Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

National Book Awards Live Stream

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

Below is the live stream of Wednesday night’s National Book Awards Ceremony, hosted by Larry Wilmore, begins at 7:40 p.m., Eastern.

The winners as they were announced:

Literarian Award — Poets Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady, creators of Cave Canem

Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters — Robert A. Caro

Young People’s Literature, presented by Katherine Paterson — John Lewis, Andrew Aydin & Nate Powell (Artist), March: Book Three, Top Shelf Productions / IDW Publishing — an emotional Lewis said he remembered trying to get a library card as a child and being told that the library was for whites only. Going from that to winning this award is just “too much.”

Poetry, presented by Joy Harjo — Daniel Borzutzky, The Performance of Becoming Human, Brooklyn Arts Press — Borzutzky said he had been supported throughout his career by “people who publish books in their apartments.” Jewish and Chilean-American, he asked that everyone do their part to make sure this country continues to be safe and welcoming to immigrants.

Nonfiction, presented by Masha Gessen — Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
Nation Books / Perseus Books Group — Kendi noted that, in writing this book, he has spent years looking at the worst of America, but he never lost faith that the terror of racism would one day be dead, and even as the first black president is about to leave the White House, while a man enthusiastically supported by the Ku Klux Klan is about to enter, he still has that faith.

Fiction, presented by James English — Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad Doubleday / Penguin Random House — In an understatement, Whitehead said the last four months have been surreal (his book was an Oprah pick). In a year he went from wondering if anyone would read his book, to seeing it become a best seller, a reminder that we don’t know where we may be a year from now. “Right now, we’re happy in here; outside is the blasted hellhole wasteland of Trumpland.” He offered advice that makes him feel better, “Be kind to everybody, make art and fight the power.”

At the end, Larry Wilmore summed up the evening by saying, “Wow. The National Book Awards is WOKE.” Referring to the fact that the majority of the people who were on the stage were black, from the new Executive Director if the National Book Foundation Lisa Lucas, to the most of the winners, Wilmore joked this was “the National Book Awards, presented by BET, with a special appearance by Robert Caro.” He hastened to add that he really likes Bob Caro, something that was obvious in his reaction to Caro’s acceptance speech.

Dylan A No Show

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016


Bob Dylan raised eyebrows when he took his time in responding to the announcement that he had won the Nobel Prize in Literature. He finally broke his silence on the subject to say he was honored and would attend the ceremony on Dec. 10 “if at all possible.”

But it seems his schedule makes that impossible. The Swedish Academy announced that they received “a personal letter” from the musician informing them of his decision, citing “pre-existing commitments.”

According to the BBC, Dylan also said he felt “very honoured” and “so much” appreciated the award.

Regardless of the big evening, the BBC reports that Dylan is “required to give a Nobel lecture between now and next June.” UPDATE: Entertainment Weekly reports that he may give the lecture during a 2017 concert in Stockholm.

PW Picks the 150
Best Books of the Year

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

Best Books season starts off with 15-1Publishers Weekly‘s picks of the top titles of 2016.

The author featured on the cover is sure to top most best books lists this year, Colson Whitehead, for  The Underground Railroad (PRH/Doubleday; RH Audio; BOT; OverDrive Sample). PW calls it a “stunning novel … [that] depicts one of America’s darkest moments in a new light. ”

As in past years, the PW editors select a total of 100 adult titles and 50 childrens titles, with a Top 10 list and the remaining picks divided into 12 categories.

Underground Railroad  9780375423222_1e3b7

Whitehead’s novel is also one of the finalists for the National Book Awards, to be announced next week, Wed., Nov. 16. (this year, you can download ballots. Oscar style, for making your own predictions). Surprisingly, none of the other four fiction finalists are on PW’s  Top Ten, or picked in any of the other fiction categories.

In nonfiction, Heather Ann Thompson’s Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy (PRH/Pantheon; OverDrive Sample) is both an NBA shortlist title and one of PW’s top ten. All the titles on the NBA’s shortlist for Young People’s Literature are among PW’s picks in childrens. YA, or Graphic Novel picks, except for  Grace Lin’s When the Sea Turned to Silver (Hachette/ Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) . There is absolutely no crossover between the lists in poetry.

Again this year, we will compile  downloadable spreadsheets of all the Best Books selections, useful for end-of-the year buying, as more lists are released.

NOTHING Is Winning and Circing

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

9780393609882_59ec7Shortlisted for the Man Booker Award, Canadian Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Norton; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample) did not win, but is now sweeping Canada’s literary awards.

It won the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize yesterday, an award worth $100,000 dollars.

