Archive for slavery

The Book Booth: More Harry Potter Edition

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Image: Buzzfeed

The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing.  It is written by @SeattleDan and SeattleTammy, operators of an on-line bookstore (which you can find here) , who have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: More Harry Potter Edition

It has been a remarkable week and I am enjoying every bit of the meltdown. It couldn't happen to a nicer man and political organization. In the mornings, I look for the latest gaffe to chuckle over. I guess I am a mean person.

The past weekend saw the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two, and the parties saw many happy fans. And the sales? Well, the play script is selling quite well, thank you.
Cursed Child Script Selling Well

An interesting Slate conversation with Jonathan Franzen on fame, fascism, and why he won't write a book about race.
Franzen on Slate

In case you are not going to London any time soon to watch the play, BuzzFeed has some pictures from the production. I don't think that is Daniel Radcliffe playing Harry, though.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Production Photos

I've heard that the book itself has received some mixed reviews, though I haven't seen them or gone looking for them for that matter. But The Telegraph in London loved the stage production as this review will attest. Thanks to Lucian for sending the link along.
Harry Potter Stage Production Reviews

Last week marked the 150th anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter, famed writer of many fine children's works, including the Peter Rabbit books. But not many of us know of her work in the field of nature, and most especially in the lives of the fungus. Here the Guardian explores her work in mycology.
From Harry Potter to Beatrix Potter on Mycology

I've been talking up the literary podcast here recently and I've stumbled upon another good one, particularly for Shakespeare and culinary arts enthusiasts. Her, Wendy Wall, author of the recently published Recipes for Thought: Knowledge and Taste in the Early Modern English Kitchen, discusses some in the time of the Bard at the Folger Library.
Shakespearean Recipes

In 2013, Claire Conner published her memoir of growing up in the John Birch Society, Wrapped in the Flag. (You can read Rick Perlstein's interview and discussion here for The Nation:
How the John Birch Society was 'Grown' 

Now there is another interesting book on the same subject published, JG Daniel's Hate or Be Hated. Alternet has an excerpt here.
An Excerpt from Hate or Be Hated

The annual Ernest Hemingway competition was held last week in Key West. And the winner was no less than Dave Hemingway! No relation, apparently.
Dave Hemingway Wins the Hemingway Competition!

I've long made the case that the novels of Ross MacDonald that feature detective Lew Archer are gems and that MacDonald should be regarded as the equal of Chandler and Hammett. Here Mary Ann Gwinn makes the case more eloquently for the Seattle Times, and notes that some of the work is now available in the beautiful Library of America series.
Get Reacquainted with Ross McDonald

So many of us know the opening lines to great works of literature. You know, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times; A screaming comes across the sky, etc. But how many of us remember the great closing lines. My favorite may be the conclusion of Moby Dick (which, of course, has one of the great openings as well): It was the devious-cruising Rachel, that in her retracing search after her missing children, only found another orphan. Tom Blunt has twelve more good ones that he found for Signature.
Great Closing Lines

Oprah Winfrey's book club is still going strong and she has picked as her next selection The Underground Railroad by that fine writer, Colson Whitehead. Here the New York Times profiles Mr. Whitehead.
Colson Whitehead on Slavery

If you are looking for the next good book to read, you may want to check out what other booksellers are recommending for summer reading. Here seven book people have suggestions made for NPR.
What Books Are Booksellers Recommending?

Here's to a fine weekend, filled with books and laughter. And please let us know what books you are recommending!

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The Book Booth: Harry Potter Returns Edition

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James Schamus and Logan Lerman on the set of ‘Indignation’/Image © Roadside Attractions

Image: Signature

The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing.  It is written by @SeattleDan and SeattleTammy, operators of an on-line bookstore (which you can find here) , who have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: Harry Potter Returns Edition

The speechifying is now over, and maybe we can all relax for a day or two. It has been an interesting couple of weeks, with many, many contrasts which have been both illuminating, funny and frightening. Time to pull out a good book and get some reading done.

The youthful wizard returns this weekend with the midnight release on Sunday morning of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I and 2 at your local independent bookstore. This story is actually based on the play script of Jack Thorne, based on ideas from J.K. Rowling herself. Hard to believe it has been nine years since we heard of Harry last and I'm sure many of you will welcome his return.
New Harry Potter!

What would you pick as the perfect graphic novel? Art Spiegelman's Maus comes to my mind. But not so fast says Calvin Reid, Publishers Weekly's graphic novelist guru. In a podcast interview, he chose City of Glass which was written by that marvelous writer Paul Auster and published some time ago. You can listen to the interview here.
Calvin Reid on City of Glass

Speaking of literary podcasts, if you are looking for some good discussions to listen to, Christopher Linforth of The Millions has a list of some of the better ones around.
Smart People Who Know Their Literature Discuss It

Back in the day, Simon and Garfunkel asked in the song Dangling Conversation if the theater was really dead. And recently Edna O'Brien asked the same thing of literature. The cartoonist Tom Gauld imagines for the Guardian here what reading will be like in AD 2500, which served to remind me of the Burgess Meredith episode from a long ago Twilight Zone episode. Without the sad ending.
Reading in 2500 A.D.

