Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

Stars Align for Nobel Winner

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

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When Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize in Literature last October, only two of her books were available in English in the US. That is slowly changing. Arriving this week is Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets, translated by Bela Shayevich (PRH/Random House; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample), her fifth book first published in Russia in 2013.

On the strength of the NYT‘s profile on Saturday, the author’s Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets, translated by Bela Shayevich (Random; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample) is rocketing up the Amazon sales charts, close to breaking into the top 100.

The NYT‘s calls the oral history:

“An intimate portrait of a country yearning for meaning after the sudden lurch from Communism to capitalism in the 1990s plunged it into existential crisis … Tolstoyan in scope, driven by the idea that history is made not only by major players but also by ordinary people talking in their kitchens … With every page, the book makes clear how President Vladimir V. Putin manages to hold his grip on a country of 143 million people across 11 time zones.”

All four trade review journals gave it a star with Kirkus calling it “Profoundly significant literature as history” and PW saying: “Alexievich’s work turns Solzhenitsyn inside out and overpowers recent journalistic accounts of the era. Readers must possess steely nerves and a strong desire to get inside the Soviet psyche in order to handle the blood, gore, and raw emotion.”

Holds are running roughly 2:1 on light orders in libraries we checked.

Librarians can look for more to come. The NYT reports that, in 2017 and 2018, Random House will issue translations of Alexievich’s previous work by the powerhouse team of Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (who brought new life to War and Peace). The paper also reports that Alexievich has plans for new collections, on aging and on love, and is planning a cross-country trip around the former Soviet Union to conduct interviews.

9780312425845Of her books in English translations, the two that have been published here are Zinky Boys: Soviet Voices from the Afghanistan War (Norton; 9780393336863; 1992) and Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster (hardcover, Dalkey Archive Press; trade pbk Macmillan/Picador, 2006), which won the 2005 National Book Critics Circle Award.

LibraryReads Favorite Wins Nebula

Friday, May 20th, 2016

9780804179034_f4113Naomi Novik’s Uprooted (PRH/Del Rey; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample; now available in trade pbk) has won the Nebula Award, one of science fiction’s top honors.

The stand-alone fairy tale for adults, a departure for Novik after her historical fantasy series Temeraire, was a hit with librarians early on, taking the #1 spot on last year’s May LibraryReads List.

In her LibraryReads annotation Lucy Lockley of St. Charles City-County Library (MO) summed up the plot: “A young girl is unexpectedly uprooted from her family and becomes involved in a centuries-old battle with The Wood, a malevolent entity which destroys anyone it touches.”

The novel also won Fantasy top honors from the librarian-selected RUSA/CODES Reading List.

Other groups took note as well: it was an Indie Next pick and made this year’s list of Hugo Award finalists.

The NYT said that “Novik skillfully takes the fairy-tale-turned-bildungsroman structure of her premise” and creates a “very enjoyable fantasy with the air of a modern classic.”

io9 offered more fulsome praise:

“Novik’s writing is sharp, dense, and very funny. It’s also dark, violent, and sexual. Which is a reminder that “fairy tale” doesn’t mean clean, easy, and happy. Novik recaptures the original flavor of fairy tales in the Grimm sense, but puts her own original spin on it … I’d recommend setting aside a large chunk of time to devote to Uprooted. I didn’t intend to, but once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down.”

It’s also caught on in Hollywood, he film rights sold in a bidding war with Ellen DeGeneres set to produce.

The short list is always a good RA resource for creating genre lists, finding read-alikes, and building displays:

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9781481424271_445d9  9780765377029_996a8  9780765377838_f32ec

Raising Caine, Charles E. Gannon (S&S/Baen)

The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (Hachette/Orbit)

Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie (Hachette/Orbit)

The Grace of Kings, Ken Liu (S&S/Saga)

Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard, Lawrence M. Schoen (Macmillan/Tor)

Updraft, Fran Wilde (Macmillan/Tor)

io9 offers a full summary of all winners and short list titles, pointing out that women swept the awards, winning every print category.

