Archive for Walt Whitman

The Book Booth: Dad's Day 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.  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: Dad's Day Edition

Sunday is the day we honor our fathers, although we probably should be doing that daily and not on some Hallmark appointed day. If your dad is still with us, give him a call, send him a card, take him to lunch. And if he's no longer here, think some good thoughts about the ol' man.

My dad is the king of the pun. And he's been known to tell a joke or two. From Bustle, here are some literary Dad jokes from some contemporary writers.
Literary Dad Jokes!

One of the things my dad did when I was a teenage would-be intellectual and lover of arts was to indulge my interests by getting me subscriptions to magazines like Ramparts and Avant-Garde. It just so happens the old issues of the latter have now been digitized and are available on-line. H/T to my friend, Ray V. for sharing the link.
Ramparts and Avant-Garde Now Online

If your plans for the weekend include lazing about and watching movies, you may want to check out these recommendations from Public Books. I've seen most of these and recommend them myself. By the way, Turn: Washington's Spies is available for streaming on Netflix and it is a very interesting take on the Revolutionary war.
Revolutionary War Spies - on Netflix.

Speaking of the American Revolution, last Sunday the musical Hamilton swept the Tony Awards, winning eleven. If your curiosity has been piqued about Alexander, take a look at this New Yorker article about the books that he (and Aaron Burr) checked out from the Society Library back in the day.
What Did Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr Read?

Who could have predicted the rise of Donald Trump? Well, in a way, Sinclair Lewis did in his novel It Can't Happen Here. But as Cory Doctorow points out, Neal Stephenson did as well, 22 years ago in his novel Interface. http://boingboing.net/2016/06/10/reminder-neal-stephenson-pred.html

One of the great novels of the past 25 years or so is Don DeLillo's Underworld. The opening of the novel, the day the Giants beat my beloved Dodgers on Bobby Thompson's home run and the fate of that very baseball is one of the most breath-taking pieces of writing that I've read. Here DeLillo talks about the origin of the book with the Guardian.
Don DeLillo Discusses Underworld

I have been reading David Halberstam's mammoth history The Fifties and just finished his chapter on the Beats. So I was pleased to come across this illustrated poem of Allen Ginsberg's A Supermarket in California, his poem addressed to Walt Whitman.
Allen Ginsberg's A Supermarket in California

With some sadness comes the report of the passing of Spanish language translator Gregory Rabassa at age 94. His translation of One Hundred Years of Solitude was so good, Gabriel Garcia Marquez declared it greater than the Spanish language edition.
Gregory Rabassa, Marquez Translator

And if you're looking for weekend reading, why not try a work in translation. Daniel Saldana Paris, author of Among Strange Victims, deems these works originally written in Spanish as essential.
Best Spanish Language Books in Translation

Happy Fathers Day to all you dads out there. Have a great day and please let us know what novels you are now savoring.

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The Book Booth: April Showers Edition

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Image: Flavorwire


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: April Showers Edition

In my case the title for the week is ironic. We've been having superb weather, with sun and temperatures in the mid-sixties. That will all end at the beginning of the week when the rain returns and April showers will return, and, one hopes, provide us with the May flowers.

Spring brings out the poetical in us. Chaucer begins his Tales praising the rains of April. Wordsworth wrote of daffodils. (And April is National Poetry Month). Flavorwire found ten other poems that praise the new season, ranging from the Bard himself to a particularly nice poem by Claude McKay. Not included is The Waste Land, which is kind of a downer when it comes to Spring.
Poems to Greet the Spring

I mentioned last week that we are fast approaching the 400th anniversary of the passing of William Shakespeare and we shall be seeing much-related stories of that playwright in the coming month. It now seems that Pelican, long a publisher of the plays, has had their cover art, which had been very plain for decades, redesigned in minimalist fashion by young artist, Manuja Waldia. I'm not sure what to make of them, but it took a while to get used to the Milton Glaser jacket art used on the Signet covers back in the sixties.
New Cover Art for Old Shakespeare Plays

Harper Lee passed away a few short weeks ago. Twenty nine of her letters are now up for auction, sold in separate lots with opening bids beginning at $750. Many of the letters complain about the invasion of her privacy, while others are more chatty. It is a little surprising that they weren't already offered to some University collection, but in any event, these ones are for sale. The Telegraph has the story.
Harper Lee Letters Up For Sale

Alas, novelist and poet, Jim Harrison died last week at age 78. He was best known for his novella Legends of the Fall, which was famously filmed in 1994 and starred Brad Pitt. NPR remembers him here.
Jim Harrison Remembered by NPR

The poet Rich Smith has this appreciation of Harrison the poet here that he wrote for the Seattle alternative paper, The Stranger. Harrison had some of the qualities himself that make one a legend.
Ode to Jim Harrison, Poet

I have been a big fan of novelist Leslie Epstein for some time now. I first encountered his long short story, The Steinway Quartet, many years ago in a literary magazine and loved it. I had the pleasure of briefly meeting him one time at a book collection, and I told him how much I admired his novel Pandaemonium (which is told brilliantly in the voice of Peter Lorre and is all about Hollywood in the thirties and early forties). He thanked me and said I seemed to be the only one who did. Here he talks about the importance of writing and reading.
Leslie Epstein Talks About Writing and Reading

The short novel is a form not often used these days, but has a long-standing tradition in literature. Heart of Darkness and The Death of Ivan Ilych both come to mind. At Publishers Weekly, Cynan Jones, author of the short novel, The Dig, discusses the pleasures of reading the short novel.
The Case for Very Short Novels

A wonderful weekend to you all and please do let us know what books are pleasing you.

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