Wednesday, June 30, 2010

All's Fair in Love & War

In honor of the anniversary of the publication of Margaret Mitchell's historical fiction Gone with the Wind on June 30, 1936, we'd like to offer up our own list of 'Masters of the Past'. From books based 35,000 years ago to multi-generational sagas, this list has it all! Expanded from articles in Bookmarks magazine.

Or, for some campy fun, consider reading the sequels, making-of books, the screenplay, & related titles that come up in our library catalog! (Note: the catalog search linked to this post is a keyword search of 'Gone with the Wind'. Some titles listed may only be included because title or description may contain those keywords, though the items themselves have nothing to do with Margaret Mitchell's book.) Also recommended: The Wind Done Gone by Alice Randall-"Think of Margaret Mitchell's epic Gone with the Wind condensed and told from the perspectives of Mammy and the Tara slaves," Library Journal says.

We were in Atlanta in the '90s and visited the Margaret Mitchell home. If you're in the area, it's worth a look-see! Apparently there is also a Gone with the Wind museum in Marietta called Scarlett on the Square.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Halfway there!

What an interesting summer it's turning out to be, trying to read a book from each section in the children's fiction shelves. I've been deliberately random with my choices, and it's proved a good way to stay off the well-traveled paths.

I've finished eleven out of twenty-two, and it seemed like a good time for a progress report!
  1. The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart
  2. Cyberia, by Chris Lynch
  3. Dork In Disguise, by Carol Gorman
  4. Totally Confidential, by Sally Warner
  5. Go Big Or Go Home, by Will Hobbs
  6. The Savage, by David Almond
  7. The Perfect Cat-Sitter, by Ann Whitehead Nagda
  8. The Fire Within, by Chris D'Lacey
  9. The Shakespeare Stealer, by Gary Blackwood
  10. The Volcano Disaster, by Peg Kehret
  11. Danger Boy, Episode 1: Ancient Fire, by Mark London Williams

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Jun 27, 1922: First Newbery Medal for children's literature

The John Newbery Medal is awarded annually by the American Library Association for the most distinguished American children's book published the previous year. Named for eighteenth-century English bookseller John Newbery, the purpose of the Newbery Medal was stated as follows: "To encourage original creative work in the field of books for children. To emphasize to the public that contributions to the literature for children deserve similar recognition to poetry, plays, or novels. To give those librarians, who make it their life work to serve children's reading interests, an opportunity to encourage good writing in this field." celebrates the Newbery

Newbery Medal Winners, 1922 - Present (list)

Our all-time favorite Newbery winners (& honored books) are The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink, The Grey King by Susan Cooper, Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell, The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo, Lily's Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff, Anpao: An American Indian Odyssey by Jamake Highwater & A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck. What are yours?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

World Cup Fever!

As we enter the second round of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa (known to aficionados as the Round of 16), things are heating up. The top two teams from each group have advanced & now, to lose a game means you're going home, so the stakes are high! If you've just caught World Cup fever, or even if you'd just like to know a little more about the competition, consider browsing the library catalog! We have some books & media to get you started.
For a schedule of games, try ESPN.
For the most information, try the website of the International Federation of Association Football-commonly known as FIFA for the acronym of its French name, Fédération Internationale de Football Association. You can even follow the games with a live MatchCast!
To watch live games in a group setting, try local pizzeria Saggio's.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pearl Buck in China

We recently read an article in the New York times about a new book by Hilary Spurling about author Pearl S. Buck's early years called Pearl Buck in China: Journey to 'The Good Earth'. The anniversary of Pearl Buck's birth is coming up on June 26th, so we thought, though we don't have a copy of the Spurling biography in the system at this time, we would suggest other readings by & about this award-winning American author who spent most of her life in China. Buck was, of course, most famous for writing The Good Earth, but she did write several other books for adults & children.

ABC Libraries does own copies of the complete biography of Pearl Buck mentioned in the New York Times article, Pearl S. Buck: A Cultural Biography by Peter Conn.

For books about other expatriates, try searching the library catalog or consider this list from The Guardian.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Spur Awards

Love Westerns? The Western Writers of America are meeting right now in Knoxville, Tennessee, to give out the Spur Awards, for distinguished writing about the American West. N. Scott Momaday has won the 2010 Owen Wister Award for lifetime contributions to the literature of the American West. Momaday, author of House Made of Dawn, is a graduate of the University of New Mexico who now lives in Santa Fe. Other prizewinners at this year's Spur Awards include Far Bright Star by Robert Olmstead & The Secret War in El Paso: Mexican Revolutionary Intrigue, 1906-1920 by Charles H. Harris III, & Louis R. Sadler.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Here are some movies you & your father might enjoy watching together this Father's Day!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fun for Foodies!

Deemed “the Oscars of the food world,” by Time magazine, The James Beard Foundation Awards are the country’s most coveted honor for chefs; food and beverage professionals; broadcast media, journalists, and authors working on food; and restaurant architects and designers.
-from the JBF website

Awards are given for books, TV shows, restaurant design, journalism, &, of course, chefs! 2010 winners include:

Local eatery Mary & Tito's won the America's Classics Award for restaurants with timeless appeal, beloved in their regions for quality food that reflects the character of their community. Establishments musthave been in existence at least 10 years and be locally owned.

For a full list of 2010 winners, visit the JBF website.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Celebrate Bloomsday!

"Bloomsday is a commemoration observed annually on 16 June in Dublin and elsewhere to celebrate the life of Irish writer James Joyce and relive the events in his novel Ulysses, all of which took place on the same day in Dublin in 1904. The name derives from Leopold Bloom, the protagonist of Ulysses. Thursday, 16 June 1904 was the date of Joyce's first outing with his wife-to-be, Nora Barnacle, when they walked to the Dublin urban village of Ringsend."
-from the Wikipedia article

Bloomsday facts:

  • it was started in 1954 by John Ryan (artist & entrepreneur) & writer Flann O'Brien
  • in 1956, poets Ted Hughes & Sylvia Plath were married on Bloomsday
  • in Mel Brooks' 1968 film The Producers, Gene Wilder's character is named Leo Bloom in an homage to the character created by Joyce
  • punk band The Minutemen have a song called "June 16th" (on the album Double Nickels on the Dime)
  • long-running show The Simpsons has an episode where the family goes to Dublin & Lisa mentions Bloomsday
  • U2 have a song called "Breathe" that references events on June 16th (on the album No Line on the Horizon). Lyrics include: "16th of June 9:05, door bell rings, man at the door says if I want to stay alive a bit longer, there's three things I need you to know...")

For information on celebrating Bloomsday locally, check out this listing. The New York times also has a Bloomsday article.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hammett Prize Awarded

International Association of Crime Writers/North American Branch awards The Hammett Prize annually for literary excellence in the field of crime-writing, as reflected in a book published in the English language in the US and/or Canada. The winner receives a "Thin Man" trophy, designed by sculptor Peter Boiger.

This year's nominees were:

Congratulations to the winner, Jedediah Berry's The Manual of Detection!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Getting Ready for The Unit

It's time to start reading The Unit for our online reading group! Don't forget to post comments & questions either on the blog or on the abc book banter forums.

About the author & the translator:

Ninni Holmqvist was born in 1958 and lives in Skåne, Sweden. She made her debut in 1995 with the short story collection Suit [Kostym] and has published two further collections of short stories since then. She also works as a translator. The Unit marks Holmqvist's debut as a novelist.

Marlaine Delargy works as a translator and adult learning support tutor. She has translated novels by Åsa Larsson and Johan Theorin, among others, and serves on the editorial board of the Swedish Book Review. She lives in Shropshire, England.

Bookreporter has a brief interview with the author. I also found a Swedish interview with her that Google translate is mostly able to translate on a site called Författarcentrum Författarförmedlingen.

Some things to think about as you delve into your reading:

If any of you have read Margaret Atwood or Marge Piercy, does this book remind you of their works? Is Ninni Holmqvist a modern George Orwell or Aldous Huxley?

Has anyone read Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, which has a plot involving children raised to be organ donors?

Consider issues of translation as brought up in the Guardian article "Why translators deserve some credit".

