National Book Festival 2010

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The National Book Festival takes place this Saturday, September 25, on the National Mall in Washington, DC, with honorary chairs, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, there to celebrate the NBF's 10th Anniversary. This year's festival promises to pull out all the stops, with the biggest authors and illustrators in the country talking about their craft and signing books throughout the day. Authors in attendance include the rapidly-buzzing Freedom writer, Jonathan Franzen, multiple Newbery Award winner, Katherine Paterson, Hunger Games Trilogy author, Suzanne Collins, Pillars of the Earth epic writer, Ken Follett, and many more. If you're not planning on heading down to the nation's capital this weekend, you can follow all the action online through webcasts and podcasts throughout the day.

62nd Primetime Emmy Awards

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The 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards aired on Sunday, August 29th on NBC and highlighted the best of the best in primetime television. Why not take the time to watch a few of the primetime TV series' nominees and winners?
The most anticipated categories include Outstanding Comedy, Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Reality Competition Program.

Outstanding Comedy nominees were ABC's Modern Family, Showtime's Nurse Jackie, NBC's 30 Rock and The Office, HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm and FOX's Glee. Modern Family won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series marking the show's first win and nomination in the category.

Outstanding Drama nominees were AMC's Mad Men and Breaking Bad, CBS's The Good Wife, HBO's True Blood, Showtime's Dexter and ABC's Lost. Mad Men won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series for its' third year in a row.

The Outstanding Reality Competition Program category was introduced in 2003. This year's nominees included Bravo's Top Chef, CBS's The Amazing Race, FOX's American Idol, ABC's Dancing with the Stars and Lifetime's Project Runway. Top Chef won the award in this category for the first time and defeated The Amazing Race which has dominated and won the award every year since the inception of this category.

Orion Book Award Winner: Some of the Dead Are Still Breathing by Charles Bowden

Orion Winner 3

The 2010 Orion Book Awards have been announced. Orion is one of the best magazines you will find, whose byline – nature/culture/place – reveals its focus. The editorial board reads like a who’s who of contemporary luminaries in the environmental movement, such as: Wendell Berry, Bill McKibben, Edward O. Wilson, Barry Lopez, Jane Goodall. Orion manages to be artistic, literary, probing and provocative, with cutting-edge articles on the politics, ethics and practice of environmentalism, farming and forestry and featuring the work of artists, poets, and storytellers. It inspires personal commitment to change the world, one short shower, cloth bag, bike ride and community garden at a time.

Every year the editors acknowledge books that, “deepen our connection to the natural world, present new ideas about our relationship with nature and achieve excellence in writing”. We own a few of the winners and Mel owns the rest. Below are this year’s winners with links to the catalog where you can reserve them.
The 2010 winner:Some of the Dead Are Still Breathing: Living in the Future Charles Bowden
The 2010 finalists:The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World Wade Davis
Rewilding the West: Restoration in a Prairie Landscape Richard Manning
Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing: Stories Lydia Peelle
The Barbaric Heart: Faith, Money, and the Crisis of Nature Curtis White

Author Birthdays: John Ashbery

Today marks the birthday of 83-year-old poet John Ashbery.

Ashbery has many books in our poetry section. One of his most notable would be Self-portrait In A Convex Mirror, which won not only the National Book Award in 1975, but also the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

Also in his long list of publications is April Galleons, which Library Journal reviewed, saying the "...seamless style allows a rich assemblage of voices to move nimbly between high comedy and low, among fable, memory, and meditation."

His latest is Planisphere, which came out last year and is named after a device which shows the visible stars for any date and time.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #215

The Ice Princess** is economist-turned-novelist Camilla Lackberg's #1 bestseller in Sweden (pub. 2003) and the winner of 2008 Grand Prix de Littérature Policière for Best International Crime Novel . Ice Princess is the first of her novels to reach the US market.

Set in winter in the coastal town of Fjallbacka, Erica, a thirtysomething biographer returns to her hometown to deal with her parents' untimely death. On a whim, she visits her childhood friend Alex only to find her dead in the bathtub, in an apparent suicide. Alex's grieving parents and Erica's curiosity compel her to delve deep into Alex's past as well as her relationships. Working with a local police officer, Patrik, they uncover secrets and sordidness that the town folks would have preferred to stay buried under their glossy lifestyle and pristine landscape.

This will appeal to fans of Nordic crime fiction and psychological thrillers who prefer a strong female presence, especially those of Asa Larsson and other notable female writers such as Karin Alvtegen Karin Fossum, Mari Jungsted, and Helene Tursten.