Readers Advisory: Horror

Friday, May 20th, 2016

9780062363237_da22eA Head Full of Ghosts, Paul Tremblay (HC/William Morrow, June 2015; paperback, May 10, 2016; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample) has won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Novel.

io9 offers a rave review, calling it “a brilliant book that follows a New England family in their descent into madness, following in the footsteps of some of the the genre’s greats, such as Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House or Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper” and continuing:

“It’s a fantastic look at the horror genre as a whole … the book runs right to the end with an utterly horrifying conclusion that absolutely blew me away … What ultimately makes A Head Full of Ghosts such a great read is that it’s a gripping novel, one that builds and builds, increasing the tension and dread as the pages turn. It’s a book that’s certainly going to keep me up for a couple more nights yet.”

The NYT agrees, calling the Indie Next pick “terrific” and saying it offers “the pleasurable fog of calculated, perfectly balanced ambiguity.”

NPR approves as well, commenting that Tremblay’s “ultimate, bloodcurdling revelation is as sickeningly satisfying as it is masterful.”

Looking for more suggestions to keep up with horror fans? Consider the titles on the Stoker’s short list:

9781250055804_73899 TheDeep433x653-2 the-cure Front_Cover_Image_Black_Tide-423x628

The Scarlet Gospels, Clive Barker (Macmillan/St. Martin’s, Mar. 2015)

The Deep, Michaelbrent Collings (self-published, July 2015)

The Cure, JG Faherty (Samhain Publishing, May 2015)

Black Tide, Patrick Freivald (JournalStone Publishing)

Also look to the winner and short list for the Stoker categories Superior Achievement in a First Novel as well as YA fiction. The full list of winners and nominees is available online.

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN Tops Audies

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

The 2016 Audies, given by the Audio Publishers Association for “distinction in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment ” were announced last week.

9781611763737_ca689The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins, read by Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, and India Fisher (Penguin Audio/BOT; OverDrive Audio Sample) took top honors, winning Audiobook of the Year.

In giving the prize the judges said:

“A trio of skilled narrators pulls listeners into the psychological suspense of Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train. The ‘trust no one’ twists and possible unreliability of the three central women compel the listening experience and make this a great choice to recommend to audiobook fans or newcomers to the format. With storytelling this good, it’s clear to see why the audiobook continues to gain fans across a broad market.”

With the increasing demand, the Audies (both winners and nominated titles) are a boon to RA librarians as they offer a running list of narrators to know and sure bet suggestions. The current list, as well as past winners and nominees, also makes a popular and easy display for all those fans seeking new listens and newbies trying to figure out what the fuss is all about. When working with listeners, advisors can also point out that most of the titles on this year’s list have already been a success in print, save for Wild Rover No More, which received scant attention. New listeners in particular might be more willing to try an audio of a book they have already heard of than something totally unfamiliar.

The awards cover over two-dozen categories in fiction, nonfiction, and production, including the following:

9781593166687Katherine Kellgren won Best Female Narrator for Wild Rover No More, L.A. Meyer, read by Katherine Kellgren (Listen & Live Audio; OverDrive Audio Sample). Granting it an Earphone Award, AudioFile says:

“Katherine Kellgren is astounding, as always, as she narrates the twelfth and final book of this series. With such a nimble narrator, listeners will feel as though they’re hearing an entire cast performing men, women, and children with American, Irish, Scottish, and other British accents.”

9780062320193_52224George Guidall won Best Male Narrator for The English Spy, Daniel Silva, read by George Guidall (HarperAudio; OverDrive Audio Sample). It is another Earphone Award winner from AudioFile:

“Guidall’s warm, lived-in voice brings so much to the experience, somehow always conveying understanding of and sympathy for the human dimension in the most terrible scenes of mayhem, the most morally ambiguous situations. His attention and pace never falter, and he is wonderful at the accents, including several flavors of Irish, along with Russian, Iranian, and an uncanny Israeli.”

