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Mostly lists and information about award books and other interesting lists of books, color coded as follows:

RED–Read since ~2000
PINK–Read before that
BLUE–To Be Read and Added to Goodreads

NOTE: Listings may not be complete and sources aren't always quoted but I'm working on that.

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Book Montage

Catherine 's to-read book montage

The Endless Steppe: Growing Up in Siberia
The Vanishing of Katharina Linden
Only You Can Save Mankind
Nice and Mean
Cruisers Book 1
The City of Ember
Crispin: The End of Time
Lost Goat Lane
Amelia Rules! Volume 1: The Whole World's Crazy
How I, Nicky Flynn, Finally Get a Life
As Simple as It Seems
Wolf Brother
The Ogre of Oglefort
The Pickle King

Catherine 's favorite books »

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Genreville Blog/Publishers’ Weekly Top SF, Fantasy, and Horror (2009)

Genreville accessed 121609

Top Books of 2009
November 3, 2009 PW's list of 2009's top 10 books doesn't include any genre titles and has been discussed quite a lot elsewhere, so I'm going to skip down to the SF/F/H and mass market top fives, which were compiled by yours truly. I considered only books that PW had reviewed, which means no tie-ins, no e-books, and no self-published books. Beyond that, these are pretty much the books I enjoyed the most this year, to the best of my recollection and with some caveats I'll mention below.


The Windup Girl
Paolo Bacigalupi (Night Shade)
Bacigalupi's powerful debut warns of dire ecological collapse and the evils of colonialism in an eerily plausible near future Thailand.

Lovecraft Unbound
Edited by Ellen Datlow (Dark Horse)
Editor extraordinaire Datlow assembles a phenomenal anthology of homages to pulp horror great H.P. Lovecraft, penned by an impressive slate of big-name horror authors.

The Devil's Alphabet
Daryl Gregory (Del Rey)
This subtle, eerie present-day horror novel mercilessly dissects and reassembles the classic narrative of a man returning to his smalltown birthplace, where the familiar folks have become strange creatures.

The City & the City
China Miéville (Del Rey)
Putting a quasi-fantastical twist on a classic police procedural story, Miéville delves deep into the psyches of city dwellers and the ways people blind themselves to reality.

Cherie Priest (Tor)
The dramatic first novel in Priest's Clockwork Century universe sends a determined 35-year-old single mom into a ruined city full of zombies and poison gas, where she must save her son from a mad inventor.

My longlist includes Catherynne M. Valente's Palimpsest, Peter Straub's American Fantastic Tales set, Robert Charles Wilson's Julian Comstock, and story collections by David Nickle and Lewis Shiner. I didn't consider series books because it's so difficult to judge them as single entities; for example, I quite enjoyed Daniel Abraham's The Price of Spring, but a) it doesn't stand well on its own and b) An Autumn War was better. I'm personally kind of stunned that there aren't more anthologies on that list; that is definitely a reflection of my reading habits this year, and not of the market.

Mass market:

Captive of Sin
Anna Campbell (Avon)
Campbell pulls out all the stops with this heart-wrenching historical romance. A hastily wed heiress must help her husband, a war hero, recover from post-traumatic stress that leaves him unable to bear human touch.

Gail Carriger (Orbit)
Carriger combines Victorian romance, supernatural creatures, steampunk sensibilities and a healthy dose of the bizarre in her hilarious debut.

A Dark Love
Margaret Carroll (Avon)
Carroll develops what could be a stock story of an abusive marriage into a pulse-pounding romantic thriller with a strong, inspiring heroine determined to save herself.

Child of Fire
Harry Connolly (Del Rey)
Connolly's intense first novel heralds the next generation of urban fantasy (city not required) with a nearly powerless hero who must rely on his smarts and threadbare ethics to survive.

Hunt at the Well of Eternity
Gabriel Hunt, as told to James Reasoner (Hard Case Crime)
Reasoner launches the Gabriel Hunt series with a fast-paced tale of purely entertaining Indiana Jones–like adventure, smartly updated for modern sensibilities.

Christian Science Monitor Best Fiction of 2009

Christian Science Monitor accessed 121609
Best books of 2009: fiction

What we here at the Monitor liked best in 2009.

Lark and Termite By Jayne Anne Phillips
Jayne Anne Phillips’s latest – set in the 1950s, split between Korea and West Virignia – is a rich, deeply poetic tale of extraordinary familial love. (Monitor review on 1/13/09)

The Help By Kathryn Stockett
In 1960s Jackson, Miss., a young white woman decides to interview the black maids in her hometown of Jackson, Miss. (Monitor review on 3/4/09)

The Weight of Heaven By Thrity Umrigar
Devastated by the loss of their child, an American couple try to rebuild their lives in India. (Monitor review on 4/10/09)

Woodsburner By John Pipkin
When Henry David Thoreau set the Concord woods on fire. (Monitor review on 5/25/09)

The Thing Around Your Neck By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A powerful, deftly assembled collection of short stories about Nigerians caught in the pull between Nigeria and the West. (Monitor review on 7/30/09)

Let the Great World Spin By Colum McCann
This gritty but lyrical novel follows the lives of various New Yorkers who watched Philippe Petit walk a tightrope between the World Trade Center towers on Aug. 7, 1974. (Monitor review on 7/24/09)

The Anthologist By Nicholson Baker
A poet’s severe writer’s block becomes the excuse for Nicholson Baker’s daft, brilliant, hilarious novel.(Monitor review on 9/28/09)

Love and Summer By William Trevor
A gentle, masterly tale of love and betrayal in a small Irish farm town. (Monitor review on 9/26/09)

A Gate at the Stairs By Lorrie Moore
Family, race, and religion mingle in this incisive coming-of-age novel about a college girl disillusioned by what she sees of adult life. (Monitor review on 9/18/09)

Mathilda Savitch By Victor Lodato
A sad, sharp, precocious teen struggles for a place in her parents’ hearts – and the world – after losing her older sibling. (Monitor review on 9/12/09)

The Children’s Book By A.S. Byatt
In her best novel since “Possession,” A.S. Byatt spins a tale from details of the life of children’s book author Edith Nesbit. (Monitor review on 10/9/09)

Wolf Hall By Hilary Mantel
The winner of this year’s Booker Prize offers a sympathetic and compelling portrayal of Thomas Cromwell, the power behind Henry VIII’s throne. (Monitor on 10/17/09)

Booklist Best First Novels (2009)

Top 10 First Novels: 2009. from booklistonline.com accessed 12/16/09

Hooper, Brad (author).

FEATURE. First published October 15, 2009 (Booklist).

Readers pick up a first novel with both excitement and trepidation. An untried author is always a reader’s gamble. But pick up the following first novels, all reviewed in Booklist over the past year, with no trepidation, only excitement.

Dream House. By Valerie Laken. HarperCollins, $24.95 (9780060840921).
Laken is masterful at character construction as she explores issues of race and class.

A Fortunate Age. By Joanna Smith Rakoff. Scribner, $26 (9781416590774).
This novel provides a pitch-perfect portrait of the generation that came of age in the 1990s.

Grace Hammer. By Sara Stockbridge. Norton, $23.95 (9780393067187).
Stockbridge deftly captures the mood of Dickensian London in this gripping debut.

The Invisible Mountain. By Carolina De Robertis. Knopf, $24.95 (9780307271631).
Words, so beautifully employed by this author, seem inadequate to convey the essence of this twentieth-century Uruguayan woman-centered family saga.

Lime Tree Can’t Bear Orange. By Amanda Smyth. Crown/Shaye Areheart, $23 (9780307460646). In lithe, lyrical prose, the author evokes the lush language of the West Indies and the modest lives lived at the mercy of fate.

Mathilda Savitch. By Victor Lodato. Farrar, $24 (9780374204006).
Lodato indelibly captures the fragile vulnerability and fearless bravado of adolescence.

Miles from Nowhere. By Anmi Mun. Riverhead, $21.95 (9781594488542).
There is nothing simplistic or sensationalized here as Mun, a writer of gravitas, portrays the dispossessed and the cast out.

The Moon Opera. By Bi Feiyu. Houghton, $18 (9780151012947).
At once a sad and lovely story, this slender novel on a rather narrow topic—the Peking Opera—nevertheless resonates with a clear, crystalline tone.

Precious. By Sandra Novack. Random, $25 (9781400066803).
Trouble simmers beneath the surface of a bucolic Pennsylvania town in Novack’s dramatic, elegantly rendered debut.

Under This Unbroken Sky. By Shandi Mitchell. HarperCollins, $25.99 (9780061774027).
The author’s screenwriting skills serve her well in this remarkable portrait of a Ukrainian farming family in Alberta during the late 1930s.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Midwest Connection Picks 12/09

From the Midwest Booksellers Association: six recent Midwest Connections picks. Under this marketing program, the association and member stores promote booksellers' handselling favorites that have a strong Midwest regional appeal:

The Chain Letter of the Soul: New and Selected Poems by Bill Holm (Milkweed Editions, $18, 9781571314444/157131444X). Hans Weyandt of Micawber's Books in St, Paul, Minn., said, "Bill Holm, one of Minnesota's greatest champions of the arts, passed away not too long ago. The Chain Letter of the Soul is his last book--a new and selected poems (heavy on the new) that is not at all one of those thrown-together collections. It is a great testament to his life and his writing."

Twisted Tree by Kent Meyers (Houghton Mifflin, $24, 9780151013890/0151013896). According to Nancy Simpson of Book Vault in Oskaloosa, Iowa, "Twisted Tree by Kent Meyers is one of those books that really grabs your attention in the first three pages and never lets go! It is actually the story of a human domino chain: the interrelated stories of what happens after one young girl in a very small town is killed. Meyers's character development is superb.... each character speaks by turns in the first person. Highly recommended."

Stray Affections by Charlene Baumbich (WaterBrook Press, $13.99, 9780307444714/0307444716). Nancy Simpson of Book Vault in Oskaloosa, Iowa, said, "What a bundle this book is! A combination of mystery, magic, joy, second chances, quirky characters and the blessings of God... all brought to light by the purchase of a snow globe at a flea market. This is an ideal book to read on a snowy winter day, snuggled up in a blanket, with a cup of hot chocolate beside you."

The Longest Night by Marion Dane Bauer and Ted Lewin (Holiday House, $17.95, 9780823420544/082342054X). Angie Grafstrom of Inspiration Hollow in Roseau, Minn., said, "The Longest Night by Marion Dane Bauer is a charming story about the winter solstice and the return of longer days. Its lyrical style and beautiful illustrations will make this an instant family classic to be shared with generations to come. Children will ask for this one over and over again!!"

Pioneer Girl: A True Story of Growing Up on the Prairie by Andrea Warren (Bison Books, $14.95, 9780803225268/0803225261). Carla Ketner of Chapters Books & Gifts in Seward, Neb., said, "This summer my 11-year-old niece and I visited Homestead National Monument in Beatrice, Nebraska, where we saw first-hand what Grace McCance Snyder, the 'pioneer girl' of Warren's book, would have encountered as a homesteader to this area in 1885. Pioneer Girl is an engaging, well-researched extension of our visit, and I just had to buy it for her for her birthday!"

Moose on the Loose by Kathy-Jo Wargin and John Bendall-Brunello (Sleeping Bear Press, $15.95, 9781585364275/1585364274). According to Bev Denor of LaDeDa Books & Beans in Manitowoc, Wis., "Home invasions are not funny--that is unless the invader is a moose who tries on your socks, scrubs up in your tub, and needs a kiss before snuggling into your bed for the night. Kathy-Jo Wargin's silly story told in rhyme, enhanced by John Bendall-Brunello's whimsical drawings, won't settle on your bookshelf for long... it is sure to be read again and again."

