Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

Nobel Prize in Lit: Murakami’s Year?

Monday, October 5th, 2015

The most prestigious lifetime award for literature, The Nobel Prize, will be announced on Thursday at 7 a.m. EST [UPDATE: We originally miscalculated the time difference. We THINK  we have it right now. The announcement is scheduled for 11 a.m. GMT and  Eastern Time  is GMT minus 4:00].

Famously hard to forecast, it is an award that often befuddles odds makers as names circle around in the wind days before the announcement.

Last year the favorite was Japan’s Haruki Murakami with Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o and Belarusian author and journalist Svetlana Alexievich also in the running.

The winner? French novelist Patrick Modiano who had just 10/1 odds three days before the 2014 announcement.

Modiano had few books translated into English at the time. The Telegraph‘s news story was headlined “Patrick Modiano: the Nobel Prize-winner nobody had read.” Since, there has been a boom of translations, bigger publishing houses buying rights, and a string of articles focused on his work in such places as the L.A. TimesThe New Yorker, and The Millions.

The luckless odds makers at betting firms Ladbrokes and Paddy Power seem to be fully baffled this year. The Guardian reports the bookies are simply rearranging their 2014 picks, leading with Svetlana Alexievich and offering Haruki Murakami and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o as back up.

Americans Philip Roth and Joyce Carol Oates and 2005 Booker winner, Irish writer John Banville are also in the mix as are Korean poet Ko Un and Hungarian writer László Krasznahorkai, winner of the Man Booker International award.

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It could be Murakami’s turn based on frequency alone. The Wall Street Journal says it has become “a seasonal event over the past few years for Mr. Murakami’s name to pop up as a frontrunner.”

He was a favorite in 2013 as well (the year the prize went to Alice Munro). Quite naturally Murakami finds the speculation and horse race aspects of the run up to the announcement “quite annoying,” reports the paper.

If this is finally Murakami’s year, readers will have plenty of his titles in English to choose from, so many that Matthew Carl Strecher, who has written 3 books on Murakami, was able to select “The 10 Best Haruki Murakami Books” for Publishers Weekly.

But Murakami might be annoyed for at least another year. The Guardian quotes one of the lead bookmakers, Alex Donohue of Ladbrokes, as saying, “literary speculators believe we’ll see the winner come from out of leftfield.”

It is no small prize to win. On top of the profound honor and a considerable cash award, it increases book sales.

Carnegie Medal Longlist Announced

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 9.18.19 AMScreen Shot 2015-09-29 at 9.19.46 AMHere’s your chance to test your book knowledge against the librarians on the committee for the Andrew Carnegie Medal. The 2016 Longlist has been released including some expected titles, big hitters, committee favorites, and a few esoteric choices.

Among the 20 fiction selections is former winner Anne Enright’s The Green Road (Norton), also on this year’s Booker longlist but not on the shortlist.

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 9.33.16 AMOn the fiction list, titles that have already received widespread attention are Jonathan Franzen’s Purity (Macmillan/FSG), Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life (RH/Doubleday), and Anne Tyler’s A Spool of Blue Thread (RH/Knopf).

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 9.33.40 AMBuzzy titles such as Garth Risk Hallberg’s City on Fire (Knopf, coming Oct 13), a LibraryReads pick for October, and Bill Clegg’s Did You Ever Have a Family (S&S/Gallery/Scout), both a LibraryReads and Indie Next pick, also made the fiction cut.

Smaller publishers are recognized as well with Chantel Acevedo’s The Distant Marvels (Europa) and Joe Meno’s Marvel and a Wonder (Akashic).

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 9.20.12 AMIn nonfiction the 20 choices largely highlight big names such as Patti Smith’s M Train (RH/Knopf coming next week), the memoir by the recently departed Oliver Sacks, On the Move (RH/Knopf), Ta-Nehisi Coates’s best selling  Between the World and Me (RH/Spiegel & Grau), Simon Winchester’s Pacific (Harper, coming Oct. 27), and Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk (Grove), which received wide acclaim earlier this year.

The forty titles will be winnowed down to a shortlist on October 19.

The Carnegie committee, a joint project between RUSA and Booklist, is chaired this year by Nancy Pearl Nancy Pearl (who also chaired the first awards committee in 2012). The medals are part of the line up of book awards presented by RUSA which also includes The Notable Book List and The Reading List. All three awards, as well as the many others that RUSA bestows, will be announced during ALA’s Midwinter meeting at RUSA’s Book and Media Awards reception on January 10.


