegraph posted this rather interesting and chronological look at fifty cult novels. And To Kill a Mockingbird is on the list!
Fifty Cult Novels

Finally, for anyone worried about what to read next, Publishers Weekly provides you some previews of books to be in stores this spring, including new works from Toni Morrison, Kazuo Ishiguro, Nick Hornby and Thomas McGuane, to name a few.
Spring Book Preview

Happy reading for us all this weekend and be sure to let us know what you've just pulled off the shelf.

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