51084E1z4iL._SL300_Reflecting interest in all things Jungle Book, the Audio Drama award went to Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book: The Mowgli Stories, Rudyard Kipling, read by a full cast (Audible Studios; Audible Sample) Note: Currently not available for library purchase. Keep an eye out to see if Brilliance, another Amazon company and therefore the CD publisher of many Audible titles, offers an edition on the strength of the Disney film and the Audie win.

9781427212672_d7a63In the Fiction category, The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah, read by Polly Stone (Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Audio Sample) took the honors. In their starred review Booklist said:

Narrator Stone maintains a stoic, neutral tone for exposition, then seamlessly delivers a small town’s worth of French-accented English, including a Jewish butcher; a cruelly self-important, collaborating gendarme; and a seemingly harmless old man … The voices of British and American pilots, easily discernible, add to Stone’s wide-ranging, stunning performance.”

Ghettoside9780449009734, Jill Leovy, read by Rebecca Lowman (Random House Audio/BOT; OverDrive Audio Sample) won for Non-Fiction. AudioFile gave it an Earphone Award and said:

“Narrator Rebecca Lowman takes a low-key approach, and it works perfectly; this audiobook is so dramatic and sad that it doesn’t need any amping up.”

f0e4b1df900f08416cfba28312e0af66R.L. Stine’s first picture book, Little Shop of Monsters, R.L. Stine and Marc Brown, read by Jack Black (Hachette Audio; Video Sample) won the Young Listeners category. Booklist says:

“Actor Black brings his comedy chops to this quirky picture book [and] clearly had young listeners in mind as he read; his narration is clear and perfectly paced … [his] intonation reflects the monsters he is describing, sounding as if he’s holding his breath when telling us about a smelly monster and bursting with high-pitched giggles when he catches the giggles from the piggler-gigglers … Black’s silliness is infectious.”

9781501216909_2ec34In a blast from the past, Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton, read by Scott Brick (Brilliance Publishing; Audio Sample) got the nod in Science Fiction (in an edition issued to mark the 25th anniversary of the novel). In another starred review Booklist said:

“There’s something truly frightening about listening to a man tell us, slowly and with vivid imagery, that a character is being stalked by a predatory animal. Like Crichton’s unadorned prose, Brick’s matter-of-fact, this-is-really-happening delivery perfectly suits the fantastic subject matter.”

9781491540169_e676e The Starling Project, Jeffery Deaver, read by Alfred Molina and a full cast (Audible Studios/Audible Studios on Brilliance Audio; Audio Sample) took honors for Original Work. Brilliance has released this Audible production, available to libraries. In their review AudioFile gave it an Earphone Award, calling it a “carnival ride for the ears;” continuing:

“With his smooth vocal presence, Alfred Molina … leads an outstanding ensemble of 30 actors playing 80 speaking roles in this high-velocity thriller. With its hypnotic musical score and sound effects of gunshots, squealing tires, and all-too-close explosions, listeners may believe they’re listening to a movie soundtrack.”

The full list of winners is available here.

THE VEGETARIAN Wins Man Booker International

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

9780553448184_795d0Author Han Kang and translator Deborah Smith win the Man Booker International Prize for The Vegetarian (PRH/Hogarth; BOT; 2/2/16; OverDrive Sample). Proving it is an award with selling power, the novel rose on Amazon’s sales rankings as a result, up from a lowly #27,707 to #272.

Kang represents South Korea while Smith is British, and in this Olympics of books, the two bested Italian Elena Ferrante, nominated for The Story of the Lost Child: Neapolitan Novels, Book Four, translated by American Ann Goldstein (PRH/Europa Editions, 9/1/15; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) as well as Turkish Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk, nominated for A Strangeness in My Mind, translated by Turkish Ekin Oklap (PRH/Knopf, Oct. 20, 2015; BOT; OverDrive Sample). See our earlier post for the full short list.

