Archive for winter

The Book Booth: National Poetry Month Edition

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare
book

Photograph: Matt Carr/Getty Images / The Guardian

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, as well a brick and mortar in small town Washington State. Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

April, which can be either have showers sweet or be the cruelest month, depending on your attitude, is National Poetry Month. Whenever it rolls around, it makes me feel guilty as I don't read nearly enough of the stanzaic art. But I do have a copy of Kenneth Fearing's Selected Poetry on the nightstand, and I will read it soon and assuage my guilt.

If you, too, are behind on reading verse, check out Flavorwire's 50 most essential poetry books. These are good suggestions and any list that includes Shel Silverstein on an essential anything has got to be pretty good.

It has been nearly forty years since I read Kenneth Koch's Wishes, Lies and Dreams, about teaching the craft of poetry writing to inner city children. One hopes that poetry is still taught in schools and Andrew Simmons at the Atlantic makes a compelling argument for it being done so.

Although not a poet per se, John Steinbeck had a way with words and is neglected these days, at least by academic critics. Not so with Susan Shillinglaw who has this appreciation of thirteen of his novels at Publishers Weekly.

William Faulkner, on the other hand, did indulge in writing poetry, but obviously is now much more regarded as a novelist. ABE Books had this feature on Faulkner with some great book jacket art.

For science fiction fans that are looking for something new, io9 had these suggestions for neglected writers. I have to admit that I have not heard of, much less read, some of these authors.

Many authors are plagued at seminars and readings by the question, where do you get your ideas? It is a question most writers dread getting because they don't remember or they just seem to happen. Stephen King, however, can answer that question, at least in part, in this short essay on how he came up the idea for Carrie.

On the good news front, Kazuo Ishiguro will publish his first new novel, The Buried Giant, in March of 2015. He has not published one since 2005, so this comes as welcome news. And if you have not read his Remains of the Day, go do so right now. We'll wait for you.

In sadder news, last week saw the passing of Peter Matthiessen at age 86. Although probably best known as wonderful nature writer, he was a fine novelist and I cannot recommend At Play in the Fields of the Lord enough. The New York Times ran this obituary.

Banned Books Week wont happen again until next October. But for those who'd like to plan ahead, Cory Doctorow over at BoingBoing has a fashion tip here!

Finally, of all the book accessories available, I think the book plate is my favorite. You can use darn near anything as a bookmark (grocery receipts serve us well around here), but the plate is personal. HuffPo had some examples of some beauties here.

Please enjoy this weekend. Read some poetry. And by all means, let us know what book is delighting you!

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

The Book Booth: Opening Day Edition

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

book

Photo of Tennessee Williams Credit: Express/Getty Images

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, as well a brick and mortar in small town Washington State. Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

With Spring comes Baseball Season. All thirty teams start with a clean slate and hopes for October playoff berths. Best of luck to them all. But especially my Seattle Mariners.

It is the season of flowers and many a garden is a-bloom. Keats
observed that a thing of beauty is a joy forever. So in that spirit, here are some gorgeous childrens books illustrations from the 1920's, including some by Arthur Rackham. From Buzzfeed.

I will be heading out to the library later, where I will pick up a copy of the well-reviewed recent novel, Night in Shanghai by Nicole Mones. In this day and age, my library system sends me email notices when items become due. But in times past, one had to rely on memory. MentalFloss found some library books that were past due and then some.

Here's a prize that I did not know existed and hadn't realized it was so coveted. It is the Diagram Prize for oddest book title. And this years winner indeed has an odd title. H/T to our friend Mark McKay for alerting us.

Book Clubs have become a huge feature on the literary landscape these days. Publishers spend a great deal of time and money marketing their titles to them. And why not? It is a fine way to share passion for reading. And for eating. Literary biographer James Atlas offered up some thoughts on the phenomenon at the New York Times Book Review.

So your hopes to become a rock 'n' roll star didn't quite pan out.
Plan B, of course, was to be a best-selling author. The problem is,
though, that the sales figures are not what they seem. And you may have to invest some big bucks to get there. On to Plan C!

Well, if Plan C involves academic publishing, take heed. There are vanity houses out there who'll be happy to publish that senior year paper of yours. H/T to our good friend and author of Tone Deaf in Bangkok, Janet Brown.

But if writing is what you really want to do, don't be dissuaded by the previous links. Give it a go and along the way, you will find these books on writing very useful. Via BrainPickings.

