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The Book Booth: Hazy Shade of Winter Edition

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Book Winter

Photo: burnbright.com.au

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.

Signs of spring are sparse, though we have some early budding Rhodies.
But fear not. Spring is only a month away and all this madness about
climate change will go away. Or maybe not.

But for those of you still blanketed by snow, or shriveled by the
rain, you may want to look at a list of 19 short novels recommended by
Buzzfeed to pass the time until the flowers bloom again.

Ah, celebrate good times, come on! For those of us still updating our
calendars with an eye to having a good time, Mental Floss has some
literary holidays to observe. There are two in early March, including
Dr. Seuss Day and National Grammar Day. I am thankful they are not on
the same day.

The feisty reader may want some titles to enhance their stands and
views of the political world. Kenneth Wishnia at alternet gives you
five reasons to take a look at crime fiction as a progressive genre.

Even booksellers can get into activism.  Recently a French politician suggested censoring a children's book, Everybody Gets Naked. The
French bookselling community, always in the avant garde, protested
.

I mentioned some weeks ago that author James Patterson would be
donating a million dollars of his own money to some booksellers across
the country. I am happy to let you know that he is carrying through on
his promise. I've mentioned before that I am not a big fan of his
writing. But I am very pleased that he has taken this stance and
applaud him heartily. From the Gray lady.

Apparently retirement becomes Philip Roth well. Even at age 80, he
finds many things to occupy himself that do not involve sitting at the
desk and finding the mot juste. Read about them here.

Garrison Keillor has long had standing jokes about English majors.
Here are some tell-tale signs that you were, or should be, an English
major.

And if you are or were an English major, you just may have been
over-exposed to Hemingway. And feel that you may be a character in one
his books. Mallory Ortberg at The Toast offers some symptoms.

Whatever became of the literary bad boys?  We seem to have none to follow, no Lord Byrons, or Dylan Thomases to regale us with shamelessexploits which make us wonder when did they ever find the time to write anything. James Parker and Rivka Galchen explore the idea here.

Finally, Simon Braund at Publishers Weekly had this list of ten movies
that were, for the most part, based on books that never were made
.
(Dune eventually was by David Lynch; I watched and I didn't have a
clue as to what was going on). Another film that has not seen the
light of day is Jerry Lewis' The Day the Clown Cried, which, over the
years, has acquired the reputation as being really, really bad. But
what could have been worse would have been his portrayal of Holden
Caulfield, an ambition that Mr. Lewis long had.

Enjoy your weekend, dear reader, and please let us know what books you
are enjoying!

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The Book Booth: Valentine's 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.

Booksw384h339

As I learned earlier this week, Valentine was sainted in AD 496 by
Pope Gelasius 1. Virtually nothing is known of him, other than he was
martyred on February 14 in 314. But somehow, that seems appropriate,
for who does know the mysteries of love?

Literature is replete with the stuff of love. Flavorwire had its top
25 great love affairs
. Be sure to check out number 8, which has the
Alan Ladd movie tie-in cover art for The Great Gatsby. If that doesn't
make you want to read it, I don't know what will.

Of course, nothing says I Love You like having it eternally etched
into your skin. BuzzFeed featured some "epic" literary tattoos here.

And book lovers suffer more than the world can understand. HuffPo

featured eleven "conundrums" that only we are aware of.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/10/book-lover_n_4562002.html?ir=Books

Not all love affairs endure. In fact, some writers are bold enough to
avenge themselves through their writings. MentalFloss shared some of
these misguided relationships here.

For whatever reason, love has often been linked to war. I suppose it
shouldn't be remarkable, if we remember the Greek god of war Ares was
the brother of the goddess of love, Aphrodite. In any event,
Publishers Weekly recently discussed ten of the best contemporary war
novels here.

If you are between books and wondering what to read, you might want to
check out Kim Stanley Robinson's discussion of three science fiction
novels with modernist overtones
.

Or if you are feeling more ambitious, one the librarians from the New
York Public Library offered up 25 books that changed the world. A
list, by the way, not everyone loved; check out the comments below the article.

A new offering in historical fiction comes from the author of
Fatherland, Robert Harris, who has just had published his take on the
affair Dreyfus, An Officer and a Spy. The Wall Street Journal examined
it here.