Monday, November 30, 2009

Telegraph's Novels of the year (2009)

from The Telegraph accessed 11/30/09
Novels of the year
Lorna Bradbury delves into the best of a notably fine year for fiction, including Hilary Mantel's Booker-winning Wolf Hall, Philip Roth's latest, The Humbling; Sebastian Faulks, Thomas Pynchon, Sarah Waters and A S Byatt also feature.

By Lorna Bradbury
Published: 6:30AM GMT 28 Nov 2009

In a notably strong year for literary fiction, it is striking how many novels have had an eye on the past. Sebastian Barry’s The Secret Scripture (Faber, £7.99), a novel haunted by modern Irish history, won the Costa Book of the Year; Marilynne Robinson’s Home (Virago, £7.99), set in Fifties America but harking back to the events of a century earlier, won the Orange Prize; and the Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to Herta Müller for her novels about Romanian history. Never has the state of the nation novel – though we have had those, too, in Sebastian Faulks’s occasionally sharp A Week in December (Hutchinson, £18.99) and Amanda Craig’s compassionate Hearts and Minds (Little, Brown, £12.99) – seemed so out of place.

But the novel that has dominated the year is Hilary Mantel’s magnificent Man Booker prize-winning Wolf Hall (Fourth Estate, £18.99), which turned Tudor history on its head by recasting Thomas Cromwell as the hero, and was every bit as good as it promised, delivering a vibrant portrait of the hitherto demonised enforcer who rose from bloodstained origins to serve in the court of Henry VIII. Though rooted in historical research and true to its times, the triumph of the novel is its modern sensibility which keeps it just the right side of pastiche.

In an overwhelmingly historical Booker shortlist, Sarah Waters’s The Little Stranger (Virago, £16.99), a chilling ghost story set in a decaying country mansion in the aftermath of the Second World War, stands out, as does A S Byatt’s The Children’s Book (Chatto & Windus, £18.99), which matches her Possession in its marriage of erudition and sheer readability. Based in part on the lives of the children’s writer E Nesbit and the sculptor Eric Gill, it follows a group of Arts and Crafts families at the turn of the century and shows up the dark side of creativity as well as the terrible carnage of a generation wiped out by the First World War.

This has also been the year of the octogenarian novel, with a clutch of writers producing books up there with their best work. William Trevor’s Love and Summer (Viking, £18.99), a portrait of a doomed love affair in Fifties Ireland, is driven, as ever, by the forces of shame, regret and quiet desperation – and is quite the most moving novel I have read this year. Anita Brookner’s Strangers (Fig Tree, £16.99) is similarly caught up with the past and, like Trevor, Brookner succeeds brilliantly in fashioning a somehow uplifting story out of the debris of human failings. This impressive novel, her 24th, examines a distinctly solitary life – as Brookner’s fans have come to expect – and portrays the twilight of a life with wit and compassion.

Jane Gardam has delighted readers of Old Filth by returning again (after having done so several years ago in a short story, “The People of Privilege Hill”) to the judge Edward Feathers (Filth) in The Man in the Wooden Hat (Chatto & Windus, £14.99). She tells the story this time from the point of view of Filth’s wife, Betty, previously glimpsed only through her husband’s memories, and the result is captivating. If Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn (Viking, £17.99) was one of several startling omissions from the Booker shortlist, it was baffling that The Man in the Wooden Hat didn’t make it even as far as the longlist.

Further afield, there have been fine novels from Lorrie Moore (A Gate at the Stairs, Faber, £16.99), Margaret Atwood (The Year of the Flood, Bloomsbury, £18.99) and Thomas Pynchon (Inherent Vice, Jonathan Cape, £18.99). And the South African novelist J M Coetzee produced the final volume in his trio of fictionalised memoirs, Summertime (Harvill Secker, £17.99). If the first two books, Boyhood and Youth, were relatively straightforward accounts of Coetzee’s early years, this is a much more artful exercise that takes the form of a series of imagined interviews between an English academic writing Coetzee’s biography and a series of people who knew the great novelist in the early Seventies. It is a sly account of the impossibility of the biographer’s art in which Coetzee emerges, in an extraordinarily self-lacerating portrait, as a lacklustre writer and a failed seducer.

At the other end of the seduction spectrum, the great actor hero of Philip Roth’s The Humbling (Jonathan Cape, 12.99) is wildly successful between the sheets. Though elderly and dejected after the disintegration of his acting career, he manages to bed not just a young lesbian but to initiate a threesome with a woman he picks up in a bar. This is every ageing lothario’s fantasy, and well deserves its place on the Bad Sex Award shortlist, but it is redeemed by moments of exquisite writing. A more surprising inclusion for the prize is Jonathan Littell’s The Kindly Ones (Chatto & Windus, £20, tr by Charlotte Mandell), an epic novel written in French by an American Jew in which the Holocaust is retold through the eyes of one of its perpetrators.

The final flourish of excitement this year was with the publication of Vladimir Nabokov’s ultimately disappointing The Original of Laura: a Novel in Fragments (Penguin, £25), the unfinished last offering from the great stylist which has languished in a Swiss vault since his death. But there have been other more fulfilling literary discoveries on offer. The reinvention of the Chilean novelist Roberto Bolaño, whose books have sold in vast numbers since his death in 2003, gathered pace with the publication in English of his final work, 2666 (Picador, £8.99, tr by Natasha Wimmer), as well as Amulet (Picador, £14.99, tr by Chris Andrews).

Similarly, numerous novels by the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig, who committed suicide in a pact with his second wife in Brazil in 1942, were brought back into print, including a new translation of The Post Office Girl (Sort Of Books, £7.99, tr by Joel Rotenberg) and his memoir The World of Yesterday (Pushkin Press, £20, tr by Anthea Bell). And Suite Francaise (2006), the unfinished sequence of novels by Irène Némirovsky, the French-Russian novelist killed in the Holocaust, was succeeded by the translation of another of her books, The Dogs and the Wolves (Chatto & Windus, £16.99, tr by Sandra Smith). A biography by Olivier Philipponnat and Patrick Lienhardt follows in the spring.

In short stories, Alice Munro’s Too Much Happiness (Chatto & Windus, £17.99) and A L Kennedy’s What Becomes (Jonathan Cape, £16.99) were unsurpassed. Two reworkings of great poets stand out: Rupert Brooke in Jill Dawson’s The Great Lover (Sceptre, £7.99) and John Clare in Adam Foulds’s The Quickening Maze (Jonathan Cape, £12.99).

And at the lighter end of things I recommend the latest volume of Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole diaries, The Prostrate Years (Michael Joseph, £18.99), Elinor Lipman’s The Family Man (Headline, £19.99) and Audrey Niffenegger’s Her Fearful Symmetry (Jonathan Cape, £18.99).

Saturday, November 21, 2009

8 Books Featuring Inventive (and Immersive) Fantasy Worlds

From Flashlight Worthy accessed 11/21/09
8 Books Featuring Inventive (and Immersive) Fantasy Worlds
a book list by Kimberly Pauley, author of Sucks To Be Me and founder of YA (& Kids!) Books Central
shelved under Sci Fi & Fantasy
There’s absolutely nothing else like losing yourself in a book. Some people might point out that movies can also suck you in, but there’s just nothing like a book to spark your own imagination.

When I’m reading a great novel — one where the author has created a world that truly captures your mind — it stays with me long after I’ve finished reading. You know the kinds of books I’m talking about: the ones where you can see the world in your head. The ones that really amaze me are the inventive and immersive fantasy worlds that some authors build — places you’d like to visit, even if they’re quite scary. Here are a just a few of my favorites (and there are many, many more great fantasy books I’d list if I had the time!).

Abarat by Clive Barker
The incredible world of Abarat was born first in pictures, not words. Besides being an accomplished author (and a very interesting guy; I chatted with him on the phone for an hour once for an interview and he is just seriously cool), Barker is also a great painter. The richness and wildness of his paintings (think multi-headed fellows and all kinds of craziness) comes through in his story. Abarat is a world of islands, each one representing a different hour of the day, each one more bizarre than the last.

Sabriel by Garth Nix
This book combines two loves of mine: a strong female heroine and a well designed fantasy world. It is the first book in a series (and I love the rest as well) and wakes up the nether reaches of your mind as you descend into a world of necromancy, magic, and the undead.

The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
Okay, this is kind of cheating since technically this is three books bound up into one: Dragonflight, Dragonquest, and The White Dragon. But it would be very hard to pick just one Pern book (and heavens, there are so many of them to choose from now!). My personal favorite is probably The White Dragon, but they are all wonderfully detailed glimpses into a world that touches on both the science fiction and fantasy sides of the fence. And there are dragons. What else could you ask for?

Dune by Frank Herbert
Two (rather horrible) movies have been made of this book and honestly, the rest of the series doesn’t thrill me (though I haven’t tried his son’s prequel books). But Dune is practically an archetype now. The world Herbert created of the barren desert planet Arakis, war-torn and desolate but capable of a stark beauty... ah, it’s the stuff classics are made of.
This book also appears on 6 Classic Sci-Fi Books You Should Read

A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony
I imagine some would groan at the inclusion of a Xanth book in a “serious” list since the entire series is the stuff of puns and silliness (though, hey, there are messages in there too). But millions of readers have found themselves laughing and giggling their way through the world of Xanth time and time again. A Spell for Chameleon is the first book, but there are many, many more.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
I realize I should probably be listing The Lord of the Rings, rather than The Hobbit, but I’m going with this one because it was the first book that I (and many others) read set in Tolkein’s masterwork: Middle-earth. And you have to list Tolkein in any list of fantasy worlds because he created the world; the world that other writers crib from every day. Geez, the man even came up with a whole Elven language!

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis, illustrated by Pauline Baynes
The Narnia Chronicles also have to be present on any list of influential fantasy worlds. (There might be a law to that effect somewhere.) Countless children (and adults) now dream of stepping into a normal, humdrum piece of furniture and coming out the other side into a world of magic and wonder.

Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
This book (and Through the Looking Glass) are so ingrained in our consciousness now that references appear to it everywhere: movies, music, and in other books. And no wonder (ha, punny). Wonderland is simply amazing and utterly fantastical. Entered into via a mirror, everything is in reverse and you’d best know how to play chess if you want to get around.

The Best Books of 2009 for Tweens

From Flashlight Worthy accessed 11/21/09
The Best Books of 2009 for Tweens
a book list by Kristen Gladden, Middle School Librarian Extraordinaire
shelved under Best Books of 2009, Best of..., and Tween
Tweens are my life. I’ve raised already two, and I'm raising my third and last now. As a school librarian, I work with them all day. So I think I know a thing or two about tweens.

In my experience, you can't raise readers. Readers are born. Kids want stories — good ones — great ones even. It’s our job to give them great stories. So here’s a list — in no particular order — of what I think are the best books for Tweens that came out in 2009. (Ok, I admit it. Some of them are originally from 2008. Their inclusion is explained below.)

Gone by Michael Grant
Michael Grant’s Gone hearkens back to a Golding world where kids are left to their own devices to survive. The best part about this book that separates it from another meager attempt at a Lord of the Flies imitation is that some of these kids have superpowers. And to up the stakes even more — they disappear on their fourteenth birthday. No adults, the bullies are in charge, and lightning-charged hands? I’m in. (This is a book from 2008 but has a sequel, listed below, that was one of my picks for 2009.)

