Archive for summer reading

The Book Booth: The Bard Edition



Image: LATimes
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 Bard Edition

Today, Saturday, is the 400th anniversary of the passing of the Bard in 1616. And it was possibly his birthday as well, making him 52 when he left this mortal coil. He left us with his plays, poetry and introduced as many as 1700 words into the language. Not too shabby!

At Signature, 25 authors, including Margaret Atwood, Lee Child and others were asked about Big Bill and here are there responses. He still retains quite a fan club.
So What Do You Think About This Guy Shakespeare's Work?

In honor of his birthday, Rosie Schaap at the New York Times has created a new punch to celebrate the day, and it looks to be quite tasty.
Yum! A Shakespeare Punch! Raise a Glass!

Miguel Cervantes was a contemporary of Shakespeare's and it may be that they both died on the same day. But there may be more connection between the two writers than that possible coincidence. David Kipen explores that bond here for the LA Times.
Will and Miguel

I suppose many of the lines Shakespeare wrote could be proclaimed on stage and not necessarily shouted. However there are some lines that Electric Literature suggests should be shouted. Loudly.
To Shout or Not to Shout?

If you don't feel like yelling, you can still throw out some quotes from the writers of the "absurd", if you don't mind being thought as another psychotic wandering the streets. Or as Beckett said, I can't go on, I will go on.
Unleash Your Inner Psychotic With These Absurdist Quotes

Like other states in the deep south, Mississippi recently passed legislation that allows for discrimination against the LGBT community there, based on some quaint notion of religious liberty. But we should not take the bigotry as symptomatic of everyone who lives in that great state. A number of writers there have taken a stand against the law, and good on them!
Not All Mississippians Are Bigots.
Read What these Mississippi Writers Have to Say about New Anti-LGBT Laws

The Pulitzer Prizes were announced this week and you can see the list of winners here. I admit that I am not familiar with the fiction winner, The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen, but from what I've subsequently seen, I need to take a look at it.
2016's Pulitzer Prize Winners

I know that Spring is only a month old at this point, but we've been teased by summer like weather here this week, which puts me into the mood. And it looks like there will be a lot of good books arriving soon, including new works from Russell Banks, Don DeLillo, Annie Proulx as well as Richard Russo who has written a sequel to his very fine novel Nobody's Fool, called Everybody's Fool. Publishers Weekly has its summer recommends here.
Good Books Arriving In Time For The Summer

I have to admit that when it comes to genre writing, I am not much for romance novels. However, Lucian noticed that a pair of sisters has opened a bookstore devoted to romances called the The Ripped Bodice and I have to admire their ambition. Much good luck to them.
This Bookstore Carries Every Romance You Would Ever Want to Read!

I have a new hero. Abdel Kader Haidara is a book collector and librarian in Mali who managed to save many, many old manuscripts and books in his hometown of Timbuktu when it was occupied by an extreme Islamist group. The Wall Street Journal has the story here.
Abdel Kader Haidara Saves Manuscripts Islamist Group Would Destroy

To all of you, a fine weekend filled with books and reading. And hoist one, or two in remembrance of the Bard of Avon. And by all means let us know what books you are enjoying.


The Book Booth: The Days Dwindle Down Edition



Image: Boing-Boing

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: The Days Dwindle Down Edition

Just when you think that summer will never end, well, the rains return. The air is cooler. And did I see that some of the trees are already turning color? With the overcast skies, I guess seeing this weekend's full moon won't be possible.

