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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 »

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.