General

National Book Awards – 2019

 

The prestigious National Book Awards2019 for last year's books were bestowed in New York City on November 20, 2019. There were 25 finalists – five each in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young People's Literature.

 

Take a look at the finalists and winners (indicated in red) and click on the titles to learn more about the books:
 

FINALISTS FOR FICTION:

 

FINALISTS FOR NONFICTION:

 

FINALISTS FOR POETRY:

 

FINALISTS FOR TRANSLATED LITERATURE: 

 

FINALISTS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE’S LITERATURE:

 

Congratulations to all!!!

 

 

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Man Booker International Prize – 2019

 

The Man Booker International Prize celebrates the finest works of translated fiction from around the world. The £50,000 prize for the winning book is divided equally between its author and translator. The 2019 finalists are listed below, with the winner indicated in red.

Author
(Origin Language Country/territory)

 Translator

Title

 


Jokha Alharthi
(Arabic – Oman)

 Marilyn Booth

"Celestial Bodies"

 


Annie Ernaux
(French – France)

 Alison L. Strayer

"The Years"

 


Marion Poschmann
(German – Germany)

 Jen Calleja

"The Pine Islands"

 

 

Olga Tokarczuk
(Polish – Poland)

 

Antonia Lloyd-Jones

 

"Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead"

 

 

Juan Gabriel Vásquez
(Spanish – Colombia)

 

Anne McLean

 

"The Shape of The Ruins"

 

 

Alia Trabucco Zerán
(Spanish – Chile)

 

Sophie Hughes

 

"The Remainder"

 

 

 

The shortlist was selected by a panel of five judges, chaired by Bettany Hughes, award-winning historian, author and broadcaster, and is made up of writer, translator, and chair of English PEN Maureen Freely; philosopher Professor Angie Hobbs; novelist and satirist Elnathan John, and essayist and novelist Pankaj Mishra.

 

The winner of the 2019 prize was announced on 21 May at a formal dinner at the Roundhouse in London. Congratulations to all! 

 

 

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New York Times Notable Non-fiction – 2018

 

The New York Times Notable Non-fiction of 2018 list consists of books selected by the editors of the NYT Book Review. It contains a mix of biographies, insights into historical American subjects, along with books that deal with contemporary societal issues. Here are ten of the NYT Notable Non-fiction Book Review editors’ selections for 2018. Click on the book titles to read the reviews.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arthur Ashe: A Life”  by Raymond Arsenault.  

 

 

“Boom Town: The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City” by Sam Anderson

 

American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey Into the Business of Punishment”  by Shane Bauer

 

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup”  by John Carreyrou

 

Ali: A Life”  by Jonathan Eig

 

American Dialogue: The Founders and Us”  by Joseph J. Ellis

 

Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America”  by Eliza Griswold

 

Brothers of the Gun: A Memoir of the Syrian War”  by Marwan Hisham and Molly Crabapple

 

“American Eden: David Hosack, Botany and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic” by Victoria Johnson

 

Churchill: Walking With Destiny” by Andrew Roberts

 

Calypso”  by David Sedaris                                   

 

 

 

 

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New York Times Notable Fiction – 2018

 

The New York Times Notable Fiction of 2018 list has been posted. It’s always interesting to see which books the Book Review editors will choose for their “Best of…” lists for the year. The titles are sometimes bestsellers, sometimes from debut authors, several from international writers, but more importantly, the NYT Book Review editors have fallen in love with the story (or the writing) and ta-da! the book makes the list.

 

Check out ten of their notable fiction choices from 2018. Click on the book titles to read their reviews.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"An American Marriage"  by Tayari Jones

 

"Cherry"  by Nico Walker

 

"Eternal Life"  by Dara Horn

 

"The Friend"  by Sigrid Nunez

 

"The House of Broken Angels"  by Luis Alberto Urrea

 

"Macbeth"  by Jo Nesbø. Translated by Don Bartlett

 

"Mirror, Shoulder, Signal"  by Dorthe Nors

 

"My Year of Rest and Relaxation"  by Ottessa Moshfegh

 

"There There"  by Tommy Orange

 

"Warlight"  by Michael Ondaatje

 

Happy reading!   🙂

 

 

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Try Something New This Summer

 

Every once in a while, avid readers take a break from their favorite genre and venture into ‘summer reading,’ where the world is either a warm, happy, safe place, or the mishaps that occur are slapstick funny and somebody always has your back. No world crises, no exploding planets, just stories that bring a smile to your face.
 