Monday, September 21st, 2015

Olive KitteridgeHBO had a good night at the Emmys, particularly for its book-based series, Olive Kitteridge and Game Of Thrones.

Olive Kitteridge, based on Elizabeth Strout’s 2009 Pulitzer Prize winning novel, took home a total of 8 Emmys, including one for best miniseries. A passion project for Frances McDormand, who bought the rights to the novel in 2010, she was rewarded by winning her first Emmys, as star and producer.

In accepting the award, McDormand gave full credit to the source, declaring twice, “It started as a book!” effectively refuting host Andy Samberg’s opening monologue, in which he inexplicably dissed books, saying, “The Emmy’s are all about celebrating the best of the year in television. So, sorry, books, not tonight,” as the words, “SUCK IT BOOKS” appeared on the screen.

McDormand signaled her interest in continuing the series, according to Deadline, telling reporters in the press room after the Awards, “It’s 13 short stories … it was infinitely exciting to read and I thought that it could be a great town to spend some time in,” adding, “We would love to do more and we would love for you all to start a social media campaign to do more.”

PBS’s Wolf Hall, based on the first two books in Hillary Mantel’s Tudors series, was nominated in several categories, but ended up with no wins


Thursday, September 17th, 2015


Days after being shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Hanya Yanagihara’s  A Little Life (RH/Doubleday) is one of ten titles on the National Book Awards Longlist for Fction released today. The other US author on the Booker shortlist, Anne Tyler, for A Spool of Blue Thread, however, is not on the NBA Longlist.

Also on the list is a LibraryReads pick that has received much fanfare in advance of its publication this week (see our “Titles to Know and Recommend, the Week of Sept. 14“), and was just announced as the next title in NPR’s Morning Edition Book Club, Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies (Penguin/Riverhead).

The shortlist will be announced October 15. The winners will be announced on Nov. 18.

Below is the list, with links to publisher information. All of the titles have been published (titles published between Dec. 1, 2104 through Nov. 30, 2015 are eligible).

The 2015 National Book Award for Fiction Longlist

Jesse Ball, A Cure for Suicide (RH/Pantheon Books)

Karen E. Bender, Refund: Stories (Counterpoint Press, dist. by Perseus/PGW)

Bill Clegg, Did You Ever Have a Family (S&S/Scout Press)

Angela Flournoy, The Turner House (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Lauren Groff, Fates and Furies (Penguin/Riverhead)

Adam Johnson, Fortune Smiles: Stories (Random House)

T. Geronimo Johnson, Welcome to Braggsville (HarperCollins/Morrow; pbk released this month)

Edith Pearlman, Honeydew (Hachette/Little, Brown; pbk arrives next week)

Hanya Yanagihara,  A Little Life (RH/Doubleday)

Nell Zink, Mislaid (HarperCollins/Ecco)

The NBA Nonfiction Longlist

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015


Including best sellers by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Sally Mann as well as titles that have received less attention, The National Book Awards longlist for Nonfiction was released today. The judging panel includes Paul Holdengräber host of the popular interview series, Live from the New York Public Library.

The shortlist will be announced October 15. The winners will be announced on Nov. 18.

The fourth and final 2015 NBA longlist, for fiction, will be released tomorrow morning.

The 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction Longlist

Cynthia Barnett, Rain: A Natural and Cultural History (RH/Crown; 4/21/15)

Starred by LJ and Booklist, this look at a common natural phenomenon was reviewed in many publications, including the NYT Sunday Book Review

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me (RH/Spiegel & Grau; 7/14/15)

The most widely covered by the media of the books on the list, the author appeared on many shows, including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

It is currently #2 on the NYT Hardcover Nonfiction Best Sellers list after eight weeks (it was #1 for three weeks)

Martha Hodes, Mourning Lincoln (Yale University Press; 2/24/15)

A look at how everyday Americans mourned Lincoln and how his assassination continues to affect the culture. It was reviewed, not particularly enthusiastically, in the NYT Sunday Book Review and the Wall Street Journal

Sally Mann, Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs (Hachette/Little, Brown; 5/12/15)

An Indie Next pick, this memoir by the renowned photographer was starred by PW and Booklist and reviewed widely. In the daily NYT, Dwight Garner called it “weird, intense and uncommonly beautiful.” It appeared on several best seller lists, hitting a high of #9 on the NYT list.

