The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights, Steve Sheinkin, (Macmillan/Roaring Brook; Listening Library), OverDrive Sample — The author’sBomb: The Race to Build and Steal The World’s Most Dangerous Weapon was a 2012 finalist
Noggin, John Corey Whaley, (S&S/Atheneum; S&S Audio), OverDrive Sample — The author’s Where Things Come Back, was a Printz Award Winner
Seattle librarian David Wright praised it last month in the Seattle Times. In the Washington Post, critic Ron Charles reacted strongly to it, warning readers that it can, “cast a shadow over your summer and draw you away from friends and family into dark contemplation the way only the most extraordinary books can. Nothing since Cormac McCarthy’s The Road has shaken me like this — all the more so because it’s based on recorded history, rather than apocalyptic speculation.”
In the daily New York Times, however, Michiko Kakutani called it “adeeply flawed,” but appreciated Flanagan’s ability to “communicate both the abominations that men are capable of inflicting upon one another, and the resilience many display in the face of utter misery.”
Confounding odds makers once again, the Nobel Prize in literature, announced today, goes to French author Patrick Modiano, whose more than 30 novels often focus on the Nazi occupation of France. The Academy described him as “a Marcel Proust of our time.” If you’re not familiar with him, you’re in good company. The Guardian comments, “Modiano is well known in France but something of an unknown quantity for even widely read people in other countries.”
Several titles by Modiano are listed in on American library catalogs, including the 1974 film Lacombe, Lucien, by director Louis Malle, for which Modiano co-wrote the script which is partially based on Malle’s own experiences during the occupation and a children’s title, Catherine Certitiude.
Publisher David R. Godine’s web site today features the three Modiano titles they have published in English (the Washington’s Post‘s Ron Charles delivered the news to Godine, who was “staking dahlias” at the time and exclaimed, “This means we’ll be ahead this year!”):
Missing Person, Patrick Modiano, translated by Daniel Weissbort, 2004 — Also winner of the most prestigious French literary prize, the Prix Goncourt, it was reviewed by Booklist and Library Journal. Saying it is probably his “best known novel,” The Guardian describes it as being, “about a detective who loses his memory and endeavours to find it.”
Honeymoon, Patrick Modiano, 1995 — also reviewed by Booklist and Library Journal
Catherine Certitude, Patrick Modiano — A children’s title, it was reviewed by several library publications. The following is the publisher’s description:
This charming book will delight any child — or adult — who appreciates ballet, Paris, New York, childhood, and mystery (not necessarily in that order). The book’s plot is deceptively simple: Catherine, the eponymous heroine, begins her story watching her own daughter demonstrate jazz steps in their ballet school on a snowy afternoon in New York. Memory takes her (and the reader) back to her childhood, spent in the tenth arrondissement of Paris. In her youth, Catherine lives with her gentle father, Georges Certitude, who runs a shipping business with his partner, a loud, failed poet named Casterade. The real partners in this story, however, are the father and daughter who share the simple pleasures of daily life: sitting in the church square, walking to school, going to her ballet class every Thursday afternoon.
As a result of the prize, Yale University Press has moved up the publication of the following title from January to November:
Three upcoming major book awards will be announced within a week of each other.
First, the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature will be announced this Thursday, Oct. 9. The current favorites are Haruki Murakami, whose books are owned widely by U.S. libraries, and Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, whose works are available in the U.S., but are less widely owned.
Don’t take the wagering too seriously, however, as the Christian Science Monitor outlines, this award is notoriously difficult to predict.
The next day, Wednesday, Oct. 15, sees the release of the shortlist of finalists for the National Book Awards (winners to be announced on Nov. 19). Now that Americans are included in the Booker Awards, it would have been interesting if there were overlaps. However, just one title was on both longlists, Richard Powers’ Orfeo, and it did not make it to the Booker shortlist.
The founder of the indie rock band The Mountain Goats, John Darnielle, was interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday. He is also the author of Wolf in White Van, (Macmillan/FSG), released on Monday and just announced as one of the titles on the National Book Awards longlist. The interview begins with Darnielle reading from the opening of the book. Listen here.
Note: Some sources say this is Darnielle’s first novel, but it’s actually his second, after Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality, (2008), which is still available from Bloomsbury/Continiuum and is on several library catalogs.