The announcement said the novel:

“entranced the jurors with its detailed, layered, complex drama of classical musicians and their loved ones trying to survive two monstrous insults to their humanity: Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution in mid-twentieth century China and the Tiananmen Square massacre of protestors in Beijing in 1989. Do Not Say We Have Nothing addresses some of the timeless questions of literature: who do we love, and how do the love of art, of others and ourselves sustain us individually and collectively in the face of genocide? A beautiful homage to music and to the human spirit, Do Not Say We Have Nothing is both sad and uplifting in its dramatization of human loss and resilience in China and in Canada.”

It also won the highly prestigious Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction. That jury panel deemed it:

“an elegant, nuanced and perfectly realized novel that, fugue-like, presents the lives of individuals, collectives, and generations caught in the complexities of history. Tracing the intertwined lives of two families, moving from Revolutionary China to Canada, this ambitious work explores the persistence of past and the power of art, raising meaningful questions for our times.”

The NYT calls it “a beautiful, sorrowful work. The book impresses in many senses: It stamps the memory with an afterimage; it successfully explores larger ideas about politics and art (the mind is never still while reading it); it has the satisfying, epic sweep of a 19th-century Russian novel, spanning three generations and lapping up against the shores of two continents.”

Many libraries we checked bought few copies and are now seeing holds ratios skyrocketing while others with more copies are seeing holds top 3:1.

Best Illustrated Children’s Books, 2016

Friday, November 4th, 2016

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The New York Times has just released their annual selection of the year’s Best Illustrated Children’s Books online. The print version is included in the upcoming Sunday Book Review.

The influential list has been issued since 1952 and evaluates titles “purely on artistic merit.” As always, the jury includes a librarian. This year, that spot is filled by Cheryl Wolf who works at both the Neighborhood School and S.T.A.R. Academy in NYC.

The ten selections are listed below (and, for ordering purposes, on our downloadable spreadsheet, NYT Best Illus., 2016) :

The Cat From Hunger Mountain
, Ed Young (PRH/Philomel Books; OverDrive Sample)

The Dead Bird, Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Christian Robinson (HarperCollins)

Freedom in Congo Square
, Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie (S&S/little bee books)

Little Red, Bethan Woollvin (Peachtree Publishers)

The Polar Bear, Jenni Desmond (Enchanted Lion Books

Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis, Jabari Asim, illustrated by E. B. Lewis (PRH/Nancy Paulsen Books)

The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes, Duncan Tonatiuh (Abrams; OverDrive Sample)

The Tree in the Courtyard: Looking Through Anne Frank’s Window, Jeff Gottesfeld, illustrated by Peter McCarty (PRH/Knopf Books for Young Readers; OverDrive Sample)

A Voyage in the Clouds: The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785, Matthew Olshan, illustrated by Sophie Blackall (Macmillan /Farrar, Straus and Giroux BYR; OverDrive Sample)

The White Cat and the Monk: A Retelling of the Poem “Pangur Bán,” Jo Ellen Bogart, illustrated by Sydney Smith (Perseus/PGW/Legato/Groundwood Books)


Friday, November 4th, 2016

selloutThe first US author ever to win the Man Booker Prize, Paul Beatty, is seeing a strong uptick in sales as a result. We have already reported that The Sellout (Macmillan/FSG; OverDrive Sample) jumped on Amazon‘s sales rankings, and now it hits the USA Today Best-Selling Books list at #12, its first time on the list.

This is the first time any of Beatty’s books have hit the USA Today list. Before the Man Booker, The Sellout appeared on the IndieBound best seller list, with a high of #19. It was also briefly on the L.A. Times list, where it started off strong but soon dropped.9780316251334_a0111

Another new face to the USA Today list, at least in the top ten, is Brent Weeks who is holding the #10 spot with The Blood Mirror (Hachette/Orbit; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample), the fourth in his Lightbringer series. Weeks has been on the list before, his previous high was #26, for The Broken Eye (book three in that same series).

Dylan Breaks Nobel Silence

Saturday, October 29th, 2016

It seems Bob Dylan is pleased by the honor of being named the Nobel Laureate in Literature after all and will attend the ceremony in December, “if at all possible.” He is interviewed in the Telegraph.

Booker Winner Sales Surge

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

selloutPaul Beatty’s The Sellout (Macmillan/FSG; OverDrive Sample) jumped up Amazon’s sales ranking as a result of the announcement of the Man Booker Award yesterday. The trade paperback, released here in March, rose to #2 and the hardcover to #52.

Below is the first part of his emotional acceptance speech. For some reason, all the videos we found cut off before the end of the speech. Please let us know in the comments if you find a video of the full speech.

Below, Beatty speaks to the press after the award.

Man Booker Announcement

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

And the winner, for the first time ever, is a u US citizen, Paul Beatty,  for his satirical novel about race in America,  The Sellout (Macmillan/FSG; OverDrive Sample).

sellout  eileen-01  do-not-say

bloody-project-01 all-that-man hot-milk

US coverage of the longlist titles, below:

Paul Beatty, US, The Sellout (Macmillan/FSG; OverDrive Sample)
On several US best books lists for 2016 when it was published here, including the NYT Book Review‘s Top Ten and won the National Book Critics Award for Fiction. it was heavily reviewed here.

