Beagles Rule!

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Finally. Uno became the first of his breed to win the 132-year-old Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York last night. Uno, who won over the crowd and judges, showed why the beagle is such a favorite with families. Molly and Aidan know beagles rule.

Westminster Update

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You'll need your clicker tonight to see the entire Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. USA Network, Channel 51 in AA, will host the show from 8 - 9 p.m. and then CNBC, Channel 39 in AA, will take over from 9 - 11 p.m. Bertie gives the show a two-paws up rating.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #97

Oh, how I hate being late to the party! At the American Library Association Midwinter in Philly last week, the hot topic was nordic mystery and the most eagerly anticipated read was The Redbreast* (and I am still #13 on the waiting list!)

People-in-the-know are calling Norwegian Jo Nesbo's English debut "an epic new novel, brilliant in scope and design - a deep and fearless investigation of betrayal spanning two centures and three continents". It also introduces to North American readers Police Detective Harry Hole who finds himself sitting on top of an international conspiracy during a presidential visit to Oslo.

This winner of the Glass Key prize for the best Nordic crime novel, "fans of Henning Mankell and Karin Fossum will have a seriously difficult time putting down", writes Bruce Tierney of BookPage.

*= Starred Reviews (Jessica: Enjoyed yours in LJ)

The Goose is Golden

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Goose Gossage entered the National Baseball Hall of Fame today, joining 285 other greatest of the great in America's pastime. Gossage joins the Pride of the Yankees and the Bambino and way too many others from the team we all love to hate.

The Education of Little Tree

Talk show host Oprah Winfrey has pulled a discredited children's book, Forrest Carter's The Education of Little Tree, from a list of recommended titles on her Web site, blaming an archival "error" for including a work considered to be the literary hoax of a white supremacist, according to the International Herald Tribune. Carter, who died in 1979, was identified as Asa Earl Carter, a member of the Ku Klux Klan and speechwriter for former Alabama governor George Wallace.

First published in 1976, Little Tree was supposedly the real-life story of an orphaned boy raised by his Cherokee Indian grandparents; the book became a million seller and sentimental favorite. In 1991, the American Booksellers Association gave "Little Tree" its first ever ABBY award, established to honor the 'hidden treasures' that ABA bookstore members most enjoyed recommending.

According to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 70 percent of industry sales, Little Tree" has sold about 11,000 copies in 2007.

Library Lions

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Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese was honored Monday, along with historian John Hope Franklin, author Jhumpa Lahiri, and playwright Tom Stoppard by the New York Public Library as this year's Library Lions.

"Library Lions honorees were chosen for their exceptional contributions to scholarship, literature, science, history and the visual and performing arts," library president Paul LeClerc said.

The Library Lions award was first given out in 1997.

Not scary movies, scary books!

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Looking to get spooked with some horror books? Looking for the cream of the deadly crop? In 1988 The Horror Writers Association began presenting the Bram Stoker Awards each year for works they felt were a “superior achievement” in horror writing in a number of categories. Recent Stoker winners for novels include Lisey’s Story by Stephen King, Creepers by David Morrell, The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King, and The Hour Before Dark by Douglas Clegg. For more on past winner visit The Horror Writers Association.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #87

Shortlisted for the Orange Prize, Chinese author Xiaolu Guo’s first novel written in English, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers is at once sexy, sad and funny .

Zhuang ("Z"), a 23-year-old Chinese woman from rural China is in London enrolled in English classes. Loneliness and her attraction to a much older man at an artsy film soon make them live-in lovers. His bisexuality bothers her less than his vegetarian diet. It becomes clear to the readers that her ever-improving English does not help her understanding of western culture and gets her in some dangerous situations.

“Guo's U.S. debut ...(is)a compelling and moving tale of first love. An often-charming exploration of learning, love and loss.” ~ Kirkus Reviews

Xiaolu Guo was born in 1973. After graduating from the Beijing Film Academy, she published a number of books in China. Since 2002, she has been dividing her time between London and Beijing. She has written and directed award-winning documentaries including The Concrete Revolution; her first feature film, How Is Your Fish Today?, was screened at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2007 International Women’s Film Festival.

Fantastic Fiction Firsts #84

Emergency room physician Vincent Lam’s debut collection of linked stories - Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures* is the 2006 winner of The Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada’s premier literary prize for fiction. It revolves around four young multicultural Toronto medical students. (Think Grey’s Anatomy!)

Along with the requisite sex, death and sleep deprivation crucial to any hospital drama, it's action-packed and insightful. "The stories' quiet strength lies in Lam's portrayal of the flawed humans behind the surgical masks". ~Publishers Weekly

For a clear-eyed look at what it is like to be a doctor-in-training, try The Soul of a Doctor: Harvard Medical Students Face Life and Death, and Audrey Young's What Patients Taught Me: A Medical Student's Journey.

*= Starred Reviews

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #81

If you don’t read another mystery this summer, you must read The Tenderness of Wolves* by Stef Penney

The winner of the 2006 Costa Book of the Year (formerly known as the Whitbread Awards), this debut novel by a former filmmaker is set in Dove River, an isolated settlement in the Canadian tundra of 1876. Mrs. Ross, our primary narrator, stumbled onto the brutal murder of her neighbor Laurent Jammett, a reclusive fur trapper, the same night her teenaged son Francis, went missing, along with a mysterious ancient bone tablet of great value.

Penney seamlessly weaves multiple plotlines, (including the disappearance of two young girls 17 years ago) as the search parties trek northward on the trail of the killer, bracing brutal elements and the threat of predatory wolves, towards an explosive conclusion.

Tenderness is much more than a mystery - it is a psychological thriller, an adventure tale, a well-research period piece that captures the cultural and social history of the Canadian north, and most of all, a probing exploration of the unfathomable topography of the human heart.

* = Starred Reviews

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