Just when I’m feeling even more down about my recent lack of reading chops, I hear more and more about great books that I wish to read or wish I had read. There is a lot of truth to the familiar saying, “So many books, so little time”.
But enough about me and my book angst and on to some award news!
It’s an exciting time of year for those of us book geeks who keep track of award long lists, short lists and winners. It’s kind of the equivalent of the announcement of The Academy Award Nominees for those of us who still care about the current film industry. [No, I’m not the least bit bitter that films are geared to 20 something age boys, still living at home, and not to more mature (older) audiences like myself….but I digress…]
The Man Booker Prize Short List of 6 books was announced on September 11, 2012:
Author, Title (Publisher)
Tan Twan Eng, The Garden of Evening Mists (Myrmidon Books)
Deborah Levy, Swimming Home (And Other Stories/Faber & Faber)
Hilary Mantel, Bring up the Bodies (Fourth Estate)
Alison Moore, The Lighthouse (Salt)
Will Self, Umbrella (Bloomsbury)
Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis (Faber & Faber)
I have only read one of these, Hilary Mantel’s ‘Bring up the Bodies’, which I didn’t like as much as her prequel and multi award winner, ‘Wolf Hall’. Maybe reading them in close succession to each other made me overload on the density of the material, but that and the fact that she already won the Man Booker in 2009 has me not rooting for this one to win. Sorry Hilary.
I have two of these titles, ‘Umbrella’ and ‘Swimming Home’ on my Kindle loaded up and ready to read soon. They’ve both been given rave reviews by bloggers and reviewers I admire, so I’m anxious to give them a whirl. But I don’t have much time to get them finished as the prize is announced on October 16, 2012 in London.
Going back to my side of the pond the nominees for the National Book Award were announced yesterday, October 10, 2012.
Five titles were announced in each of four categories, FICTION, NONFICTION, POETRY, and, YOUNG PEOPLE’S LITERATURE. Here’s the complete list, but for more details on each finalist you should go to www.nationalbook.org.
Dave Eggers – A Hologram for the King
Junot Diaz – This is How You Lose Her
Louise Erdrich – The Round House
Kevin Powers – The Yellow Bird
Ben Fountain – Billy Lynn’s Long Half-Time Walk
Anne Applebaum – Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1945-1956
Domingo Martinez – The Boy Kings of Texas
Robert Caro – The Passage of Power
Katherine Boo – Behind the Beautiful Forevers
Anthony Shadid – House of Stone
David Ferry – Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations
Cynthia Huntington – Heavenly Bodies
Tim Seibles – Fast Animal
Alan Shapiro – Night of the Republic
Susan Wheeler – Meme
Young People’s Literature
William Alexander – Goblin Secrets
Carrie Arcos – Out of Reach
Patricia McCormick – Never Fall Down
Eliot Schrefer – Endangered
Steve Sheinkin – Bomb: The Race to Build — and Steal — the World’s Most Dangerous Weapons
It’s quite a diverse list with some well-known names, as well as some first time authors. The announcement on MSNBC’s show, Morning Joe was new territory for the award, but a way to hopefully connect with a broader audience as the uncertainty of book publishing continues to plague the land. I haven’t read a one of these titles, but then most of the subject matter isn’t really my cup of tea. Maybe I should give myself an assignment and at least read one of these finalists before the announcement of the winners in NYC on November 14, 2012? Mind broadening is always a good thing!
Lastly, the Nobel Prize in Literature was announced today and the winner is Mo Yan, a highly popular Chinese novelist, who has managed to stay away from major censorship by the Chinese government while still tackling controversial subjects like abortion and peasant uprisings. Today’s article in the Huff Post Books is well worth reading to learn more about Mo Yan and his body of work. According to the article his novels have been selling like hotcakes today on Amazon!
So I think I’ve inspired myself to get cracking and read at least one of these award nominated (and winner) books ASAP, I hope I’ve done the same for you. Happy reading!
~I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.~
– Groucho Marx
- Levy, Mantel, Moore, Self on Man Booker Prize Shortlist – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Booker prize shortlist 2012: Mantel and Self lead contenders (guardian.co.uk)