There has been something of a dust up this week when Penguin Books
India has decided to pulp religious historian Wendy Doniger's The
Hindus: An Alternate History. Doniger has long been a professor at the
University of Chicago and is well respected in the field. Of course,
she's none too happy. Story here.

Penguin Books India defended their decision here.

Finally, I wanted to share this very insightful essay from George
Packer in the New Yorker on the history of Amazon and its impact on
books and book selling. If you read no other links from today's post,
read this one.

I hope everyone enjoyed their Valentines Day with someone or something
you love. And I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that Monday is
Presidents Day. Ah, I remember the days when we got two days off from
school for both Washington and Lincoln's birthdays. Those days are
long gone. I shall spend Monday contemplating the presidential term of
the long-neglected William Henry Harrison.

Let us know what books you're enjoying this long weekend!

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The Book Booth: Mothers Day Edition

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The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relat
ing 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 the weekend we honor and celebrate our mothers. And what better occasion to remind everyone, books make a great gift for the women who brought us into this world. My own mother was a voracious reader who helped teach me the joys of the printed word and the pleasures of reading.

My mother was great. However, literature is replete with some not so very good Moms. Jennifer Gilmore over at Publishers Weekly showcases some of the worst.

In other unpleasant news, you may have seen that Harper Lee, the author of To Kill a Mockingbird, has had to go to court to regain her rights to the copyright. This item has been all over the place, but I first saw it at Talking Points Memo.

Ms. Lee's lawsuit tops the list of literary litigation over MentalFloss. And why am I not surprised that J.D. Salinger is included?

I believe I've mentioned before that as a young lad, I devoured comic books and a lot of literature was introduced to me through the great Classics Illustrated. So I am a fan of the graphic novel. The Beat recently posted an article on the five of the best to have been released in the past six months.

And I was not aware of this project but Joyce's Ulysses is getting an illustrated presence. Publishers Weekly has the story of the illustrator and his arrangement with the Joyce Center in Dublin.

The phenomenon of Showrooming was the subject of an article in the Seattle Times. I understand it and I loathe it. I wouldn't go so far as to charging customers for the privilege of browsing the the shelves. But I get the temptation some retailers have succumbed to.

PBS has a quiz asking which Shakespearian Character are You. It's kind of cute, or at least I thought it was, until I took it and discovered I was Rosalind from As You Like It. I don't see the resemblance.

In the Book Architecture Department, devianART had this interesting idea for a park bench.

And we always love new bookcase designs. Philly.com had some really great ideas recently. Enjoy!

A Happy Mothers Day to all you fine Moms. Keep reading and let us know what is on your nightstand this weekend.

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The Book Booth: SuperBowl 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's time for the annual celebration of America's fall game, played in the middle of winter. I don't have a horse in this race, and among my friends who follow the sport closely, they are about evenly divided between the NIners and the Ravens. But enjoy the game and remember that until the two minute drill, there are plenty of pauses to read long paragraphs between plays.

Speaking of the Ravens, they are, of course, named for Edgar Allan's speaking bird. Studio 360 wondered what other literary names teams could use. I think the San Francisco Dharma Bums is kind of cool. Via the LA Times.

The big news this week in the book world was the announcement by the American Library Association of the winners for this year's Caldecott, Newberry and Coretta Scott King awards in children's literature. Here are the winners.

And from the world of publishing and Twitter, it seems that someone at the prestigious Random Hosue imprint, AA Knopf, was having a bit of fun. From the folks at Melville House.

As readers of my humble weekly posts know, I am a big fan of book cover art. However, Zoe Triska at HuffPo found these covers to be offensive, and, well, take a look. They are pretty putrid.

More from the putrid file. Mark O'Connell in a Slate excerpt, make the case that Amanda McKittrick Ros was the worst novelist ever. I had never heard of Ms.Ros, so it is nice to be forewarned about her prose stylings.

Over at ABEBooks the most sought out books are listed. And speaking of bad writing it is interesting to see that Lynn Cheney's soft core porn novel, Sisters, remains in high demand. As does Madonna's magnum opus, Sex.

It seems our ancient fore-bearers also had a healthy interest in sexual matters. Vicki Leon talked to Publishers Weekly about it.

For all you fans of the Beats, Flavorwire featured the photographs shot by Gordon Ball of Allen Ginsberg and friends over a 30 year period.

I remember as a young lad, being terrified when I read the book Dracula, which is actually much scarier than any movie version I've seen. io9 has a list of their top ten frightening novels, and I was pleased to see Henry James' The Turn of the Screw on it. I've mentioned it before, but one of the scariest movies I've ever seen is the film adaptation, Jack Clayton's The Innocents. Here is the list.

Again from Publishers Weekly comes an article on the notorious sections from some famous novels. I have to admit that I did not read Moby Dick in High School and came to it as a young adult. Which is probably a good thing, as I enjoyed the whaling scenes in the novel, but I can see where I may not have had the patience for it at age 16.

Also on the list is Holden Caulfield's encounter with the prostitute in Catcher in the Rye, which reminds me that there will be a new book on J.D. Salinger this fall. Published by Simon and Schuster, it will be titled The Private War of J.D. Salinger, and will be something of an oral biography. One of the co-authors is also the director of an American Masters episode focused on the writer, and will be aired next January. H/T to my friend Dwight Johnson for finding the link.

May the best team win on Sunday and that we are all profoundly moved by the multi-million advertisements. In the meantime, tell us what books are on your nightstand and a Happy Weekend to you all.

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The Book Booth: Another Full 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.

If you can see the night sky, you'll be treated to January's Full Moon, which is called "Old Moon", or, more prosaically, "Moon After Yule". I don't, however, recommend trying to read by its light. If you must read outside at night, bring along a flashlight.

Onto the world of books. As a child my mother gave me a print of a painting of St George slaying a dragon. It had something of a mesmerizing effect on me, partly because the poor creature's wound was graphic. Dragons remain a source of literary inspiration and ABEBooks featured in them in an article here.

If dragons aren't your cup of tea, the folks at Flavorwire have some works of imaginative fiction that may seduce your fevered mind.

Those folks at ABE were list-making fools this past week. Here they have what they consider the 50 most essential Science Fiction titles ever. I'm no expert on the genre, but I suppose one could quibble with the selections. But, as always, the dust jacket art is always great to look at.

You've read the book, but it is still rattling around your brain, and you cant seem to let it go. Why not play the board game? Again from Flavorwire, board games from literature. I didn't even know that these games existed. Bonus, though! You can download The Shining:The Game from here! If you dare..

Speaking of downloads, as I just was, George Orwell's essay on the English language and politics can be had from the following link (from 1945 and before he wrote 1984). From the Guardian comes news that the Orwell Estate is now sponsoring an Orwell Day and a year-long series of events are planned.

Also from the Guardian comes this essay on bookshelves. I admit that when I go to someone's home for the first time, I do snoop to see what that person has on those shelves. I also take a gander at the CD's and DVD's. Which are easier to sneak a peek at than the days when we all had our vinyl record albums out and trying to read the titles on the spine was difficult.

Listverse has some fun facts about children's book authors that you can use at the next cocktail party you attend. Do people still have cocktail parties? If not, we need to bring them back into fashion.

To be quite honest, I don't watch much television. But after this blistering attack, which upholds the honor of Edgar Allan Poe, I doubt I'll be watching this show.

The movie Parker has just been released and is on the silver screen near you.
The movie is based on a novel written by Donald Westlake, which he published under the pseudonym, Richard Stark. Westlake, for those of you who have not read him, is a gem in mystery/noir genre and here's a great appreciation of his work. H/T to my friend George Carroll for finding it.

What's on your nightstand this weekend? Let us know and Happy Reading everyone!

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The Book Booth: Inauguration 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.

Following last week's posting, your humble poster came down with a mild case of the flu. I've felt much worse in my life, but I forgot how draining these episodes are. I encourage you all, if you can, to get flu shots. Believe me, you don't want to get sick. And while I'm giving advice, I do want to encourage everyone to donate to The Political Carnival. We need Paddy here, everyday, with a good computer. So please contribute what you can to this place. You know it is worth it.

Onto the wide world of books. Award season, as we noted last week, and will undoubtedly note again, is upon us. This week the National Book Critics Circle nominations were announced. Publishers Weekly has the listings.

