Ages 18+.

National Book Award finalists

National Book Award finalists

Yesterday the National Book Foundation announced the finalists for the 2005 National Book Awards.

The finalists in the four categories are:


E.L. Doctorow The March
Mary Gaitskill Veronica
Christopher Sorrentino Trance
Renè Steinke Holy Skirts
William T. Vollmann Europe Central


Harold Pinter wins the 2005 Nobel Prize in Literature

harold pinter

Playwright Harold Pinter became the first Briton to win the Nobel Prize in Literature since 2001 when V.S. Naipaul received this most coveted honor in 2001.

It is fitting that this announcement was made today on Yom Kippur -- Pinter credits his passion and inspiration to his Jewish roots. The anti-Semitism he experienced and the bombing of London in WW II shaped many of his works.

Among this prolific writer's well known plays are The Caretaker, for which he won a Tony in 1962, The Room, The Birthday Party, and The Lover.

Several screenplays bear Pinter's name, including The French Lieutenant's Woman.

Controversy swirled around Elfriede Jelinek, last year's recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Knut Ahnlund, an inactive member of the Academy, resigned on October 11th because of that choice.

Pinter is 75.

"Do You Think I'm Sexy?"

Each fall, the editors at Library Journal pick a handful of extraordinary books to highlight that in general fall below the radar of the bestsellers. The one that caught my eye this fall is Ariel Levy’s “fascinating and furious critique of raunch culture”.
In Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the rise of raunch culture., Levy, a New York magazine writer, interviewed scores of women - from teenagers, lesbian bois, to partygoers. She observed that “sex is about scoring, social status, and getting attention”, and the concept of what’s hot is promoted by the very people it suffocates.

Functional Filmmaking

When is a film more than just a movie? When the subject is portrayed in a way that the audience is forced to rethink their opinions? Try again. Randall Adams would contend that The Thin Blue Line had more of an effect on the world than any other. Adams was pardoned and released from Death Row as a direct result of this film by legendary documentary filmmaker Errol Morris. TBL was recently released on DVD as part of The Errol Morris Collection. Original music by Philip Glass.

On Beauty and Obsessions

I have a confession. I am prone to obsessions. One of the targets of this obsession is Zadie Smith. I had never heard of Zadie Smith until the release of her highly acclaimed novel White Teeth. I picked up this book because of the title. It's like someone out there knew about one of my other obsessions: teeth. After White Teeth, I looked around for other things by Smith and took to reading interviews. Then I got wind of The Autograph Man. This book wasn't as well-received as White Teeth, but I devoured it.

And the winner is...

The 2005 winner of The Man Booker Prize, the UK's most prestigious literary award, is John Banville for The Sea.

Banville, 60, is the first Irish author in more than 10 years to win the Booker (Roddy Doyle won in 1993 for Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha). Banville came close in 1989 when his Book of Evidence was on the Booker shortlist.

The Sea, which will be released in the US in March of 2006, comes with a £50,000 purse.

LATE BREAKING NEWS: Knopf has just announced that they are fast-tracking publication of The Sea. It will be released in the US in November.

The Play Ground

Busy, busy, busy. One old, one new. The Boys From Syracuse, a physical comedy full of farcical mischief will be at the Mendelssohn Theatre at the Michigan League on October 13-16. This was the first musical to be adapted from the works of Shakspeare when it opened in 1938. If you love Shakespeare, Richard Rogers, Lorenz Hart or George Abbott this is the play to see.
The Performance Network is co-premiering Joan Ackerman's play about a poetess who lives in happy obscurity until her neighbor, Edith Wharton, passes her work along to an editor who wants to publish it. Through October 30th.

The Man Booker Prize 2005 to be announced tonight

man booker prize

At 10:30 p.m. tonight (London time), the 2005 winner of The Man Booker Prize will be announced. The Booker Prize, established in 1969, is one of the most prestigious literary awards coveted by writers.

Tonight’s winner will be selected from the shortlist of six authors who were chosen August 7th. They are:

John Banville The Sea – scheduled for U.S. publication in 2006
Julian Barnes Arthur and George
Sebastian Barry A Long Long Way
Kazuo Ishiguro Never Let Me Go
Ali Smith The Accidental – scheduled for U.S. publication in 2006
Zadie Smith On Beauty

Last year's winner was Alan Hollinghurst for The Line of Beauty.

Good Night, and Good Luck

"Good Night, and Good Luck", the signature sign-off of legendary broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow, is the title of George Clooney's second directorial effort. Edward Murrow is most famous for taking on Joseph McCarthy and his aggressive tactics during the Red Scare. The library's collection includes The Edward R. Murrow Collection, a multi-disc DVD set featuring Murrow's work and his influence on broadcast journalism. Point of Order, a recent documentary featuring clips from the 1954 McCarthy-Army hearings, and Guilty by Suspicion, starring Robert DeNiro, are also recommended.

Not My Type

You’ve seen them at the mall, in your classes, or even living next door. They’re Zingers, who constantly quote famous lines from TV shows and movies. Or perhaps they’re Molly McButters, young women who epitomize the “granny cool” look. You may have even met a Hair Gel Knight, those unfortunate men who have confused gallantry with male chauvinism. And if you’ve seen them, Robert Lanham has categorized them. His newest book is Food Court Druids, Cherohonkees, and other Creatures Unique to the Republic, a hilarious taxonomy of frequently seen American types.

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