Nebula Award Nominees announced


The Nebula Awards are one of several prestigious prizes for writing granted within the scifi/fantasy genre. They are nominated by members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. and this is the 47th year in doing so. Award winners will be announced on May 19th. Categories of awards include best adult novel as well as one for best young adult scifi/fantasy novel.

The nominees for best adult novel are:
Among Others, Jo Walton
Embassytown, China Miéville
Firebird, Jack McDevitt
God’s War, Kameron Hurley
Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti, Genevieve Valentine
Kingdom of Gods, N.K. Jemisin

The nominees for best young adult novel are:
Akata Witch, Nnedi Okorafor
Chime, Franny Billingsley
Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor
Everybody Sees the Ants, A.S. King
Boy at the End of the World, Greg van Eekhout
The Freedom Maze, Delia Sherman
Girl of Fire and Thorns, Rae Carson
Ultraviolet, R.J. Anderson

The Inaugural Listen List: Outstanding Audiobook Narration

Established in 2010 by the American Library Association Collection Development and Evaluation Section (CODES) of RUSA, The Listen List recognizes and honors the narrators who are a pleasure to listen to; who offer listeners something they could not create by their own visual reading; and who achieve an outstanding performance in terms of voice, accents, pitch, tone, inflection, rhythm and pace.

This inaugural list (Be sure to check out the wonderful listen-alikes with each of the winners) includes literary and genre fiction, memoir and history and features voices that enthrall, delight and inspire.

The 2012 winners are:

All Clear by Connie Willis. Narrated by Katherine Kellgren.
This sequel to Blackout, a stellar science fiction adventure, follows the plight of a group of historians from 2060, trapped in WWII England during the Blitz. In a narrative tour de force, Kellgren brings to life a large cast of characters, including a pair of street-smart urchins who capture the hearts of characters and listeners alike.

Bossypants by Tina Fey Narrated by Tina Fey.
In a very funny memoir made decidedly funnier by its reader, Tina Fey relates sketches and memories of her time at SNL and Second City as well as the difficulties of balancing career and motherhood. In a voice dripping with wit, she acts out the book, adding extra-aural elements that print simply cannot convey.

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley. Narrated by Dominic Hoffman.
Dominic Hoffman reads this elegiac novel of memory and redemption with fierce grace, inhabiting Mosley’s characters with voices perfectly crafted in pitch and rhythm. His rough, gravelly narration manages the pace and mood of the book with astounding skill, brilliantly capturing the mental clarity and fog of 91-year-old Ptolemy Grey’s world.

Life Itself: A Memoir by Roger Ebert, Narrated by Edward Herrmann.
Ebert’s clear-eyed account chronicles his life from his youth in Urbana, Illinois, to his fame as a world-renowned film critic in Chicago. Herrmann’s engaging, affable reading mirrors the author’s tone—honest, often humorous, sometimes bittersweet—as he unhurriedly ushers listeners through Ebert’s moving reflections on a life well lived.

Middlemarch by George Eliot. Narrated by Juliet Stevenson.
Juliet Stevenson brings crisp clarity, a witty sensibility and a charming tonal quality to Eliot’s masterpiece of provincial life. Through her deft management of pacing and tone, she reveals character motivation and illuminates the many themes of the novel. But most of all she reclaims Eliot for listeners who thought they did not enjoy classics.

The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willg. Narrated by Kate Reading.
In this Regency Christmas caper, a pudding, a spy, a hilarious school theatrical and a memorable country house party lead to laughter, love and an offer of marriage. Reading’s lovely English accent and exuberance are a perfect fit for the wide range of characters, from young girls to male teachers to members of the aristocracy.

One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde. Narrated by Emily Gray.
In this genre-bending romp, the “written” Thursday must rescue the “real” Thursday from a nefarious Bookworld plot. Emily Gray wears Thursday like a second skin, as she does the robots, dodos, and space aliens running around. The story is paced such that every nuance of pun and word play is captured and rendered aurally.

