non-fiction

Pulitzer Prize – 2017

 

PulitzerPrizeMedal

The Pulitzer Prize is an award given for work published the previous year in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature, and the arts in the United States. Joseph Pulitzer, an innovative newspaper publisher, endowed Columbia University in New York City with $2 million in his 1904 will. Columbia was to create the School of Journalism, as well as scholarships and prizes to promote excellence in certain fields. The intent of the gift was “for the encouragement of public service, public morals, American literature, and the advancement of education."

 

The President of Columbia has the honor of presenting the yearly awards selected by the Pulitzer Prize board. Pulitzer has evolved over the decades and an expanded prize list now also includes the digital age. The judging is rigorous and to win is considered by many to be the pinnacle in a career.

Click on the titles to read more about each of the books.
 

Fiction 2017

Presented for distinguished fiction published in book form during the previous year by an American author, preferably dealing with American life. Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).
 

The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday)

"For a smart melding of realism and allegory that combines the violence of slavery and the drama of escape in a myth that speaks to contemporary America."

Other finalists:

Imagine Me Gone, by Adam Haslett (Little, Brown)

The Sport of Kings, by C. E. Morgan (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

 

General Nonfiction 2017

For a distinguished and appropriately documented book of nonfiction by an American author that is not eligible for consideration in any other category. Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).
 

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond (Crown)

"For a deeply researched exposé that showed how mass evictions after the 2008 economic crash were less a consequence than a cause of poverty."

Other finalists:

In a Different Key: The Story of Autism, by John Donvan and Caren Zucker (Crown)

The Politics of Mourning: Death and Honor in Arlington National Cemetery, by Micki McElya (Harvard University Press)

 

Congratulations to all for this wonderful achievement.  🙂

 

Please visit www.pulitzer.org for more information and for the list of prizewinners in other disciplines.

 

Literary Cookbooks

 

 

bookcover-outlander-kitchen-cookbook

 

What cook can resist a great new cookbook?

Even better, what foodie/avid reader can resist a cookbook created by his/her favorite author?

 

The following twelve cookbooks have been recommended by the readers of Nightstand Book Reviews as part of their literary and/or cookbook collections. The cookbooks would definitely make a fun gift to a fan of any of the authors. There are some pretty famous writers in the mix and many of the cookbooks have been nominated for awards.  🙂  If you have tried any of the recipes, please let us know in the comments.

 

Click on the book title to learn more about the featured recipes.

 

"Cooking with Jane Austen" – Kirstin Olsen

 

"Food to Die For" – Patricia Cornwell, Marlene Brown

 

"Goldy’s Kitchen Cookbook" – Diane Mott Davidson


"Jan Karon’s Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader" – Jan Karon

 

"KP Authors Cook Their Books" – 11 Kindle Press authors

 

"Mystery Writers of America Cookbook" – Kate White, editor; famous mystery writer contributors

 

"The Cat Who Cookbook" – Lilian Jackson Braun

 

"The Cozy Cookbook" – Laura Childs & other bestselling cozy writers

 

"The Hemingway Cookbook" – Craig Boreth

 

"The Outlander Kitchen: The Official Outlander Companion Cookbook" – Theresa Carle-Sanders

 

"Yashim Cooks Istanbul: Culinary Adventures in the Ottoman Kitchen" – Jason Goodwin

 

"Winnie the Pooh’s Teatime Cookbook" – A.A. Milne
 

 

Happy cooking!  🙂

 


 

The National Book Awards 2016

 

NationalBookFoundationLogo

“The mission of the National Book Foundation and the National Book Awards is to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of great writing in America.” *

 

The National Book Award is an American literary prize administered by the National Book Foundation. There are twenty judges for the competition, five in each of the categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry and Young People’s Literature. The judges are a mix of writers, librarians and booksellers. This year, American publishers submitted books published between December 1, 2015 and November 30, 2016, written by American authors. The winners were announced on November 16, 2016. Each Winner will receive a prize of $10,000 each. Each Finalist will receive a prize of $1,000 each. 

 

The winners are indicated in red. Click on the authors’ names to discover information about the books.