Ottessa Moshfegh, US, Eileen (PRH/Penguin; OverDrive Sample)
Featured on the cover of the  NYT Book Review,  it was also reviewed in the LA TimesThe Washington Post, and NPR, and appeared on several 2015 “best”  lists and is being adapted as a movie.

Madeleine Thien, Canada, Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Norton)
Published two weeks ago in the US, the daily NYT reviewed it warmly this week, calling it “a beautiful, sorrowful work.”  That followed an equally warm review earlier in the NYT Sunday Review. 

Graeme Macrae Burnet, UK, His Bloody Project: Documents Relating to the Case of Roderick Macrae, by Scotsman Graeme MaCrae Burnet (Skyhorse; OverDrive Sample).
Published by the tiny 2-person press Saraband in Scotland, this title’s appearance on the list has drawn headlines in the UK. Up until the longlist announcement, the book had received little attention and now it’s the best selling of the shortlist titles in the UK. Since it’s the last of the titles released here, it hasn’t received much coverage here yet. The author was recently interviewed by The Wall Street Journal [subscription may be required]. Endearing himself to librarians, just today, he spoke out about library cuts in Scotland, saying that “providing an increasingly vital role for local communities.” It was recently acquired for a TV series adaptation.

David Szalay, Canada-UK,  All That Man Is (Macmillan/Graywolf; OverDrive Sample). Also released in the US this month, it is recently reviewed by the daily NYT as well as the NYT Sunday Book Review and the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Deborah Levy, UK,  Hot Milk (Macmillan/Bloomsbury; OverDrive Sample), Reviewed when it came out this summer in the daily NYT, the Washington Post and the NYT Book Review.

Man Booker Announced Tomorrow

Monday, October 24th, 2016

eileen-01 sellout

do-not-say hot-milk


Literary history may be made when the winner of the UK’s Man Booker award is announced at a ceremony in London tomorrow night beginning at 8 p. (3 pm, Eastern). For the first time, two US authors are on the shortlist, Paul Beatty for The Sellout (Macmillan/FSG,  OverDrive Sample), which received awards and was on many best books lists when it was published here last year, and Ottessa Moshfegh for her debut, Eileen (PRH/Penguin; OverDrive Sample).

Most consider the field wide open, but in the UK, where it’s legal to do such things, bets are on Canadian Medeleine Thien for  Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Norton; OverDrive Sample). Recently published here, the daily NYT reviewed it warmly this week, calling it “a beautiful, sorrowful work.”  That followed an equally warm review earlier in the NYT Sunday Review. 

Second in odds is  the UK’s Deborah Levy for Hot Milk (Macmillan/Bloomsbury; OverDrive Sample), reviewed when it came out this summer in the daily NYT, the Washington Post and the NYT Book Review

Coming is third is His Bloody Project: Documents Relating to the Case of Roderick Macrae, by Scotsman Graeme MaCrae Burnet (Skyhorse; OverDrive Sample). As we wrote earlier, its selection for the longlist was a major surprise, both because it is a crime novel, a genre that has not received recognition from the Booker judges before, and because it is from the tiny two-person Scottish press, Saraband. In the US, it was recently released by a much larger small press, Skyhorse.

Beatty comes in fourth and Ottessa Mosfeght is last, but the punters rarely predict winners for literary awards. The only thing that can be said for certain is that someone’s literary reputation will be made tomorrow.

Knockin’ on Dylan’s Door

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

The NYT, among many other news sources, wonders if Bob Dylan will attend the Nobel Prize ceremony on December 10, noting that he has not made a public statement one way or the other and hasn’t mentioned the Award in his two performances since the announcement.

Dylan also hasn’t said anything to the Nobel committee. The paper reports that “the academy has been in contact with an associate of Mr. Dylan, but apparently not with the artist himself.” A spokesman for Dylan declined to comment.

If the past is prologue, there’s not much reason to worry he will spurn the award. According to the NYT, “Mr. Dylan, who may be a contrarian or may just be unpredictable, has turned up for far-lesser honors,” such as the Golden Globes.

Mick Jagger, who followed Dylan at one of his two shows since winning was far less reticent, saying “We have never shared the stage with a Nobel Prize winner before … Bob is like our own Walt Whitman.”

Nobel Laureate in Print

Monday, October 17th, 2016

9781451648768_40dbcReactions to Bob Dylan’s winning the Nobel Prize in Literature have been mostly favorable, mixed with a few objections that awarding the prize to a singer-songwriter takes much-needed attention away from books and reading. Anna North argues this viewpoint in the NYT, writing, “Bob Dylan does not need a Nobel Prize in Literature, but literature needs a Nobel Prize. This year, it won’t get one.”

