Archive for The Martian

The Book Booth: When Librarians Gather Edition

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Image: LA Times


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: When Librarians Gather Edition

This past week librarians from around the country gathered for the mid-winter meeting of the American Library Association, to confer with their fellow librarians and do other remarkable stuff to keep the written word alive.  And while they met, the ALA announced this years winners for the Newberry Medal, awarded this year to Matt De La Pena for Last Stop on Market Street, and the Caldecott Medal, given to Sophie Blackall for Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear. You can see the other winners here.

The librarians also awarded the Carnegie Medals.
You can read to whom for what here.

The New York Public Library recently released a virtual ton of digital images and the good folks at Flavorwire featured some great book jacket art from the 1920's and 1930's.
NYPL Book Jacket Art

Thursday morning, way too early for anyone to be really awake on the west coast, the Academy Award nominations were announced, and movies based on books did pretty well. The Revenant, novel by Michael Punke, picked up many nominations, including best picture and actor for Leonardo diCaprio. The Martian, book authored by Andrew Weir, was also nominated for best picture and actor for Matt Damon. And The Big Short, non-fiction by Michael Lewis, was nominated as well for best picture. The nominees are here.
Academy Award Nominations

And with some luck, good box office and positive reviews, these movies have a chance at glory next year. Interesting that the Tarzan franchise is getting revisited. But the two I'll be looking forward to are Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Because who can get enough of zombies?
Read These Books Before They're Made Into Movies

We note the passing of the great and illustrious David Bowie. As one might suspect, he was an avid reader. Here is his eclectic favorite 100 books.
David Bowie's Favorite 100 Books

President Obama gave his State of the Union address this week, and once again stunned us with his facility with words and speech-making. But we shouldn't be surprised. He's always shown his abilities at critical reasoning, even at the age of 22 when he wrote a friend about T.S. Eliot.
President Obama as Literary Critic

The human need to find and categorize damn near everything isn't anything new. Check out this beautiful Dutch book, published in 1692, of finding every color known to us. It is a stunning looking tome.
Every Color Under The Sun

Have a great weekend, enjoy some leisure time and be sure to let us know what great books you are loving.

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The Book Booth: Twas the Week Before Christmas Edition

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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: Twas the Week Before Christmas Edition

I hope this finds everyone enjoying the holiday season and feeling in a festive mood. Alas, I do miss those days of yore when there would be tons of Christmas specials where Perry Como, or Andy Williams, or the great Der Bingle would serenade us with holiday songs. These days all we have our Republican debates and those hardly put anyone into the Christmas spirit.

Let that not be said of actor Benedict Cumberbatch who has written to Father Christmas with an eloquent plea for that merry ol' soul. Here's his letter, plus others written by some noted British celebrities.
Letters to Santa (aka 'Father Christmas')

On the other hand, it seems that Ayn Rand sent Christmas cards, and I'm pleased I never received one from her. Here are some imagined seasons greetings from that sour person.
Imagined Seasons Greetings Cards from Ayn Rand

Last week we took a look at some of the "best of 2015" lists. The New Yorker book reviewers have now chimed in with their selections. Again, a lot of books I need to catch up on.
The 'New Yorker's 'Best of 2015 List

Then, again, I did catch up on some classics reading using the Sad and Useless ultra-condensed versions.
The Classics 'Sad and Useless' Versions

You'll have noticed that the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is condensed for your pleasure. But once again, a school has stopped teaching the book to its 11th graders. You'd think these Quakers would know better. H/T to Lucian for the link.
Censoring 'Huckleberry Finn' Again!

With the success of The Martian at the box office and at bookstores throughout the land, there seems to be a new (or retro) trend towards real science in Science Fiction. Examples would include not only Andrew Weir, author of The Martian, but long-time established writers like Neal Stephenson and Kim Stanley Robinson, as NPR reports.
New Interest in Science Fiction as a Result of 'The Martian'?