Hunger: A Gone Novel by Michael Grant
Grant’s sequel to Gone. The kids have survived the FAYZ — and each other — for three months, but things are looking worse. Kids begin to group themselves into the “haves” and “have-nots” — who has the power and who doesn’t. Food is scarce, and if that isn’t bad enough, something out there is very, very hungry.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney
Kinney strikes again in his fourth installment of in the Wimpy Kid series starring the hapless Greg Heffley. As Greg looks forward to the dog days of summer glued to his video games, his mom has something else planned—a family retreat. Tweens won’t be let down as they will be eager to follow Greg and his vacation shenanigans.
This book also appears on The Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series

Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Katsa can kill grown men with one swift move. Katsa will save the kingdom. She is graced. No longer wanting to be used by her uncle for her powers to kill, Katsa, a young Graceling, breaks away and forms an underground group of renegades who save the kingdom from the evil that surround them. Innocence, romance, violence, action. Boys and girls will love this book. Imagine that. (Another 2008 book, but one that didn't catch on until 2009.)
This book also appears on Books in 140's Favorite Reads of 2008

Fire by Kristin Cashore
In Cashore’s companion novel to Graceling, she manages to capture conspiracy, tragedy and romance. Spies, thieves, and mind-control. Who can resist? This book is almost a grown-up version of Graceling. Nonetheless, readers who love Graceling will devour Fire.

Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter
In the third installment of the Gallagher Girls series, Cammie thinks she’s on summer vacation visiting her best friend, Macey, in Boston. However, spies don’t rest, and Cammie and Macey find themselves in the middle of another adventure — this time a kidnapping plot! The truth, as always, will leave readers wanting more.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
The Unconsecrated. The Undead. Living corpses. What tween wouldn’t find a forest full of zombies simply, well, yummy? Carrie Ryan’s debut novel is loaded with lore, romance (yes! In a zombie novel!), heart-wrenching what-would-you-do-if? decisions, and best of all... pictures you will never get out of your head: dare I say it? A whole forest of them? Yummy!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Survivor on crack for tweens — yep and a love story to boot. Suzanne Collins manages to lure readers with tyranny, debauchery, starvation, romance, and murder. Katniss Everdeen is a survivor who, in gladiator fashion, manages to fight other children to the death in this post-apocalyptic drama. (Also 2008, but again, its sequel below is one of the best of 2009.)
This book also appears on Can't-Put-Down Teen Books

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
In the second Hunger Games installment, all the players are back — Peeta, Gale, and Katniss. The 75th Hunger Games must be celebrated, and the President of Panem will not be denied his revenge.

The 10 Best Books of 2009 for Book Clubs

from Flashlight Worthy accessed 11/21/09
The 10 Best Books of 2009 for Book Clubs
a book list by Michelle Kerns, Book Examiner for Examiner.com
shelved under Best Books of 2009, Best of..., and Book Club Recommendations
What makes a good book club selection?

You'd think a book with great writing alone would do the trick. If it's a novel, some memorable characters and a kicky plot are nice; if it's non-fiction, something that tells a story that draws you in or that explains a concept remarkably well.

These are the things great books are made of. But are they what great book club selections are made of? I say, no.

The best selections for book clubs are ones that get people thinking. And when people get thinking, it's only a matter of time before the inevitable occurs — they start arguing.

If no one ever argues passionately over your book club reads, don't blame the members for going mute — the books probably don't contain much worth arguing over. Plenty of books are worth reading, but only a fraction of those inspire a heated discussion.

So, harness your urge to engage in a fracas, book clubbers, and pick some books that will really get the fur flying at your next meeting. Here are the 10 best books of 2009 to get you started.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman
There don't seem to be many middle-of-the-roaders when it comes to this book of magic in an all too imperfect world — people either hate it passionately or love it desperately. (I fall in the "love it desperately" camp.) Don't get hoodwinked by the delusion that this is Harry Potter for Grown-ups: it's much, much more. And regardless of how much in the text you disagree over, there is one thing that no one can argue — Mr. Grossman's writing is a thing of beauty and a joy forever.

Complaint: From Minor Moans to Principled Protests by Julian Baggini
Mr. Baggini (whose name I can never, ever read without instantly thinking "Nagini") argues that the usefulness of complaining against really awful things like tyranny and injustice is debased by the habit we've fallen into of complaining about everything from our jobs to how things used to be better back in the day.
This book is great to yammer about, not just because Mr. Baggini picks controversial examples to back up his theory, but because he manages to poke just about everybody — liberals, conservatives, Christians, Muslims — in the eye while doing so. If your group can't get worked up about this book, you guys are either a bunch of Pacifists or zombies.

The Adderall Diaries: A Memoir of Moods, Masochism, and Murder by Stephen Elliott
Where to begin with this book? It's part murder mystery and part personal confession with a hell of a lot of overlap between the two.
Most true crime tomes keep the author firmly out of the picture and do their best to present an unbiased look at the characters involved. Mr. Elliott doesn't even bother pretending to do this. Every aspect of the crime is seen through his perspective, heavily laced with lots of masochistic sex and alcohol and Adderall and unhappiness. It sounds awful, I know, but the result is incredible. Read this in your book club and you'll find yourself arguing vehemently about things you never imagined you'd be talking about in a book club. Definitely NOT a book for mother-daughter groups.

Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less are the Keys to Sustainability by David Owen
Try this quote on for size: "A sensitive person's first reaction to the mounting evidence that Americans, especially young Americans, may be losing interest in directly experiencing the natural world is likely to be one of regret and loss, or even despair. But is it necessarily a bad thing, globally speaking? It seems perverse to say so, but sitting indoors playing video games is easier on the environment than any number of (formerly) popular outdoor recreational activites...."
Mr. Owen's Green Metropolis is an apologia of the greatness and greenness of the Big City, particularly — wait for it, wait for it — New York City. (I am now rending my garments, tearing my hair, donning sackcloth and ashes, breaking out the potsherds, at yet ANOTHER reference to the City of Cities.) Suburban book clubs in particular should read this one. The fun part isn't just freaking out at everything Mr. Owen says, but trying to poke holes in his reasoning.

Stitches: A Memoir by David Small
I just can't enthuse enough about this graphic novel/memoir of Mr. Small's childhood in an emotionally barren family. It's a lovely tome for a book club since you'll end up discussing dysfunctional families and childhood trauma along with what makes a good graphic novel and whether or not graphic novels, especially ones of this caliber, should be considered literature. (Psst. They should.)
This book also appears on The Best Books of 2009

Generosity: An Enhancement by Richard Powers
Is there anybody who doesn't like to argue about whether or not the human genome should be tampered with? And if so, how much? To just cure disease? To prevent painful conditions? What about changing behaviors?
Would it be acceptable if it made everyone happy all the time, even after their family was slaughtered? What's nice about Generosity is that it deals with some hard science-y issues in a fictional setting so that those of you yonks who slept through biology in school can still get interested in the conversation.

Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading by Lizzie Skurnick
This book really should be a Ladies book club all by itself. It features dozens of snappy little essays about the books that girls of the late 60s, 70s, and 80s grew up reading, — from Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret to Jacob Have I Loved — but with an adult woman's perspective. Get a bunch of ladies of a Certain Age around reading this — and re-reading all of those books they haven't thought of for years — and you'll never run out of things to jaw over.

Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future
by Chris Mooney, Sheril Kirshenbaum
I know it seems like I've included an awful lot of science-themed books on this list, but the gap between scientific advances and the average person's understanding and interest in science is enough to make a physicist weep. Unscientific America addresses this issue head-on and the authors aren't afraid to make some pretty harsh statements. They are also fairly obvious (and sometimes, just a tad bit hoity) about their political and social leanings. If you can't manage to get your book club worked up into a frenzy over any other book, this could be the tome you're looking for.

Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America
by Barbara Ehrenreich
Here's some positive news for book clubs: this little tome about how the gleeful focus on positive thinking is basically killing us all and threatening to end the world as we know it offers multiple opportunities for free-for-all arguments. Those of us who have never been optimistic a single day in our entire lives won't see what there is to fuss over, but the perky ones among your group will react to this book as they would to a leg amputation. Fun, fun, fun.

A Friend of the Family by Lauren Grodstein
A book club just isn't a book club without at least one depressing tome about a family falling apart and loss of innocence and all that. (Some book clubs read little else. My opinion on innocence? It's highly overrated.) A Friend of the Family fits that bill nicely, but there's a lot more here to discuss and disagree over than your average family drama.
The story is told by Pete, a devoted father whose urge to protect his teenaged son from the advances of a much older, shady-past woman drives him to tear his entire life apart. Or is it really the "devoted father" part that is driving him? Maybe it's something much more unpleasant? Oh, goody.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Popular fiction by women

from Guardian's Book Blog 11/11/09

Don't patronise popular fiction by women

I'm fed up with seeing some of our best novelists written off as 'chick lit' – you don't see the same belittling line taken with male writers

Until May, I had two jobs. I was a writer, with three novels out, and I was an editor at one of the biggest publishers in the UK. I was lucky enough to work with many bestselling authors, but eventually writing won out, and now I am a crazy person sitting in my pyjamas eating jaffa cakes and wondering from where the crying baby in the basement flat suddenly materialised.

When I was an editor, my books were in the genre known for some reason as "commercial women's fiction". We – my colleagues and fellow publishers – loved these books and knew the truth, which is that books bought by women prop up the book trade, and that we should be proud both of the product itself and the diversion it gives hardworking people who want a good read. Now I've left, I'm looking at it from the other side – and what I see alarms me.

I am passionate about this kind of writing, but it seems to me to come in for an extraordinary amount of bile and patronising comment which I rarely see applied to novels by men in the same vein. Books – both fiction and non-fiction – reflecting women's lives, whether young or old, are labelled. Hence "chick-lit": often a derogatory term used to mean books by young women drinking chardonnay and being silly about boys, without the thought that novels by women about women might accurately reflect their lives and thus have merit or, at the very least, relevance.

It winds me up that books about young women are seen as frivolous and silly, while books about young men's lives that cover the same topics, are reviewed and debated, seen as valid and interesting contributions to the current social and media scene. Take anything from Toby Young's How To Lose Friends and Alienate People to The Contortionist's Handbook to Toby Litt or David Nicholls's One Day, or the works of Dave Eggers and Jonathan Lethem. Often these books are far more sensationalist than those by the authors' female counterparts: about how many women the protagonists have slept with, how many drugs they've done, what a crazy nihilistic time they're having in London / New York. I'm not saying they're bad books: Jonathan Lethem is one of my favourite writers and One Day is probably my book of the year. I'm just saying they aren't belittled and dismissed in the same way on the grounds of their subject-matter.

The truth is, women happily read books (and watch films and TV) aimed primarily at men. That's because women buy more and read more, full stop. They read thrillers, travel books, biographies – and yet the majority of these books are marketed for men. Women know they'll like it and give it a go. They'll happily pick up a copy of Porno, with a plastic female sex doll on the front. But men rarely try women's fiction, because they've been conditioned to think they can't pick up a book with a pink cover.

It's a real shame, because if you want to read someone who reflects women (and men's) lives with authenticity and sharp observation, someone whose books will absorb you and make you cry, there are so many options. You can do no better than Lisa Jewell or Emily Barr, or the high priestess of "commercial women's fiction", Marian Keyes. For me, The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank is note-perfect, one of the best books of the last 10 years. Lauren Weisberger's The Devil Wears Prada is like a thriller of first-job hell, it's so tautly written. And Jennifer Weiner (Good in Bed, In Her Shoes, Little Earthquakes) is a genius. Her books are totally gripping, beautifully written, heartbreaking and hilarious. But I have yet to see a review of her which reflects this, except in magazines like Heat, which takes its commercial fiction seriously.

And don't get me started on the criminally undervalued women writers of the previous half-century: Dorothy Whipple, Elizabeth Taylor, Barbara Pym, even Joanna Trollope, who I think should be taught for A-level, she's so good.