 

Fiction Finalists

 

Nonfiction Finalists:

 

Poetry Finalists:

 

Young People's Literature Finalists:

 

Congratulations to all the finalists and winners!  🙂

 

*www.nationalbook.org

 

 

“It’s Not About the Coffee” by Howard Behar, with Janet Goldstein

 

Book Cover - It's Not About the Coffee

Howard Behar’s “It’s Not About the Coffee,” discusses the principles underlying the building of a world famous brand.

 

Behar spent about 20 years in various senior leadership roles at Starbucks. Despite the fact that he did not have an MBA, he and head of the company Howard Schulz, hit it off and Behar became the one to move the Operations forward and make Starbucks profitable. At the time Starbucks only had 28 stores.

 

Behar’s belief is that a company will thrive if it is built on a ‘People First’ philosophy.

His emphasis was not on the bottom line, but rather for the employees to know “Why are you here? Are you in the right place? Are you doing what makes you happy?”

 

This was a shift away from just selling the product and pushing the sale, to service and providing the best product with a smile. It was his sincere goal to make the customers happy to be in that store/chain. If that happened, then customers would come back again and again. An effective approach? Definitely. Today there are over 21,000 stores worldwide – over 11,000 in the USA alone.

 

“It’s Not About the Coffee” breaks the Principles of Personal Leadership into ten chapters:

 

1. Know Who You Are

2. Know Why You’re Here

3. Think Independently

4. Build Trust

5. Listen for the Truth

6. Be Accountable

7. Take Action

8. Face Challenge

9. Practice Leadership

10. Dare to Dream

 

Through it all, Behar appears to set aside the model of manager as a ‘me, my way’ leader and instead chooses the model of ‘we can work together in order to create the best result.’

 

Granted, there has to be a decent product to sell, but Behar’s guidelines in “It’s Not About the Coffee” give value to the employee as a thinking, contributing being, capable of being a partner in the success of the company.

 

Starbucks as a company hasn’t always made the best choices in the eyes of its customers – the logo change a few years back, the red holiday cup this year – but, think about it. What other company (besides Coke) has this kind of customer loyalty that lights up the internet with pro/con opinions when something changes? If you are a Starbucks customer, you are welcomed at each and every store, made to feel at home by its very décor, served with a smile and as you leave with that (some would say) overpriced cup of coffee, you know that you’ll come back again.

 

That satisfied customer feel is something that all companies should strive to deliver. It’s why I never go back to some (other) stores, why some chains fail in tough times, why I will return time after time to certain shops, even if they don’t always have what I need.

 

Full disclosure: I am a loyal Starbucks customer. It’s not because they brew the best cup of coffee in the world; I don’t think they do. But, they deliver consistency, familiarity, a comfortable environment, a decent product, and most of all, wonderful service from pleasant employees wherever I go in the country.

 

When I saw “It’s Not About the Coffee” for sale in an airport, I picked it up, curious about the business model that would take a regional company to international success story in a couple of decades. Great read for anyone who is interested in seeing how one of the guys at the top did it.

 

 

Reader Favorites – New Reviews 2014

 

Book Cover - Upstairs at the White House

It’s always fun to discover which new reviews get the most attention during the year. The most popular reviews were ReTweeted dozens of times, shared on Facebook, and Google+, and got some attention on Pinterest. There were old titles, new titles, fiction and non-fiction, seasoned authors and debut authors in the mix. Several were best sellers.

 

In case you missed the reviews, here are the 2014 favorites on NightstandBookReviews in alphabetical order by author. Click on the titles and take a look:

 

Lucy Burdette, “Appetite for Murder

 

Robert Dugoni, “My Sister’s Grave

 

Robert Dugoni, “The Conviction

 

Sarah Graves, “Triple Witch

 

Edith Maxwell, “A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die

 

Leigh Perry, “A Skeleton in the Family

 

MJ Rose, “The Book of Lost Fragrances

 

Barbara Ross, “Clammed Up

 

Daniel Silva, “The English Girl

 

JB West & ML Katz, “Upstairs at the White House

 

Lynn Chandler Willis, “The Rising


Happy reading!

 

“Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand

 

Book Cover - Unbroken

Resilient: Attribute of someone who can "bounce back" after shock or injury, whether of the physical or psychological kind.

