This and that

Good morning bookies. Stand by for news.

Confessing a guilty pleasure here, there are few things more entertaining than a snarky dust-up between overbearing literary types. You can almost hear this guy sniffing as he speaks. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/30/nobel-literature-chief-ba_n_130619.html

Gwen Ifill, moderator of the Vice Presidential debate, is releasing a pro-Obama book on the day of the election. It is the intention of this blog to be non-political and unbiased. (I already have a blog that is political and biased, why have two?) Therefore, this is mentioned only because it is book related and in the news.

The Jewel of Medina is still on the way to British bookstores, who seem determined to carry the book regardless of what some barbarians may do or threaten. Too bad the US publisher doesn’t have such courage. Although things do appear to be getting a bit sticky over there. It would seem those who don’t approve of the book aren’t in a mood to discuss it’s merits, but would prefer to just kill everybody instead. Tsk-tsk. Sounds like some anger management counseling is in order. Or maybe a course on tolerance.

And speaking of Lord Nelson (we weren’t?), I found this article very interesting, for those among you who crave anything and everything Napoleonic and Oceanic. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/sep/29/books.top.10s.nelson For those who aren’t aware, books on the Napoleonic era navies are very popular. Authors such as Dewey Lambdin have carved out a loyal (if not fanatical) fanbase among readers who cut their teeth on the likes of CS Forrester and Patrick O’Brian.

Terry Pratchett was recently diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. Not only is this dreadful on any number of levels, not least of which is that he brings joy to millions with every Discworld novel, but to your friendly neighborhood bookseller this is quite personal. I met Mr. Pratchett at MidSouthCon 2006, and anyone who was there can testify to his popularity. I waited in line to get my 2 books signed for more than two hours, a line that filled the dark, dank hallways of that dingy hotel MSC has called home for years now, only to find out that Mr. Pratchett was due at a panel and we would have to come back that night to get our books signed. So I drove home, drove back, wiated in line again and finally was able to meet the most distinguished, exhausted but jovial gentleman. This link is to a speech Mr. Pratchett gave to the Tories in England asking for as much help as humanly possible for those afflicted with this disease: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/sep/29/toryconference.health1

Lastly, I list this last link for those who love to read history because it is quite personal for me. The gist of the article is that historians used to do much more than list arguments for or against a particular viewpoint, or give a straight recitation of facts, historians were storytellers who just weren’t making things up. And the best among them still are. David McCullough comes to mind. His biography of John Adams is stunningly entertaining, as is his history of the building of the Panama Canal. He is a role model for your friendly neighborhood bookseller, who is himself researching a book (that may or may not ever get written, but that’s another story). The best history is history that is enjoyable to read.

That’s all for now, bookies.

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