2005 Shamus Awards nominees

black and white private eye

On September 2, 2005, the Private Eye Writers of America will announce the winners of their 24th annual Shamus awards in Chicago. Sara Paretsky will be award awarded PWA’s 2005 Life Achievement Award.

Nominees and their categories for this year are:

Best P.I. Novel     

Leonard Chang    Fade to Clear
Robert Ferrigno    The Wake-up

Vacation Reading

Vacations are the perfect time to sit back and read, and my vacation last week was no exception. The family cottage in the Les Cheneaux Islands (think outhouses and walking a half mile for drinking water) was lovely, even if my family wasn't, and when we weren't swimming or bickering, we were reading.

My father read Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen and highly recommends it as a funny and clever thriller. He also read A Cold Day in Paradise, a UP mystery by Steve Hamilton that won an Edgar Award. (More adult, teen and kids books after the break!)

Remains Silent, by Michael Baden and Linda Kenney

In 1963, Korean War vet James Lyons disappeared. Forty-some years later his bones are uncovered during the excavation of land in preparation for a shopping center. Medical examiner Jake Rosen, a bit of a fashion slob but a forensic genius, is called in to investigate. Soon he’s paired with Philomena “Manny” Manfeda, an attorney for the Lyons family in a comedic thriller/mystery. Husband-wife authors, Michael Baden and Linda Kenney know from whence they write their debut mystery -– Baden was a former New York City chief medical examiner and Kenney can be seen on CNN and Court TV in her role as legal commentator.

Deliver Us From Normal

Kate Klise, part of the sister team who have written such silly favorites as Regarding the Fountain and Regarding the Sink, has recently struck out on her own and published a more dramatic story called Deliver Us From Normal. It is the story of Charlie Harrisong, one of five kids in a crazy, disorderly family, growing up in Normal, Illinois. But Charlie thinks his family is anything but normal. After a horrible incident involving his older sister running for school president, the family takes off in the middle of the night for the Deep South in an adventure that will help Charlie really understand his family.

Jazzy Miz Mozetta by Brenda C. Roberts

Join Miz Mozetta as she jitterbugs with a new generation. This beautifully illustrated Corretta Scott King Honor book celebrates the heyday of Jazz to a rhythm young readers will enjoy.

This Week on Stateside

The August 19th edition of Stateside featured books about Michigan outdoors including novels, narratives and short stories. Literary critic Keith Taylor read passages from one of the most highly regarded novels of early Michigan, Loon Feather by Iola Fuller. It is the story of an Indian girl destined to grow up with the incompatible traditions of her own people and of the white traders on Mackinac Island. This sensitive and accurate portrayal of Native American culture won her the Hopwood Award as well as ongoing popularity among library patrons.

Robert Traver’s Trout Madness was another of Taylor’s favorites and, by his estimation, a better book than Traver’s more famous work, Anatomy of a Murder. Read them both and let us know whether you agree with Taylor.

The Lives of Dwarfs

Betty M. Adelson is the author of The Lives of Dwarfs: Their Journey from Public Curiosity toward Social Liberation

In the preface to the book she writes:

“Ever since my daughter Anna was born thirty years ago with achondroplasia, a type of dwarfism, I have recognized the need for a book about the lives of dwarfs. At that time I eagerly searched the literature and found only some specialized medical articles that were not very helpful, and sometimes alarming. Subsequently, I came upon books with titles like Freaks, Human Oddities, or Victorian Grotesque: their inadequacies and biases strengthened my resolve to offer a truer narrative to dwarfs and their families and to a society that had all too often been unwelcoming and uncomprehending. The work would be a social history that described the presence of dwarfs in other eras, in mythology and the arts, but one that would also cast light on the lives of dwarfs today and be informed by my own and others’ personal experiences.

Tasha Tudor's Birthday

corgiville fair book cover

Tasha Tudor, one of the most famous and acclaimed children’s author/illustrators in the world will be 90 years old on August 28, 2005. Some favorite books of hers are Corgiville Fair, Take Joy! The Tasha Tudor Christmas Book, A is for Annabelle and Becky’s Christmas. Stay well Tasha Tudor and Happy Birthday!!

Gentle's Holler

Books for girls ages 8 - 12 are always in demand. Consider the popularity of such titles as Because of Winn Dixie, Ida B, Spitting Image, and Walk Two Moons. All of these books have strong girl protaganists who learn about life and how to make their place in it.

The first youth title by author Karry Madden, Gentle's Holler, can be added to this list. 12-year-old Livy longs to see the world outside the small mountain house she shares with her parents and eight siblings. Being a part of such a large family is an issue. Her father's pipe dream of writing a hit song is another. He spends his time trying to sell his music rather than working at a paying job. Gentle, Livy's younger sister, is blind. The family has many issues but few resources to deal with them. How Livy makes her way in these circumstances is the heart of this story. It's highly recommended for fans of "girl books".

Biography of an American Icon

American Gothic by Grant Wood is one of the most recognizable emblems in our cultural landscape, much like the flag, the American eagle and the Statue of Liberty.
In Steven Biel’s American Gothic: a life of America's most famous painting the author followed Route 16 out of Eldon, Iowa to trace the making of this American icon.

Full of details, delightful trivia (Wood recruited his reluctant sister and a local dentist to pose; the pitchfork was originally a rake; and the cameo belonged to Wood's mother) and thoughtful discussions on the impact of the painting on our national and regional consciousness, this book is highly recommended.

Curious about other works by Wood? Check out the Cedar Rapids Musuem's Grant Wood Studio.

American Gothic is part of the permanent collection at The Art Institute of Chicago.

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