The usual routine following the announcement of a new laureate is to try to determine if any of the author’s books are available in English and if they have been published in the US.

This year’s winner presents a different issue. While he writes in English, he has few books in print. Simon & Schuster, in the fortunate position of being about to release The Lyrics: 1961-2012, moved the publication date up a week to Nov. 1. A revised edition of the oversized volume published in 2014 at $299, it is now a more accessible $60.

Other than collections of lyrics, Dylan has published two books, both currently out of print. The first, in 1971, a widely panned collection of poetry and prose, Tarantula (Macmillan), which has since developed some supporters.

In 2004, he published the much more well-received memoir and best seller, Chronicles: Volume One (S&S). There’s been no news about the second in the planned three-part memoir since 2012, when Dylan told the Rolling Stone, “Let’s hope [it happens] … I’m always working on parts of it … it’s a lot of work. I don’t mind writing it, but it’s the rereading it and the time it takes to reread it – that for me is difficult.”

Nobel Prize in Literature Goes to Bob Dylan

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

9781451648768_40dbcFor the first time since 1993, when Toni Morrison won, the Nobel Prize in Literature goes to an American, Bob Dylan, for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

For years, Dylan has been on bettors’ lists, so often that has become a bit of a joke. Some people made out well betting on that joke this year. At one point, his odds were 50/1 and a headline in the New Republic a few days ago read, “Who Will Win the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature? Not Bob Dylan, that’s for sure.” As the story points out, the winner is notoriously difficult to predict.

Several books about Dylan’s songs are available in print, including one that was published last year:

Bob Dylan All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track
Philippe Margotin, Jean-Michel Guerdon (Black Dog & Leventhal)

Dylan expert Clinton Heylin published analyses of all of Dylan’s songs through 2008 in two volumes:

Revolution In The Air: The Songs of Bob Dylan: Vol. 1: 1957-73 (Chicago Review Press, 2009)

Still On The Road: The Songs of Bob Dylan: Vol. 2: 1974-2008 (Chicago Review Press, 2010; released in trade paperback in September)

Coming next month is a compilation of his lyrics:

The Lyrics: 1961-2012 by Bob Dylan, (S&S) — cover, above

Finally, the Final Finalists

Monday, October 10th, 2016

news-world All That Man Is 9780393609882_59ec7

The final three of the finalists for major book awards in fiction have just been released and are getting media attention.

Selected as the number one LibraryReads pick for October, News of the World by Paulette Jiles (HarperCollins/Morrow; Brilliance Audio) is one of five finalists for the National Book Awards in fiction. Entertainment Weekly hails it this week on their “Must List,” saying, “Jiles’ gorgeously written novel … follows a retired soldier in 1870 tasked with bringing a kidnapped 10-year-old girl to her faraway relatives after her rescue.”

Just released in the US., the Man Booker finalist, David Szalay’s All That Man Is (Graywolf; OverDrive Sample) gets double coverage from the New York Times. Dwight Garner in the daily paper uses an arresting analogy, “you climb into … All That Man Is, as if into an understated luxury car. The book has a large, hammerlike engine, yet it is content to purr. There’s a sense of enormous power held in reserve.” He notes the book is not actually a novel, but “closer to a collection of linked short stories,” In the Sunday Book Review, author Garth Greenwell, whose debut novel What Belongs to You (Macmillan/FSG; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample) is a National Book Award finalists, writes, “there’s very little explicitly interlinking its separate narratives. The stories cohere instead through their single project: an investigation of European manhood. ” The New Yorker ‘s esteemed critic James Wood goes further, saying that Szalay is “The latest novelist to give voice to what he has called a ‘disaffection with the novel form,’ ”and that the result “takes the novel form and shakes out of it a few essential seeds.”

Tthe last of the Booker finalists to be published in the US arrives this week, Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien, (Norton; OverDrive Sample; Recorded Books audio coming in April).  Publishers Weekly gave it a star, but it has not yet been reviewed in the US consumer press [Update: The Wall Street Journal reviews it, calling it “elegant”]. Earlier this summer, Canada’s The Globe and Mail wrote that the book “cements Madeleine Thien as one of Canada’s most talented novelists” with a “gorgeous intergenerational saga, stretching as far back at the 1940s and traversing China” told from the perspective of a woman living in present-day Vancouver, who begins the book with the story of her father’s suicide.

The winner of the Man Booker will be announced on Oct. 25, the National Book Awards on Nov. 16.

National Book Awards Shortlists Revealed

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

bookaward_sq-9155c02d0c32104fed0b09f295badf6a95776e2d-s6-c30The 2016 shortlists for the National Book Awards have just been posted on the New Yorker site.

Tweet your opinions on the selections using #nbawards.

Winners will be announced on Nov. 16.