The Vegetarian is a surreal and violent novel about a woman who decides to stop eating meat. That act of self-determination, as Slate puts it sets off “a chain of catastrophes in her otherwise ordinary extended family … At first she rejects meat, but eventually she will excuse herself from a number of other common human activities, as well. At last she refuses humanity itself.”

Entertainment Weekly gives it an A, writing that the “astonishing” novel “viscerally explores the limits of what a human brain and body can endure, and the strange beauty that can be found in even the most extreme forms of renunciation.”

The daily NYT  calls it a “mesmerizing mix of sex and violence” while the NYT “Sunday Book Review”  says nothing can “prepare a reader for the traumas of this Korean author’s translated debut in the Anglophone world.”

In deciding the award the BBC reports the judges variously remarked the novel was “unforgettably powerful and original” and that “in a style both lyrical and lacerating, it reveals the impact of this great refusal both on the heroine herself and on those around her … This compact, exquisite and disturbing book will linger long in the minds, and maybe the dreams, of its readers.”

Remarkably, the BBC also reports that the book’s translator, Smith “only started teaching herself Korean in 2010,” picking that language as so few in her country studied it and she wanted a job that combined reading and writing. The BBC Arts correspondent is deeply impressed, saying she “managed brilliantly” and that “The prose is relaxed and idiomatic but it’s powerful. There isn’t a paragraph or turn of phrase which feels like it didn’t originate in English.”

The International Award is a younger sibling to the more well-known Booker Prize for Fiction (that longlist will be announced in July) and has been given every two years since 2005 to authors who are not citizens of the Commonwealth, for an entire body of work in any language (past winners have included Canadian Alice Munro and US citizens Philip Roth and Lydia Davis). Now that the main Booker Award is open to all writers in English, regardless of citizenship, the International Award has been changed this year to honor individual novels in English translation, recognizing not only the authors, but also the translators, a change that the Guardian notes, “should help raise the profile of translated books.”

Indeed, the award is a high water mark for translations and translators which are gaining wider recognition with feature stories in the WSJ and The Atlantic and, for the first time ever, a translated novel winning the Hugo Award. It is also an important resource for RA librarians searching for a more diverse and international list of authors to suggest.

RA Alert: THE LONEY

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

9780544746527_4c1a5Debut gothic horror novel, The Loney by British author Andrew Michael Hurley (HMH; Overdrive Sample), has been named “Book of the Year” by the British Book Industry.

The awards honor the industry as a whole, from authors to publishers to retailers. Added this year are prizes for fiction, nonfiction, debut fiction, and children’s books. The “Book of the Year’ is selected from the winners of those four categories. The Loney rose over a shortlist of 32 titles including Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train and Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman.

The Guardian reports the awards are given to books “that have been both well-written and brilliantly published” and surveys The Loney‘s rise, which started as a limited run of 300 copies from an indie publisher. Word of mouth was so strong that it was picked up by UK publisher John Murray and went on to win the Costa first novel award and the print run was increased by almost 100 fold. The novel earned the praise of Stephen King, reports The Bookseller, and was acquired by DNA Films (Ex Machina).

It comes out in the U.S. today and has already caught the notice of Entertainment Weekly, which includes it on their list of “11 excellent new books to read in May.” The review however, gives it a B+, marking it down for a lack of genre focus and speed but calls it “ultimately terrifying” with “dark, unexpected depths.”

The Guardian offers stronger praise, “like the best gothic novels, The Loney is not merely thrills and chills: it is also a perceptive and nuanced exploration of the interrelation between faith, community and nature … the effect is both strikingly assured and authentic, while also comprehensively destabilising any assumptions the reader may have had about all three.”

Check your orders. In several libraries holds are far outpacing copies.

9781419717987_99b18National Book Award finalist, A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, took the fiction award. The nonfiction winner, a surprise  best seller in Europe, received less attention here, Lars Mytting and Robert Ferguson’s Norwegian Wood, is as the subtitle states, about “Chopping, Stacking, and Drying Wood the Scandinavian Way.”