Did you know that way back in 1974, soon after the earth formed, the US National Institute on Drug Abuse commissioned sci-fi author Robert Silverberg to survey the use of drugs in science fiction stories? Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing has the story here.
How Often Do Drugs Play a Role in Science Fiction Stories? 

It seems odd and quaint in these technological days, that writers would not avail themselves of it and write first drafts with pen and paper. But that is exactly what Neil Gaiman does and here are some examples of those initial drafts.
Neil Gaiman's First Drafts Written with Pen and Paper

James Lee Burke, author of the Dave Robicheaux mysteries, doesn't say whether he writes on the computer or with a pen, but he did offer some tips on writing recently for Publishers Weekly.
Writing Tips from James Lee Burke

Finally, it has been sixty years since Vladimir Nabokov's groundbreaking novel Lolita was published by Olympia Press. Here are some appreciations of the work by the Lolita Fan Club.
'Lolita' Turns 60 - Some Thoughts

A Merry Christmas to all of you celebrating the holiday. And please let us know what books you are loving at this time of year.

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The Book Booth: Autumn Leaves Edition

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Image: Brain Pickings

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: Autumn LeavesEdition

Oh, the leaves are turning and falling. The colors around here are so vibrant and beautiful. And I read an article this week that tells us that we should not be raking those leaves! No! Unraked leaves provide an eco-system for the insect world that benefits both them and ourselves. Do the world a favor and do not rake the leaves!

Amazon.com this week opened up its first brick and mortar store in the University Village shopping mall in Seattle. The mall itself is close to the University of Washington campus, and the neighborhood is up-scale. (I think most Seattle neighborhoods are up-scale now). Once upon a time the mall featured a quaint independent book store and a wonderful independent record store. Ah, fond memories! In any event, as the writer from Forbes points out, this Amazon outlet is not really about selling books. It is about collecting data.
Amazon Wants To Know Even More About You!

Former bookseller Dustin Kurtz, writing for the New Republic, was equally unimpressed with the store. In fairness, he found the staff to be very good and it is a good thing that the staff are paid well, at least by industry standards. But the store resembles the front page of Amazon website and the selection is limited.
Amazon's Brick-and-Mortar Store Reviewed

We are beginning to approach that time of year. You know. The holiday season. And most retailers are gearing up. I know, I know. We haven't had Veterans Day yet, much less Thanksgiving. Nevertheless, most of the publishers have released all their major titles for the year, as buzz and promotion on book titles gets lost after Halloween. And thusly, Publishers Weekly has announced what it considers to be the best titles for the year here. It is designed by subject and offers one the opportunity to purchase books from independent booksellers.
Publishers Weekly Wants You to See the Titles You Might Miss in the Hubbub of the Christmas Rush

A more interesting list comes from Patti Smith, whose new memoir M Train was recently released. Here she chose her fifty favorite books for Brain Pickings and the titles are ambitious.
What Books Does Patti Smith Read?

If you have not had the chance to see Ridley Scott's adaptation of Andrew Weir's The Martian, do yourself a favor and go see the movie. Until then, take a look at Weir's interview with the Daily Beast. He loved the film and dismissed the scientific errors as fairly trivial, considering that the story is a drama and not a science project.
The Man Behind 'The Martian' 

I keep thinking I should do more with the Twitter. I look at it briefly every day, and I get too easily distracted to keep up with it. But there are some fun things to read there and Buzzfeed found some of the better grammar nazi tweets, which are pretty funny.
Twitter and Grammar Nazis

I have to admit that when I enter a home or apartment I haven't been to before, I do check out, almost immediately, the bookshelves. But as the folks at Bustle point out, it's not just the titles one should look at; look at the shelves themselves. And what do they say about you? I am somewhere between alphabetical and cluttered and full.
What Do Your Bookshelves Say About You? 

Do take a book down from the shelves this weekend and treat yourself to a good read. And please do let us know how you're liking the book you choose! Have a most splendid Autumn weekend.

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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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