Archive for required reading

The Book Booth: October 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. @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.

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The Book Booth: Autumnal Rhythms Edition

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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.

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The Book Booth: Fall 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 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: Fall Edition

The Fall equinox is upon us, and our journey into winter begins this coming Wednesday, the 23rd. All the signs are here in our little town. The leaves are turning and falling from the trees; the rain is beginning to return and stores have their Halloween displays up. And you can now purchase your Halloween cards for everyone on your list.

The Fall brings into Award Season, as well. The Nobel Prizes will be announced in early October. And the Booker Man Award for fiction will be presented on October 13th. This prize, once open only to Brits and writers in the Commonwealth, is now pretty much open to any novel written in English. And among this years shortlisted nominees is Anne Tyler for her novel Spool of Blue Thread. You can see the nominations here:
Booker Man Award Nominations

And the BBC provides also a guide to the books here. H/T to Lucian for providing this link.
BBC Guide to Booker Man Award Nominations

The long-lists for the National Book Awards, which are scheduled for November 18th, have also been announced and can be viewed here:
National Book Awards

The winner for this years PEN Literary Awards have already been announced this past week, and the ceremony for the honorees will be held in Beverly Hills on November 16th. The LA Times has the winners and other details here.
PEN Literary Awards

With the coming of Fall, also comes the opening of the football season. Quirk Books wondered what some novels would have looked like had they been written as tie-ins for some NFL teams.
NFL Teams Reimagined Novels

And October will bring us the baseball playoffs as well as the World Series. The folks at the Society for Baseball Research (or, more simply, SABR) had these recommendations for baseball reading. It is a pretty long list, but has a lot of good things for the baseball fan. That would be me.
Baseball Reading

Speaking of long lists, Publishers Weekly thought that the best books for the Fall Season were released this past September 14th. Here they provide the titles with descriptions, and it does look to be a good year for some good books.
Best Books for the Fall

Even authors like to take breaks from the tyranny of the blank page, and turn on the TeeVee machine. Flavorwire featured some writers favorite programs here. I am with Stephen King and his choice of The Americans. Good show! And, of course, The Wire is excellent.
What TV Programs Do Writers Watch?

Ever wonder what it would have been like to have culture icon George Carlin as a parent? Wonder no longer. His daughter Kelly Carlin provides the answer in her new memoir, A Carlin Home Companion. I don't think it would have been easy.
George Carlin As A Parent

I don't think I'd have been comfortable living in a hobbit hole, being a fairly tall man. But Dan Pauley has found some storybook homes that look delightful and pleasing to the eye. Via Boing Boing.
Storybook Homes

And I suppose Halloween will be upon us soon enough. If you know or have some naughty children, you may want to check out these scary Swedish stories. We know that the nights are long in Scandinavia, and these people have the time to get you very, very frightened. Again, via Boing Boing.
Scary Swedish Stories

Have a good weekend, filled with books and by all means, let us know what books you are treasuring.

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The Book Booth: Back To School 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 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: Back to School Edition

Yes, school is back! As I type, I can see all those kids, ages 5 to 18, backpacks laden with books, heading on home for the day. (I don't see them leave for school, because who gets up that early when you don't have to?). My best wishes to all the students and may you have successful academic years.

For the fashion-minded English major who really wants to show off his or her literary cred, Litographs has this cool selection of t-shirts.
Literary T-Shirts

Or if none of those please, take a look at the stylings from Bustle.
And More Literary T-Shirts!

The James Bond franchise keeps chugging along. The British novelist Anthony Horowitz is the most recent author to take on 007 in an new novel, Trigger Mortis. He has tried to up-date the suave spy into the 21st century, but lest the past be forgotten, he has also re-introduced Pussy Galore into Bond's life. Horowitz talked to NPRs Robert Siegel. (And if anyone is seeking my opinion, I think Idris Elba would make a terrific Bond. Just saying.)
Bond, James Bond

Keith Rice at Word and Film had these thoughts on the best horror films based on books. It is a good selection, and I feel good to know that I'm not the only one who thinks highly of Kubrick's adaptation of The Shining. Personally, I've never been an Exorcist fan, and kind of wish he'd included James Whale's The Bride of Frankenstein, even if the screenplay doesn't resemble Mary Shelly's work much at all.
"The Book Was Better" - or Not?

Speaking of Stephen King, as I just was in an oblique sort of way, Congrats to the horror novelist for being one of this years honorees for the National Medal of Arts. President Obama gave him the award this past Thursday night.
Stephen King a National Medal of Arts Honoree

If you have the time, this essay by Dan Chiasson on Ralph Waldo Emerson is worth a read. I'm not sure why Emerson isn't talked about more these days. I think he still remains relevant to our times, and it is good to see him appreciated.
Emerson Appreciated

This article by Art Winslow about a novel entitled Cow Country, authored by one Adrian Jones Pearson, is worth a look, too. He offers the opinion that in fact, author Pearson is none other than Thomas Pynchon, or his twin brother, or something. I'm not quite sure what to make of it, but his description of the work would certainly remind many of the old recluse himself.
So Who Really Wrote 'Cow Country'?

If you are heading to your favorite independent bookseller or to the library this weekend, you may want to check out this list of women authors in translation for ideas on what to pick up. An impressive group from Flavorwire.

Finally, a mystery solved for those of you who wonder what your cats are up to while you are not at home. And this wouldn't be the internets, if we didn't include cute cat pictures. H/T to my friend from Second Life, Stranger Nightfire.
It's The Internet So It's Cat Picture Time

Please have a great weekend, filled with lots of reading and many books. And please let us know what good books you've got going.

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