A few of us indulge our curiosity about demons and witches – as long as the hero/heroines are owners of tea and herb shops, that is.


Then there are the ancient curses that awaken and wreak havoc upon those that get in the way.


If you are primarily a fan of fiction as I am, a foray into the realm of serious non-fiction most often occurs when a compelling true story crosses our paths.


Take a look at the suggestions below and try something a bit different this season.


Happily Ever After

“Sand Dollar Cove,” by Nancy Naigle, is the completely delightful story of a beach area recently hit by bad weather, with people working together to rebuild it. The town relies on tourism to stay afloat, so one of the business owners organizes a fundraising event. We must suspend our disbelief while the rapidly approaching deadline looms to get the work done, but the lead characters are so endearing that we want them to be super human, have their wishes come true, and save the pier. Just in time for summer reading, “Sand Dollar Cove” includes a budding romance between a stranger and our heroine, and the almost magical sand dollars. This could easily fit into the Hallmark Channel lineup of happily ever after stories.


P.I. for Dummies

“Choke,” by Kaye George

Imogene Duckworthy wants to become a private eye, but has no training whatsoever. She gets a book – “P.I. for Dummies,” and has business cards made. Our  hapless heroine feels that she is qualified to ‘detect’ because she found a neighbor’s missing puppy. How hard could it be?

 

This high school graduate, an unwed mother, works for her Uncle at his diner, and when he is found dead, she tries to solve the case. Duckworthy is too naïve to recognize the crooks right in front of her and swoons at the sight of long legs and a smile. Me, oh, my, this gal is in trouble. She is in and out of jail, escapes from cops who are not after her and sees disasters and threats where none exist.

 

“Choke” is a comedy read that takes nothing seriously in solving a mystery – except the lead character herself. What in the world could go wrong? (First book in the series by Agatha nominated, Kaye George) Set near the Oklahoma border, people familiar with the North Texas area will recognize a certain town with fake falls in ‘Wymee Falls.’

 

 

 

Witches, Demons, Wiccans, and ordinary folk

“Booke of the Hidden,” by award-winning author Jeri Westerson, came to Jeri in a dream. Known for her medieval mysteries, her dream was so compelling that she had to write it down, and a few paragraphs turned into this first book in a new series.

 

Kylie Strange has moved to a small Maine town to open a tea and herb shop, and during the shop renovation, she discovers a mysterious book that is older than anyone in town and is completely blank. The locals are more than they seem, there are secrets behind every door, deaths occur in her wake, and Kylie has more than one ‘Being’ interested in her. “Booke of the Hidden” is sexy and funny, with adult themes and situations, with the demons and witches, Wiccans, and assorted other supernatural sorts inhabiting the quaint village. Quick-witted, up-for-everything, crossbow wielding Kylie Strange, is a great new character in the genre.

 

 

Theological Suspense

“Aceldama,” by John Hazen

A coin from the time of Christ is passed through the centuries with dire consequences for its unwitting possessors. A present-day couple faces the wrath of its curse when the husband falls ill. The wife must uncover the reason for his illness before her husband dies – defying logic, the law, and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.

International connections and supportive friends make “Aceldama” an absorbing read as we discover the identity, power, and meaning of the coin. Several surprises along the way keep the pages turning.

 

 

Non-Fiction

“Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI,” by David Grann.

This award-winning, non-fiction account feels like a novel of suspense. Grann recounts the tragedies that unfolded as members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma were displaced, swindled, and murdered in a pattern of corruption and greed at the highest levels of government at the beginning of the twentieth century. At the source of it all? Oil fields that lay under lands given to the Osage Nation. Grann researched the court cases and news of the 1890s and early 1900s, includes photos of the stakeholders, and weaves all of the information into a compelling read. While not the only reason for the creation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Osage cases made an additional convincing argument for the establishment of a national investigative agency.

 

Stretch your reading horizons and try something new this summer.  🙂

 

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“I Like You Just Fine When You’re Not Around” by Ann Garvin

 

 

Book Cover - I Like You Just Fine When You're Not Around

Every once in a while, we read a novel that deals with a life event we have lived through ourselves. “I Like You Just Fine When You’re Not Around” has been on my TBR (To Be Read) stack for a few months, but I was reluctant to start it, not because I am unfamiliar with the author, but in fact, just the opposite. I was certain her honesty, wisdom, superb writing, and gut-wrenching truths would bring up old sadness. Was I ready for a visit to the not-so-long-ago past? Guess what? I wish I’d had it to read while Mom was still alive.

 

Ann Garvin’s “I Like You Just Fine When You’re Not Around” enters the in-your-face world of an aging parent who develops Alzheimer’s, while the daughter/caregiver simultaneously tries to live her own life. As many of you primary caregivers know, the parent’s situation usually takes precedence over anything and everyone else.

 

Ms. Garvin delivers her story with kindness, love, and a blinding reality check for Tig Monahan, the daughter who really doesn’t want her Mom to move into a nursing home. Tig feels guilty about leaving her in a strange place, especially since Mom seems constantly agitated/unsure, so unlike the accomplished woman she had been in younger days. If only Tig could figure out how, she is sure that her Mom could come home again and the world could go back to the way it was. Sigh…  If only.

 

Tig’s boyfriend, a seemingly nice guy, wants her to move to Hawaii with him while he works at his dream job. Tig is a therapist, but seems stuck, unable to figure out her own life. She does quit her job in preparation for joining the boyfriend as soon as she clears up a few things. Meaning: as soon as she gets mom moved into the nursing home. And settled. Hmmm.

 

Tig’s sister, who has rarely helped with Mom, has a boatload of issues that spill in a huge way into Tig’s life, making it much more complex, almost destroying her in the process. Tig shifts careers before she’s ready. Does it help? Will her boyfriend ever ‘get it’? Is he what Tig really wants in her life? What will happen to Mom? Who is the Doctor/stranger at the nursing home? Can Tig cope with her Mom not recognizing her, despite knowing everyone else? The surprises, laughs, and tears keep the pages turning.

 

Garvin has imbued the characters with just enough edge and sass, given them realistic voices in a difficult situation, keeping Tig’s story focused on finding a better way for her and her Mom. We root for Tig to discover her place in the world again, as messy and unkempt as the journey might be. We pray for her Mom to find peace in a world she no longer knows.
 

“ ‘Oh, if I could tell you, I would let you know…’ ” words from the book that will stay with me forever. Unexpressed heartache, unspoken love.

 

In addition to “I Like You Just Fine When You’re Not Around,” Ann Garvin has written two other books. Read my review of her marvelous “The Dog Year” here.

 

Please visit www.anngarvin.net for more information about her work, as well as that of the Tall Poppy Writers.   🙂

 

 

 

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Greatest Love Stories of All Time

 

HeartsIMG_4243

 

It’s the time of year when bouquets of flowers fill the stores, the gift of a box of chocolates takes on new meaning, and love songs (and movies) fill the airwaves. Swoonworthy stuff, ya’ll.

 

Instead of creating a post about current titles that inspire hearts to flutter, I put out an open call for men and women to name their favorite Greatest Love Stories of All Time. Thanks to Mari Barnes*, Sarah Bewley, Leah Canzoneri, Kait Carson, Peggy Clayton, Joy Ross Davis, Missy Davis, Laura Di Silverio, Saword Broyles Ellis, Terri Gault, Courtney Carter Girton, Sherry Harris, Cynthia Kuhn, Joyce Laferrera, Marj Lilley, Alice Loweecy, Gary Miller, Sylvia Nickels, Debbie York Parker, Nanci Rathbun, Jeanie Smith, Ellis Vidler, and Lynn Chandler Willis for their wonderful suggestions.  *drawing winner  🙂

 

Books are listed in alphabetical order by title, and where available, links to the Greatest Love Stories are included.  Click on the titles and read more about them.               

 

At Home in Mitford” by Jan Karon

“Cinderella Story” by Wendy Logia

Come Rain or Come Shine” by Jan Karon

Dr. Zhivago” by Boris Pasternak

Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte

Lonesome Dove” by Larry McMurtry

Outlander” by Diana Gabaldon

Persuasion” by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen

Shadow of the Moon” by MM Kaye

Somewhere in Time” by Richard Matheson

Soulless” by Gail Carriger

The Far Pavilions” by MM Kaye

The Last of the Mohicans” by James Fenimore Cooper 

The Notebook” by Nicholas Sparks

The Princess Bride” by William Goldman

The Scarlet Pimpernel” by Baroness Orczy

The Second Coming” by Walker Percy

The Thorn Birds” by Colleen McCullough

 

Are you thinking romantic, weak-at-the-knees thoughts?

Our work is done.  😉    

 

Photo credit:  Patti Phillips

 

 

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