And if you become famous enough, your juvenilia will be much sought after and published. Even if it has been left in a drawer for eighty years, as seems to be the case with Tennessee Williams.

I do have a certain fascination with early cinema. So I found this article from MentalFloss on early adaptations of famous novels very interesting. Alas, some of these we will never see.

I have been binge watching Dexter on the Netflix. It is based on a
mystery novel entitled Dexter Darkly Dreaming, which I have not read.  Other novels have been adapted to the tee-vee medium and with the success of Game of Thrones, I'm guessing that studio execs are looking for fresh material. io9 has some suggestions.

Here's hoping you are enjoying your weekend with a good book, some spring like weather and excitement over the coming baseball season.

And please let us know what books you are enjoying.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Overnight: Dylan Winter and the Starling Murmurations

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

bird

Wondering what starlings are? Here's the Wiki. This video is about the amazing patterns they make when they swarm.

My friend Susan Frybort on Facebook sent this video my way. Thanks, Susan!

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

The Book Booth: Spring Is Here Edition

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

book

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, as well a brick and mortar in small town Washington State. Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: Spring Is Here Edition
Spring is here, spring is here, life is skittles and life is beer. So says the wise poet, Tom Lehrer. And with Spring comes all things new again, including a bunch of new words admitted into the canon of the Oxford English Dictionary. Buzzfeed has some of these defined for you here. Good to see bookaholic is now an official word. I think it has been used for many years now.

With Spring comes house cleaning and chores put off during the winter. For SeattleTammy and me, that means the never-ending need for more bookshelves. Here is a great way to use those out-of-date encyclopedias that you have around. Instruction manual included!

And while we ponder our Spring home projects, this very cool item - book masking tape! - is now available for purchase and use around the house.

Need some mystery reading to get you through the weekend? ABEBooks recently featured crime novels with their usual display of great cover art.

I have probably mentioned before that as a young lad, I voraciously
read the Hardy Boy series. I couldn't get enough of them. Mystery
solving, though, has changed over the years and imagine, if you will,
Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConnaughey, as our intrepid crime
busters. The cover art might look something like this.

I finished blitzing House of Cards on Netflix. For those of you who
need more tales of power and Machiavellian mischief, Buzzfeed has this outstanding reading list of fiction and non-fiction works that should satisfy.

Frank Underwood, the anti-hero of House of Cards, must have been like one of those jerks you knew back in Middle and/or High School. Where else does one learn such duplicitous behavior? HuffPo recently ranted about other annoying teens here.

In my experience, I have never found books written by political
conservatives to be big sellers. Of course a lot of that experience
came in Seattle, which is uber-liberal. But I do know that many of the
conservative titles sales came from book club sales nationwide, which
is why they would end up on the New York Times bestseller lists, which
counts those sales. Still it is nice to hear that there seems to be
problems in the right-wing dystopia of "literature".

Sometimes being grumpy is a matter of waking up on the wrong side of
the bed. And then others are born that way and end up writing for the
National Review. So take heart, would-be writer! Even the best authors
get reviewed by these grumpuses.

Happy Springtime all! Enjoy your weekend with a fine book and let us
know what you are reading.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

The Book Booth: Odds and Ends Edition

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

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, as well a brick and mortar in small town Washington State. Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

BooksImage: www.writersleague.org

As an old friend used to say, the odds are good, but the goods are
odd. So what do we have this week here in the world of books?

Well, this is odd, because I don't think I've ever linked to a Parade
Magazine article. And odd because some of these books seem odd to me
as the most popular read books in the various states. What would be
the most read book in your state and, do you believe it?

Moira Redmond at the Guardian has some peeves about some authors and their narrative mistakes. I have to agree about some pop culture references. If you are going to make them, do it subtly.

And then there's this from Bored Panda. The forty worst titles and book covers ever. This is probably not safe for work. (By the way, I remember Eating People is Wrong as a Flanders and Swann tune; I didn't realize it had once been the title of a book.)

This past Monday was Read Across America day. In observance, HuffPo offered up 19 quotes that may inspire you to keep reading, as if you needed them.

Recently John Le Carre talked about the real life model(s) for his most famous character, George Smiley. Apparently there is some controversy and he was defending his creation, who is, after all, fictional.