The National Book Awards today announces the final of the four longlists, the fiction nominees.
Four of the titles are LibraryReads picks and six are IndieNext picks (updated from earlier story; which didn’t include the IndieNext picks for October).
As on the nonfiction list, independent presses make a good showing, with three of the ten titles; one from Grove Atlantic and two from W.W. Norton (the latter had three titles on the nonfiction lists).
Following yesterday’s announcement of the poetry longlist, the National Book Awards today announces the nonfiction nominees.
The titles include one that hasn’t been published yet, Walter Isaacson’s The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, (Simon & Schuster, Oct 7; Vintage Espanol, 11/4; Thorndike, 1/7/15).
Continuing a family tradition, Evan Osnos, son of Peter Osnos, former Washington Post reporter and founder of Public Affairs (now an imprint of Perseus), is nominated for his book, based on his reporting on China for the New Yorker, Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the New China, (Macmillan/ FSG)
In this age of large corporate publishing, independent publisher W.W. Norton published 3 of the ten titles on the list, tying with Macmillan.
Links, in the list below, are to the National Book Award annotations.
Many were surprised that David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks, (Random House, 9/2/14; Recorded Books) didn’t make the transition from the Booker longlist to the shortlist, but Mitchell can take solace in the fact that it debuts at #3 on the 9/21 NYT Hardcover Fiction best Seller list, the highest spot so far for any of the published longlist titles.
Wendy Bartlett, head of collection development at Cuyahoga P.L, Ohio, is a fan. She alerted branch staff last week,
I love it when the customers are ahead of me! David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas) has come roaring back with yet another spendidly written, mind-bending read. I thought The Thousand Autumns of Jacob DeZoet was brilliant, but this book is astounding, and the customers have snatched every last copy.
The heroine — if you can call her that — is Holly Sykes (Holly, as in GoLightly? Sykes as in Bill Sykes from Oliver Twist?) David Mitchell loves nothing more than to keep you wondering, and wonder you will. He’s also one of the most evocative writers I’ve ever read, literally painting pictures with words — it’s no wonder Hollywood is tempted to make films of his books. To say he enjoys playing with the timeline, and your reality, is an understatement, and of course, that’s his plan. It’s your job to relax and enjoy the ride.
You don’t really read Mitchell, so much as experience him. If you haven’t read Mitchell, this is the perfect novel with which to start.
The National Book Awards long lists are being announced this week.
First up is the Young People’s Literature list. It will be followed by poetry tomorrow, nonfiction on Wednesday and, finally, fiction on Thursday.
Most of the names on this list are already award-winning authors and many have had titles on the longlist before (although none have won). The two relative newcomers are Kate Milford, author of Greenglass House, and Gail Giles, Girls Like Us.
The winners will be announced at a ceremony in New York on Nov. 19 hosted by Daniel Handler, (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket).
Links are to the National Book Foudation annotations:
The author’s previous book, Endangered, was a 2012 finalist
The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights
(Roaring Brook Press/ Macmillan Publishers) Bomb: The Race to Build and Steal The World’s Most Dangerous Weapon was a 2012 finalist
100 Sideways Miles
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers/ Simon & Schuster) Grasshopper Jungle, won the 2014 Boston Globe-Horn Book Fiction Award
John Corey Whaley
(Atheneum Books for Young Readers/ Simon & Schuster) Where Things Come Back, was a Printz Award Winner
The Man Booker shortlist was announced today. This is the first year that authors from the U.S. qualify. Far from dominating the shortlist, as some had feared, only two made the transition, Joshua Ferris and Karen Fowler.
Three are British (Howard Jacobson, Ali Smith, and Calcutta-born Neel Mukherjee) and one is Australian (Richard Flanagan).
One of the big surprises is that David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks, called by Ursula K Le Guin, “600 pages of metafictional shenanigans in relentlessly brilliant prose” and leading odds in U.K betting, did not move to the short list.
American author Ann Leckie’s debut novel, Ancillary Justice, (Hachette/Orbit; trade pbk original; Recorded Books), the first in a planned space opera trilogy called Imperial Reich, won the Hugo Award at a ceremony held in London last night.