In Spokane, last weekend and while it was still plenty hot, the WorldCon was held and, finally, the Hugo Awards were announced. Alison Herman has a review of the controversy here at Flavorwire.
Hugo Awards Controversy

Among the winners was Chinese author Cixin Liu whose novel The Three Body Problem took top prize. But all in all, there were five awards not given at all.
Five Hugo Awards Not Awarded This Year

And among the big loser were both the Sad and the Rabid Puppies, whose agenda to get some meaty right-wing fiction recognized, failed badly. At least their efforts have prompted some rule changes.
Hugos: Sad and Rabid Puppies

Arthur Chu attended the WorldCon and had these thoughts on the Hugos for Salon magazine. H/T to Lucian for sending the link along.
The Future of the Hugos Does Not Belong to the Right Wing

Jonathan Sturgeon recently provided a list at Flavorwire of the best books ever assigned in High School. It's an interesting list, but I cannot remember any of these were ever read in my alma mater.
Best High School Book Assignments

The Great Gatsby was one of those works I did read in high school, and I'm glad it was. Now it seems that there are some unpublished works from Scott Fitzgerald. Lots of writers have stories and drafts shoved into a drawer somewhere. And with good reason. The Guardian asks if we should care if there is work from the great writers that largely goes unseen.
Unpublished Stories and Drafts: Should We Be Interested?

Nearly twenty years ago, the Thurber Awards were established to honor the best in humor writing and the past winners have included Jon Stewart and David Sedaris. But a woman humorist has never won. This year may just see that change.
Thurber Awards for Humor: Will A Woman Win This Year For the First Time?

The literary sensation this year in Great Britain is a novel by Paul Kingsnorth entitled The Wake. And, no, other than sharing a loving affinity for language, it isn't like Finnegans Wake. The story is about the Norman conquest and its aftermath in England, with not a few words in Olde English. I am intrigued. NPR has the story.
The Wake

I missed this earlier in the summer. The New Yorker asked several writers what they planned on reading during the warmer days and the list is interesting. If you still need to fill in your summer reading list, you may want to get some ideas.
It's Still Summer! Writers' Reading Lists!

Enjoy these final days of summer. September is just around the corner. Schools will re-open. We will have the last meals cooked on the grill. But we will always have books. Let us know what books you're loving.


The Book Booth: The Sweetest Sounds Edition



Image: Getty at

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: The Sweetest Sounds Edition

Sunday marks the 113th birthday of one of the most dominant persons of the American musical stage during the 20th century, Richard Rodgers. Rodgers was very attuned to the world of books. He and his lyricist Lorenz Hart adapted John O'Hara stories for their production of Pal Joey. And nearly all of Rodgers collaborations with Oscar Hammerstein had sources in books, including Oklahoma and Carousel (both based on stage plays), South Pacific, The King and I, Flower Drum Song and The Sound of Music. So a big Happy Birthday to Richard Rodgers.

Rodgers did encounter stiff resistance to the song Carefully Taught in South Pacific; both he and Hammerstein were resolute in keeping the song in the show. But banning songs and books is still part of the anti-intellectual stream among some Americans. Interestingly, over at 538, they couldn't find what book was the most banned in America. The reasons why are explained here.
Banned Books in America

One of the victims last week in the Charleston shootings was librarian Cynthia Hurd. So it was fitting and fine that the Charleston County Council stepped up and renamed the library she worked at for her.
Librarian Cynthia Hurd, Charleston Shooting Victim

I've noted in previous posts the problems David Brooks had with the "facts" in his latest opus, The Road to Character. Other similar problems have shown up now in some other works, prompting to wonder when publishers will start using fact checkers. And it seems some are now.
It's High Time Publishers Used Fact Checkers!

