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The Book Booth: Super Bowl Edition


Image: The Guardian

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: Super Bowl Edition

Yes, our national attention once again returns with much anticipation and nail-biting as on Sunday we will know if either the Denver Broncos or Carolina Panthers will become NFL champions. I hope your favorite team wins. Other than that, I have no pony in this race.

The Center for Fiction has an interesting page up, featuring the books that turned them into readers. The link will take you to Stephen King's pick, but there are plenty more on the sidebar. King's pick was Dr. Seuss. I loved the good doctor myself as a child, but I am not sure I can pinpoint the book or author that made me a reader. Though Franklin W. Dixon of Hardy Boys fame comes to mind.
The Book That Made Me A Reader

Have you ever been tempted to lie about having read a certain book? You know, so you don't look stupid or dense at a fashionable cocktail party you're attending? If so, you are not alone. And in England, it seems that the most lied about book is not War and Peace, but Alice's Adventures in Wonderland!
The Most Lied-About Books in the UK

I don't think I've ever lied about having read a certain book. But I've faked some of Finnegan's Wake, a book I've dabbled into from time to time over the years. It is a difficult book, with some pleasant rewards if one persists. But now there are some recordings by artists reading from Joyce's work, which may be one way to approach its density.
Can't Read Finnegan's Wake? Why Not Listen To It Instead?

I know that Charles Harold St. John Hamilton was not a writer with whom I'd have been familiar, but he certainly wrote a great deal. In fact, according to the New York Times, he was the most prolific writer ever.
Charles Harold St. John Who?

The Stanislavski Method to approaching a character in acting has been around a long time now. The immersion into character has delighted and thrilled many a movie and theater goer, with amazing performances by Brando, De Niro, Hoffman and many others. Thomas W. Hodgkinson, who has recently published his novel Memoirs of a Stalker, wonders if writers do not also use the same "method" when writing their own novels.
The Stanislavski Methods for Writers?

A couple of lists for your enjoyment. Callan Wink, who has had his story collection Dog Run Moon recently published, picked his favorite top ten books about the American West. It's an interesting list, with some fine books. Though it does lack some Wallace Stegner.
Rootin' Tootin' Shootin' Wild West Books!

Have you ever missed those heady days of the Cold War? Me, neither. But it did produce a lot of very good books. The Guardian lists some here. I may have picked LeCarre's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy instead of Spy Who Came in from the Cold; and I would have added Pat Frank's Alas Babylon, a neglected work from the 1950's, or Eugene Burdick/Harvey Wheeler's Fail-Safe.
Cold War Books

Even the best of writers need the occasional pick-me-up, the pat on the back, the affirmations that keep one writing. Octavia Butler was no exception, and here are some of her reflective boosts. From Buzzfeed.
Reflective Boosts

Finally, I don't think tea will be the beverage of choice for many of you watching the Big Game on Sunday. But if it happens to the thing you'll be brewing, George Orwell has some tips on making a great cup of tea.
How to Brew Tea (for the Big Game!)

Have a great weekend my friends. Enjoy the game if you're watching. And by all means, let us know what books you'll be reading at half-time.


The Book Booth: Big Game 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.

To the exclusion of nearly anything else, our little town is hyped and ready for Superbowl Sunday. In fact the town fathers and mothers have changed the name of the town, at least for now, to Hawkquiam, which shows you the team we all hope will win the Big Game.

Football is not a game that lends itself well to either song or story, unlike Baseball. Other than Mr. Touchdown, I cant think of a song about football. And Backfield in Motion doesn't count. There are a few novels, the best of which are Peter Gent's North Dallas Forty and Frank Deford's Everybody's All-American. Stephanie Long at Bustle suggests some other football related books you might enjoy. Football-Related Books

The game will be played in sunny Arizona this Sunday. However unless you live there, you probably don't have such fine weather. And considering the weather events of the week, you just may have snow on the ground. Claire Fallon at HuffPo has some suggestions for snow day reading.
Snow Day Reading

And in case you needed a reason to stay inside and read on a snowy day, Isaac Fitzgerald at Buzzfeed gives you plenty of reasons that will assuage your guilt.
Book Forts Are Better than Snow Forts

And while you are snuggled in with a good book, you might want to incorporate some of these suggestions from Brenna Clarke Gray at BookRiot for making your reading a richer experience.
Enrich Your Reading Experience.

Of course reading isn't the only indoor activity one could pursue. However being literate may be of some use in getting there, as Kathleen Massara at Flavorwire demonstrates. H/T to my good fried John Miller for this link.
Literary Quotes That Might Get You Laid

Assuming that your house still has power on a blizzardy day, I suppose you could watch something on the teevee machine. Emily Temple, also at Flavorwire, has listed her favorite literary moments in television history. There are many here with the clips and are well worth viewing, including Thomas Pynchon's visit to Springfield.
Literary Moments in Television History

As an old boss of mine once told me, it is a wonderful thing when your vocation is also your avocation, and I've been blessed that way. Over at the New York Times Book Review, authors Dana Stevens and Benjamin Moser discuss whether or not writing is just that.
Is Being a Writer a Job or a Calling?

We have more on the origins and popularity of the paperback book. Andrew Liptak at Kirkus Review weighs in with these thoughts. Another H/T to our friend Mark McKay for finding this one.
I've Got a Steady Job But I Want to be a Paperback Writer!

If football is not on your agenda this weekend, go ahead, get out if you can, and visit your local independent bookseller. Zachary Karabell at Slate offers a rosier picture our industry than you normally find, and gives you good reasons to support indies at Slate. Thanks to friend and author Joyce Yarrow for pointing me to this one.
Your Independent Bookseller is Your Friend and Always there for You.

Whatever your plans this weekend, find some time to get some reading done. And please do share with us the pleasures of the book you're currently passionate about. Enjoy your time!


Girls Just Being Girls -- Packing A Swiffle Wallup



Now that the Super Bowl is just a distant memory, some of the commercials you may have missed but were produced for that huge audience are finally being seen.

This one's for a new product, especially useful for clean-up chores after a big Super Bowl bash. All those dropped chips and dip, the salted nuts, assorted pizza toppings, and caked on guacamole ground deep into the carpet. Oh, and let's not forget the stale spilled beer smell.

In times like these that a woman could use some help in the clean-up department. And it's not coming from you manly men. Besides, that shit's women's work. No, the only thing you gals need is a Swiffle. It combines the stalwart cleaning abilities of a Swiffer with the genteel sense of a lamenting "sniffle" for being stuck with all the post-party elbow grease and hard work facing you.

Until now you've felt there was no way out, and certainly no help from your dude. Relax. Swiffle has arrived. And it has many everyday uses, not just for post Super Bowl events.  It's tough enough to take on all sorts of dirt, grease and grime. Who knows, one day it could even be used for Congress, especially in the GOP caucus rooms. They're sorely overdue for a deep house cleansing.

Hopefully this light and breezy (doesn't that already sound like a Madison Avenue description?) satire will open some eyes and some minds.


Right Comment on Right Wing - Just Wrong Commercial



For those old enough to remember GET SMART, you'll remember the catchphrase, "I just missed it by this much."

I bet that's how MSNBC is feeling today. Earlier I posted a blog on the apology MSNBC made over an offensive tweet someone from the company put out last week stating that they thought the bi-racial Cheerios commercial would perhaps be unsettling to right wing viewers at the Super Bowl. It is called Reince Priebus, RNC Prince of Fools, Pulls Out Secret Card. In in, RNC Chairman Priebus was outraged and offended that the progressives at MSNBC would think that somehow the conservatives in the GOP would be offended by the ad showing that there are happy bi-racial families in this world.

Phil Griffin publicly apologized for that characterization of the GOP's right wing, even called the RNC chairman personally to apologize and also took the additional step by having the author of the tweet fired from MSNBC.

Apparently that wasn't good enough and the Amazing Mr. P. said he was putting MSNBC on notice. He'll be watching them -- (If only he would, maybe he'd learn something).

Well, a few days went by. Now it's Super Bowl Sunday. The Cheerios commercial airs and there's little to no hubbub or fallout over it this day after... Apparently MSNBC was wrong and perhaps they were wrong in making the perceived racist tweet: (via TPM)

Maybe the rightwing (sic) will hate it, but everyone else will go awww: the adorable new #Cheerios ad w/ biracial family,” the tweet read.

So the time of reckoning came and passed. And the reaction to the Cheerios commercial was muted at worst. But...


It seems MSNBC got the commercial wrong (Cheerios), but they got the comment right. Turns out it would be a Coca Cola commercial sung in English, Arabic and Spanish that would bring out the right wing wackadoos. In this ad, the song, America the Beautiful is sung in three languages. And the fact that it's belted out in English, Arabic and Spanish seems to have offended the Tea Party dingo birds here on our shores. The cuckoos have taken flight and are outraged. They want to destroy us the way Angry birds do the pigs in the video game.

The sky is falling, according to the Right Wing zealots:

Again from TPM:

Former tea party congressman Allen West even took time to write a blog post during the game to voice his displeasure. For West, the ad started out strong enough.

"Then the words went from English to languages I didn’t recognize," a troubled West wrote, calling it "a truly disturbing commercial."

Okay, now hold on. Perhaps this former Florida congressman didn't recognize the Arabic language, but are you telling me he lives in Florida and doesn't recognize Spanish? What mudhole has he been submerging his head in to avoid the real world?

Michael Patrick Leahy over at Breitbart was offended, too.

Not only did Coke use "a deeply Christian patriotic anthem whose theme is unity – in several foreign languages," but Leahy noted that the "ad also prominently features a gay couple."

Oh, my goodness. Since when did America The Beautiful become a Christian song? And what a shudder it must be to include a gay couple as part of the American fabric. Heavens.

american flag waving

America The Beautiful is considered an American patriotic song, but it has no ethnic or religious priority. The lyrics were originally a poem written by Katherine Lee Bates, entitled Pikes Peak. The music was composed by Samuel A. Ward from his song O Mother dear, Jerusalem in 1882. Jerusalem? How's that for patriotic America. Jerusalem sounds more Arabic in locale than American.

We are America and we are a melting pot of so many nationalities. Singing this song (which is not a national anthem, just a song) is a tribute to our faith, love and belief in this country. You don't have to be born here to believe in what it stands for. Unity isn't just straight, white, Anglo-Saxon. Sorry all you homophobic, anti-immigrant, right wingnuts -- you're just plain wrong.

So, in rebuke to the critics like Reince Priebus who felt so outraged that their constituents would be offended by a racially questionable statement regarding Cheerios, here's the Coca Cola commercial in full -- let's see now who apologizes for their racially and sexually insensitive comments that this commercial is either un-American or un-patriotic.

C'mon Mr. RNC Chairman. Stand up for your bigot membership now. Let's see who goes on "double secret probation."