A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley. Narrated by Jayne Entwistle.
Flavia de Luce, a terrifyingly proficient 11-year-old amateur chemist and sleuth, investigates the beating of a gypsy and the death of a villager in this third outing. Entwistle’s spot-on narration reveals the irrepressible, intrepid heroine’s prowess and captures a delicious range of secondary characters in these whimsical mysteries set in 1950s rural England.

The Snowman by Jo Nesbø. Narrated by Robin Sachs.
The icy chill of the Norwegian countryside and a series of cold-blooded murders dominate this Harry Hole crime novel. Sachs contrasts Hole’s world-weary professional attitude, his unquenchable thirst for justice and his yearning for love and comfort, as he skillfully maintains a suspenseful pace and projects an overarching sense of doom.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Narrated by Simon Prebble.
The tragedy and heroism of the French Revolution come alive through Prebble’s distinctive and graceful narration. As the lives of Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton intersect, Prebble takes listeners deep into France and England, narrating terrifying descriptions and breathless acts of courage with a cadence that sweeps one away.

The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht. Narrated by Susan Duerden and Robin Sachs.
In this imaginative novel, Balkan physician Natalia, on a mission of mercy, learns of her beloved grandfather’s death. Duerden’s mesmerizing voice leads listeners through the complexities of this rich novel with its intertwining stories, while Sachs memorably relates her grandfather’s haunting tales in a gentle and gruff voice.

Why Read Moby-Dick? by Nathaniel Philbrick. Narrated by Nathaniel Philbrick.
In what should be required reading before cracking the pages of Moby-Dick, Nathaniel Philbrick’s homage to this great American novel compels the listener to experience Melville with an almost incandescent joy. His voice resonates with palpable enthusiasm and calls to mind a New England professor giving a fascinating lecture.

Winners in Genre Fiction - RUSA’s 2012 Reading List

The American Library Association's Reading List Council have selected their top picks for 2012 in eight popular genres. Among the winners (and the shortlists) are some of the best by first-time novelists.

ADRENALINE
Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson. (See FFF blog)
Each morning, Christine wakes with no memory. From the clues she left herself, she tries to piece together her identity and sort lies from the truth. The unrelenting pace thrusts the reader into the confusion of a waking nightmare in which revelations of her past lead to a frantic crescendo.

FANTASY
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (See FFF blog)
Le Cirque des Rêves is utterly unique, disappearing at dawn in one town only to mysteriously reappear in another. At the heart of the circus are two young magicians, involved in a competition neither completely understands. The dreamlike atmosphere and vivid imagery make this fantasy unforgettable.

HISTORICAL FICTION
Doc by Mary Doria Russell
In the early days of Dodge City, a genteel, tubercular Southern dentist forges a friendship with the infamous Earp brothers. Combining historical details and lyrical language, this gritty psychological portrait of gunslinger Doc Holliday reveals how the man became the legend.

HORROR
The Ridge by Michael Koryta
The unexplained death of an eccentric lighthouse keeper in the isolated Kentucky woods, followed by a mysterious threat to a nearby large cat sanctuary prompt an investigation by a journalist and the local sheriff. Palpable evil and a sense of dread drive this chilling tale.

MYSTERY
The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino (See FFF blog)
An introverted mathematician matches wits with a brilliant former colleague to protect the neighbor he secretly adores from a murder charge. Although the reader knows the murderer’s identity from the beginning, this unconventional Japanese mystery remains a taut psychological puzzle.

ROMANCE
Silk is for Seduction by Loretta Chase
Ambitious dressmaker Marcelline Noirot will do almost anything to secure the patronage of the Duke of Clevendon’s intended bride. Neither her calculated business plan nor his campaign of seduction can withstand the force of their mutual attraction. Witty banter and strong-willed characters make this a memorable tale.

SCIENCE FICTION
Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
The missions of a jaded cop and a dedicated ice hauler officer collide as the fate of humanity hangs in the balance. A mystery adds a noir touch to this space opera featuring deeply flawed yet heroic characters, non-stop action and Earth versus Mars politics.