Speaking of George Smiley, I do enjoy re-reading the Karla Trilogy from time to time. I know that there are some people who think re-reading favorite novels is a waste of time. I disagree, of course.

I mean, really, you don't re-watch movies you enjoy. In any event, Kit
Steinkellner argues for visiting old book friends again at the Book
Riot.

I recently talked about the banning of Wendy Donigers' book The Hindus: An Alternative History in India. Ms. Doniger talks about the experience here in a piece for the New York Times.

Ever read a novel that ends in mid-sentence? They do exist and Gabe Habash examines the whys and wherefores at his blog from Publishers Weekly.

I have not watched True Detective on the teevee machine as of yet, and will have to wait for when it shows up on Netflix. But everyone seems to love it. Buzzfeed has this reading list for understanding some of the subtext for the series, and for the Southern Gothic genre.

Tyler Coates had this article at Flavorwire not too long ago, of 15
writers reading from their own work
. And it is very cool. Be warned
some of the videos are pretty long, so you'll need a relaxing
afternoon if you want to enjoy them all at once.

Wishing everyone a good weekend, filled with books and reading. And
just what are you reading today? Let us know.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

The Book Booth: Hazy Shade of Winter Edition

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare
Book Winter

Photo: burnbright.com.au

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, as well a brick and mortar in small town Washington State. Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

Signs of spring are sparse, though we have some early budding Rhodies.
But fear not. Spring is only a month away and all this madness about
climate change will go away. Or maybe not.

But for those of you still blanketed by snow, or shriveled by the
rain, you may want to look at a list of 19 short novels recommended by
Buzzfeed to pass the time until the flowers bloom again.

Ah, celebrate good times, come on! For those of us still updating our
calendars with an eye to having a good time, Mental Floss has some
literary holidays to observe. There are two in early March, including
Dr. Seuss Day and National Grammar Day. I am thankful they are not on
the same day.

The feisty reader may want some titles to enhance their stands and
views of the political world. Kenneth Wishnia at alternet gives you
five reasons to take a look at crime fiction as a progressive genre.

Even booksellers can get into activism.  Recently a French politician suggested censoring a children's book, Everybody Gets Naked. The
French bookselling community, always in the avant garde, protested
.

I mentioned some weeks ago that author James Patterson would be
donating a million dollars of his own money to some booksellers across
the country. I am happy to let you know that he is carrying through on
his promise. I've mentioned before that I am not a big fan of his
writing. But I am very pleased that he has taken this stance and
applaud him heartily. From the Gray lady.

Apparently retirement becomes Philip Roth well. Even at age 80, he
finds many things to occupy himself that do not involve sitting at the
desk and finding the mot juste. Read about them here.

Garrison Keillor has long had standing jokes about English majors.
Here are some tell-tale signs that you were, or should be, an English
major.

And if you are or were an English major, you just may have been
over-exposed to Hemingway. And feel that you may be a character in one
his books. Mallory Ortberg at The Toast offers some symptoms.

Whatever became of the literary bad boys?  We seem to have none to follow, no Lord Byrons, or Dylan Thomases to regale us with shamelessexploits which make us wonder when did they ever find the time to write anything. James Parker and Rivka Galchen explore the idea here.

Finally, Simon Braund at Publishers Weekly had this list of ten movies
that were, for the most part, based on books that never were made
.
(Dune eventually was by David Lynch; I watched and I didn't have a
clue as to what was going on). Another film that has not seen the
light of day is Jerry Lewis' The Day the Clown Cried, which, over the
years, has acquired the reputation as being really, really bad. But
what could have been worse would have been his portrayal of Holden
Caulfield, an ambition that Mr. Lewis long had.

Enjoy your weekend, dear reader, and please let us know what books you
are enjoying!

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Overnight: Carnival in Venice

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare
Photo: http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2009/feb/12/venice-carnival-local-street-party

Photo: http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2009/feb/12/venice-carnival-local-street-party

If you could only go to one carnival celebration in Europe, this would be it (although there are many other worthy candidates) - the Carnevale di Venezia - Venice. Many carnival celebrations are loud - the Venice Carnival is subdued and understated. Buon divertimento!

Just another beautiful mask:

Photo: http://www.travelblogexchange.com/profiles/blogs/venice-carnival-10-days-of

Photo: http://www.travelblogexchange.com/profiles/blogs/venice-carnival-10-days-of

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare