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The Book Booth: How's Your Weather Edition

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snowcat

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 have the usual winter gloom here in our little town. A lot of rain, a bit of wind and temperatures in the forties. How's it going for you? I suspect that wherever you may be, snuggling in with a good book might be a great idea.

And if you were looking to catch up on some contemporary literature, take a gander at Jason Diamonds's list of important books from the past five years from Flavorwire. It is an exhaustive, if not exhausting, look at fifty books.

2014 will be yet another year of movie adaptations. Arielle Calderon at Buzzfeed suggests you might want to read these sixteen books before the movies hit the theaters. Among them is Mark Helprin's Winters Tale which SeattleTammy adored. Let's hope the film does it justice.

Back in 1971 a group of activists burgled a Pennsylvania FBI office and discovered files that more than confirmed our more paranoid suspicions that the Bureau spied extensively on anti-war and civil rights organizations. The perps were never caught and only now have their identities been revealed. NPR looks at Betty Medsger's The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover's Secret FBI here.

NPR also featured the legacy of Amiri Baraka, the controversial and always interesting African-American poet and playwright who passed away this week at age 79. Before he adopted the Baraka name, he was called LeRoi Jones and his work of non-fiction, Blues People is an excellent study of black music in white culture.

Last week I mentioned that a US court recently ruled that Arthur Conan Doyle's character, one Sherlock Holmes, was now in the public domain.(The Doyle Estate,as I understand, is appealing the ruling). Well, for all you Sherlock fans out there, The Guardian offers a quiz on the good detective. And it isn't easy.

Over at HuffPo, Antonio Garrido looks at eleven women from literature who rebelled against the mores of their times. It's a good list, but I will never understand the fascination people have with Scarlett O'Hara. I find her to be one of the most unlikeable characters,man or woman, in literature.

Most of imagine writers at work sitting at a desk, scribbling on tablets or typing away at their laptops. But some writers prefer a more relaxed position....reclined on their beds. Again, from HuffPo, Bernd Brunner looks at few of those recumbent authors.

There are the famous dystopian novels nearly everyone has read. 1984. Brave New World. Then there are some others worthy of our attention, that seem a little more obscure. Jason Diamond featured fifteen such titles, again from Flavorwire.

Obscurity beats out being non-existent, though. Gabe Habash at Publishers Weekly lists off nine famous books that never saw the light of day, including one on asteroids by a certain Professor Moriarty.

I hope this finds you all warm and comfortable, no matter what your weather may be. Curl up with a good book, have an outstanding weekend and let us know what you are reading.

Photo by my df Cat.

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The Book Booth: Another Odds and Ends Edition

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oddsandends

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 is that time of year when it is quiet in the world of books. Publishers are gearing up for their Spring releases, and booksellers catch their collective breaths after what one hopes was a busy holiday season. But there is always some news and interesting tidbits to share.

For those of us recovering from perhaps too much holiday cheer comes the good news that reading helps your brain functions in all sorts of good ways.

If you haven't finished welcoming in the New Year, or want some of the hair of the dog, Flavorwire has these suggestions from literature that you may want to try.

I'd recommend drinking at home. The humiliation of drinking at a bar when you're involved in books could end up looking like this.

We have some good news for writers who would like to use Sherlock Holmes in your narratives. Sherlock, Doctor Watson and all those characters from Arthur Conan Doyle are now in the public domain.

Then there are writers who suffer from writers block or need to think some aspects of their works-in-progress through and end up doodling. Among these writers are those given to self-portraiture. Brainpickings offers some examples here.

Oh, the trials and tribulations of working in a bookstore. Author and bookseller Susan Coll had this funny piece in the Washington Post and it reminded me of the days when I'd be asked for a book by a customer who neither knew the title or the author, but could tell me it was yellow; or the elderly lady who wanted me to shape the gift wrap ribbon into a cute dog.

Places and homes often function as characters in fiction. Manderlay. Wuthering Heights. Shortlist came up with this very useful floor plan guide for some of the more classic homes in literature.

Before we bid 2013 a fond adieu, ABEBooks handy review of the past year, complete with dust jacket art.

Often lost in the shuffle of the books published during the course of the year are those works translated into English. Juan Vidal shared three such works at NPR that look terrific and worth your time pursuing.

And finally at NPR station KUOW in Seattle comes these recommendations from librarian extraordinaire Nancy Pearl. From her short list here, I sought out Kevin Jackson's Constellation of Genius: 1922 Modernism Year One and so far, it is a great read and literary history.

Have a most pleasant weekend. Enjoy some fine books and let us know what books you are enjoying!

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F-Word Beer: Cure For The New Years Hangover

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Exit 6 Pub

C'mon, if you didn't have one too many on New Years Eve, chances are you had a bit to imbibe yesterday on New Years Day with the Rose Parade. Maybe you wanted to sober up with a stop at Starbucks and grab a fresh Frappacino. But, maybe in your slightly inebriated state you missed your destination by a block and instead stopped at  Exit 6 Pub and Brewery, in Cottleville, Missouri. Luckily for you, when you muttered the word Frappacino, the attendant poured you a fresh one from the tap. Yikes, it was beer and not coffee. You looked around and realized you were in an unfamiliar small independent bar and not the standard, uniform confines of the huge Starbucks chain. Gone was the Starbucks green circle with the queen mermaid in it (or whoever she is). No one asked if you wanted a Vente or Grande. They just brought you a glass -- not a paper cup. Damn, you were taken. You were fooled. It's as if you had just crossed over the line and found yourself in a modern day episode of the TWILIGHT ZONE.

Starbucks frappacino

Well, as silly as this sounds, check out the attached video. It seems everyone's favorite coffee shop, the Mega huge Starbucks, took umbridge and issued a cease and desist letter to the owners of Exit 6 Pub and Brewery. This single location bar's response to the demand letter is nothing short of hysterical -- snarkiness to the "nth" degree. The entire correspondence can be found here, courtesy of HuffPo. The back and forth between both Starbucks' lawyers and Exit 6 Pub's proprietor is priceless.

From now on, Frappacino Beer at Exit 6 Pub will be henceforth be known as 'F-word beer' to avoid any confusion. And so there's no hard feelings and in a show of good faith, Exit 6 Pub returned the entire $6 profit made from the mistake. Now if that teaser has you wanting to know more, check out the hysterical news coverage of this brew-haha (intentionally misspelled)  below:

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The Book Booth: New Years Edition

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HappyNewYearBookWinesSparkle

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 premature Happy New Years to everyone! I'm hoping the next year is one we will all remember fondly at its end and that among your resolutions is to read More Books!

While I don't expect perfection for the coming year, and think perfection might kill us all, Gabe Habash of Publishers Weekly continues his search for the perfect literary sentence. If not perfect, these examples he found are pretty darn good.

Over at Flavorwire Alison Natasi chose her favorite literary catch phrases. And not all of them come from the Bard!

Book covers are where the fine arts meet the written word. They are designed to make you buy a book for its cover and Lincoln Michel at Buzzfeed found some outstanding ones for the past year.

Seattle Tammy found this site with vintage posters promoting our libraries. Just some really fine art.

Where and when we should talk to strangers is always an awkward situation. I find I will talk more readily to someone I don't know if the comment I want to make is about books. Again from Buzzfeed, here are some acceptable places to strike up a conversation. Especially the airport security line, where silence is the norm for fear of saying the wrong thing.

Serendipitous finds like the one recently made at the Cleveland Library are very cool indeed. Only 6000 copies of Dickens' A Christmas Carol were originally printed. And the Cleveland collection has one!

I suppose we all know the Tolstoy quote that opens Anna Karenina.
“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Over at HuffPo they found some truly spooky families from literature that may make you feel grateful that you have the family you do have.

On the brighter side, novelist Anakana Schofield described some more upbeat characters from contemporary novelists. I'd include the irrepressible Mr. Micawber from David Copperfield.

Here's the kind of year-end book list I like. Just books that these New York Times book reviewers liked and recommend.

Finally, among your other resolutions for 2014, I hope that not only do you read more books, you will shop for them at your local independent bookseller. Emma Cueto at Bustle gives you plenty of good reasons why you should. H/T to my old friend Ted Lucia for finding this.

Happy New Year everyone. Be safe, read more and tell us what books you've got going right now.

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