WOMEN'S FICTION
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (See FFF blog)
A former foster child struggles to overcome a past filled with abuse, neglect and anger. Communication through the Victorian language of fflowers allows her to discover hope, redemption and a capacity for love. Damaged, authentic characters create an emotional tension in this profoundly moving story.

Breaking Stalin's Nose

2012 Newbery Honor book, Breaking Stalin's Nose, by Eugene Yelchin is a welcome addition to what I expect out of historical literature for young adults. If I'm looking for great books about the Civil War, early-1900s race relations, the Holocaust, or the Civil Rights Movement, I have award winners like Elijah of Buxton, Number the Stars, The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had and One Crazy Summer, or dozens of others. But what about the Cold War?

In Breaking Stalin's Nose, ten-year-old Sasha lives in Cold War-era Soviet Union. The novel opens with a set of beliefs Sasha holds above all, "My dad is a hero and a Communist and, more than anything, I want to be like him. I can never be like Comrade Stalin, of course. He's our great Leader and Teacher."

From there, readers are plunged into a fog of Stalinist propaganda that permeates Sasha's life, in his cramped apartment, on the radio, and in school lessons. Sasha is a devoted Soviet with hopes of joining the ranks of the Young Pioneers, an elite youth nationalist group at school. But when Sasha's father, a member of the State Security, is taken from their komunalka in the middle of the night, leaving the boy an orphan, Sasha begins to discover the cost of a culture of fear, suspicion, and persecution as his status careens from elite to outcast.

The issues raised in Breaking Stalin's Nose are far deeper than a didactic 'Communism is bad and Capitalism is good', and the situations and choices the characters face are relevant beyond their immediate setting. This title would make a fantastic classroom or book group discussion selection.

2012 Caldecott and Newbery Awards Announced

The two biggest awards in the world of children's literature were announced last Monday.
A Ball for Daisy, written and illustrated by Chris Raschka won the Caldecott Medal for best illustrated book. This is the second Caldecott Medal for this talented illustrator.
He also won the Medal in 2006 for the illustrations of Norton Juster's The Hello, Goodbye Window.

Author Jack Gantos won the Newbery Medal for his book Dead End in Norvelt. This award is for best children's book published in the previous year.

For a complete list of all the awards, click here.

2012 Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults

The 2012 winner for the best nonfiction book published for young adults (ages 12-18) during the November 1 2010 – October 31 2011 publishing year is Notorious Benedict Arnold. Most people know that Benedict Arnold was America’s first, most notorious traitor. Few know that he was also one of its greatest war heroes. Please meet the real Arnold: reckless, heroic, and driven. Packed with first-person accounts, astonishing battle scenes, and surprising twists, this is a gripping and true adventure tale.

The four 2012 Excellence in Nonfiction finalists are:Sugar Changed the World : a Story of Spice, Magic, Slavery, Freedom, and Science, Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition, Wheels of Change : How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom, and Music was It : Young Leonard Bernstein.

2012 Printz Award Winner and Honor books

This year’s winner of the Printz Award is Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley. Seventeen-year-old Cullen's summer in Lily, Arkansas, is marked by his cousin's death by overdose, an alleged spotting of a woodpecker thought to be extinct, failed romances, and his younger brother's sudden disappearance.

The 2012 Printz Honor Books are Why We Broke Up, The Returning, Jasper Jones, and Scorpio Races.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #309

Actor/playwright/filmmaker Ayad Akhtar is now a first-time novelist with the publication of American Dervish * last week. With rights sold to 19 countries, this might just be the first Muslim-American novel to reach commercial mainstream.

"(B)rilliantly written, nuanced, and emotionally forceful look inside the interplay of religion and modern life", the novel opens with Hayat Shah, heavy with guilt, remembering his first love, Auntie Mina - independent, beautiful and intelligent, and his mother's oldest friend from Pakistan. Her arrival enlivens their previously dour and secular household with laughter and she brings an abiding Muslim faith which she begins to share with Hayat, awakening in the 10 yr.old boy a fierce infatuation, and a new religious identity.