Sy Montgomery, The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness (S&S/Atria; S&S Audio; 5/15/15)

After reading this, you are unlikely to ever order grilled octopus again. It was reviewed appreciatively in the Seattle Times. The Wall Street Journal took a dimmer view of it.

Susanna Moore, Paradise of the Pacific: Approaching Hawaii (Macmillan/ FSG; 9/1/15)

More well known for her novels, Moore has written two previous books on Hawaii. In the NYT Sunday Book Review Jan Morris called it “an astonishingly learned summation of the Hawaiian meaning, elegantly written, often delightfully entertaining and ultimately sad.”

Michael Paterniti, Love and Other Ways of Dying: Essays (RH/Dial Press; Tantor Audio; 3/3/15)

By the author of The Telling Room, which received a great deal of attention in 2013, this follow-up has drawn less attention, only reviewed prepub by PW and Kirkus, which said, “carefully curated selection of features demonstrates the breadth of the author’s peculiar, personal style of storytelling.”

Carla Power, If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran (Macmillan/Holt; 4/2/15)

Reviewed by the Washington Post, which calls it, “an unusual book, simultaneously an exploration of faith and of Islam as it is lived by those who know it most intimately.”

Tracy K. Smith, Ordinary Light: A Memoir (RH/ Knopf, 4/25/15; Recorded Books)

The author won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for poetry for Life on Mars.

The NYT Sunday Book Review clearly appreciated this coming-of-age memoir by the African-American poet, but that review offers no quotable lines. Carol Memmott in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, provides one, “Ordinary Light is as poetic as Life on Mars. Smith’s spare yet beautiful prose transforms her story into a shining example of how one person’s shared memories can brighten everyone’s world.”

Michael White, Travels in Vermeer: A Memoir (Persea Books, dist. by Norton; 3/5/15)

The one paperback on the list, the only consumer review it received was from Shelf Awareness for Readers, which called it an “unusual and riveting memoir” in which White, reeling from a divorce, goes to Amsterdam and becomes entranced with Vermeer.

The NBA Poetry Longlist

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015


The ten titles on the The National Book Awards longlist for poetry released today prove poetry is still being published by the Big Five publishers. Over half the titles are published by three of them, RH/Knopf (3 titles), Penguin (2) and Macmillan/FSG (1). W.W. Norton, a large independent publisher that is  bastion for poetry, published one of the nominees as did a university press and two independents.

The list includes two prior National Book Award winners, Marilyn Hacker and Terrance Hayes; previous National Book Award finalist Lawrence Raab; and two Cave Canem Fellows, Ross Gay and Robin Coste Lewis.

All but one of the titles were reviewed in the pre-pub journals with half the list receiving starred reviews.

The shortlist will be announced October 15. The winners will be announced on Nov. 18.

The 2015 National Book Award for Poetry Longlist

Ross Gay, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude (Pitt Poetry Series/University of Pittsburgh Press)

Reviewed by Booklist and Publishers Weekly, which said “these simple, joyful poems read like a litany of what’s good in the world.” The Rumpus featured Gay in one of its Late Nite Poetry Shows.

Amy Gerstler, Scattered at Sea (Penguin)

Reviewed by Library Journal and starred by Publishers Weekly. The Washington Post, picked the title as one of the “Best new poetry collections for July” saying it “throws convention and familiarity overboard and asks us to consider what remains. The work mixes salty humor, invigorating rhythms and sharp-edged wisdom.”

Marilyn Hacker, A Stranger’s Mirror: New and Selected Poems, 1994-2014 (W. W. Norton)

Reviewed by Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and starred by Library Journal. Lambda Literary says the collection “demonstrates Hacker’s continued formal mastery; she effortlessly spins one sonnet into two, then three, then seven, leaving readers always breathless for more.”

Terrance Hayes, How to Be Drawn (Penguin)

Reviewed by Booklist, Library Journal, and starred by Publishers Weekly. NPR says Hayes is “A vital voice that explores race and art and the roving power of language … [his] fifth book is slippery with riddles … full of puns and fake outs, leads and dodges, all encased in muscular music.”