David Solomons’s My Brother is a Superhero won best children’s book.

Welcome, Loan Stars!

Monday, May 9th, 2016

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We’re pleased to learn that Canada now has their own monthly list of “the 10 hottest books” as voted by staff in Canadian libraries. Modelled on our own LibraryReads program, it uses the the clever title “Loan Stars.”

i-let-you-go  do-not-say

The number one title for May is British author Clare Mackintosh’s debut, I Let You Go (PRH/Penguin/Berkley; Penguin Audio; BOT; OverDrive Sample).

The featured review is from Jennifer Green, Oshawa Public Library,

“Wow! This book has everything: a great story, well-developed characters, excellent pacing and plotting, and unexpected turns. I don’t normally cry when reading, but this one did it for me. What started out as an interesting, straightforward read, turned into an unexpected, well-written thriller. Can’t recommend this one enough!”

I Let You Go has also been a hit with library staff here, and is on the May LibraryReads list. Check your holds, they have outstripped ordering in many parts of the country.

Appropriately, Loan Stars also includes Canadian authors, marked on the list with a tiny Canadian flag, such as Vancouver author Madeleine Thien‘s fourth novel, Do Not Say We Have Nothing (not released in the US to date).

The June list has just been announced (look for the LibraryReads picks later this week), topped by Annie Proulx’s Barkskins, (S&S/Scribner).

Walter Mosley Makes Edgar History

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

9780393028546_300Walter Mosley became the first African-American Grand Master in history during last week’s Edgar Awards ceremony.

The Grand Master is the highest honor the Mystery Writers of America bestows, one that recognizes a lifetime of achievement and an impressive quality of work. Agatha Christie, P.D. James, and Stephen King have won in past years but never an African-American author.

On learning the news Mosley said in a statement, “Receiving the Grand Master Award is the apex of my career as a crime writer; as a writer. It is, joyfully, one of the seminal events of my life.”

Literary Hub has posted his acceptance speech as well as a rundown of the award’s night.

9780385539203_55590Mosley is best known for his Easy Rawlins series, beginning with Devil in a Blue Dress (Norton, 1990).

His newest book, coming this June, is part of that series, Charcoal Joe: An Easy Rawlins Mystery (PRH/Doubleday, Random House Audio; BOT).

An Edgar for THE SYMPATHIZER

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

9780802123459_c9befIt was a banner week for Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer (Grove Press, April 2015).

On Thursday night, it took home the Edgar Award for Best First Novel and shortly after, debuted on the NYT Paperback Trade Fiction Best Seller list, landing in the #9 spot, the first time it’s appeared on a NYT list (in hardcover, it was on the ABA IndieBound best seller list for six weeks, hitting a high of #24, and the L.A. Times best seller list for 2 weeks, but did not crack any other list).

Both of these events come just weeks after it won the Pulitzer in Fiction.. At that time the Guardian‘s headline described it as having done “from overlooked to Pulitzer winner,“ a bit of an overstatement. Although it had not won many prizes until the Pulitzer, it was a critical success (see Ron Charles’s review from the Washington Post), appeared on many end-of-the year best books lists and won ALA’s 2016 Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.

What makes this Pulitzer Prize winner, described by Library Journal as “a meditation on war, political movements, America’s imperialist role, the CIA, torture, loyalty, and one’s personal identity,” an Edgar contender? The main character is a double agent, a communist sympathizer who is an aide to a South Vietnamese general, so, while it is literary, it counts as a literary thriller. As Kirkus commented, “Think Alan Furst meets Elmore Leonard, and you’ll capture Nguyen at his most surreal,” further saying that the result is “Both chilling and funny.”

UPDATE: New York magazine declares something librarians have observed for some times, that genres are converging, under the headline, “The Sympathizer Won a Pulitzer and an Edgar, and May Herald the Great Literary Convergence.” The article verifies that this is the first time a book has won both a major literary prize and a genre prize.