It amuses me when people say, "Oh, it's a bit like Jane Austen", to denote a writer of romantic novels or sharp-eyed stories about mousy young women (Barbara Pym is always being compared to Jane Austen, I guess because they both write about spinsters. She's nothing like her.) There's something a little patronising about the tone of it, whereas books by young men are compared to older male writers as if it's a coronation, a welcoming to the literary canon. And quite often I'm left wanting to go – huh? I don't get it. There's room for both. And I know which I'd prefer to read.
Harriet Evans Posted by Harriet Evans Wednesday 11 November 2009 15.51 GMT guardian.co.uk

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Roald Dahl Funny Prize (2008-10)

Louise Yates and Louise Rennison have won 2010 Roald Dahl Funny prizes. Yates took the Funniest Book for Children Aged Six and Under award for Dog Loves Books, while Rennison's Withering Tights topped the Funniest Book for Children Aged Seven to Fourteen category.

2010 The shortlist

The Funniest Book for Children Aged Six and Under

Angelica Sprocket's Pockets by Quentin Blake
Dogs Don’t Do Ballet by Anna Kemp, illustrated by Sara Ogilvie
Dog Loves Books by Louise Yates --Winner!
The Nanny Goat's Kid by Jeanne Willis, illustrated by Tony Ross
One Smart Fish by Chris Wormell
The Scariest Monster in the World by Lee Weatherly, illustrated by Algy Craig Hall

The Funniest Book for Children Aged Seven to Fourteen

The Clumsies Make a Mess by Sorrel Anderson, illustrated by Nicola Slater
Einstein's Underpants and How They Saved the World by Anthony McGowan
The Incredible Luck of Alfie Pluck by Jamie Rix, illustrated by Craig Shuttlewood
Mr Stink by David Walliams, illustrated by Quentin Blake
The Ogre of Oglefort by Eva Ibbotson
Withering Tights by Louise Rennison --Winner!

Funniest book for children aged six and under:
2009 Finalists:
* The Great Dog Bottom Swap by Peter Bently, illustrated by Mei Matsuoka
* Octopus Socktopus by Nick Sharratt
* Elephant Joe Is a Spaceman! by David Wojtowycz
* Crocodiles Are the Best Animals of All! by Sean Taylor, illus. by Hannah Shaw
* Mr Pusskins Best in Show by Sam Lloyd -- Winner!
* The Pencil by Allan Ahlberg, illustrated by Bruce Ingman

The funniest book for children aged seven to 14:

* The Galloping Ghost by Hilda Offen
* Eating Things on Sticks by Anne Fine, illustrated by Kate Aldous
* Grubtown Tales: Stinking Rich and Just Plain Stinky by Philip Ardagh, illustrated by Jim Paillot -- Winner!
* The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams, illustrated by Quentin Blake
* Purple Class and the Half-Eaten Sweater by Sean Taylor, illustrated by Helen Bate
* Ribblestrop by Andy Mulligan

2008 Roald Dahl Funny Prize
Jones, Ursula. The Witch's Children Go to School (Funniest Book for Children Aged Six and Under'08)
Stanton, Andy. Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear ('08Funniest Book for Children Aged Seven to Fourteen)
Donaldson, Julia. Stick Man ('08Shortlist >6)
Sharratt, Nick. Elephant Wellyphant ('08Shortlist<6)>
Jeffers, Oliver. Great paper caper ('08Shortlist>6)
Willis, Jeanne. There's an ouch in my pouch ('08Shortlist<6)>
Fardell, John. Manfred the Baddie ('08Shortlist>6)
Rennison, Louise. Stop in the name of pants! ('08Shortlist 7-14)
Boyce, Frank Cottrell. Cosmic ('08Shortlist 7-14)
Capparucci, Dinah. Aliens don't eat dog food ('08Shortlist 7-14)
Poskitt, Kjartan. Urgum and the GooGooBah ('08Shortlist 7-14)
Bond, Michael. Paddington here and now ('08Shortlist 7-14)

National Outdoor Book Awards (1997-2009)

from The National Outdoor Book Awards accessed 11/12/09

The winners of the 2009 National Outdoor Book Awards, sponsored by the National Outdoor Book Awards Foundation, Idaho State University and the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education, are:

History-Biography: Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America by Douglas Brinkley (Harper).
Nature and the Environment: Our Living Earth by Yann Arthus-Bertrand (Abrams Books for Young Readers)
Design & Artistic Merit: Lars Jonsson's Birds illustrated by Lars Jonsson (Princeton University Press)
Outdoor Literature: Halfway to Heaven by Mark Obmascik (Free Press)
Natural History Literature: Every Living Thing: Man's Obsessive Quest to Catalog Life, from Nanobacteria to New Monkeys by Rob Dunn (Smithsonian Books)
Instructional: Girl on the Rocks: A Woman's Guide to Climbing with Strength, Grace and Courage by Katie Brown, photographs by Ben Moon (Globe Pequot Press/Falcon Guides)
Outdoor Adventure: Guide to the Green and Yampa Rivers in Dinosaur National Monument by Duwain Whitis and Barbara Vinson (RiverMaps)
Nature: Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America by Roger Tory Peterson (Houghton Mifflin)
Children's: Whistling Wings by Laura Goering, illustrated by Laura Jacques (Sylvan Dell Publishing)
For reviews of these titles and honorable mentions, go to noba-web.org.

The Inuksuk Book
Text and illustrations by Mary Wallace. Greey de Pencier Books (Owl Books)
Blueberry Shoe
By Ann Dixon. Illustrations by Evon Zerbetz. Alaska Northwest Books
Jellies: The Life of Jellyfish
By Twig C. George. Millbrook Press
Coyote and Badger: Desert Hunters of the Southwest
Written and illustrated by Bruce Hiscock. Boyds Mills Press, Honesdale, Pennsylvania
What Does the Sky Say?
By Nancy White Carlstrom. Illustrated by Tim Ladwig. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Ladybugs: Red, Fiery and Bright
By Mia Posada. Carolrhoda Books, Minneapolis
Wild Wings: Poems for Young People
By Jane Yolen. Photographs by Jason Stemple. Wordsong and Boyds Mills Press, Honesdale, PA
Dot and Jabber and the Big Bug Mystery
By Ellen Stoll Walsh. Hartcourt, Inc., New York
Jam & Jelly by Holly & Nellie
By Gloria Whelan. Illustrated by Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen. Sleeping Bear Press, Chelsea, MI
Whose Garden Is It?
By Mary Ann Hoberman. Illustrated by Jane Dyer. Harcourt, New York
The Leaf Man
By Lois Ehlert. Harcourt, New York
The Little Green Island With a Little Red House: A Book of Colors and Critters
By Sharon Lovejoy. Down East Books, Rockport, ME
Gaia Girls Enter the Earth
By Lee Welles. Daisyworld Press, Corning, NY
Kelly of Hazel Ridge
Text by Robbyn Smith van Frankenhuysen. Illustrations by Gijsbert van Frankenhuysen. Sleeping Bear Press, Chelsea, MI
By Roland Smith. Harcourt, Orlando, FL
The Pole
By Eric Walters. Puffin Canada/Penguin Group, Toronto

The Doing of the Thing: The Brief, Brilliant Whitewater Career of Buzz Holmstrom

By Vince Welch, Cort Conley, and Brad Dimock. Fretwater Press
One Man's Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey
By Sam Keith from the journals of Richard Proenneke. Alaska Northwest Books
The Wildest Dream: The Biography of George Mallory
By Peter and Leni Gillman. The Mountaineers Books, Seattle
A River Running West: The Life of John Wesley Powell
By Donald Worster. Oxford University Press, New York
Sunk Without a Sound: The Tragic Colorado Honeymoon of Glen and Bessie Hyde
By Brad Dimock. Fretwater Press, Flagstaff, Arizona
Arctic Crossing: One Man's 2,200 Mile Odyssey Among the Inuit
By Jonathan Waterman. Lyons Press/Globe Pequot, Guilford, CT
Gifford Pinchot and the Making of Modern Environmentalism
By Char Miller. Island Press/Shearwater Books, Washington
Southern Exposure: A Solo Sea Kayaking Journey Around New Zealand's South Island
By Chris Duff. Globe Pequot Press, Guilford, CT
Women on High: Pioneers of Mountaineering
By Rebecca A. Brown. Appalachian Mountain Club Books, Boston, MA
Ways to the Sky: A Historical Guide to North American Mountaineering
By Andy Selters. American Alpine Club Press, Golden, Colorado
Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life
By Arlene Blum. Scribner, New York
Journey of a Hope Merchant: From Apartheid to the Elite World of Solo Yacht Racing
By Neal Petersen with William P. Baldwin and Patty Fulcher. South Carolina Press, Columbia, SC
The Last Season
By Eric Blehm. HarperCollins, New York
Forever on the Mountain: The Truth Behind One of Mountaineering's Most Controversial and Mysterious Disaster
By James M. Tabor. W. W. Norton & Company, New York
The Very Hard Way: Bert Loper and the Colorado River
By Brad Dimock. Fretwater Press, Flagstaff, AZ
Fallen Giants: A History of Himalayan Mountaineering from the Age of Empire to the Age of Extremes
By Maurice Isserman and Stewart Weaver. Yale University Press
Grand Obsession: Harvey Butchart and the Exploration of the Grand Canyon
By Elias Butler and Tom Myers. Puma Press, Flagstaff, AZ
Out of Eden: An Odyssey of Ecological Invasion
By Alan Burdick. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York
Condor: To the Brink and Back
By John Nielsen. HarperCollins Publishers, New York
Last Stand: George Bird Grinnell, the Battle to Save the Buffalo, and the Birth of the New West
By Michael Punke. Smithsonian Books, New York
Sky Time in Gray's River: Living for Keeps in a Forgotten Place
By Robert Michael Pyle. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston
The American Chestnut: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of a Perfect Tree
By Susan Freinkel. University of California Press, Berkeley
Landscapes of the Interior
By Don Gayton. New Society Publishers
The Sacred Place: Witnessing the Holy in the Physical World

Edited by Scott Olsen and Scott Cairns. University of Utah Press
Postcards from the Ledge: Collected Mountaineering Writings of Greg Child
By Greg Child. The Mountaineers Books, Seattle
The Lost River: A Memoir of Life, Death, and Transformation on Wild Water
By Richard Bangs. Sierra Club Books in conjunction with Random House
On Celtic Tides: One Man's Journey Around Ireland by Sea Kayak
By Chris Duff. St. Martin's Press
Where the Pavement Ends: One Woman's Bicycle Trip Through Mongolia, China and Vietnam
By Erika Warmbrunn. The Mountaineers Books, Seattle
Rowing to Latitude
By Jill Fredston. North Point Press, New York
The Beckoning Silence
By Joe Simpson. The Mountaineers Books, Seattle
A Blistered Kind of Love
By Angela and Duffy Ballard. The Mountaineers Books, Seattle
Out There: In the Wild in a Wired Age
By Ted Kerasote. Voyageur Press, Stillwater, Minnesota
Where The Mountain Casts Its Shadow: The Dark Side of Extreme Adventure
By Maria Coffey. St. Martin's Press, New York
At the Mercy of the River: An Exploration of the Last African Wilderness
By Peter Stark. Ballatine Books, New York
Savage Summit: The True Stories of the First Five Women who climbed K2, the World's Most Feared Mountain
By Jennifer Jordan. William Morrow, New York
Being Caribou
By Karsten Heuer. The Mountaineers Books, Seattle
Backcast: Fatherhood, Fly-fishing, and a River Journey Through the Heart of Alaska
By Lou Ureneck. St. Martins Press, New York
Blue Horizons: Dispatches from Distant Seas
By Beth A. Leonard. International Marine/McGraw-Hill, Camden, ME
Forget Me Not: A Memoir
By Jennifer Lowe-Anker. The Mountaineers Books, Seattle

Friday, November 6, 2009

Prix Médicis French prize (2009)

Haitian-born Canadian writer Dany Laferriere and American novelist Dave Eggers on Wednesday were awarded France's Medicis literary prize celebrating original writing.