We also found quite a lengthy study someone named Eric Repphun did called "Dysenchanted Worlds: Rationalisation, Dystopia, and Therapy Culture in Ninni Holmqvist’s The Unit" which might be of interest. We didn't want to read too closely, in case it contained spoilers, but it seems to compare Holmqvist & her novel with both other Scandinavian works & movies like Logan's Run & The Island.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Barbara Kingsolver wins Orange Prize for Fiction

Barbara Kingsolver has won the Orange Prize for Fiction for her book The Lacuna. Of The Lacuna, Library Journal says "This is her most ambitious, timely, and powerful novel yet." Barbara's Kingsolver's novel beat out Hilary Mantel's prize-winning Wolf Hall, Kathryn Stockett's popular The Help, & Sarah Waters' The Little Stranger to take the prize. The New York Times announced the win earlier this week.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

What We're Reading

Inveterate mystery lovers, we've just finished a brand spanking new novel, the debut of author Elly Griffiths. The Crossing Places features archaeologist-turned-sleuth Ruth Galloway, who, "when not digging up bones or other ancient objects...lives happily alone with her cats in a remote area of England called the Saltmarsh." Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson enlists Ruth's help when he finds bones he thinks belong to a little girl who's been missing for a decade.

If you are looking for a fresh, new series, this would be a good novel to check out! Not a heavy or dark read, the mystery was well thought out & readers learn a bit about archaeology in the bargain.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Summer Reading List of Lists

Looking for a good book to read this summer? The blog Rebecca's Pocket is featuring a giant list of recommended reads for Adults, Children & Young Adults. Included in this list of lists are such gems as: Good Books That Almost Nobody Has Read; Top 50 Business Books, 'Animal Spirits' to 'What the Dog Saw'; Beach-Chair-Worthy Books; Your Daughters' Summer Vacation Reading List (Ages 4-12); & Summer Reading for Antsy Little Boys.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Online Book Group Titles

We had a great response to our online book group poll! Thank you everyone who voted. There was a 3-way tie for the winner between The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, The Unit, & A Wizard of Earthsea. We have decided to read all three, staggered throughout June, July, & August. The first one will be The Unit, beginning June 16th, followed by The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society in July, & finally A Wizard of Earthsea. Would you prefer to have weekly reading goals or just read at your own pace?

We'll be posting author biographies, reviews, our thoughts, & other ephemera on the blog during this time & looking for your feedback! If you have questions or want us to look up anything in particular about the book or authors, please don't hesitate to let us know. Additionally, we have created forums for your commentary-on the sidebar, click on the 'abcreads book banter' link to get to the forums. Feel free to comment there at will & add new topics-we only ask that you be courteous to each other in your posts & try to avoid posting spoilers (if you must post spoilers, please add a *SPOILER ALERT* to your post). We encourage you to post all summer long on any of the books.

Magic for Beginners & Going Bovine also got a lot of votes, so while we don't plan to post about them on the blog, we'd like to invite those interested in reading the two books to do so, & comment freely in the forums. We are interested in finding out more about those two books, but we just can't commit to adding anything more to our summer reading load!

We here at abcreads look forward to spending the summer reading together!

Summer reading is ON!

Welcome, welcome to summer reading 2010. Did you set your goals? Did you come into the library to sign up? That means you, too, adults--we have some great weekly prizes and grand prizes to give away!

As I posted on an earlier date, my goal is to read a book from each shelving section in juvenile fiction, and review the books for you.

And the first book review is...

The Mysterious Benedict Society!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

20 Under 40 & Nebula Awards

For the first time in a decade, The New Yorker has chosen its “20 Under 40” list of fiction writers worth watching. They are:

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 32; Chris Adrian, 39; Daniel Alarcón, 33; David Bezmozgis, 37; Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, 38; Joshua Ferris, 35; Jonathan Safran Foer, 33; Nell Freudenberger, 35; Rivka Galchen, 34; Nicole Krauss, 35; Yiyun Li, 37; Dinaw Mengestu, 31; Philipp Meyer, 36; C. E. Morgan, 33; Téa Obreht, 24; Z Z Packer, 37; Karen Russell, 28; Salvatore Scibona, 35; Gary Shteyngart, 37; and Wells Tower, 37. Click on any of the highlighted authors to see titles in the ABC Libraries' catalog.

The New York Times Book Review has a good article about the awards if you'd like to read more.

Additionally, in May the new Nebula Award winners were announced. Paolo Bacigalupi won for best novel with The Windup Girl. For award winners, visit the Nebula website.