Jane Hirshfield, The Beauty (RH/Knopf)

The only book on the list to receive two starred reviews, from Booklist and Publishers Weekly (LJ also reviewed)., Hirshfield was interviewed in March on NPR. As an introduction they called her “one of our country’s most celebrated poets. She’s been a Guggenheim fellow [and] The Academy of American Poets bestowed her a fellowship for her “distinguished poetic achievement,” an honor shared with Robert Frost and Ezra Pound.”

Robin Coste Lewis, Voyage of the Sable Venus (RH/Knopf)

The trade reviews did not cover Lewis but that does not mean libraries do not know her. The Los Angeles Public Library featured her in a program with last year’s NBA poetry finalist Claudia Rankine, saying Lewis “lyrically catalogs representations of the black figure in the fine arts.”

Ada Limón, Bright Dead Things (Milkweed Editions)

Starred by Library Journal and reviewed by Publishers Weekly, LJ says “Generous of heart, intricate and accessible, the poems in this book are wondrous and deeply moving.” The editors of the Tahoma Literary Journal agree, saying “Limón’s playful language is coupled with a tendency to flow, almost dreamily, into dark content—she moves seamlessly from spiders in the magnolia tree and zucchini in the kitchen to a woman floating dead in a water tank.”

Patrick Phillips, Elegy for a Broken Machine (RH/Knopf)

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly. An interview in storySouth opens with this description of Phillips writing: “You write in what one might call a plain style. Your language is straightforward, uncomplicated. Your tone is always level, even quiet. Your lines are taut, stanzas sparse. And your subject matter is realistic, accessible. Yet the accumulative effect of your poems is astonishing. Their art, it would seem, is concealed in plain view.”

Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Heaven (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Booklist and Publishers Weekly reviewed Phillips with PW making his collection one of their “PW Picks: Books of the Week, June 15, 2015.”  It was also one of The Washington Post‘s picks of “Best new poetry collections for July” along with Scattered at Sea.

Lawrence Raab, Mistaking Each Other for Ghosts (Tupelo Press)

Booklist reviewed Rabb, calling his most recent volume “A wonderful, mature, sweeping collection.” His book What We Don’t Know About Each Other was also a finalist for the NBA in 1993.

A Diverse Man Booker Shortlist

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

The Man Booker Prize, Britain’s most prestigious literary award and, oddly, one of the few awards that affects sales in the U.S., surpassing our own National Book Awards, has released the 2015 shortlist of six titles.

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In the second year that American authors were eligible for the award, five made the longlist of 13, causing says the Guardian to worry that fears the US would dominate had become “more well-founded.” For the shortlist, however, only two US author made the cut, Hanya Yanagihara, for A Little Life (currently the bookies’ favorite in the UK. where people actually bet on such things) and Anne Tyler for a A Spool Of Blue Thread. Two authors from the UK, and one each from Jamaica and Nigeria round out the list.

The BBC noted that this list is exceptionally diverse, “four of the six authors are non-white, beating 2013’s record of three” but what “unites the books is the grimness of their themes.” When the judges were asked about this, they agreed, with one adding that, while the themes may be grim, “there isn’t a single book that isn’t touched with humour.”

The Guardian commented that the “biggest surprise” was that American author Marilyn Robinson (Lila) was eliminated from the list.

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The full shortlist, with links to reviews, below. The winner will be announced on Oct 13.

Marlon James, A Brief History of Seven Killings (Penguin/Riverhead; HighBridge Audio; OverDrive Sample; Oct. 7, 2014), Jamaican, living in the US

Published last year in the US, this title appeared on many of the year’s best books lists.
Reviews — Michiko Kakutani, New York Times; Washington Post; Wall Street JournalNYT Sunday Book Review

Tom McCarthy, Satin Island (RH/Knopf; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample; Feb. 17, 2015), McCarthy was on a previous Booker Prize shortlist (for C), UK

US Reviews — NYT Sunday Book ReviewWashington PostL.A. Times

Chigozie Obioma, The Fishermen (Hachette/Little, Brown; OverDrive Sample; April 14, 2015), Nigeria

Reviews — NYT Sunday Book ReviewNPR review

Sunjeev Sahota, The Year of the Runaways (RH/Knopf; 9781101946107; Mar. 2016), UK

Forthcoming; no US consumer reviews yet. UK reviews, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent

Anne Tyler, A Spool of Blue Thread (RH/Knopf; Random House Audio; OverDrive Sample: Feb. 10, 2015), US

Reviews —NYT Sunday Book Review; Ron Charles, Washington PostLos Angeles Times; Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life (RH/Doubleday; OverDrive Sample; March 10, 2015), US

Reviews — Washington PostNYT Sunday Book ReviewLos Angeles TimesWall Street Journal; NPR review on Fresh Air.