Dany Laferrière and Dave Eggers were named winners of this year's Prix Médicis literary awards. The Independent reported that Laferrière, a Canadian born in Haiti, won for his novel, L'enigme du retour (The Enigma of Return), "a fictionalised account of the 56-year-old author's soul-wrenching return to his native Haiti to attend his father's funeral."

What is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng by Eggers was the jury's unanimous choice for a Médicis in the "best foreign novel" category.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Phoenix Award (1985-2010)

from Collecting Children's Books by Peter D. Sieruta accessed 10/31/09

The Phoenix Award, is presented each year by the Children’s Literature Association, to “the most outstanding book for children published twenty years earlier which did not receive a major award at the time of publication.”
It’s a fascinating premise for a book award. It allows a committee to fix past slights, identify titles that have fallen into neglect and are now ripe for revival, or perhaps use twenty/twenty hindsight to select winners that have grown in stature in the years since publication. The award is international in scope, with several winners hailing from Great Britain and Australia. Personally, I think the guideline regarding a book not having received “a major award” is interpreted a bit liberally since Newbery Honor Books -- not winners, but still...they're pretty major -- are eligible. I'd prefer to see Newbery Honors uneligible as well.

Here is the list of previous winners:

2010 /. THE SHINING COMPANY / Rosemary Sutcliff
2009 / WEETZIE BAT / Francesca Lia Block
Honor Book: LUCIE BABBIDGE’S HOUSE / Sylvia Cassedy
2008 / EVA / Peter Dickinson
Honor Book: THE DEVIL’S ARITHMETIC / Jane Yolen
2007 / MEMORY / Margaret Mahy
Honor Book: WAITING FOR THE RAIN / Sheila Gordon
2006 / HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE / Diana Wynne Jones
Honor Book : THE TRICKSTER / Margaret Mahy
Honor Book : THE SHADOW IN THE NORTH / Philip Pullman
Honor Book : FIRE AND HEMLOCK / Diana Wynne Jones
2004 / WHITE PEAK FARM / Berlie Doherty
Honor Book : ANGEL SQUARE / Brian Doyle
2003 / THE LONG NIGHT WATCH / Ivan Southall
Honor Book : A SOLITARY BLUE / Cynthia Voigt
2002 / A FORMAL FEELING / Zibby Oneal
Honor Book : STORY FOR A BLACK NIGHT / Clayton Bess
2001 / THE SEVENTH RAVEN / Peter Dickinson
Honor Book : THE NIGHT JOURNEY / Kathryn Laskey
2000 / KEEPER OF THE ISIS LIGHT / Monica Hughes
Honor Book : THE FLEDGLING / Jane Langton
1999 / THROWING SHADOWS / E.L. Konigsburg
Honor Book : THE DISAPPEARANCE / Rosa Guy
Honor Book : WORDS BY HEART / Ouida Sebestyen
1998 / A CHANCE CHILD / Jill Paton Walsh
Honor Book : BEAUTY / Robin McKinley
Honor Book : THE DEVIL IN VIENNA / Doris Orgel
1997 / I AM THE CHEESE / Robert Cormier
1996 / THE STONE BOOK / Alan Garner
Honor Book : ABEL’S ISLAND / William Steig
1995 / DRAGONWINGS / Laurence Yep
Honor Book : TUCK EVERLASTING / Natalie Babbitt
1994 / OF NIGHTINGALES THAT WEEP / Katherine Paterson
Honor Book : MY BROTHER SAM IS DEAD / James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
Honor Book : LISTEN FOR THE FIG TREE / Sharon Bell Mathis
1993 / CARRIE’S WAR / Nina Bawden
1992 / A SOUND OF CHARIOTS / Mollie Hunter
1991 / A LONG WAY FROM VERONA / Jane Gardam
Honor Book : A GAME OF DARK / William Mayne
Honor Book : THE TOMBS OF ATUAN / Ursula LeGuin
1990 / ENCHANTRESS FROM THE STARS / Sylvia Louise Engdahl
Honor Book : RAVENSGILL / William Mayne
Honor Book : SING DOWN THE MOON / Scott O’Dell
1989 / THE NIGHT-WATCHMEN / Helen Cressell
Honor Book : BROTHER, CAN YOU SPARE A DIME? / Milton Meltzer
1988 / THE RIDER AND THE HORSE / Erik Christian Haugaard
1987 / SMITH / Leon Garfield
1986 / QUEENIE PEAVY / Robert Burch
1985 / THE MARK OF THE HORSE LORD / Rosemary Sutcliff

Friday, October 30, 2009

Young Lions Fiction Award

The 2009 Young Lions Fiction Award Winner will be announced at the Award Ceremony on March 16.

Jon Fasman, The Unpossessed City
Rivka Galchen, Atmospheric Disturbances
Sana Krasikov, One More Year
Zachary Mason, The Lost Books of the Odyssey
Salvatore Scibona, The End - winner

2008 Finalists:
Ron Currie, Jr., God is Dead - winner
Ellen Litman, The Last Chicken in America
Peter Nathaniel Malae, Teach the Free Man
Dinaw Mengestu, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears
Emily Mitchell, The Last Summer of the World

2007 Finalists:
Chris Adrian, The Children's Hospital
Kevin Brockmeier, The Brief History of the Dead
Tony D'Souza, Whiteman
Olga Grushin, The Dream Life of Sukhanov - winner
Karen Russell, St. Lucy's Home For Girls Raised By Wolves

2006 Finalists:
Uzodinma Iweala, Beasts of No Nation - winner
Rattawut Lapcharoensap, Sightseeing
Kelly Link, Magic for Beginners
Ander Monson, Other Electricities
Eric Puchner, Music Through the Floor

2005 Finalists:
Marc Bojanowski, The Dog Fighter
Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Madeleine is Sleeping
Stephen Elliott, Happy Baby
Andrew Sean Greer, The Confessions of Max Tivoli - winner
Aaron Gwynn, Dog on the Cross

2004 Finalists:
Jordan Ellenberg, The Grasshopper King
Susan Choi, American Woman
Lara Vapnyar, There Are Jews in My House
Maile Meloy, Liars and Saints
Monique Truong, The Book of Salt - winner

2003 Finalists:
Anthony Doerr, The Shell Collector - winner
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated - winner
Adam Johnson, Emporium
Ben Marcus, Notable American Women
Peter Rock, The Ambidextrist

2002 Finalists:
David Czucklewski, The Muse Asylum
Allegra Goodman, Paradise Park
Brady Udall, The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint
Peter Orner, Esther Stories
Colson Whitehead, John Henry Days - winner

2001 Finalists:
Mark Danielewski, House of Leaves - winner
David Ebershoff, The Danish Girl
Myla Goldberg, Bee Season
Heidi Julavits, The Mineral Palace
Akhil Sharma, An Obedient Father
Darin Strauss, Chang and Eng

This prize is part of the Library's Young Lions Program, which is a membership group for people in their 20s and 30s who are committed to supporting the organization and to celebrating young writers and artists who are making an impact on this city's cultural life.

For more information on the Young Lions Fiction Award Fund, please contact the Young Lions office at 212-930-0885 or younglions@nypl.org.

For the submission guidelines for the award, please CLICK HERE.

Telegraph's 20 best travel books of all time


Kerouac, Jack. On the road
As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee
Naples '44 by Norman Lewis
Coasting by Jonathan Raban
Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck
Notes From a Small Island by Bill Bryson
Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
The Beach by Alex Garland
The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux
The Road to Oxiana by Robert Byron
11. Venice by Jan Morris
In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby
Arabian Sands by Wilfred Thesiger
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene
The Journals of Captain Cook
Among the Russians by Colin Thubron

NIKE prize (Polish) 2009

updated with winner on 10/30/09 from Bacacay: Polish Literature Weblog:
This year’s NIKE Literary Award was announced on October 4. It went to Eugeniusz Tkaczyszyn-Dycki, the only poet among 7 finalists, for his book Piosenka o zależnościach i uzależnieniach (Biuro Literackie 2009). Tkaczyszyn-Dycki, who was born in 1962, has over 9 books of poetry in Polish and one in English: Peregrinary, which was translated by Bill Johnston and published in 2008 by Zephyr Press.

from culture.pl accessed 9/14/09:
The NIKE is a prize for the best book of the year published in Polish; it was first presented in 1997. The list of 20 books nominated for the 2009 award was announced on 21 May 2009, on the first day of the 54th International Book Fair in Warsaw.

The list of seven finalists of the Nike 2009 Literary Award announced on September 3, 2009. The laureate will be chosen on October 4, 2009.
  • The Flypaper Factory, Andrzej Bart (WAB)
    The writer narrates the imaginary Łódź trial of Chaim Rumkowski, chairman of the Judenrat in the Łódź Ghetto.
  • Bambino, Inga Iwasiów (Świat Książki)
    Iwasiów ponders on the identity of the German and Polish town and presents a panorama of the whole of People’s Poland, from World War II until 1981.
  • Gestures, Ignacy Karpowicz (Wydawnictwo Literackie)
    A new novel from the author of Niehalo [“Uncool”] and Cud [“The Miracle”]. Grzegorz arrives in his provincial native parts to see his ill, aging mother and realizes they have little in common.
  • Ostrogski Palace, Tomasz Piątek (WAB)
    The author himself says: “It’s a book about someone trying to disentangle himself from being a thing and returning to humanity, being reborn. Having a choice in life.” Personal memories are mingled here with essays and the fantasy of novels.
  • Queen of Tiramisu, Bohdan Sławiński (Jacek Santorski)
    The protagonist of Bohdan Sławiński’s novel is Peter, or rather Petey—a delicate, sensitive and tender person. The thoughtful boy gets involved with a mature, well-off married woman.
  • A Song About Dependences and Addictions, Eugeniusz Tkaczyszyn-Dycki (Biuro Literackie)
    A new book of poetry from the author of the volumes Kamień pełen pokarmu [“A Stone Full of Nourishment”], Dzieje rodzin polskich [“A History of Polish Families”], winner of the Gdynia Literary Prize.
  • Turul Goulash, Krzysztof Varga (Czarne)
    Varga’s previous novel, Nagrobek z lastryko [“Terrazzo Tombstone”], was about Polish history and symbols; now, in this volume of essays, Varga turns to the Hungarians.

Monday, October 26, 2009

SCIBA: Southern California Bookseller Awards (2005,2009)

SCIBA Winners 2009
Winners of the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association awards, which "reflect Southern California culture or lifestyle, with authors/illustrators living within the SCIBA region," are:

Nonfiction: Susan Campoy for Celebrating with Julienne
Fiction: Lisa See for Shanghai Girls
T. Jefferson Parker Mystery: Debra Ginsberg for The Grift
Children's Picture Book: David Shannon for Too Many Toys
Children's Novel: Michael Grant for Hunger -- added Gone (#1 in series)
Glenn Goldman Art & Architecture Book: Patrick Ecclesine for Faces of Sunset Boulevard and Annie Leibovitz for Annie Leibovitz at Work
The winners were honored at the SCIBA authors feast and trade show on Saturday (10/24/09) in Los Angeles.