9780525955078_9a434In other Edgar news, Let Me Die in His Footsteps, Lori Roy (PRH/Dutton, June 2015) took home the honors for Best Novel while The Long and Faraway Gone, Lou Berney (HC/William Morrow, Feb. 2015) won for Best Paperback Original.

9781481422765_d3246Footer Davis Probably is Crazy, Susan Vaught (S&S/Paula Wiseman, March 2015) won for Best Juvenile and A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis (HC/Katherine Tegan, Oct. 2015) took the Young Adult prize.

A full listing of all winners and nominees is online, a great resource for both RA and creating displays.

James Beard 2016 Award Winners

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

9780544373280_b69fcZahav: A World of Israeli Cooking, Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook (HMH/Rux Martin), has won the 2016 James Beard Book of the Year award.

Chef Solomonov is no stranger to the Beard honors. In 2011 he won the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic. Now his debut cookbook, which highlights the pleasures of Israeli food and profiles his restaurant and life journey, gets similar accolades.

The James Beard Awards, billed as the Oscars of the food world, are given for 14 book categories (as well as for chefs, journalists, TV shows and more). Zahav also took home the International book award.

9781607745532_35ad0Deborah Madison won the Cookbook Hall of Fame category. Her most recent title is The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (RH/Ten Speed).

The very timely Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning) by Marion Nestle (Oxford UP) won for Writing and Literature while The Beetlebung Farm Cookbook by Chris Fischer with Catherine Young (Hachette/Little, Brown) took the prize for American Cooking. V Is for Vegetables: Inspired Recipes & Techniques for Home Cooks — from Artichokes to Zucchini by  Michael Anthony with Dorothy Kalins (Hachette/Little, Brown) won for Vegetable Focused and Vegetarian.

Best seller 9780393081084_5fb39The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science, J. Kenji López-Alt (Norton) topped the General Cooking category. It won the IACP Cookbook of the Year award earlier this month (see our coverage here).

Other than The Food Lab there are no overlapping winners between the two highly regarded food awards.

The full list of James Beard winners is available online.

Hugo Awards Under Attack

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

The finalists for the Hugo Awards, which along with the Nebula Awards are the Oscars of Science Fiction and Fantasy, have been announced. Among picks, controversy continues as the Rabid Puppies group seeks to stuff the ballot box once again. The result, claims George R.R. Martin on his blog is, “to say the least, a mixed bag. A lot of good books and stories, writers and artists… cheek by jowl with some stuff that is considerably less worthy.”

9780316246682_2dffb9780316229296_62f5a The Best Novel category seems to have escaped the takeover. The finalists are: Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie (Hachette/Orbit), The Cinder Spires: the Aeronaut’s Windlass, Jim Butcher (Penguin/Roc), The Fifth Season, N. K. Jemisin (Hachette/Orbit), the number one LibraryReads pick for May last year, Uprooted, Naomi Novik (PRH/RH/Del Rey), and  Seveneves, Neal Stephenson (HC/William Morrow), also a May 2015 LibraryReads pick.

9781401248963_423a7Other well-known and highly regarded names receiving nods include Lois McMaster Bujold (for Best Novella), Neil Gaiman (for Best Graphic Story), Stephen King (for Best Novelette), and Brandon Sanderson (for Best Novella). Star Wars and The Martian both got nods for for Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form).

However, he full list of nominees reveals that the divisive gamesmanship continues. New Republic writes “The Hugo Awards are still a mess” and The Guardian reports, “the Puppies and their supporters have redoubled their efforts to ‘game”’the awards … out of 80 recommendations posted by [Rabid Puppies] 62 have received sufficient votes to make the ballot.”

Author John Scalzi, one of the newly announced Los Angeles Times Critics at Large and three-time Hugo winner is less concerned, writing for the paper he says that this year’s ballot stuffing was largely blunted in the big categories by more votes from the anti-Puppies side and that the Puppies can take little credit for successfully lobbying for titles already widely considered shoo-ins. The Puppies he says, are “running in front of an existing parade and claiming to lead it.”