Yanagihara was one of the few literary novelists to appear on a late night show this year (we’re hedging our bets here — she’s probably the ONLY one) .

NBA Young People’s Lit Longlist

Monday, September 14th, 2015


The first of the National Book Awards longlists was released today. The nominees for young people’s literature include a range of authors from debuts to multiple award winners. Most are novels, but also included are one nonfiction title and a graphic novel.

All the titles have been reviewed by the pre-pub media with most receiving multiple stars.

Each year the judging panel includes a librarian. Teri Lesesne fills that position this year. She teaches Library Science at Sam Houston State University, is the author of Reading Ladders:Leading Students from Where They Are to Where We’d Like Them to Be and blogs as “The Goddess of YA Literature.

Also on the panel are authors John Joseph Adams (two-time winner of the Hugo Award and series editor of Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy), Laura McNeal (her novel Dark Water was a finalist for the 2010 National Book Award), G. Neri (he won the 2011 Coretta Scott King Honor Award for his graphic novel Yummy), and Eliot Schrefer (two-time finalist for the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature for Endangered and Threatened).

The five finalists will be announced on Oct. 14. The winner will be announced on Nov. 18.

Tomorrow, the longlist for Poetry will be announced, followed by Nonfiction on Wednesday, and the final list, for Fiction on Thursday

The 2015 National Book Award Young People’s Literature Longlist

Becky Albertalli, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray)

Starred by Booklist, Bulletin of Ctr for Child Bks, KirkusPublishers Weekly, it also got an A from Entertainment Weekly., saying, “Adults who read this coming-out/coming-of-age novel will probably wish it had been around when they were kids … Worthy of Fault in Our Stars-level obsession.”

Deliciously funny, recommend this to all those adults who have been filling the hold shelves with YA titles by Johh Green, Sarah Dessen, and David Levithan.

M.T. Anderson, Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad (Candlewick Press)

Starred by Booklist, KirkusSchool Library Journal 

This M.T. Anderson title has been on YA must-read piles ever since galleys were released. Already a NBA winner for Octavian Nothing, Anderson here turns his storytelling gifts to narrative non-fiction. Well researched with fascinating details that manage to not bog down the story. YA

Ali Benjamin, The Thing About Jellyfish (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

Starred by BooklistKirkusPublishers Weekly, School Library Journal 

Seventh-grader Suzy is trying to cope with the sudden death of an old friend. Her shock and grief are palpable as she wades through overwhelming feelings and still navigate the uncertain, unkind world of Middle School. Ages 12 and up.

Rae Carson, Walk on Earth a Stranger (HarperCollins /Greenwillow),

Starred by Booklist and Publishers Weekly

The first in a new trilogy from the author of The Girl of Fire and Thorns, sets the stage for an eminently readable historical/fantasy with sweeping narrative, unexpected plot twists and empathetic characters.

Gary Paulsen, This Side of WildMutts, Mares, and Laughing Dinosaurs (S&S)

Those who thought that Puppies, Dogs, and Blue Northers: Reflections on Being Raised by a Pack of Sled Dogs was Paulsen’s best book will be delighted that he brings his raconteur style back to the campfire.

Laura Ruby, Bone Gap (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray)

Starred by BooklistKirkus , Publishers Weekly with the audio starred by Audio File

Laura Ruby is already well-known to YA and children’s librarians, but this is her break out book, a narrative tour-de-force that draws readers into a very different but familiar fantasy world.

Ilyasah Shabazz, with Kekla Magoon, X: A Novel (Candlewick Press)

Starred by Booklist, KirkusPublishers Weekly, School Library Journal and Horn Book. Reviewed in the New York Times.

With A Rock in the River an award-winning debut novel, Kekla Magoon provided an inside glimpse into the Civil Rights movement. Her historical fiction Fire in the Street reveals the lives of those who were Black Panthers. Teaming with Shabazz  Malcolm X’s daughter (Growing up Xthe authors look at how the young Malcolm Little became Malcolm X.