At last Saturday's (10/15/05) lively Authors Feast in Long Beach, Calif., attended by 275 people, the winners of the Southern California Bookseller Awards were all on hand and included several popular local writers with national audiences.


Lisa See, who had told several people beforehand that she wouldn't win, said that the honor capped a day of firsts for her. Her husband had let her drive his car; she had given a talk in a church; and she won an award--for Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (Random House).


T. Jefferson Parker, who noted that he has lived in Los Angeles County, Orange County and now San Diego County, as he works his way down the coast, said that in his mysteries, he has tried to capture something of the essence of Southern California. The recognition by booksellers of California Girl (Morrow) he took as a happy acknowledgement that he had succeeded.


A man with roots in the area as deep as they get, Ernest Marquez, who won for his memoir, Santa Monica Beach (Angel City Press), said that in the early nineteenth century, his great-grandfathers owned much of what is present-day Santa Monica. Laughing, he added, "Now 160 years later, I can't even go on it."

Children's Books:

Noting that he had taken much of Alice the Fairy (Blue Sky/Scholastic) from his daughter--half the storyline and even the title--David Shannon wondered if when she turned 18, she might sue him.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Leonardo Padura's top 10 Cuban novels

Leonardo Padura's top 10 Cuban novels
Hemingway and Hijuelos are here, but the author of the Havana Quartet also looks beyond the Cuba we think we know to introduce some of the island's more hidden literary treasures
Leonardo Padura
Wednesday March 4 2009

Leonardo Padura was born in 1955 in Havana and lives in Cuba. He has published a number of short-story collections and literary essays but international fame came with the Havana Quartet, all featuring Inspector Mario Conde. Like many others of his generation, Padura had faced the question of leaving Cuba, particularly in the late 80s and early 90s, when living conditions deteriorated sharply as Russian aid evaporated. He chose to stay.

The 10 I've picked here will hopefully give some idea of both the country's literary tradition, and its imaginative life.

1. Explosion in a Cathedral (El siglo de las luces) by Alejo Carpentier (1962, trans. John Sturrock)
2. Cecilia Valdes Or El Angel Hill (Cecilia Valdes) by Cirilo Villaverde (1882, trans. Helen Lane)
3. Three Trapped Tigers (Tres tristes tigres) by Guillermo Cabrera Infante (1967, trans. Suzanne Jill Levine & Donald Gardner)
4. Paradiso by Jose Lezama Lima (1974, trans. Gregory Rabassa)
5. The Lost Steps (Los pasos perdidos) by Alejo Carpentier (1953, trans. Harriet de On?s)
6. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (1952)
7. Temporada de ?ngeles (1983), Lisandro Otero; A Season For Angels, not translated.
8. The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love (1989), Oscar Hijuelos
9. Antes que anochezca (1990), Reinaldo Arenas; Before Night Falls, trans. Dolores M. Koch (1993)
10. El negrero (1933), Lino Nov?s Calvo; The Slave-trader, not translated

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

German Book Prize (2009)

from German Book Office accessed 100509, Winner announced 101309

The German Book Prize is supported by Paschen & Companie and the 1822-Stiftung der Frankfurter Sparkasse. Its other partners are the Frankfurt Book Fair and Frankfurt City.

Shortlist: The nominated novels (in alphabetical order):

* Rainer Merkel: Lichtjahre entfernt (S. Fischer, March 2009) -- nothing in English 1009
* Herta Müller: Atemschaukel (Hanser, August 2009) -- nothing in English 1009
* Norbert Scheuer: Überm Rauschen (C. H. Beck, June 2009) -- nothing in English 1009
* Kathrin Schmidt: Du stirbst nicht (February 2009) -- nothing in English 1009 -- Winner!
* Clemens J. Setz: Die Frequenzen (Residenz, February 2009) -- nothing in English 1009
* Stephan Thome: Grenzgang (Suhrkamp, August 2009) -- nothing in English 1009

Friday, October 9, 2009

High Plains Book Awards (2009)

Louise Erdrich was honored with an emeritus award during the High Plains Book Awards (2009) banquet at Montana State University last weekend. Other winners included:

Leif Enger's So Brave, Young and Handsome (fiction)
In Contemporary Rhythm: The Art of Ernest L. Blumenschein by Peter H. Hassrick and Elizabeth J. Cunningham (nonfiction)
Margot Kahn's Horses That Buck (first book)
Craig Arnold's Made Flesh (poetry)
Jennifer Graf Broneberg's Road Map to Holland (Zonta Award for best woman writer).

As the Billings Gazette noted, the High Plains Book Awards "were established by Parmly Billings Library trustees and recognize regional writers or literary works examining and reflecting life on the High Plains."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Zadie Smith's upcoming fiction seminar list

from The Squib Report accessed 10/07/09

Zadie Smith is teaching a weekly fiction seminar at Columbia University this semester under the title "Sense and Sensibility."

A local bookstore called Book Culture, which I believe for years was called Labyrinth, has posted 10 of the 15 books that Smith is assigning her charges. Here they are:

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, David Foster Wallace -- short stories
Catholics, Brian Moore
The Complete Stories, Franz Kafka
Crash, J.G. Ballard
An Experiment in Love, Hilary Mantel
Modern Criticism and Theory: A Reader, David Lodge
The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis
My Loose Thread, Dennis Cooper
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark
The Loser, Thomas Bernhard
The Book of Daniel, E.L. Doctorow
A Room with a View, E.M. Forster
Reader's Block, David Markson
Pnin, Vladimir Nabokov
The Quiet American, Graham Greene

International Literature Award (2009)

from Haus der Kulturen der Welt accessed 10/07/09

International Literature Award - Haus der Kulturen der Welt: The Prize-winners

The prize–winners of the International Literature Award – Haus der Kulturen der Welt 2009 have been named: The Peruvian writer Daniel Alarcón and Friederike Meltendorf are the first winners of the prize awarded by the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, and Stiftung Elementarteilchen. Alarcón, who lives in the USA, won the 25,000 Euro prize for his debut novel “Lost City Radio” (Wagenbach Verlag). 10,000 Euros go to Friederike Meltendorf for her translation of the novel from American English.

The prize will be awarded for the first time, and in the presence of the prize-winners, at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt on the evening of the 30 September 2009 .

Shortlist for 2009 in alphabetical order

Alarcón, Daniel: Lost City Radio -- Winner!
Doulatabadi, Mahmud: Der Colonel
Hage, Rawi: Als ob es kein Morgen gäbe
Hemon, Aleksandar: Lazarus
Kohan, Martín: Zweimal Juni
Mengestu, Dinaw: Zum Wiedersehen der Sterne(The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears)

Longlist 2009
Abad, Héctor; Brief an einen Schatten
Adiga, Aravind: Der weiße Tiger (The White Tiger)
Alarcón, Daniel: Lost City Radio
Blacklaws, Troy: Malindi (Karoo Boy)
Diaz, Junot: Das kurze wundersame Leben des Oscar Wao (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao)
Doulatabadi, Mahmud: Der Colonel
Galgut, Damon: Der Betrüger (The Impostor)
Hage, Rawi: Als ob es kein Morgen gäbe (De Niro’s Game)
Hanif, Mohammed: Eine Kiste explodierender Mangos (A Case of Exploding Mangos)
Hemon, Aleksandar: Lazarus (The Lazarus Project)
Kohan, Martín: Zweimal Juni
Mengestu, Dinaw: Zum Wiedersehen der Sterne(The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears)
Plascencia, Salvador: Menschen aus Papier (The People of Paper)
Rahimi, Atiq: Stein der Geduld

Every year from now on, the highly endowed literature prize will be awarded to new works of contemporary international literature and their translations. The award has two aims: to draw attention to contemporary literature across the globe and to pay tribute to the mediatory role played by literary translators. The International Literature Prize aims to heighten people's awareness of outstanding and extraordinary new works of international literature.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Philip Pullman's essential reading list

Philip Pullman's essential reading list
40 favourite books selected for the Waterstone's Writer's Table

by Elizabeth Bishop
How simple some great poetry can seem - as x` as water, and as necessary. Bishop is incomparable: “Awful, but cheerful,” she said.

by Robert Burton
A vast rickety structure of learning, wit, sense, nonsense, bizarre anecdotes, kindness, and wisdom. A humane guide and antidote to this terrible affliction.

by John le Carré
A perfect blend of form, subject, sensibility and moral power. Le Carré's best book, and one of the finest English novels of the 20th century.

THE WOMAN IN WHITE by Wilkie Collins
For sheer plotting genius, Collins had no rival. If you've never read this, I can promise you one of the most gripping stories of all time.

by Lionel Davidson
The best thriller I've ever read, and I've read plenty. A solidly researched and bone-chilling adventure in a savage setting, with a superb hero.

by Richard Dawkins
Dawkins at his very best: a beautiful clarity of exposition, and an unslaked sense of wonder at the grandeur, richness and complexity of nature.

by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Everyone knows Sherlock Holmes, but Brigadier Gerard is a marvellous creation - proud, valiant and absurd.

On the evidence of these honest, revealing and very moving letters, the greatest painter was a great writer as well; and his brother was a saint.

by E.H. Gombrich
This is all about the mysterious business of looking and seeing, and E.H. Gombrich looked deeper and saw more than almost any other writer on art.

by the Brothers Grimm
The fountain, the origin. Read one of these stories every day and your narrative taste will be purified, strengthened and refreshed.

by Hergé
Hergé was the best at everything: plots, draughtsmanship, jokes, characterisation, timing - he could do the lot, and this is his best book.

by James Hogg
A brilliant, chilling and subtle account of religious derangement. Every self-righteous fundamentalist ought to read this, but of course they won't.

by M.R. James
I don't believe in ghosts, but I'm frightened of them. They don't come any scarier than in these superb examples of the classic English ghost story.

by William James
The most interesting thing about religion: not whether it's true, but what it feels like, explored by a psychologist of great intelligence and sympathy.

by Tove Jansson
The delight of the Moomin world always trembles on the brink of melancholy; its subtle and fascinating atmosphere is a triumph of the storyteller's art.

by Rudyard Kipling
A story about a boy in India, who ... But no summary can do this marvellous, rich and unforgettable novel anything like justice.

by Heinrich Von Kleist
A very strange writer: intense almost to the point of madness, but what a penetrating mind, and what sharpness and clarity of vision.

by David Lindsay
As literature, this is tosh. Nevertheless, it's a work of epic moral grandeur, and one of the very few fantasies to do something truly original and important with the genre.

by Norman Lindsay
The best thing yet to come out of Australia, and that includes Shane Warne. If anyone can read this without laughing, heaven help them.

edited by Kathleen Lines
Every household needs a collection of nursery rhymes, which are the foundation of every kind of success with language. This has always been my favourite.

by J.G. Links
Whether in prospect or in retrospect, or there in one's hands in the city itself, the most informative and engaging guide to the past and present of Venice.

by H.P. Lovecraft
Preposterous, overblown, absurd in every way - yet with an originality that looks more powerful and convincing each time I dip into it.

by Thomas Mann
How could a 25-year-old know so much, and write so perceptively? The first of Mann's great novels, and still astonishing today.

by Robert Musil
The greatest condition-of-Europe novel, but much more than a profound diagnosis - it's enormously funny, apart from anything else. I never tire of it.

by Flann O'Brien
The best collection of the funniest newspaper columns ever written. It's as simple as that. After this, read his The Third Policeman.

by Elaine Pagels
We live in Gnostic times. This is a clear account of the strange and intoxicating religion that nearly supplanted orthodox Christianity in its earliest years.

by Roger Penrose
This is an age of great writing about science, and here is some of the finest. Penrose's knowledge is awe-inspiring in its reach and completeness.

