I’m looking forward to The Great American Read, hosted by PBS beginning on May 22. 100 books and series have been selected, and viewers will be asked to vote for their favorite book or series. Plenty of classics are on the list, as well as contemporary books, popular series for all ages, and some contemporary books. Viewers will remember much-loved books you read as a child, assigned reading titles that you actually enjoyed (or not), books familiar only because of their movies, and books you might like to read for the first time. There may be books you’ve never heard of, and books that make you wonder how they got on this list. For me, the list contains all of these categories. The only types of books I don’t see are picture books, non-fiction, plays, and biographies. Did you enjoy The Martian, or have fond memories of Charlotte’s Webb? Find out you enjoyed mysteries when assigned to read And Then There Were None in junior high? Have trouble putting down The Da Vinci Code? Cry over The Notebook? Wonder why your favorite book isn’t listed?
Here’s the list. Look for copies of the list on my June book display of The Great American Read.
Kazuo Ishiguro, 63, has just been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, an award that is for an author’s whole body of work. He is a British writer who was born in Japan. His novels include Remains of the Day, Never Let Me Go, and A Pale View of Hills. Here is my review for his latest novel, The Buried Giant. Recent winners include Bob Dylan (a controversial selection), Svetlana Alexievich, Patrick Modiano, and Alice Munro.
Fall is book award season. On October 17, the Man Booker Prize for Fiction will be announced. These books are on the shortlist:
4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Elmet by Fiona Mozley Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
Autumn by Ali Smith
On November 15, the spotlight will be on the National Book Awards. Here is the Fiction short list:
Dark at the Crossing by Elliot Ackerman
The Leavers by Lisa Ko
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
The Non-Fiction short list for the National Book Awards is:
Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar
The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America by Frances FitzGerald
The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia by Masha Gessen
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann
Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America by Nancy MacLean
The American Library Association Carnegie Medals were established in 2012. Last year the awards went to Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, and Evicted by Matthew Desmond. The long list is here, the short list will be announced on October 25.
There is a wide variety of book awards. Another major literary award is the Pulitzer Prize. Awards for mysteries include the Agatha, the Anthony, and the Edgar. The Anthony Awards will be announced at Bouchercon on October 15. Science fiction & fantasy books get Hugo, Locus, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards. The Hugos were presented in August at WorldCon in Helsinki, Finland. Cookbooks, horror novels, thrillers, romance novels, and audiobooks all have their awards. It can be fun to look at the award winners and finalists to get reading suggestions or ideas for your book group. For more lists, check out the Notable Books lists from the New York Times and the American Library Association. I read some award winners, usually to see if my book groups would enjoy them, but I only read a few award winners.
Please read whatever appeals to you, right now. If you’re in the mood for something lighter, I have a book display of cat and dog mysteries, as well as a display with zombie books. For more popular titles, check out American Library Association’s Reading List, Library Reads, or ask your friendly readers advisory librarian or bookseller.
The Woodridge Public Library is celebrating its 50th birthday today, with a big party, cake and music. We’re having special events all year, and I’m leading at least two book discussions of titles popular in 1967, along with creating book displays. For March, many of these books were on display:
Mainstream Fiction Popular in 1967
Baldwin, James. Go Tell It On the Mountain
Bellow, Saul. Herzog
Burgess, Anthony. Clockwork Orange
Cadell, Elizabeth. Canary Yellow
Clavell, James. Tai-Pan
Du Maurier, Daphne. Flight of the Falcon
Faulkner, William. The Reivers
Fleming, Ian. You Only Live Twice
Gordon, Noah. The Rabbi
Goudge, Elizabeth. The Scent of Water
Grass, Gunter. The Tin Drum
Greene, Graham. The Comedians
Hailey, Arthur. The Hotel
Heller, Joseph. Catch-22
Holt, Victoria. Mistress of Mellyn
Kaufman, Bel. Up the Down Staircase
Kerouac, Jack. On the Road
Kesey, Ken. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Le Carré, John. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird
Levin, Ira. Rosemary’s Baby
Lofts, Norah. The House at Old Vine
MacInnes, Helen. The Double Image
MacLean, Alistair. Where Eagles Dare
Malamud, Bernard. The Fixer
Michener, James. The Source
Oates, Joyce Carol. The Garden of Earthly Delights
O’Connor, Edwin. All in the Family
Porter, Katherine. Ship of Fools
Potok, Chaim. The Chosen
Renault, Mary. The Mask of Apollo
Seton, Anya. Avalon
Smith, Betty. Joy in the Morning
Stegner, Wallace. All the Little Live Things
Steinbeck, John. The Winter of Our Discontent
Stewart, Mary. The Gabriel Hounds
Styron, William. Confessions of Nat Turner
Susann, Jacqueline. Valley of the Dolls
Updike, Leon. Topaz
Vidal, Gore. Washington, D.C.
Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. Cat’s Cradle
Wilder, Thornton. The Eighth Day
Wouk, Herman. Don’t Stop the Carnival
I’m in the middle of so many books that I haven’t reviewed any for a while. Spring is usually peak time for new books to be published, but there are several winter gems here, along with some older titles. Enjoy!
What I’m Reading Now:
Clement, Blaize & John. The Cat Sitter and the Canary.
A cozy mystery set on Siesta Key, on Florida’s gulf coast.
Hambly, Barbara. Patriot Hearts: A Novel of the Founding Mothers.
Kline, Cristina Baker. A Piece of the World.