Adapting quality writing to the silver screen is no easy feat. James Schamus, who co-wrote Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon as well as producing Brokeback Mountain, has directed the just-released the movie Indignation based on the novel of Philip Roth. Here he talks to Signature about the difficulties of adapting the book.
Adapting Indignation

We're sad to note the passing of novelist James Alan McPherson. He was the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1978 for his collection Elbow Room. In his younger days, he was a protege of Ralph Ellison and was long associated with the fabled Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa.
James Alan McPherson Has Left Us

Earlier in the week, in response to Michele Obama's speech at the Democratic Convention, noted "historian" Bill O'Reilly mentioned that the slaves who built the White House didn't have it so bad and that the peculiar institution was a benign thing. Uh huh. Well, several writers have taken Mr. O'Reilly to task. David Graham gives the context here for the Atlantic Monthly.
Bill O'Reilly Taken to Task for Slavery Remarks

Have a spectacular weekend all! Enjoy the weather, and read some good books. And please do tell what books they might be.

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The Book Booth: Groundhog Day Edition

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Image: HuffPo


The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing.  It is written by @SeattleDan and SeattleTammy, operators of an on-line bookstore (which you can find here) , who have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: Groundhog Day Edition

Yes, once again it is time for the large rodent in Pennsylvania to let us know if we have six more weeks of winter coming, or if we'll have an early spring. It's all "grounded" in science, of course, and we all should pay great attention. Or end up like Bill Murray in the movie and have to do it over and over again.

Do you want to read classic literature but, you know, those pesky words get in the way? Well, the folks at MentalFloss have the solution! Yes, you can now get these posters of Alice, Peter Pan and Huck Finn that do away with verbiage and go straight to the punctuation marks!
Simplified Classics (No Words!)

I'm sure some of you have manuscripts laying about the desk, that you know are sure-fire bestsellers and monuments to Literature. Get those pages out! But before you do, review these mistakes many, many writers make before their submissions.
Beginning Writers' Mistakes

Of course some novice writers are prone to over-writing. Or working with a blind editor. Here are fifty over-wrought sentences from a new novel, published by a company known for quality, that, well, are not going to make Proust or Joyce sweat.
Overwritten Sentences

To cleanse the palate, here are some quotes on writing from Virginia Woolf. We celebrated the 134th anniversary of her birth this past week.
Virginia Woolf on Writing

Now this new production of War and Peace looks intriguing. It is produced by Harvey Weinstein, who has done much quality filmmaking. I've never seen the Soviet-era production, which is supposed to be great, but the American one from the fifties, although noble in attempt, had lots of problems, including the casting of Henry Fonda as Pierre when he was about twenty years too old for the part.
War and Peace Casting

It's the end of the month, and time to restock on books! Go visit your local independent bookstore. But failing that, you can read some great books set in bookstores! HuffPo has a list that you'll want to check out.
Great Books Set in Bookstores

Have a great weekend, filled with words and punctuation marks and please let us know what delightful books you are enjoying this weekend.

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The Book Booth: The History Edition

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Image: BBC


The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing.  It is written by @SeattleDan and SeattleTammy, operators of an on-line bookstore (which you can find here) , who have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: The History Edition

In my more Orwellian moments, I become scared that history is being lost, re-written by the Ministry of Truth and myth is replacing reality. Of course one doesn't have to look further than the GOP and the candidates who want to lead this country. Imagine history books as written by Donald Trump or Sarah Palin. I shudder.

Take, for instance, the recent release of a book published by Scholastic that depicts the "servants" of George Washington happily baking the father of our country a birthday cake. The furor has caused the publisher to withdraw the book. H/T to Lucian for the link.
George Washington's Happy Servants (according to Scholastic)

Clare Fallon at HuffPo has the background on the controversy here as well as stories about American slavery for younger readers that are more grounded in reality.
A Real Overview of Slavery

The birthday of Edgar Allan Poe just past this week (he was just about a month older than Lincoln and Darwin). But did you know, (strike up the therermin music) that the master of the macabre and father of the detective story was a time-traveler? HistoryBuff has the proof!
Edgar Allen Poe's Time Machine

I've always suspected that world mythologies and folk tales were in some way related, at least as far as the Indo-Europeans were concerned, but not being a folklorist myself, did not know for sure. It seems that this may be the case and that some old tales are very old, indeed.
Fairy Tale Origins

Back in 1965, the Nobel Prize in Literature went to Soviet writer Mikhail Sholokov. It seems he beat out some tough competition in Vladimir Nabokov, Pablo Neruda and Juan Luis Borges. Nabokov certainly should have won some year, but did not, and Neruda was awarded the prize the year before his death. Still Sholkov's And Quiet Flows the Don did inspire one of the great contemporary folk songs, Pete Seeger's Where Have All the Flowers Gone.
Nobel Prize in Literature for Russian Authors

Although he has never achieved the literary limelight of the likes of Hemingway, Steinbeck or Faulkner, Herman Wouk has produced a number of good novels, including the Caine Mutiny and Winds of War. He has now attained his 100th year and NPR did this profile in his honor.
Herman Wouk Profile by NPR

Sadly, last week we saw the passing of that fine actor, Alan Rickman from cancer at age 69. BookRiot posted this tribute to him in all his roles that were based on book characters. Rickman also wrote the play I Am Rachel Corrie and knew a bit or two about words.
Alan Rickman Has Left Us

This story has been making the rounds on the internets, but in case you have missed it, Ursula LeGuin recently gave the dunderheads holding the park refuge hostage a piece of her mind. And very succinctly. Thanks to old friend Mortaljive for the link.
Bird Refuge Dunderheads Upbraided by Ursula LeGuin

We've been doing some house interior work for our many books, and this little piece on library ladders gives inspiration. Check them out!
Library Ladders for the Home

Have a most pleasant weekend, dear readers, and let us know what books have enthralled you.

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