Steve Sheinkin, Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War (Macmillan/Roaring Brook Press)

Starred by BooklistHorn Book, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal

Sheinkin has won multiple awards for his compelling informational books including The Bomb and Port Chicago (both were finalists for this award). Here, he takes on the transformation of one man during one of the most turbulent times in United States History,  the war in Vietnam.

Neal Shusterman, Challenger Deep (HarperCollins)

Starred by Booklist, Bulletin of Ctr for Child Bks, Horn Book, Kirkus ReviewsPublishers WeeklySchool Library Journal

Shusterman has a gift for tackling big issues through story (Unwind). Here he creates a compelling novel that explores a 14-year-old schizophrenic’s decent into terrifying illness.

Noelle Stevenson, Nimona (HarperTeen/HarperCollins Children’s Books)

Starred by KirkusPublishers Weekly and School Library Journal

This mash-up sets fairytale archetypes on their ears, featuring a bloodthirsty shape-shifter Nimona and her anti-hero boss. Founded as a web comic, the first three chapters are available on-line.

The Hugos: Cixin Liu Wins,
the Puppies Lose

Monday, August 24th, 2015

The 2015 Hugo Awards were presented Saturday in Spokane Washington during WorldCon, the annual World Science Fiction Convention.

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 10.00.39 AMThe Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu, Ken Liu translator (Macmillan/Tor Books; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample) won for Best Novel. An alien invasion story, it is the first English language translation of one of China’s top SF authors. It was reviewed on the NPR site last fall.

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 10.02.31 AMBest Graphic Story went to Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal, written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona and Jake Wyatt (Marvel Comics; GraphicAudio). The series stars a teenage girl, Kamala Khan, the first Muslim lead character in the Marvel universe. Here is a link to the audio.

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 10.20.32 AMGuardians of the Galaxy, written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman, directed by James Gunn (Marvel Studios, Moving Picture Company) won Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form while Orphan Black: “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried” written by Graham Manson, directed by John Fawcett (Temple Street Productions, Space/BBC America) won Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form.

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer went to Wesley Chu who has also won an Alex Award for The Lives of Tao (PRH/Angry Robot, 2013).

In response to accusations of ballot stuffing the nomination process, many voting members elected to select “No Award” rather than see the Hugo go to a title supported by the conservative group known as the “puppies” (see our overview of the controversy).

This occurred in the categories of Best Novella, Best Short Story, Best Related Work, Best Editor, Short Form, and Best Editor, Long Form, each of which were “won” by No Award. Many of these categories were either overwhelmingly affected by the ballot stuffing or only included “puppy” nominees.

In their liveblogging of the event, io9 said: “voting ‘No Award’ is a very legitimate choice, that’s always been possible. And it’s a very legit response to a small, tiny group of people trying to exploit a loophole in the nomination process to impose their choices on the vast majority of fans. This is fandom rejecting abusive behavior, and also saying that they want science fiction to have an open mind and consider many viewpoints.”

Top Eisner

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

Analyzng the Eisner Awards, announced earlier this month at Comic-Con, the  LA Times views them as reflecting a “creative swell in children’s comics,” with several titles winning in categories not defined by age.

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Caldecott honoree This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki (Macmillan/First Second; OverDrive Sample) won for best New Graphic Album (essentially the best graphic novel of the year) and Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke Allen, and Shannon Watters (S&S/BOOM! Box; OverDrive Sample) won the Best New Series award while Raina Telgemeier’s middle-grade Sisters (Scholastic, a companion to her previous title, Smile) won in the Writer/Artist category. views the awards as making a leap beyond superheroes, noting that the Best Writer Awards have traditionally gone to “an author producing pamphlet comics—serial, monthly works—rather than graphic novels.” This year breaks precedence with the award going to The Shadow Hero (Macmillan/First Second) by Gene Luen Yang “a writer who has made his name in the graphic novel industry, where he wrote and illustrated the first ever graphic novel to be a finalist for the National Book Award [Boxers and Saints]—and the first ever graphic novel to win the Printz Award [American Born Chinese].” They also note the number of women writers winning awards this year, with titles addressing subjects never before covered in graphic novels indicates that “the depth and breadth of what comics are—and can become—are reaching ever new heights.” This change was noted earlier this year by the Wall Street Journal.

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 11.54.12 AMThe award for the best nonfiction graphic work went to Hip Hop Family Tree, vol. 2, by Ed Piskor (Norton/Fantagraphics).Volume one was published in 2013; volume three is coming in August.