** = starred reviews

Summer Books to Film

winter's bonewinter's bone

Winter's Bone is based on the novel by the Missouri writer Daniel Woodrell.

16-year-old Ree knows she has to bring her father back, dead or alive who skipped bail on charges of running a crystal meth lab, otherwise, she and her two young brothers will be turned out of their home. Living in the harsh poverty of the Ozarks, Ree learns quickly that asking questions of the rough Dolly clan can be a fatal mistake. But, as an unsettling revelation lurks, Ree discovers unforeseen depths in herself and in a family network that protects its own at any cost. (The New York Times review). Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. (Official trailer).

The Girl Who Played with Fire is the second filmed installment of Stieg Larsson's best-selling "Millennium Trilogy". Front and center this time is the enigmatic Lisbeth Salander. It follows up on her next nasty brush with the law and her heartbreaking backstory. Again, plenty of action and intrigue. (U.S. trailer).

Speaking of dragons...

Since Summer Reading's got some serious dragon power, I thought I'd mention a few teen fantasies. Great segue, huh?

The first is Robin McKinley's Newbery Medal winner, The Hero and the Crown, which was also an ALA Notable Book and ALA Best Book for Young Adults book. It tells the story of Aerin, a princess--and an outcast--who grows up to defeat dragons rather than become a queen. The story takes place in a land called Damar, and is a prequel to another of McKinley's Newbery winners, The Blue Sword. See? There was a dragon in that one.

Secondly, I'd like to mention the Books of Pellinor, written by Alison Croggon. The series is a quartet, and takes place is a civilization which Croggon tries to convince us once existed, sometime 10,000 years ago. She even includes fake citations, as if she were doing research in a library with its ancient manuscripts. The first book, The Naming, starts us off with the main character, Maerad, and her companion, Cadvan. The second continues their story, and the third focuses on her brother, Hem, and his mentor, Saliman. The fourth concludes with the siblings united, and working against evil. Unfortunately, there aren't really any dragons, though we do encounter some talking animals.

By the way, if you haven't seen them yet, check out the dragons in the Downtown Youth area, as well as at the West and Malletts Creek branches.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #213

the twinthe twin

The Twin, a debut novel by Gerbrand Bakker quietly beats out a number of seasoned writers and front runners (see the shortlist) to win the 2010 International Impac Dublin Literary Award - the largest and most international prize of its kind. It involves libraries from all corners of the globe, and is open to books written in any language.

When his twin brother Henk dies in a car accident, Helmer is obliged to return to the small family farm. He resigns himself to taking over his brother's role and spending the rest of his days working in the remote Dutch countryside. Now 37 years later, Helmer finally is able to move his invalid father so that he could make a home for himself. Then the woman once engaged to Henk appears and asks Helmer to take in her troubled eighteen-year-old son.

"Ostensibly a novel about the countryside, The Twin ultimately poses difficult questions about solitude and the possibility of taking life into one's own hands. It chronicles a way of life which has resisted modernity, a world culturally apart, and yet laden with familiar longing."

$31,000 of the $123,000 prize will go to David Colmer whose superb translation allows the novel's authentic voice to be heard by English readers.

NPR was first to recognize The Twin by placing it on a list of Best Foreign Fiction of 2009.

School Library Journal picked it as one of the Best Adult Books for High School Students 2009.

For the budding novelists out there, take heart. This is the third year in a row that a debut novel has won.

William Kentridge wins the Kyoto Prize

South American visual artist William Kentridge will receive the Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy from the Inamori Foundation of Japan. The prize honors individuals who have made "significant contributions to the progress of science, the advancement of civilization, and the enrichment and elevation of the human spirit".

Mr. Kentridge is best known for his animated films about the history and social circumstances of postcolonial South Africa. The Foundation is most impressed with "his originality as an artist... His deep insights and profound reflections on the nature of human existences provide opportunities to consider fundamental issues that could face any individual in the world".

Mr. Kentridge's works are well represented in William Kentridge : five themes - the catalog published in conjunction with an exhibition held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and currently touring to 6 museums worldwide until fall 2011; and William Kentridge (2001).

Cozy Winners

Anybody who loves a good cozy mystery should check out the Agatha Award fiction winners!

The Agatha Awards celebrate mysteries written in the traditional style. This translates to more atmosphere and less of the graphic scenes you may find in a Noir or True Crime novel.

Fiction Winners (written in 2009):

Best Novel: A Brutal Telling by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)

Best First Novel: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (Delacorte Press)

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