Not to be outdone, the prestigious Edgar nominees were also announced, for the best in mysteries. (And happy to see Dennis Lehane's Live by Night among the nominees. I'm now in the middle of reading it, and I Highly Recommend it.) It is also interesting to note that the category of Best Original in Paperback, which harkens back to the day when many mystery novels never saw the light of day in hardcover, is still being used. It is tied into what I think is the death of the mass market paperback, but that is a topic for another day. Though I still find it difficult to believe that a mass market paperback retails for ten bucks.

And if you happen to be wondering how books get selected for nomination, mystery.net has the answer.

And looking forward to this year, the very cool website Writersnoonereads highlights the coming attractions of literary note for the first six months this year. For myself, I am excited to see that a collection of letters by one of my favorite authors, William Gaddis, will be released soon.

Shine from Yahoo has 26 books that will appear in a film incarnation early this year. Aside from the usual suspects. there are remakes of both Carrie and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I'm not sure why, but I'll hope for the best. I think Brian DiPalma did a great job on Carrie the first time (it is very funny in parts) and I'm not sure Danny Kaye can be outdone in his take on Mitty.

In the Isn't this Cool department, here is an eleven minute film made in 1947 by the Encyclopedia Britannica on how books are made. I think the technology may be a bit different now, but, hey, it's still ink on paper!

Also very cool is what is happening with libraries these days. Our local libraries here have some great programs going on, and I'll bet yours is too. Why just this week, SeattleTammy attended a presentation on shorebirds with a packed house at our local library. The AtlanticWire has the story.

The Christian Science Monitor wonders if you are as well read as a 10th Grader. Well, at least their conception of a 10th grader. Here's the quiz, and you might be surprised. I'd be surprised if most 10th graders have read all these books and stories.

Over in London, there is a year long symposium going on about modernist culture entitled The Rest is Noise. From the Guardian comes this interesting essay on the advent of Modernist literature when, in 1899, both Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams and Conrad's Heart of Darkness were published.

On Monday, President Obama will be inaugurated for his second term in office, and I thought I'd take the occasion to point out a couple of new political books. Justice Sonia Sotomayer has a new autobiography My Beloved World published and the Washington Post reviews it here.

And, of course, we cannot leave out Vice-President Joe Biden. It seems the Onion has the scoop on his "autobiography". Via the New York Times.

Finally, Bill Moyers asked his viewers to suggest some books for the President to read. Here is the list that was compiled. And congratulations, Mr. President, on your second term. May it prove to be a fruitful one.

What's on your nightstand this weekend? Let us know what you're enjoying from the world of books!

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The Book Booth: The New 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.

It's the first New Moon of the year.You wont be able to read by moonlight for the next several days, so make sure that your night light is working. Especially if what you hold in your hand is a real book and not something you have on your Kindle or Nook. The death of the printed book has been exaggerated, it seems, and so reports Nicholas Carr over at the Wall Street Journal.

With the New Year comes new books. The Millions has listed some of the more eagerly awaited titles coming out this year. Looks like a lot of good reading ahead, including works by William Gass, Jamaica Kincade and David Shields.

But before we leave 2012 to the mists of time, Publishers Weekly reviewed the passings of some notable writers during the past year. There was a lot of talent that left us.

Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of The Great Gatsby is now scheduled for a May release to theaters. For all you Fitzgerald addicts out there, Salon's Greg Olear has an interesting essay about the book in which it is suggested that Nick Carraway, the narrator of Gatsby's story, is gay. And in love with Gatsby.

Apparently the film version of Jack Kerouac's novel On the Road has received some limited release, but it hasn't shown up in our little town. Kerouac was the champion of what he called spontaneous prose, where no revision was permitted. Oddly enough, though, his best novel, the aforementioned On the Road was heavily revised, and probably for the better. Flavorwire has a good summary of other authors on the art of the revision.

Some of you may have seen this before. In 2006, Harper Lee wrote a beautiful letter to Oprah Winfrey about learning to read and the power books have over us.

What evil woman in literature really gives you the creeps? The Guardian has a run-down on several. Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca was right up there on my list.

As readers and lovers of books, we must embrace our inner geekiness. Here are some signs from Epic Reads that you, too, may be afflicted.

And if we can follow these simple rules from Book Riot, we will all be happy geeks.

Tell us what's on your nightstand this weekend! And great reading to you all!

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