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 11.56.31 AMEmily Carroll’s Through the Woods (S&S/Margaret K. McElderry) won for Best Graphic Album-Reprint, giving those who do not yet own this beautifully creepy work all the more reason to buy it. Carroll also won the Eisner for Best Short Story.

2015 Man Booker Longlist Announced

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

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The Man Booker Prize, Britain’s most prestigious literary award and, oddly, one of the few awards that affects sales in the U.S., surpassing our own National Book Awards, has released the 2015 longlist of thirteen titles.

This is only the second year that US authors have been eligible for the Prize. When the rules were changed, many feared the US would dominate the list, but that didn’t prove true in the first year, with only four titles by US authors on the longlist and the Prize going to Australian Richard Flanagan for The Narrow Road To The Deep North (RH/Knopf).

However, this year, says the Guardian, “those fears look more well-founded, with five US titles on the longlist of 13, and strong ones too.”

The shortlist of six books will be announced on September 15 and the winner on October 13.

Below is the longlist, with U.S. publishing information and links to U.S. consumer reviews.

Bill Clegg, Did You Ever Have a Family (S&S/Gallery; S&S Audio; Sept. 8, 2015), US

Forthcoming, so no consumer reviews yet, but it’s been popular  on GalleyChat and at BEA this year.

Anne Enright, The Green Road (Norton; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample; May 11, 2015), Ireland

Reviews — NYT Sunday Book Review; Washington Post

Marlon James, A Brief History of Seven Killings (Penguin/Riverhead; HighBridge Audio; OverDrive Sample; Oct. 7, 2014), Jamaican, living in the US

Published last year in the US, this title appeared on many of the year’s best books lists.
Reviews — Michiko Kakutani, New York Times;  Washington Post; Wall Street JournalNYT Sunday Book Review

Laila Lalami, The Moor’s Account (RH/Pantheon; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample; Sept 9. 2014), US, born in Morocco
Published last year in the US, this title appeared on many of the year’s best books lists.

Reviews — NYT Sunday Book Review; L.A. Times

Tom McCarthy, Satin Island (RH/Knopf; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample; Feb. 17, 2015), UK

Reviews — NYT Sunday Book ReviewWashington Post; L.A. Times

Chigozie Obioma, The Fishermen (Hachette/Little, Brown; OverDrive Sample; April 14, 2015), Nigeria

Reviews — NYT Sunday Book Review; NPR review

Andrew O’Hagan, The Illuminations (Macmillan/FSG; Tantor Audio; OverDrive Sample; March 24, 2015), UK

Reviews — NYT Sunday Book Review

Marilynne Robinson, Lila (Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample; Oct. 7, 2014), US

Published last year in the US, this title appeared on the majority of of the year’s best books lists.
Reviews — David Ulin, Los Angeles TimesNYT Sunday Book ReviewWall Street Journal Ron Charles, Washington Post; Michiko Kakutani,  New York Times

Anuradha Roy, Sleeping on Jupiter (US publication has not been announced), UK, born in India

Sunjeev Sahota, The Year of the Runaways (RH/Knopf; 9781101946107; Mar. 2016), UK

Forthcoming, so no US consumer reviews yet

Anna Smaill, The Chimes (US publication has not been announced), New Zealand

Anne Tyler, A Spool of Blue Thread (RH/Knopf; Random House Audio; OverDrive Sample: Feb. 10, 2015), US

Reviews —NYT Sunday Book Review; Ron Charles, Washington PostLos Angeles Times; Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life (RH/Doubleday; OverDrive Sample; March 10, 2015), US

Reviews — Washington Post; NYT Sunday Book ReviewLos Angeles TimesWall Street Journal; NPR review on Fresh Air

RITA Awards Announced

Monday, July 27th, 2015

The Romance Writers of America Association announced the 2015 RITA winners.

As described by the association’s website, the awards are given “to promote excellence in the romance genre by recognizing outstanding published romance novels and novellas” and are selected by a panel of judges.

The RITAs have multiple categories, a full list is available online. Below are the big four along with the Librarian of the Year pick.

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 10.21.15 AM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 10.24.31 AM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 10.25.22 AM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 10.25.59 AM

Contemporary (Long): Baby, It’s You by Jane Graves (Hachette/Forever; OverDrive Sample).