by Fernando Pessoa
The very book to read when you wake at 3am and can't get back to sleep - mysteries, misgivings, fears and dreams and wonderment. Like nothing else.

by John Cowper Powys
Powys evoked the English landscape with an almost sexual intensity. Hardy comes to mind, but a Hardy drunk and feverish with mystical exuberance.

by Raymond Queneau
A pointless anecdote told in 99 different ways, or a work of genius in a brilliant translation by Barbara Wright. In fact it's both. Endlessly fascinating and very funny.

by Arthur Ransome
Ransome never strayed beyond the realistic, but what an exciting story this is: danger, courage, skilful seamanship, and a real respect for his young protagonists.

by Rainer Maria Rilke
The deepest mysteries of existence embodied in the most delicate and precise images. For me, the greatest poetry of the 20th century.

by John Ruskin
The best way to read this great and life-enhancing writer is in short and well-chosen excerpts. Earnest, unfashionable, no doubt; but profoundly wise and truthful.

by Art Spiegelman
The complete answer to all those who still doubt the potential of comics. Spiegelman is a genius, and no other form could have told this story so well.

edited by John Burnside
Wallace Stevens speaks more interestingly, and more memorably, about the things that matter most to me than any other poet. I can't imagine being without his work.

by David Thomson
Opinionated, slightly cranky, vastly entertaining, endlessly informative. Of all the reference books I have, this is always the hardest to put down.

by H.G. Wells
In these short stories we can feel a whole genre just beginning to spread its wings, and test its strength, and take to the air.

by Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle
As any fule kno, this is the best marriage of writer and illustrator since ... well, since William Blake, really. Still funny after 50 years.

by P.G. Wodehouse
Wodehouse had the extraordinary ability to evoke innocence without being in the least boring, all in a prose style that lightens the spirits like champagne.

by Frances A. Yates
Yates re-imagined the whole intellectual world of the Renaissance, and laid bare the odd and secret beliefs buried in the foundations of the times we still live in today.

© 2008 Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman's Writer's Table will launch in selected Waterstone's stores on Thursday September 4. Find out more at www.waterstones.com/writerstable

Friday, October 2, 2009

Top 100 Crime Novels of All Time

The Top 100 Crime Novels of All Time is a list published in book form in 1990 by the British-based Crime Writers' Association. Five years later, the Mystery Writers of America published a similar list entitled The Top 100 Mystery Novels of All Time. Many titles can be found in both Crime Companions.

The List

* 1. Josephine Tey: The Daughter of Time (1951)
* 2. Raymond Chandler: The Big Sleep (1939)
* 3. John le Carré: The Spy Who Came In From the Cold (1963)
* 4. Dorothy L. Sayers: Gaudy Night (1935)
* 5. Agatha Christie: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926)
* 6. Daphne du Maurier: Rebecca (1938)
* 7. Raymond Chandler: Farewell My Lovely (1940)
* 8. Wilkie Collins: The Moonstone (1868)
* 9. Len Deighton: The Ipcress File (1962)
* 10. Dashiell Hammett: The Maltese Falcon (1930)
* 11. Josephine Tey: The Franchise Affair (1948)
* 12. Hillary Waugh: Last Seen Wearing ... (1952)
* 13. Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose (1980)
* 14. Geoffrey Household: Rogue Male (1939)
* 15. Raymond Chandler: The Long Goodbye (1953)
* 16. Francis Iles: Malice Aforethought (1931)
* 17. Frederick Forsyth: The Day of the Jackal (1971)
* 18. Dorothy L. Sayers: The Nine Tailors (1934)
* 19. Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None (1939)
* 20. John Buchan: The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915)
* 21. Arthur Conan Doyle: The Collected Sherlock Holmes Short Stories (1892-1927)
* 22. Dorothy L. Sayers: Murder Must Advertise (1933)
* 23. Edgar Allan Poe: Tales of Mystery and Imagination (1852)
* 24. Eric Ambler: The Mask of Dimitrios (1939)
* 25. Edmund Crispin: The Moving Toyshop (1946)
* 26. Margery Allingham: The Tiger in the Smoke (1952)
* 27. Peter Lovesey: The False Inspector Dew (1982)
* 28. Wilkie Collins: The Woman in White (1860)
* 29. Barbara Vine: A Dark-Adapted Eye (1986)
* 30. James M. Cain: The Postman Always Rings Twice (1934)
* 31. Dashiell Hammett: The Glass Key (1931)
* 32. Arthur Conan Doyle: The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902)
* 33. John le Carré: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974)
* 34. E. C. Bentley: Trent's Last Case (1913)
* 35. Ian Fleming: From Russia with Love (1957)
* 36. Ed McBain: Cop Hater (1956)
* 37. Colin Dexter: The Dead of Jericho (1981)
* 38. Patricia Highsmith: Strangers on a Train (1950)
* 39. Ruth Rendell: A Judgement in Stone (1977)
* 40. John Dickson Carr: The Hollow Man (1935)
* 41. Anthony Berkeley: The Poisoned Chocolates Case (1929)
* 42. Ellis Peters: A Morbid Taste for Bones (1977)
* 43. Ellis Peters: The Leper of St. Giles (1981) (
* 44. Ira Levin: A Kiss Before Dying (1953)
* 45 Patricia Highsmith: The Talented Mr. Ripley (1955)
* 46. Graham Greene: Brighton Rock (1938)
* 47. Raymond Chandler: The Lady in the Lake (1943)
* 48. Scott Turow: Presumed Innocent (1987)
* 49. Ruth Rendell: A Demon in My View (1976)
* 50. John Dickson Carr: The Devil in Velvet (1951)
* 51. Barbara Vine: A Fatal Inversion (1987)
* 52 Michael Innes: The Journeying Boy (1949)
* 53. P.D. James: A Taste for Death (1986)
* 54. Jack Higgins: The Eagle Has Landed (1975)
* 55. Mary Stewart: My Brother Michae (1960)
* 56. Peter Lovesey: Bertie and the Tin Man (1987)
* 57. Susan Moody: Penny Black (1984)
* 58. Len Deighton: Game, Set & Match (1984-1986)
* 59. Dick Francis: The Danger (1983)
* 60. P.D. James: Devices and Desires (1989)
* 61. Reginald Hill: Underworld (1988)
* 62. Mary Stewart: Nine Coaches Waiting (1958)
* 63. Paula Gosling: A Running Duck (1978)
* 64. Michael Gilbert: Smallbone Deceased (1950)
* 65. Lionel Davidson: The Rose of Tibet (1962)
* 66. P.D. James: Innocent Blood (1980)
* 67. Dorothy L. Sayers: Strong Poison (1930)
* 68. Michael Innes: Hamlet, Revenge! (1937)
* 69. Tony Hillerman: A Thief of Time (1989)
* 70. Caryl Brahms & S. J. Simon: A Bullet in the Ballet (1937)
* 71. Reginald Hill: Dead Heads (1983)
* 72. Graham Greene: The Third Man (1950)
* 73. Anthony Price:The Labyrinth Makers (1974)
* 74. Adam Hall: The Quiller Memorandum (1965)
* 75. Margaret Millar: Beast in View (1955)
* 76. Sarah Caudwell: The Shortest Way to Hades (1984)
* 77. Desmond Bagley: Running Blind (1970)
* 78. Dick Francis: Twice Shy (1981)
* 79. Richard Condon: The Manchurian Candidate (1959)
* 80. Caroline Graham: The Killings at Badger's Drift (1987)
* 81. Nicholas Blake: The Beast Must Die (1938)
* 82. Martin Cruz Smith: Gorky Park (1981)
* 83. Agatha Christie: Death Comes as the End (1945)
* 84. Christianna Brand: Green for Danger (1945)
* 85. Cyril Hare: Tragedy at Law (1942)
* 86. John Fowles: The Collector (1963)
* 87. J. J. Marric: Gideon's Day (1955)
* 88. Lionel Davidson: The Sun Chemist (1976)
* 89. Alistair Maclean: The Guns of Navarone (1957)
* 90. Julian Symons: The Colour of Murder (1957)
* 91. John Buchan: Greenmantle (1916)
* 92. Erskine Childers: The Riddle of the Sands (1903)
* 93. Peter Lovesey: Wobble to Death (1970)
* 94. Dashiell Hammett: Red Harvest (1929)
* 95. Ken Follett: The Key to Rebecca (1980)
* 96. Ed McBain: Sadie When She Died (1972)
* 97. H. R. F. Keating: The Murder of the Maharajah (1980)
* 98. Simon Brett: What Bloody Man Is That? (1987)
* 99. Gavin Lyall: Shooting Script (1966)
* 100. Edgar Wallace: Four Just Men (1906)[1]

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Best 1945+ Guardian list from 1994

Back in 1994, prompted by Harold Bloom's The Western Canon, James Wood presented Guardian readers with his own list of the best British and American writing since 1945

JG Farrell: The Siege of Krishnapur
Jane Bowles: Collected Works
LP Hartley: The Go-Between
Norman Mailer: The Naked and the Dead; Armies of the Night
Walter Abish: How German Is It
Harold Brodkey: Stories in an Almost Classical Mode
Cynthia Ozick: The Messiah of Stockholm; Art and Ardour
William Burroughs: The Naked Lunch
Kurt Vonnegut: Slaughterhouse 5
Elizabeth Bishop: The Complete Poems
John Cheever: Collected Stories; Falconer
Ralph Ellison: Invisible Man
Angus Wilson: The Wrong Set; Hemlock and After; Anglo-Saxon Attitudes
Fred Exley: A Fan's Notes
Randall Jarrell: Poetry and the Age
Robert Lowell: Life Studies; For the Union Dead; Near the Ocean
Bernard Malamud: The Assistant; The Stories of Bernard Malamud
William Trevor: Collected Stories
James Baldwin: The Fire Next Time; Giovanni's Room
Toni Morrison: Sula; Beloved
Henry Green: Loving; Concluding; Nothing
Howard Nemerov: Collected Poems
AS Byatt: Still Life
VS Naipaul: A House for Mr. Biswas; In a Free State; The Enigma of Arrival
Tim O'Brien: If I Die In A Combat Zone
Kazuo Ishiguro: The Remains of the Day
Flannery O'Connor: A Good Man Is Hard To Find
Frank O'Hara: Selected Poems
Sylvia Plath: Collected Poems
Ezra Pound: Pisan Cantos
John Barth: The Sotweed Factor
Saul Bellow: The Adventures of Augie March; Seize the Day; Herzog; Humboldt's Gift
John Berryman: The Dream Songs; The Freedom of the Poet and Other Essays
Thomas Pynchon: The Crying of Lot 49; V
Philip Roth: Goodbye, Columbus; The Counterlife; Reading Myself and Others
JD Salinger: The Catcher in the Rye
Donald Barthelme: Sixty Stories
Susan Sontag: Styles of Radical Will
Wallace Stevens: Collected Poems
Robert Penn Warren: All The King's Men
Eudora Welty: Collected Stories
William Carlos Williams: Paterson
Edmund White: A Boy's Own Story
Amy Clampitt: The Kingfisher
Don DeLillo: White Noise
WH Auden: The Dyer's Hand and Other Essays; Collected Poems
Paul Bailey: Gabriel's Lament
Angela Carter: The Magic Toyshop; Nights at the Circus
Bruce Chatwin: On The Black Hill
James Fenton: The Memory of War
William Golding: Lord of the Flies; The Spire
WS Graham: Collected Poems
Raymond Carver: The Stories of Raymond Carver
Martin Amis: Money; The Moronic Inferno
Jean Rhys: Wide Sargasso Sea
Graham Greene: The Heart of the Matter
Jonh Ashbery: Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror; Selected Poems
Geoffrey Hill: Collected Poems
Doris Lessing: The Golden Notebook
Ivy Compton-Burnett: A Heritage and its History
Muriel Spark: Memento Mori; The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Malcolm Lowry: Under the Volcano
Walker Percy: The Moviegoer
Phillip Larkin: Collected Poems
Ian McEwan: First Love Last Rites; The Cement Garden
Andrew Motion: Secret Narratives
Iris Murdoch: Under the Net; The Bell; The Nice and the Good
George Orwell: 1984; Collected Essay and Journalism (4 vols)
Carson McCullers: The Ballad of the Sad Cafe
JG Ballard: Concrete Island
Anthony Powell: A Dance of the Music of Time
John Updike: Of the Farm; The Centaur; The Rabbit Quartet; Hugging the Shore
Jeanette Winterson: Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
Ted Hughes: Selected Poems 1957-81
VS Pritchett: Complete Stories; Complete Essays
Craig Raine: A Martian Sends A Postcard Home
Marianne Moore: Complete Poems
Elizabeth Taylor: The Wedding Group
Salman Rushdie: Midnight's Children; The Satanic Verses
Tom Paulin: Fivemiletown -- poetry
Joseph Heller: Catch 22
Christine Brook-Rose: The Christine Brook-Rose Reader
Anthony Burgess: Earthly Powers
Alan Sillitoe: The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
Graham Swift: Waterland
Iain Sinclair: Downriver
Evelyn Waugh: Brideshead Revisited; The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold; Through a Cloud
Jack Kerouac: On the Road
Denton Welch: A Voice Through a Cloud