Eisner Award Nominees Announced

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

The Oscars of the comics world, the Eisner Awards, honoring outstanding comics creator, Will Eisner, announced its nominees this week. Topping the lists are Bandette, March: Book Two, Hip Hop Family Tree, Book 3: 1983–1984, and The Eternaut

Each received three nominations across the many categories the award recognizes, more than any of the other nominated titles.

41Npu9e+qKL9781616556686_1989dBandette is an ongoing online comic featuring a teen burglar the publisher says “treads a thin line between Tintin and Nancy Drew.” The webcomic earned nominations for Best Continuing Series, Best Digital/Webcomic, and Best Painter (for Coover). It has also been released in two paper editions thus far, Bandette Volume 1: Presto! and Bandette Volume 2: Stealers Keepers! both by Paul Tobin with art by Coleen Coover (Dark Horse, 2013 and 2015).

march_book_two_72dpi_lgMarch: Book Two,by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, illustrated by Nate Powell (Top Shelf, 2015) counts among its nomination nods both Best Reality-Based Work and Best Publication for Teens. As we have noted, the award-winning comic memoir series has become a must-buy in libraries. March: Book Three publishes this August. The Washington Post offers a first look at the cover.

9781606998489_4108dHip Hop Family Tree, Book 3: 1983–1984, by Ed Piskor (Norton/Fantagraphics, 2015) is up for Best Reality-Based Work and creator  Piskor is up for Best Writer/Artist and Best Cover Artist. Piskor won the 2015 Eisner for the best nonfiction graphic work for Hip Hop Family Tree Book 2: 1981-1983. Book 3 covers the rise of Run DMC and more. Hip Hop Family Tree Book 4: 1984-1985 comes out this August.

9781606998502_81c82The Eternaut by Héctor Germán Oesterheld and Francisco Solano Lòpez (Norton/Fantagraphics, 2015) is nominated for Best Archival Collection–Comic Strips, Best U.S. Edition of International Material, and Best Publication Design. The Argentinian science fiction graphic novel originally ran as a weekly, starting in 1957. In its starred review, PW says it is:

“one of the great alien-invasion stories of the golden age of SF … [with a] taut against-all-odds plot … As with much ’50s science fiction, the political subtext—made more poignant by the knowledge that Oesterheld agitated against the Argentinean government and was “disappeared” in 1977—is so smoothly embedded … that it slides right past most readers while still resonating once the true masterminds are revealed.”

Beyond these four, 2016 also turns out to be a good year for women. Comic-Con points out that “49 women have received a record 61 nominations (compared to 44 last year) and are represented in 27 of the 30 categories.” The judging panel included librarian Jason M. Poole of Webster Public Library, Webster, NY.

The full list of nominees as well as rich commentary from Comic-Con is available online.

Pulitzer Surprise

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

9780802123459_c9befAlthough it’s been a contender for major literary awards, winning the ALA’s Andrew Carnegie Medal and was named a best book by most sources, The Sympathizer (Grove Press, April 2015), Viet Thanh Nguyen’s 2016 Pulitzer Prise-winning debut may not be that well-known to general readers (the Guardian‘s headline says it went “from overlooked to Pulitzer winner“). If you’re struggling to describe it to readers, the following reactions to the award announcement may help.

Calling the central character “a wickedly smart double-agent,” the Los Angeles Times, says the novel is “Part thriller, part political satire … sharp-edged fiction.”

The NYT echoes that almost exactly, calling it “Part satire, part espionage thriller and part historical novel,” while The Washington Post describes it as a “cerebral thriller.”

Bustle, which also offers a handy 9 Books To Read If You Loved The Sympathizer list, summaries the start of the novel in atmospheric prose that invites readers to dive in:

“The novel begins in Saigon, a city in complete chaos. Helicopter blades pound as quickly as the hearts of fearful villagers, and communist tanks are just about to roll in. Amidst the chaos, the General of the South Vietnamese army lists off the lucky few individuals who will make it aboard the last flights out of the country. His trusted Captain, the narrator of the novel, is one of the few.”