Historical (Long): Fool Me Twice by Meredith Duran (S&S/Pocket; Tantor Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Romantic Suspense: Concealed in Death by J.D. Robb (Penguin/ G.P. Putnam’s Sons; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Paranormal: Evernight by Kristen Callihan (Hachette/Forever; OverDrive Sample).

Lisa Schimmer, a senior cataloger at NoveList, won the Cathie Linz Librarian of the Year Award.

Locus Award Winners, 2015

Monday, June 29th, 2015

The 2015 Locus Awards, for outstanding Science Fiction and Fantasy are:

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 12.28.53 PMAnn Leckie won best SF novel for Ancillary Sword (Hachette/Orbit; Hachette Audio and Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample), the follow-up to Ancillary Justice which won the 2014 Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke awards.

Nominees in the category that had the bad luck of going up against that juggernaut are The Peripheral (Penguin/Putnam; Penguin Audio; OverDrive Sample) by William Gibson, The Three-Body Problem (Macmillan/Tor; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample) by Cixin Liu, Lock In (Macmillan/Tor; Audible Studios on Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample) by John Scalzi (which was a LibraryReads pick for August 2014), and all three books in Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy. The first in the set, Annihilation (Macmillan/FSG; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample), just won the 2015 Nebula.

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 12.34.00 PMKatherine Addison won best Fantasy novel for The Goblin Emperor (Macmillan/Tor; Tantor Audio; OverDrive Sample).

It topped an equally strong group of nominees that includes Steles of the Sky (Macmillan/Tor; OverDrive Sample) by Elizabeth Bear, City of Stairs (Hachette/Jo Fletcher Books; OverDrive Sample) by Robert Jackson Bennett, The Magician’s Land (Penguin/Viking; Penguin Audio; OverDrive Sample) by Lev Grossman (also a LibraryReads pick for August 2014), and The Mirror Empire (PRH/Angry Robot; OverDrive Sample) by Kameron Hurley.

The Locus Awards are decided by the readers of Locus Magazine. A full list of winners and nominees can be seen on the io9 site.

ALA’s Carnegie Medal Winners, 2015

Monday, June 29th, 2015

The winners of the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction were announced this weekend at the Annual ALA Meeting.

The medalist in fiction is the long-running best seller, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in literature, as well as finalist for the National Book Award, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (S&S/Scribner).

The winner is nonfiction also hit the NYT best seller list, for one week at #10, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Bryan Stevenson, (RH/Spiegel & Grau; RH Audio,  OverDrive Sample).

Audio sample:

The book was one of the NYT Book Review’s 100 Notable Books, described as, “An activist lawyer’s account of a man wrongfully convicted of murder reads like a call to action.”

Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, has been called by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, “America’s young Nelson Mandela.” In a long blurb on the book’s cover, John Grisham says that Stevenson is  “… doing god’s work fighting for the poor, the oppressed, the voiceless, the vulnerable, the outcast and those with no hope. Just Mercy is his inspiring and powerful story.”

Stevenson appeared on NPR’s Fresh Air  and on the Daily Show last year.

Juan Felipe Herrera
First Latino U.S. Poet Laureate

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 12.00.33 PMJuan Felipe Herrera will become the nation’s next poet laureate this September. He is the first Latino poet to fill the post since it was created in 1937. Herrera was named California’s poet laureate in 2012 and served in that position through 2014.

As NPR reports, he is a child of California, hardly leaving the state in 66 years, “born to a family of migrant farm workers, he bounced from tent to trailer for much of his youth in Southern California, eventually going on to study at UCLA and Stanford. Years later, he stepped out of the state to attend the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, before — you guessed it — returning home to California.”

The Poetry Foundation, which has a profile of Herrera as well as three sample poems, says that he has been influenced by Allen Ginsberg and that his “poetry brims with simultaneity and exuberance.” The New York Times says his poetry “fuses wide-ranging experimentalism with reflections on Mexican-American identity.” They offer two additional selections of poems.

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 12.00.11 PMScreen Shot 2015-06-10 at 11.59.25 AMHerrera has written dozens of books including poetry, short stories, and works for children and young adults. His most recent book is Senegal Taxi (University of Arizona Press; 2013). He is perhaps best known for 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Border: Undocuments 1971-2007 (City Lights; 2007) and Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems (University of Arizona Press; 2008).

The following video Herrera reads from the latter at at the 2009 PEN Beyond Margins Celebration.