Archive for the Bard

The Book Booth: The May 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.  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: May Day Edition

Aside from the spring May pole dances and celebrations, May the first also is the International Workers Day. Though here in the US we honor working people in September (because, surely, we cannot do so on the day that the rest of the world, filled with socialists as it is, does so), the date was chosen to remember the working people who demonstrated at the Hay Market in Chicago so long ago. So Happy May Day all!

With that in mind, the Nation magazine recently suggested five books on African-American history, which includes the contributions of slaves as well as the sharecroppers who helped build our nation, albeit in bondage. The book Hammer and Hoe looks particularly interesting.
African-American History

As we head on into May, I have a few more April items to serve up. April is, as mentioned before, National Poetry Month and the folks at Mental Floss have a piece on the US Poet Laureate, which may clear things up for anyone confused on the matter. Including the fact that the Laureate is not paid by tax dollars, in case right-wing loons start to spout off.
The US Poet Laureate

April is also the birth and death month of the Bard of Avon, which I've probably be-labored the past few weeks. In any event, Shakespeare's work surely will outlast us all. Stephen Greenblatt had a nice appreciation of his legacy here at the New York Review of Books.
Still More on the Bard (Who Is Always Interesting)

And Literary Hub has links to other articles about Big Bill, including a discussion on Hamlet as a sexless bro and a feature on his second-best bed, which he bequeathed to his wife, Ann Hathaway.
The Bard's Possessions

If you are feeling tired this weekend, but feel guilty about not catching up on your reading of the classics, Lucian found these abridgments you might want to peruse.
Why Read the Classics When You Can Read these Super Short Synopses?

Then, again, some of us prefer to watch our books on film or on TV. So good news for those who'd rather see than read Neil Gaiman's Good Omens! He is adapting it for a TV series.
Neil Gaiman's Got Those Good Omens!

Robots and other automata have been staples of Science-Fiction for a long time. In a fascinating article at Literary Hub (again), the origin of these things is explored. I hadn't realized that even Edgar Allan Poe had been intrigued by the Turk Chess Player, going back to 1836 and before.
Science Fiction, Double Feature

The Hugo Awards are coming back and with them, our friends, the sad puppies, who once again have managed to load the nominations with their own special favorites. Because, you know, Lefty sci-fi is for wusses.
It's Hugo Awards Time Again
(and that means Hugo Awards Ideological Strife Again!)

I mentioned last week that novelist Don DeLillo has a new novel coming out, Zero K, which explores many of his previous themes, often of the pre-Apocalyptic type. Tony Tulathimutte discusses them here for the New Republic.
Don DeLillo's Themes

This is kind of fun. The folks at The Daily Telegraph picked fifty cult novels and grouped them by decade here. Many will be familiar, others long and happily forgotten.
Cult Novels

Finally, please note that Saturday is Indie Bookshop Day. Please help to keep your local independent store alive and thriving and go find a book to purchase from them. And let us know what that book is!


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.


Stiffen Up, Bard


William Shakespeare

From time to time I've been examining the humor and the raunchiness of William Shakespeare. Face it, upon reflection, he's demonstrated numerous examples of his "toilet humor" and working "blue." I kind of get a kick out of rediscovering him at a post high school age. Today I'm going to, with help from Cracked, lay bare another boner, er, well, you judge for yourself.

Quick background: Sonnets were traditionally short 14-line odes to beautiful women. When Willie S. came along, he stayed mostly faithful to that tradition, writing numerous sonnets about his love for gorgeous females. However, he would occasionally shift the focus of the narrative over to his own, "stiffening resolve", as demonstrated in Sonnet 151:

Sonnet 151

Love is too young to know what conscience is,
Yet who knows not conscience is born of love?
Then, gentle cheater, urge not my amiss,
Lest guilty of my faults thy sweet self prove.
For, thou betraying me, I do betray
My nobler part to my gross body's treason;
My soul doth tell my body that he may
Triumph in love; flesh stays no farther reason,
But rising at thy name doth point out thee
As his triumphant prize; proud of this pride,
He is contented thy poor drudge to be,
To stand in thy affairs, fall by thy side.
No want of conscience hold it that I call
Her ‘love’ for whose dear love I rise and fall.

laced breeches

According to the bold print which I emphasized, I think its clear. Billy's Willie was going silly nilly.