Archive for Svetlana Alexievich

The Book Booth: More Awards Edition

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From: The New Yorker

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: More Awards Edition

Yep, it is that time of year, where awards and nominees for awards are announced. Last week's winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Svetlana Alexievich, was not particularly controversial; she had been the leading candidate in the betting halls. But, as The Telegraph points out, Vladimir Putin is probably not a fan. Here's some background on the new Laureate.
Who is Svetlana Alexievich?

Then, again, the choice of Alexievich may not suit all tastes. Consider the Amazon reviewers! Here are some classic reviews from Amazon about Alexievich, and other previous winners of the Nobel.
Amazon Reviews of Nobel Prize Winners' Books

And earlier this week, the winner of the prestigious Man Booker was announced. Marlon James is a Jamaican writer, who's long and ambitious novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings, is well-regarded by critics, and even described as one as a post-post colonial work. The novel deals with the actual assassination attempt on Bob Marley in 1976, and includes many, many characters and several plot turns.
Man Booker Prize Winner Marlon James

On the other hand, Jeff Chu at Vox thinks the Man Booker should have been Hanya Yanagihara's A Little Life, and he makes a persuasive case. The book is also nominated for the National Book Award, and perhaps will get some recognition there in Novemeber. H/T to my friends Jack John Hall and Marilyn Dahl for the link.
Should A Little Life Have Won the Man Booker?

And speaking of the National Book Awards, the shortlist of nominees is now available. I'm afraid I can't be much help on any of the titles, having read none of them. But my guess is that any or all of them are worth your attention. From Publishers Weekly.
National Book Awards Nominee Shortlist

Most of these writers are no longer in need of writing tips or manuals. But in case you might be, check out these from the novelist William Gass, whose latest work is Eyes: Novellas and Short Stories, and whose previous novels include Omensetter's Luck and The Tunnel. The advice is weird and idiosyncratic. But kind of fun.
Writing Tips from William Gass

Well, it is that time of year, with Halloween looming. The readers at Buzzfeed had these recommendations for great and overlooked horror novels. And I would concur with the selection of M.R. Carey's zombie novel, The Girl with All the Gifts, which is quite good, with thumbs up from both me and Seattle Tammy.
Underrated Horror Books

And I guess these pumpkin spiced lattes are quite the rage this season as well. Quirk Books recently listed some literary characters who probably enjoy quaffing a latte. Though, somehow, Proust's Marcel didn't make the list. I guess he would have stuck with tea along with his madeline cookies.
Pumpkin Spice Latte Drinkers Literature

I've always found Henry David Thoreau as a bit odd and a bit holier than thou. So I read this article by Kathryn Schulz about the mans moral compass very interesting when Lucian passed it along to me. Then, again, other than being an abolitionist, I don't think I'd have been a good transcendentalist.
Kathryn Schulz Trashes Henry David Thoreau in The New Yorker (with good reason)

Finally from the Good News Department, comes a couple of items. First, the powers that be in New Zealand have seen fit to lift the ban on Ted Dawe's young adult novel, Into the River, news of which cheered the author.
NZ Ban on Into the River Lifted

And this is very cool! The Metropolitan Museum of Art now offers as a free download over 400 books for your perusal and enjoyment. Thanks to OpenCulture for alerting us and h/t to my friend Diane Frederick for the link.
Metropolitan Museum of Art - Free Download of Art Books

Have a most pleasant weekend. Try one of those pumpkin-spiced drinks and read some great books. And by all means, let us know what books you are treasuring.

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The Book Booth: Nobel Prize Edition

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From BookRiot

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: Nobel Prize Edition

Yes, it is the week for the Nobel Prizes and on Thursday the prize in Literature was announced. This years winner is Svetlana Alexievich, a writer of non-fiction from Belarus. Her two best known works, Voices from Chernobyl and Zinky Boys: Soviet Voices from the Afghanistan War, will both be reprinted and released soon. Publishers Weekly has the details here.
Who is Svetlana Alexievich?

And as NPR notes, this is the first non-fiction award in a very long time, when back in the day, both Bertrand Russell and Winston Churchill won the literature award.
NPR on Svetlana Alexievich

It is my birthday weekend, and the family and I are off to the movies to see Ridley Scott's adaptation of Andrew Weir's novel, The Martian. I haven't read the book, but I'm looking forward to the movie. When I was a young boy, I thoroughly enjoyed a movie called Robinson Crusoe on Mars, which I think shares some of the same plot features as The Martian. Incidentally, Angela Watercutter at Wired believes The Martian proves that movies are better than books now. I'm not buying that, but her article has some interesting things to say.
Are Movies Now Better than Books?

Another movie that should spark some reading interest is Suffragette, which stars Meryl Streep and Carey Mulligan, due later this month. BookRiot has some books to suggest about that struggle to obtain the vote for women.
Women's Struggle to Get the Vote

There is a new historical novel that I'm going to check out soon. It's titled Mrs. Engels, and tells the story of Lizzie Burns, who was the mistress of Friedrich Engels, the political partner of Karl Marx. This work is the debut novel of Gavin McCrea who offered up these thoughts on becoming the character one is writing about here.
Becoming the Character You Write About

I don't think the ancient Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh has ever been filmed. But it gets a revision of sorts as twenty new lines have recently been discovered, adding some dimension to our hero.
New Gilgamesh Text Discovered

The next installment of the memoirs of Patti Smith, M Train, has been released. Here she speaks with David Remnick of The New Yorker about the book and some of her works in progress.
Patti Smith Discusses M Train in The New Yorker.

The Fall is truly here in my little town now. The rain has returned and the leaves are spectacular. For those of you who, like me, love this season, may enjoy these literary quotes celebrating the season, from Sarah Seltzer at Flavorwire.
Literary Quotes to Welcome Fall

For some reason I cannot fathom, other than the fact that he never existed, Franklin W. Dixon has never received Nobel Prize consideration. The master writer of the Hardy Boys series certainly was prolific enough. But Frank and Joe Hardy never seemed to have grown up. John Ortved at The New Yorker has these suggested titles for when the boys finally achieve adulthood here. I can't wait to read What Happens at 9:00 PM.
Mysteries theHardy Boys Faced as they Became the Hardy Men

Here's hoping everyone has a fine weekend, filled with pumpkin spiced drinks and lots and lots of books. Please do let us know what titles are charming you

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