A review in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette said that the book “puts a new spin on old tales, forces us to face quandaries we’d never even imagine in our day-to-day lives, and shows us life from fresh, impossible perspectives,” and that “her unique narrator may be the novel’s most notable innovation.” Read a sample from OverDrivehere.
The first Man Booker longlist to include American authors has been released. Of the 13 novels, 4 are by Americans. As The Economist wryly observes, the list “has divided headline writers into those who prefer ‘Commonwealth writers edged out’ and those who have chosen ‘Donna Tartt snubbed’.”
But the Guardian gets to one of the most pressing issues, exploring, “Why The Longlist Has Bewildered The Bookies,“ while taking a familiar swipe at American writers (similar to the Nobel Awards jurist’s claim that Americans are “too insular” to be able to win that prize), by saying, “American novelists tend to write about the US, and none of the four – Joshua Ferris, Karen Joy Fowler, Siri Hustvedt, Richard Powers – set their selected books abroad. So … there’s a marked sense of restricted horizons …”
The Economist, on the other hand, picks American Richard Powers’ Orfeo as one of the two most interesting books on the list. The other is The Narrow Road to the Deep North, by Australian Richard Flanagan.
It happens that just before this announcement, we heard Seattle Public Library’s David Wright describe his excitement about that book, calling the author, “a consummate stylist, but with a style that is in service to the realities he’s writing about, which are often deeply painful and tragic. That is certainly true in The Narrow Road to the Deep North, which depicts with a fair amount of detail the horrific experience of POWs in WWII (Flanagan’s father was a survivor of the Thai-Burma death railway) … He is so skillful in showing how these events affect mens’ lives … his writing is devastating, generous, and deeply caring.”
The author who may be the most surprised to make the list is Paul Kingsnorth. Not only is The Wakehis first novel, he had so much trouble getting it published, that he finally turned to crowd-funding it via the U.K. website Unbound. The author describes the novel as “a strange and left-field book,” written in its own language, a version of Anglo-Saxon English.
A taste of it below:
The longlist, with American publishing information, below:
If you’re feeling discouraged about the future of books and reading, just look at the kids in the following video.
The story, created for NBC Nightly News, features author Kate DiCamillo talking to a very receptive group of kids about her struggle to become an author. It did not appear on Friday night’s broadcast, but is in the Nightly News Web site.
DiCamillo will accept the Newbery Award tomorrow night at ALA in Las Vegas for Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures, (Candlewick Press)
The just-released LibraryReads list of the ten books arriving in July that librarian love, offers some great readers advisory titles (over half are debuts). It’s also a reminder to nominate titles for upcoming lists (how-to here).
At BEA, the LibraryReads panel gave some helpful tips on how to use these lists:
1) You no longer have to admit “I haven’t read anything great lately,” your colleagues have. Each LibraryReads annotation is a readers advisory handsell you can steal.
2) The lists began in September, so there are now over 100 titles you can recommend. Check out our downloadable list — LibraryReads-All-Lists-Through-July-2014. sort it by category and you have an instant list for creating displays, or to use when you’re stuck trying to recommend a recent book in a particular category.
2) The lists are handy R.A. training tools which demonstrate how to quickly communicate why you love a title.
On the July list, librarian favorite Rainbow Rowell gets her second #1 LibraryReads pick with Landline, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Macmillan Audio; Thorndike), after her YA novel, Fangirl, was the pick for the inaugural September list. Excitement has spread to booksellers, who also include it on their Indie Next July list.
Among the five debuts on the list, is Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal (Penguin/Pamela Dorman Books). You can join us for a live chat with the author next week, as part of our Penguin First Flights Debut Author program.. Below is the LibraryReads annotation:
“In this coming-of-age story set in the Civil Rights era, Ibby is dropped off at the home of her eccentric grandmother in New Orleans after the death of her beloved father. Filled with colorful characters, family secrets and lots of New Orleans tidbits, this book will appeal to fans of Saving Ceecee Honeycutt.” — Vicki Nesting, St. Charles Parish Library, Destrehan, LA
“Driven away from the violence of cities and a crumbling society, Cal and Frida live an isolated existence, struggling to survive on what they grow and forage. When an unplanned pregnancy pushes the couple to search for other people, they discover an unexpected community. This well-written debut is great for apocalyptic fiction fans and fans of realistic, character-driven fiction.” — Sara Kennedy, Delaware County District Library, Delaware, OH