LitHub lures readers with:

“What begins casually turns murderous and then absurd as the unnamed narrator tries unsuccessfully to separate from his past. He winds up having to participate in assassinations to cover his tracks. He even takes a turn in Hollywood working on a film that sounds an awful lot like Apocalypse Now.”

9780674660342_023e9LitHub goes on to pair the novel with a recent piece of criticism by Nguyen, Nothing Ever Dies (Harvard UP, March 2016) to make the case for understanding the novel’s importance, saying:

“Put together, the two books perform an optic tilt about Vietnam and what America did there as profound as Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and Toni Morrison’s Beloved were to the legacy of racism and slavery.”

In a good bit of timing, the novel was just release in trade paperback. On news of the award both editions zoomed up Amazon’s rankings: Trade pbk: Sales rank: 18 (was 10,077); Hardcover: Sales rank: 88 (was 23,191).

That’s the highest ranking the novel has reached to date by far, the previous high was #5,938. The Sympathizer was on the ABA IndieBound best seller list for six weeks (at a high of #24) and the L.A. Times best seller list for 2 weeks, but did not crack any other list.

Librarians identified its pleasures, however. It was selected as a 2016 Notable Books title by the RUSA Notable Books Council and then went on to win the Andrew Carnegie Medal.

UPDATE: More Surpises

The General Nonfiction medal did not go to the expected book, Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates (PRH/Spiegel & Grau), but to Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS, by Joby Warrick (PRH/(Doubleday). Coates was named as a finalist.

The Award winner in Criticism caused some consternation, because it did not go to a newspaper writer but to Emily Nussbaum who writes about television for a magazine, the New Yorker. A change in the rules opened both that category and Feature Writing to magazines this year, reflecting the sad fact that newspapers have cut their arts coverage over the years. Thus, in a first, the New Yorker won its first Pulitzers and in two categories.

The Drama award went to a play with book connections, Hamilton. Although, given the acclaim it has arleady received, it was not a surprise, it is the first musical to win in many years.

 

THE SYMPATHIZER Wins Pulitzer

Monday, April 18th, 2016

The 2016 Pulitzer Prize Winners in the book categories are:

Fiction —  The Sympathizer, Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press, April 2015)

History — Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America, T.J. Stiles (PRH/Knopf)

Biography or Autobiography — Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life, William Finnegan, (Penguin Press)

Poetry — Ozone Journal, Peter Balakian, (U. Of Chicago Press)

General Nonfiction —  Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS (PRH/Doubleday; BOT)

In addition, Hamilton wins the Drama Award.

Once again, the criticism award does not go to book coverage, but to Emily Nussbaum, for television reviewing, in the New Yorker. The last time the award went to a book reviewer was in 2001, to Gail Caldwell who was then chief book critic for The Boston Globe.

Pulitzer Prize Announcements, Today at 3 p.m., E.T.

Monday, April 18th, 2016

Marking its one hundredth anniversary, the Pulitzer Prize Awards will be announced today at 3 p.m. ET.

The very first award for a fiction title went to the now largely forgotten His Family, by Ernest Poole (Macmillan), but that was followed by many titles that went on to become classics (winners in the category originally designated as Novels 1918 through 1947, are listed here; since 1948, it was designated as Fiction; winners are listed here).

In recent years, the Fiction Award has created best sellers (e.g.
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout), or added longevity to titles that were already best sellers (last year’s winner, All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr just passed it’s 100th week on the NYT Hardcover Fiction list).

In addition to Fiction, the other Pulitzer Prize book categories are:

History (1917-present)

Biography or Autobiography (1917-present)

Poetry (1922-present)

General Nonfiction (1962-present)

There is also an award for Criticism (1970-present), a wide-ranging category which includes film and book reviewing (the NYT‘s Michiko Kakutani won in 1998), and even reviewing of automobiles.

A live stream of the awards announcements is below: