Archive for unreliable narrators

The Book Booth: Birds Flying High Edition



Image: Signature Reads / Shutterstock
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: Birds Flying High Edition

Another week and again the news does not fail to amaze. I'm sure everyone's heard all the jokes already and I don't have anything to add. But my neck is sore from all the head shaking.

The great Meryl Streep made headlines with her acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globe Awards earlier in the week, prompting Signature to identify her top ten film roles based on literary sources. Of course her take on Sophie in Sophie's Choice is wonderful, but I have a sneaky regard for her Susan Orlean in the film Adaptation, the Spike Jonez/Charlie Kauffman film.
Meryl Streep is a Wonderful Actress

I posted last week on other film adaptations from books that will be released this coming year. The Guardian has its own list which includes other movies not on that list. There will be a Trainspotting 2; and Margaret Atwood has another work being adapted in Alias Grace in addition to the new version of The Handmaid's Tale.
More Film Adaptations We'll See in 2017

During the past week we also saw the first anniversary of the passing of David Bowie. It turns out that he and the novelist of The Hours, Michael Cunningham, attempted to collaborate on a musical that did not come to fruition. Mr. Cunningham discusses the work as well as his relationship with Bowie here for GQ Magazine.
Michael Cunningham on Working with David Bowie

The Persian poet Rumi has had a following among readers in the West for some time now. Rumi was, of course, a Sufi mystic, and Sufism is a sect of Islam. However, as Rozina Ali explores in this New Yorker article, the poet's Islamic faith is somehow being erased from his legacy.
Where Did Rumi's Islamic Faith Go?

The unreliable narrator has been a part of the novelistic tradition for some time now, and pre-dates its use by Joseph Conrad and Ford Maddox Ford at the beginning of the 20th century. Here Sarah Pinborough discusses her top ten unrelialbe narrators for the Guardian. And for what it is worth, I have not yet read Girl on a Train.
Unreliable Narrators in Fiction

Unless the writer is an adherent of Jack Kerouac's dictum on spontaneous prose, most authors revise their first drafts. Over and over again. Twelve writers discuss the revision process here for LitHub.
Those First and Second and Third and Fourth Drafts

The idea of the Great American Novel goes back to 1868 and there have been many candidates since that time. Ernest Hemingway famously said (incorrectly) that all American Literature comes from Huck Finn. But other writers have their own ideas on what that work might be as Emily Temple lists, once again, for LitHub.
So...Has Anyone Written the Great American Novel Yet?  What Is It?

Say you're a librarian and you love so many books that are going to be discarded from your system because no one has checked those books in over a year. What do you do? You go rogue, of course! But be careful about getting caught. Thanks to Lucian for this link.
Rogue Librarians Fight Back!

Alas, this past week we lost the author and jazz critic Nat Hentoff at age 91. He wrote for The Village Voice for many years and shared his passions for civil liberties and for jazz. He will be missed. NPR has this appreciation.
Nat Hentoff Has Moved On

On Monday we will celebrate the life of Martin Luther King jr. With the upcoming inauguration, we must never forget what this man meant for our country and our hopes for freedom. And what does freedom feel like? Ms. Nina Simone tells us in this song written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley for the musical The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd.

Please note: For some reason YouTube says that I cannot 'embed' this song (which would mean that you could play it directly from the Book Booth.  Since I can't, please go to YouTube directly here.

Have a wonderful weekend, read much and let us know what words you are devouring. We'd love to know. Attachments area


The Book Booth: It Might As Well Be Spring Edition



Image: Publishers Weekly

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: It Might As Well Be Spring Edition

Ok, ok, maybe it doesn't seem like Spring where you live, but I'll bet you wish it did. It certainly remains that way in my little town. And even with the equinox still two weeks from now, the explosion of flora around here is lovely. If it isn't where you live, rest assured that it will be soon.

On the book front, Kazuo Ishiguro, author of The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go, his first published work in a decade. It's titled The Buried Giant, and is set in Arthurian England. The book likes it might be fun, populated as it is with pixies and dragons and deals with collective memory. Ishiguro talked with HuffPo about the new book and you can read the interview here.

The Remains of the Day remains one of my favorite novels. It's narrator is one of those pesky unreliable ones, a long standing tradition in the novel. Recently at Publishers Weekly, Jeremy M. Davies and Colin Winnette discussed some of those slightly skewed story tellers. They purposely leave out Nabokov, Faulkner and Ford Maddox Ford. So some of the narrators, I'm not familiar with (aside from Beckett's Krapp).
But it is an interesting discussion.
Unreliable Narrators in Literature

Lisa Simpson, being one of the most well-read cartoon characters I know of, is probably well-versed in concepts like the unreliable narrator. But she's into Sabermetrics, too, and has Bill James on her shelf. The folks at Bustle examined her reading habits recently and it kind of puts me to shame.
What does Lisa Simpson read?

For the graphic novel enthusiasts among us, one of the great Japanese legends, the 47 Ronin has now been published in comic form. Pay no attention to poor American film adaptations and read the real thing. H/T to my friend, Ilsa.
47 Ronin

If you are looking for someone new to pick up and read, check out Isaac Fitzgerald's suggestions of some contemporary writers of color over at Buzzfeed. He makes some solid choices, not the least of whom are Paul Beatty, Zadie Smith and Colson Whitehead, all brilliant novelists.
Contemporary Writers You Should Read

Then there are writers who grow to hate their creations and wish they had never published. Over at MentalFloss, nine authors who grew to hate their success are discussed, including Lewis Carroll, A.A. Milne and Anthony Burgess.
Success? Not for everyone.

At the recent Oscar ceremony, Lady Gaga performed a tribute on the 50 year anniversary to The Sound of Music, which, of course, was based on a memoir by Maria Von Trapp. At the outset, I have to say that I love both Broadway and Hollywood musicals. And I love the work of Rodgers and Hammerstein. Except for this one. I've always thought it overblown and sappy. (The best thing that came out The Sound of Music was the wonderful version of My Favorite Things by John Coltrane.) Nevertheless, I do acknowledge it as the cultural phenomenon that it has become. The BBC examines its impact here. Big H/T to Lucian for sending the link to me, and putting up with my email comments to him.
How A Simple Memoir Became 'The Sound of Music'

From the department of right-wing lunacy, it seems a certain Kansas state legislator, one Mary Pilcher-Cook, would like to criminalize certain books. Who knows which ones they might be, but I think we are going to see a lot more of this kind of thing in the future, bringing us all closer to some dystopian future. This is why local elections matter! H/T to both my friend Diane and Lucian, once again.
It's Right Wing Book Burning Time Again! (or almost)

On a brighter note, if you happen to be looking for a gift for your book-loving friend, check out some of these mugs featured at Buzzfeed. I love the Penguin mugs, so if you happen to be looking for a present for me....
Cool Book Mugs!

Finally, I talk a great deal about independent booksellers here. It seems that indies are, at last, finding their ground and beginning to compete with the chains and Amazon more effectively. The Daily Beast recently examined the state of modern independent bookselling here.
Indies Fight Back!

Have a wonderful, allergy-free weekend, filled with lots of books. And, by all means, please share with us what books you are enjoying.