I was familiar with some of American artist Andrew Wyeth’s work, but not Christina’s World, which is the inspiration for this historical novel set in Maine. Kline is the author of The Orphan Train.
Mack, Doug. The Not-Quite States of America: Dispatches from the Territories and Other Far-Flung Outposts of the USA. From the U.S. Virgin Islands to American Samoa, the author explores our territories. Fans of Ken Jennings’ Maphead or Bill Bryson’s humorous travelogues may enjoy.
Norton, Andre. Lord of Thunder, sequel to The Beast Master. A classic science fiction writer I’m reading for another 50th anniversary post. A Navajo who can communicate with animals is caught up in adventure and intrigue on another planet.
Ryan, Jennifer. The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir.
Historical novel set in WWII England, on the home front. Narrated by several characters, including a young teenager, a mother who’s just sent her only son off to war, a conniving midwife, a seductive young woman, a choir director, and others.
Stewart, Mary. The Ivy Tree.
Another book I’m reading for a 50th anniversary post; currently getting neglected because of all these other excellent books.
Flanders, Judith. A Cast of Vultures. The third mystery novel featuring a book editor as amateur sleuth.
Gaiman, Neil. Norse Mythology. The award-winning dark fantasy author has fun retelling Norse myths.
Saunders, George. Lincoln in the Bardo. A grief-stricken Abraham Lincoln visits his son’s grave; ghosts are present.
Remnants of Trust, by Elizabeth Bonesteel
I really enjoyed the first Central Corps book, The Cold Between, so I was eager to read the sequel. This is quite good, but I didn’t enjoy it quite as much, as much of the plot centers around sabotage and possible betrayal, and there’s no romance, just military science fiction. Elena Shaw and Captain Greg Foster return, but their friendship is still strained. When starship Exeter is attacked and her crew are transferred to other ships, tensions rise. I really liked the scenes on the PSI ship, Orunmila, which is full of families and a very pregnant captain. There will definitely be a sequel, and I’m interested to see where the author takes the storyline and the complex characters.
I was looking at my lists of upcoming releases, and thought I’d share the science fiction books on my to-be-read list, including two books published in 2016. I may not read all of them this year, but I’m looking forward to some very enjoyable reading. Brenda
Anders, Charlie. All the Birds in the Sky. 2016
Chambers, Becky. A Closed and Common Orbit. March
Cherryh, C.J. Convergence. April
Corey, James S.A. Babylon’s Ashes. 2016
Huff, Tanya. A Peace Divided. June
Moon, Elizabeth. Cold Welcome. April
Robinson, Kim Stanley. New York 2140. March
Scalzi, John. The Collapsing Empire. March
Stephenson, Neal and Nicole Galland. The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. June
Microhistories: History on a Small Scale
These are a few of the recent books with a narrow focus on a single subject, event, or place. I’m reading Paper, enjoyed Consider the Fork, The End of Night, and have Butter on my list of books to read. These titles and many more are on display this month at the Woodridge Public Library. Enjoy!
Bogard, Paul. The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light, 2013.
Brox, Jane. Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light, 2010.
Donovan, Tristan. Fizz: How Soda Shook Up the World, 2014. Eckstut, Joann. The Secret Language of Color, 2013.
Foy, Simon. Zero Decibels: The Quest for Absolute Silence, 2010.
Garfield, Simon. Just My Type: A Book about Fonts, 2011.
Hucklebridge, Dane. The United States Of Beer : A Freewheeling History Of The All-American Drink, 2016.
Kawash, Samira. Candy: A Century of Panic, 2013.
Kosrova, Elaine. Butter: A Rich History, 2016.
Kurlansky, Mark. Paper: Paging Through History, 2016.
Lukacs, Paul. Inventing Wine: A New History of One of the World’s Ancient Pleasures, 2012.
Metcalf, Allan. OK: The Improbable Story of America’s Greatest Word, 2011.
Roach, Mary. Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, 2013.
Shaffer, Marjorie. Pepper: A History of the World’s Most Influential Spice, 2013.
Wilson, Bee. Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat, 2012.
Unreliable Narrators in Fiction
If you’re looking for more fast-paced suspense novels that are readalikes for The Girl on the Train or Gone Girl, then check out these books:
Barton, Fiona. The Widow
Carter, Ally. All Fall Down
Chapman, Emma. How to Be a Good Wife
Crawford, Susan. The Pocket Wife
Donoghue, Emma. Room
Ellison, J. T. No One Knows
Hannah, Sophie. A Game for All the Family
Harrison, A.S.A. The Silent Wife
Healey, Emma. Elizabeth is Missing
Hogan, Phil. A Pleasure and a Calling
Kubica, Mary. Good Girl
Lapena, Shari. The Couple Next Door
LaPlante, Alice. Turn of Mind
Larbalestier, Justine. Liar
Little, Elizabeth. Dear Daughter
Lockhart, E. We Were Liars
Lutz, Lisa. The Passenger
Mackintosh, Clare. I Let You Go
Marwood, Alex. Wicked Girls
Moriarty, Liane. Big Little Lies
Morrow, Bradford. The Forgers
Oliva, Alexandra. The Last One
Paris, B.A. Behind Closed Doors
Rindell, Suzanne. The Other Typist
Walker, Wendy. All is Not Forgotten
Ware, Ruth. The Woman in Cabin 10
Waters, M. D. Archetype
Watson. S. J. Before I Go to Sleep