 

Before Louis Zamperini, the subject of Hillenbrand’s “Unbroken,” became an Olympic runner, he had been a juvenile delinquent, getting into so much trouble that some thought he might not survive his teenaged years. He was restless, reckless and unimpressed by boundaries or rules, outsmarting his targets at every turn. His parents tried, but were unable to rein him in. He was unbowed by physical or verbal threats. Then in high school, his brother helped save Zamperini from himself by persuading the principal to let him race. Over the next year, training consisted of being hit with a stick, running over hills and trails, and running until he dropped. Eventually, running was all he wanted to do.

 

As he matured, he became one of the best distance runners in the world, but WW2 broke out and Zamperini’s future changed. He joined the Army Air Corps, and then was shot down in the Pacific after Pearl Harbor. Despite the ordeal of drifting over 1000 miles in open seas for 47 days with no provisions and surrounded by sharks, he and another airman survived, only to be captured by the Japanese once they reached land in the Marshall Islands. His non-stop harrowing experience at the hands of torturers who never heard of the Geneva Convention would have broken a different man, but Zamperini had an incredible inner strength that brought him through. Resilience.

 

This non-fiction account of his courage and endurance in the face of inconceivable challenges has been on the NYT bestseller list for over 165 weeks. In “Unbroken,” Hillenbrand’s descriptions are gritty, raw and oh, so real. I smelled the decaying bodies. I was in the water when the enemy aircraft shot at the raft. I was terrified when Watanabe (a guard who singled him out) came close and demonstrated the worst form of man’s inhumanity to man.

 

We civilians would hope that this kind of mistreatment does not occur if our loved ones in the military are wounded or captured by the enemy. We also hope that they will return to us mentally and emotionally unscarred by whatever traumas they have experienced, but we know this is not always the case. Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome is a very real possibility for people serving at the front lines and while nobody gave it a name in WW2, Zamperini must have been a clear example. That Zamperini was capable of forgiveness years later is remarkable in itself, but his action of forgiveness moved even his former enemies.

 

Hillenbrand has shown once again that truth is sometimes more riveting than fiction – remember her engrossing retelling of the story of “Seabiscuit?”

 

Zamperini died July 2, 2014 at the age of 97. His son, Luke, gives talks about his father’s inspirational life and Zamperini’s legacy will also live on in an upcoming movie.

 

Please visit www.laurahillenbrandbooks.com for more information about future plans for “Unbroken.”

 

 

“The Southern Living Garden Book”

 

Book Cover - Southern Living Garden Book

 

Many of you have seen photos of a variety of flowers and shrubs in my garden. “The Southern Living Garden Book” is my go-to gardening reference whenever I want to expand the beds and need to research compatible plants and shrubs.

 

My hectic travel schedule defeated any year-round gardening plan I had while living in perpetually drought-stricken north Texas.  The intense heat required me to partner with neighbors or landscapers so that thirsty plants could be nurtured during the many 100+ degree weeks I was away. Eventually, I downsized the gardening attempts to a few pots on the patio.

 

Interestingly enough, the most successful arrangement involved two enthusiastic neighborhood children – eight and ten year old boys. I can only imagine the wild water fights on my patio while the flowers were getting their daily drinks, but my plants never looked better than during that summer.

 

But, now that I’m in North Carolina and my traveling days are severely reduced, I am ready for more extensive gardening adventures once more and my savvy cousin-in-law (a Master Gardener) recognized a need. “The Southern Living Garden Book,” contains over 7,000 plant listings, more than 1,000 color photos, additional color illustrations and new plant hardiness maps.

 

An important part of any gardening book is a “What-can-I-grow-in-my-garden-with-its-special-needs?” chapter. The category is tackled nicely in the section referred to as the ‘Plant Selection Guide.’  There are thirty-four plant lists (with photos) that help with areas such as hedges, screens or borders and other specialty spots. There are pages devoted to showy perennials, attractive plants for birds, and a wealth of other information – all keyed for climate hardiness, sun and water needs.

 

If you are not fortunate enough to live within driving distance of a nursery, a list of mail-order garden suppliers is included in the resource directory contained near the end of the book.

 

“The Southern Living Garden Book” is a substantial coffee table size, meant to be studied and used as a planning guide. Great investment of less than $30. if you have a gardening vision in mind; a beautiful and practical addition to my shelves.