Sunburst Award (2001-2009)

From wikipedia and Sunburst Award website accessed 9/29/09

The Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic is an annual award given for a speculative fiction novel or a book-length collection. The name of the award comes from the title of the first novel by Phyllis Gotlieb, Sunburst (1964).

The first award was given out in 2001. The award consists of a cash prize (C$1,000 in 2001-2005) and a medallion. The winner is selected by a jury; a new jury is struck each year. In 2008 a young-adult winner was added. The winners to date have been:

2001 Sean Stewart, Galveston
2002 Margaret Sweatman, When Alice Lay Down with Peter
2003 Nalo Hopkinson, Skin Folk --short stories
2004 Cory Doctorow, A Place So Foreign and 8 More
2005 Geoff Ryman, Air
2006 Holly Phillips, In the Palace of Repose (ISBN 1894815580)
2007 Fabrizio's Return by Mark Frutkin
2008 first young-adult award: Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet by Joanne Proulx
2008 adult: The New Moon's Arms by Nalo Hopkinson
2009 young-adult: Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
2009 adult: The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson


Sunburst Award administrator and jury use the broadest possible definition of speculative fiction for eligibility purposes: "science fiction, fantasy, magic realism, horror, surrealism, le fantastique, myth and legend, fantastical storytelling, and any other writing beyond the strictly realistic". To be eligible for the award, a work must be published between January 1 and December 31 of the previous year. Only Canadian citizens and landed immigrants are eligible, however there are no Canadian residency requirements, and three of the five awards presented to date have gone to expatriates (Stewart, Doctorow, Ryman).

2009 Winners

Toronto, September 28, 2009: The Sunburst Award Committee is pleased to announce that the winner of its 2009 adult award is The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson and the winner of its 2009 young adult award is Little Brother by Cory Doctorow.


Night Child by Jes Battis
The Sunburst jury says: "Occult Special Investigator Tess Corday is a terrifically appealing heroine—determined, charming, vulnerable and very human in a world of vampires, necromancers and other supernatural menace. Night Child takes what is becoming a hackneyed genre—romantic supernatural investigator—and injects it with a kind of manic, crazy, campy fun: a little bit Buffy, a little bit CSI and even a little bit hardboiled."

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
The Sunburst jury says: "An unquenchable thirst for story and a phenomenal command of his craft make Andrew Davidson’s The Gargoyle a reader's dream. This ferociously ambitious, incendiary (at times literally) story of one man's phoenix-like transformation at the hands of a woman, possibly mad, who claims to have known him for 700 years, is prepared to fall on its own highly charged imaginative sword at any time, but never does. Davidson manages to evoke squirm-inducing horror and abiding love with the same unblinking powers of observation and self-consciousness. As the relationship between narrator and Marianne deepens and her tale of their shared history unfolds, past and present converge in ways tragic and redemptive, and immensely satisfying."

The Alchemist's Code by Dave Duncan
The Sunburst jury says: "With The Alchemist's Code, Dave Duncan accomplishes something which seems to have become an increasing rarity in this or any other genre—the telling of an exciting, interesting and coherent story that has an actual beginning, middle and end—a skill surprisingly lacking in many writers. Set in an alternate 16th-century Venice filled with lush architecture, dashing gondoliers, sultry courtesans, political intrigue and magic, young Alfeo is apprenticed to doctor/prognosticator extraordinaire Nostradamus. When the corpse of an old friend, skewered by Alfeo's own rapier, is left, literally, on his doorstep, it's up to Alfeo and Nostradamus to solve the crime and restore order—whilst still trying to earn a living, capture a spy, and eat a decent meal, not to mention trying to avoid accusations of witchcraft and being burned at the stake. While technically a sequel to Duncan's earlier The Alchemist's Apprentice, readers can jump right into Code and feel right at home—again, a subtle skill on the writer's part that should be lauded. A charming book, full of wit, good humour, and some jolly good mental and physical fencing. Not to mention some delicious-sounding risotto." The Alchemist’s Code is the second book in Dave Duncan’s The Alchemist series.

Things Go Flying by Shari Lapeña
The Sunburst jury says: "Shari Lapeña’s disarmingly deadpan novel of domestic dysfunction nudges readers into the realm of the uncanny, wherein the oh-so-familiar is suddenly rendered strange, even frightening, but which, when faced, leads its characters back to the familiar, and the essential truths of who they are. As the Walker family begins to disintegrate in the usual ways of busy modern urban families, the unusual and extraordinary begin to happen. Eventually, the boundaries between normal and paranormal are blurred to the extent that everything—from a husband and father’s midlife crisis to a teenage boy’s exploration of sex and identity—is edged with strangeness, with magic and finally wonder. A gem."

Half a Crown by Jo Walton
The Sunburst jury says: Half a Crown "presents a striking contrast between the increasingly grim reality faced by one protagonist with the lighter observations of an initially naïve second major character, walking a difficult tightrope of growing suspense until both protagonists face consequences, and the stakes and tension rise grippingly. Although some readers will find the ending jarring, the book is an outstanding examination of both how evil can become 'normal' and of personal courage (of 'doing what is right' rather than two-fisted heroics). A heroine takes shape before the readers' eyes." Half a Crown is the third volume in Jo Walton's alternate-history Small Change series, preceded by Farthing (2006) and Ha'penny (2007).

Jury's Recommended Reading
The jury felt that the following merited Honourable Mention:

* Blackouts, by Craig Boyko
* The Frankenstein Murders, by Kathlyn Bradshaw
* Here After, by Sean Costello
* Toll the Hounds, by Steve Erikson
* The Seary Line, by Nicole Lundrigan
* After the Fires, by Ursula Pflug
* Blasted, by Kate Story


The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
The Sunburst jury says: "A necromancer just realizing her true self and the extent of her powers in a mysterious and potentially dangerous world, Chloe Saunders is also a typical teenage girl starting at a new high school in Toronto. After causing a stir at school when she sees some ghosts, she ends up at a group home for troubled teens. It is there that the world of the supernatural collides with the world of the adolescent. The Summoning combines those two worlds beautifully in a coming-of-age story that is exciting and suspenseful, tender and affecting. It captures teen angst with perfect pitch, and without a whiff of sentimentality." The Summoning is book one in her Darkest Powers YA urban-fantasy series; book two, The Awakening, came out in May 2009. Frostbitten, book 10 in the Otherworld paranormal fantasy series (which began with Bitten, 2001), will be published in October 2009.

Dingo by Charles de Lint
The Sunburst jury says: "Teenager Miguel discovers that his new Australian girlfriend, along with her twin sister, are shape-shifters, half human and half dingo. De Lint expertly weaves Australian folklore throughout and switches effortlessly from everyday settings such as Miguel's high school or his father's comic and music store to the mythical realm of the Dreamtime. Similarly, we think nothing of how otherworldly creatures appear in a contemporary North American setting. The characters are well drawn, in particular the two sisters with their contrasting personalities, and the way in which Miguel and his long-term nemesis, Johnny, have to put aside their differences to release the girls from a centuries-old curse is really well handled. Dingo is a well-written, highly imaginative and unusual fantasy novel that stands out from other current novels for the YA age group. This book demands to be read from cover to cover in one sitting, and fortunately that's very easy to do."
Charles de Lint is credited as having pioneered the contemporary fantasy genre with his 1984 urban fantasy novel Moonheart, which is still in print. His work includes 65 books published to date. He has been a finalist 17 times for the World Fantasy Award, and won in 2000 for his story collection Moonlight and Vines. These stories (and most of his recent novels) are set in his fictional city of Newford.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
The Sunburst jury says: "Many novels take a chapter or two to introduce the setting and protagonists and get the plot on the road. Not so Little Brother—it sings and zings from the first page, perhaps even the first line. Readers will immediately be swept up in the story of 17-year-old Marcus and his buddies, who, after a terrorist attack on not-so-far-future San Francisco, get caught in a government street-sweep simply because, well, they were there. So they must be guilty, right? After Marcus is finally let go, he decides that something needs to be done about this horrifying erosion of liberties and the scary world made scarier by the very people who are supposed to protect us. Besides, some of his friends are still, ominously, missing. Using his technogeek expertise, the Internet and every contact he has, Marcus takes on the school system, the government, Homeland Security, and anyone else standing in the way of freedoms both small and large. In anyone else's hands this material might so easily have come off as preachy or even trite, but Doctorow's superb handling of his protagonists and his plot turn the story into a nail-biting, heartbreaking, rollercoaster of a novel that will leave the reader anguished and sweating over the fate of its characters. Thankfully, the novel wasn't doled out in installments, like Dickens, or we would all have been waiting on the virtual pier, begging to know what became, not of Little Nell, but of Marcus and his friends. A gem of a book—topical, well written, and not to be missed."

Wild Talent: A Novel of the Supernatural by Eileen Kernaghan
The Sunburst jury says: "An absorbing, carefully crafted coming-of-age story and a vividly successful evocation of Victorian occult worlds, with real people and events skillfully interwoven with the author's fictional supernatural elements (and the false supernatural of charlatans), this book reads like a superb historical novel as well as a superior fantasy."

Night Runner by Max Turner
The Sunburst jury says: "Night Runner is an entertaining and well-crafted novel that offers a fresh take on the vampire genre. From the first paragraph, in which protagonist Zach Thomson tells us that 'this is the story of how I died, twice,' readers are completely pulled in. The story is action-packed right from the start, and it blasts off at a pace as quick and exciting as the chase scenes that appear throughout the novel. All the characters are vividly portrayed and the dialogue is extremely well crafted. Zack Thomson in particular is a highly original character with a distinctive voice. The reader believes in him, urging him on through page-turning plot twists in this story of an eternal war between good and evil. Once we started reading, we couldn’t put it down."

The jury felt that the following YA works merited Honourable Mention:
* Feather Brain, by Maureen Bush
* Watching July, by Christine Hart
* Starclimber, by Kenneth Oppel
* Far, by Carol Matas
* Jolted: Newton Starker’s Rules for Survival, by Arthur Slade
* Shadow Town, by Duncan Thornton
* The Incredibly Ordinary Danny Chandelier, by Laura Trunkey