Archive for spring

The Book Booth: April Showers Edition



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.  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: April Showers Edition

In my case the title for the week is ironic. We've been having superb weather, with sun and temperatures in the mid-sixties. That will all end at the beginning of the week when the rain returns and April showers will return, and, one hopes, provide us with the May flowers.

Spring brings out the poetical in us. Chaucer begins his Tales praising the rains of April. Wordsworth wrote of daffodils. (And April is National Poetry Month). Flavorwire found ten other poems that praise the new season, ranging from the Bard himself to a particularly nice poem by Claude McKay. Not included is The Waste Land, which is kind of a downer when it comes to Spring.
Poems to Greet the Spring

I mentioned last week that we are fast approaching the 400th anniversary of the passing of William Shakespeare and we shall be seeing much-related stories of that playwright in the coming month. It now seems that Pelican, long a publisher of the plays, has had their cover art, which had been very plain for decades, redesigned in minimalist fashion by young artist, Manuja Waldia. I'm not sure what to make of them, but it took a while to get used to the Milton Glaser jacket art used on the Signet covers back in the sixties.
New Cover Art for Old Shakespeare Plays

Harper Lee passed away a few short weeks ago. Twenty nine of her letters are now up for auction, sold in separate lots with opening bids beginning at $750. Many of the letters complain about the invasion of her privacy, while others are more chatty. It is a little surprising that they weren't already offered to some University collection, but in any event, these ones are for sale. The Telegraph has the story.
Harper Lee Letters Up For Sale

Alas, novelist and poet, Jim Harrison died last week at age 78. He was best known for his novella Legends of the Fall, which was famously filmed in 1994 and starred Brad Pitt. NPR remembers him here.
Jim Harrison Remembered by NPR

The poet Rich Smith has this appreciation of Harrison the poet here that he wrote for the Seattle alternative paper, The Stranger. Harrison had some of the qualities himself that make one a legend.
Ode to Jim Harrison, Poet

I have been a big fan of novelist Leslie Epstein for some time now. I first encountered his long short story, The Steinway Quartet, many years ago in a literary magazine and loved it. I had the pleasure of briefly meeting him one time at a book collection, and I told him how much I admired his novel Pandaemonium (which is told brilliantly in the voice of Peter Lorre and is all about Hollywood in the thirties and early forties). He thanked me and said I seemed to be the only one who did. Here he talks about the importance of writing and reading.
Leslie Epstein Talks About Writing and Reading

The short novel is a form not often used these days, but has a long-standing tradition in literature. Heart of Darkness and The Death of Ivan Ilych both come to mind. At Publishers Weekly, Cynan Jones, author of the short novel, The Dig, discusses the pleasures of reading the short novel.
The Case for Very Short Novels

A wonderful weekend to you all and please do let us know what books are pleasing you.


Overnight: A Beautiful Spring Day in Jackson, Mississippi



Something which has always astonished me is how people seem to think they know places they've never been or have just visited briefly. In the US, people seem to think they 'know' Mississippi because they've seen Mississippi Burning (about events which took place 50 years ago this spring) yet have never visited the state, know no one who lives here or has even visited.

Their 'knowledge' nearly always consists of films or television reports they've seen and little else.

It is not just Mississippi. People who have never been in Los Angeles but have seen numerous tv reports which feature Muscle Beach in Venice have sworn to me they know exactly what life is like there. Have they ever been to the LA Museum of Art? Well, no. To the Getty? Well, no. To Will Rogers State Park? Well, no. Their 'knowledge' is all second-hand.

This afternoon we had a wonderful spring day and I thought I would show you what my Mississippi looked like just a few hours ago.


The Book Booth: St. Patrick's Day Edition



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.

The Book Booth: St. Patrick's Day Edition I know today is actually the Ides of March, but I know few people who actually still celebrate the assassination of Julius Caesar these days. And I'm not at all sure what such a celebration would entail. I have the feeling I wouldn't like it. But St. Patricks's time to break out the green beer. Because nothing says all things Irish like green beer. Speaking of odd things like green beer, you may have seen this floating around the internets. The Meta Picture had these books you may not have realized were real.  I can attest to many of them. And possibly NSFW.

For those of you looking for a craft project this weekend, check out some of these book dioramas that Flavorwire posted.

But if you anything like SeattleTammy and me, what you really need are more bookshelves. So to inspire you, check out these bookshelves provided by Bustle. Some of these are simply stunning.  What wouldn't look better on those shelves than some 19th century editions of Charles Dickens featuring some of these illustrations? A question that has been probably plaguing you for weeks, if not years and decades, is who is the most influential writers out there in today's modern world. Well, based on twitter followers, the Millions has the top five. I have to say I'm pleased to see Stephen Fry in there. I love that guys stuff, whether it is his writings or his other work.

One of the social media modes I personally have not checked out is Tumblr. Apparently I need to do so. Mashable had these places to explore if you happen to be a book nerd. And if you are reading this, you are.

From the book to movie department comes the books one should read before the movie is released from Word and Film. I am particularly looking forward to the adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice. I don't think Pynchon has been filmed before.  Not to be outdone, MentalFloss featured six books that took some time from print to celluloid.

Though the last pick is a stretch, and not one I'm going to rush out and see.  I am a big fan of Latin American literature and especially of magical realism. For those who'd like to look into this world of fiction, the Latin Times has this excellent list. It seems odd but a number of first-person narratives are unnamed. More than I would have thought as this list from Flavorwire shows.

Good people, I hope all of you have a pleasant weekend with many books to read. And if you plan to party on St. Pat's day, be careful and be good. St. Patrick wants it that way. And let us know what books you got in your pile!


#TPC Political Carnival Spring Fundraiser- You Keep Us Going!



As you know, Paddy has mounting doctor bills, and TPC has mounting TPC bills.

We recently tried to update the look and mechanics of The Political Carnival, but ended up running into so many tech issues that we had to stop, go back to our old look, and hire someone to help us find our way out of our technical house of mirrors.

Which brings us to this:

hand out for money donationsWe're long overdue for our quarterly fundraiser, mainly because we are so reluctant to have our hands out, but, as Nickelodeon used to say, "A kid's gotta do what a kid's gotta do."

So if you are able, if you are so inclined, please donate. Paddy, Lucian, and I have expenses up to our collective chins and can't do this without your help.

Thank you ahead of time for your consistent kindness and generosity. Without you, there would be no us.


or Email us here for a snail mail address. THANKS!