The novelist Milan Kundera has recently published a novella, The Festival of Insignificance, which has received atrocious reviews. How do we deal with a bad book by a great writer? Colton Valentine tackles the question over at HuffPo.
When Good Writers Write Bad Books

Miguel de Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote, and father or the modern novel, lived a life full of romance and excitement. Yet his remains are buried underneath a Spanish convent. NPR explains how this came to be here.
Cervantes's Final Resting Place

Yes, opening lines are important. Marley was dead. Call Me Ishmael. We remember them, if we remember nothing else about the book. Buzzfeed has come up some fifty plus of the greatest of the opening lines in literature.
Opening Lines of Great Books

I guess it comes as no shock that Powells Bookstore in Oregon is regarded as one of the best. So no wonder, then, that the Guardian has listed it as THE best bookstore in the world! It certainly has quite the inventory. From OregonLive.
Powells: The Best Bookstore in the World

Literature can inspire other kinds of artists to new heights. The folks at QuirkBooks recently listed their favorite top ten love songs based on good books. I was happy to see Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights on that list, a song about as haunting and eerie as the novel itself.
10 Love Songs Based on Good Books

I leave you now to a great weekend, filled with books and reading. And with great music. Here from Richard Rodgers musical, ground-breaking for its time, No Strings with Diahann Carroll and Richard Kiley singing The Sweetest Sounds.

Also...from South Pacific...'You've Got to Be Carefully Taught'


The Book Booth: Fathers Day Edition



Image: via 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: Fathers Day Edition

Happy Fathers Day to all you good dads out there. This year we have both Fathers Day and the summer solstice on the same day, which must mean something profound, though what that may be, escapes me. In any event, Happy Summer and do something fun with your ol' man.

I know I've indulged many a time, book vacations abroad. Which are totally great, if you happen to have the time and the money. But summer is also a great time to get outdoors and commune with nature. Bustle has some good recommendations, including Dharma Bums, to take along in your backpack.
Backpack Reading Worth Its Weight

Speaking of old Beats, NPR recently caught up with poet and bookseller, Lawrence Ferlinghetti. At age 96, he seems to be going strong, still writing and still generous with his time.
Interview with City Lights Publisher Owner Lawrence Ferlinghetti

A bit younger than Ferlinghetti, Anne Roiphe, only 79 years of age, has been writing novels for fifty years. Always a well-regarded author, her work has not received the attention it should. Here she reflects on what those many years of writing have taught her.
Anne Roiphe: Lessons From 50 Years of Writing

Summer movies! There are a ton of them, or at least so it seems to me. And many are based on books. This years batch include two classics, Far From the Madding Crowd and Madame Bovary, both of which have had previous adaptations. Honestly, I've never thought Bovary to be a particularly cinematic read, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong. HuffPo has a list of eleven summer film adaptations here.
Films Adapted from Books On Your Movie Screens This Summer

The latest installment of the Jurassic Park enterprise has already become this year's mega-hit at the box office, earning nearly a bazillion dollars so far. There are, as Sarah Brown at Quirk reminds us, other classic books about man's encounters with the big lizards, including Arthur Conan Doyle's other hero, Professor Challenger who ventured off to The Lost World. Sadly, she does not feature my favorite, Syd Hoff's magnificent Danny and the Dinosaur.
Dinosaurs As Fiction Heroes

Good news for Neil Gaiman fans from the Starz network. Gaiman's American Gods has been picked up for serialization and it sounds like it's a go. I wont be surprised to see other adaptations be realized now that Game of Thrones has taken the television world to new and illustrious heights.
American Gods to be Serialized on Starz

Alas, Gaiman's graphic novel, The Sandman, along with three other graphic novels, were the subject of one student's attempt to have them "eradicated" from the syllabus in an English class at Crafton Hills College in California. Perhaps this young woman would be happier at Bob Jones University or Liberty College, where I'm sure these books are not among the assigned readings.
College Says No to Censorship

I've tried to imagine the work that goes into the graphic novel. Obviously, there is a lot of work from inception to finished product. Jonathan Case is an artist and author of the new graphic novel The New Deal. He discussed the making of the book here for Publishers Weekly.
How Do You Make a Graphic Novel?

And then there is the terror of the blank page. Here are some authors who faced the demon of writers block. Some of these authors never really got over it.
The Demon of Writers Block

Please do enjoy your weekend with lots of books. Give your dad a hug and buy him lunch. And give him a book he'll love..