When Mina falls for his father's Jewish colleague Nathan, Hayat feels betrayed. A reckless scheme to set things right brings on devastating consequences for all those he loves most.

"The young teen's personal story about growing up in pre-9/11 Muslim America is both particular and universal, with intense connections of faith, sorrow, tenderness, anger, betrayal, questioning, and love."

A readalike for Leila Aboulela's The Translator (2006) and Hisham Matar's Anatomy of a Disappearance (in audio), (2011).

Ayad Akhtar is an American-born, first generation Pakistani-American from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. An award-winning playwright (Brown, Columbia) he starred and co-wrote The War Within (2005), which was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay and an International Press Academy Satellite Award for Best Picture - Drama.

* = starred review

A Lannister Wins GOLD(en) Globe

As the award season comes into full swing our favorite movies, television shows, actors and actresses are again vying for top honors. One of my favorites among the vast talent in Hollywood is Peter Dinklage who plays the role of Tyrion Lannister in the HBO series Game of Thrones, which is based on the book of the same title by George R.R. Martin.

Dinklage who was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Series at this years Golden Globes won for his portrayal of Tyrion Lannister. However, this is not the first award Dinklage has won for this role, he also won the Emmy in the same category. Peter Dinklage's career has been spread between film and television. Here are a list of films AADL carries that Dinklage can be found in; the most noteworthy being his role in the Station Agent where he won in 2003 for Best Actor at the Ourense Independent Film Festival.

Death at a Funeral (2007) and (2010)
Chronicles of Narnia - Prince Caspian
Elf
Penelope
Find me Guilty
Underdog
Lassie

Game of Thrones is set to return for a second season on HBO in April.

November's Books to Film (You KNOW! the season is upon us)

Brian Selznick's charming Caldecott Medal winner The Invention of Hugo Cabret : a novel in words and pictures (2007) is one for the whole family to hit the big screen on November 23rd. In this moving and entertaining film adaptation, an orphaned boy secretly lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station and looks after the clocks. He gets caught up in a mystery adventure when he attempts to repair a mechanical man. Martin Scorsese directs a star-studded cast of Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Johnny Depp, and Jude Law.

Based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer, Breaking Dawn – Part 1 is the highly anticipated next chapter of the blockbuster The Twilight Saga. The new-found married bliss of Bella Swan and vampire Edward Cullen is cut short when a series of betrayals and misfortunes threatens to destroy their world. Wide release on the 18th, savvy fans know the drill.

The gritty noir novel London Boulevard (2001) by Ken Bruen has been adapted into a feature film starring Colin Farrell, Keira Knightley, Ray Winstone. An ex-con hired to look after a reclusive young actress finds himself falling in love, which puts him in direct confrontation with one of London's most vicious gangsters.

In A Dangerous Method, adapted from the book by John Kerr, on the eve of World War I, Zurich and Vienna are the setting for a dark tale of sexual and intellectual discovery. Drawn from true-life events, it explores the turbulent relationships between fledgling psychiatrist Carl Jung, his mentor Sigmund Freud and Sabina Spielrein, the beautiful but disturbed young woman who comes between them. Starring Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley, and Viggo Mortensen.

George Clooney, Judy Greer, and Matthew Lillard star in The Descendants, adapted from the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings. Wealthy Hawaiian landowner Matt King has his life upended when his wife, Joanie, is involved in a boating accident. King struggles to reconnect with his two daughters as the three of them take a journey to deliver the news of Joanie's imminent death to the man with whom she was having an affair.

My Week With Marilyn, is based on Colin Clark’s (played by Eddie Redmayne) controversial memoir. The film centers on the tense relationship between Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) and Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) during production of The Prince and the Showgirl. In the early summer of 1956, 23-year-old Colin Clark, just down from Oxford and determined to make his way in the film business, worked as a lowly assistant on the set of The Prince and the Showgirl. In his diary, one week was missing, and this is the story of that week when Colin introduced Marilyn to some of the pleasures of British life.

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