September 19, 2013 |
So what about that National Book Awards fiction longlist? It's a good one, and the last of the four longlists to be released by the National Book Foundation this week. The list includes one of my favorite novels of 2013, “The Flamethrowers” by Los Angeles' own Rachel Kushner , and Tom Drury's fifth novel, “Pacific,” which deals in part with a 14-year-old's experiences in Southern California. Also cited are George Saunders ' elegant and heartbreaking short-story collection, “Tenth of December,” which came out at the beginning of the year, as well as two of the most anticipated novels of the fall: “The Lowland” by Jhumpa Lahiri and Thomas Pynchon's “Bleeding Edge.” Pynchon, of course, is a former National Book Award winner; he received the 1974 prize for his landmark novel “Gravity's Rainbow.” So too is Alice McDermott , who won a 1988 National Book Award for “Charming Billy.” Her new novel, “Someone,” also made the longlist this year.
September 17, 2013 |
Oh, Canada. This week, we have four days of National Book Award longlists, and there's a big, possibly leaked announcement from the Man Booker Prize coming Wednesday. But as if that weren't enough in the literary longlist department, Canada is getting in on the action too. Specifically, the Scotiabank Giller Prize , Canada's preeminent literary award for fiction. Its 13-title longlist was announced Monday. The winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize gets $50,000 Canadian (about $48,000 American)
September 16, 2013 |
The National Book Awards released its first longlist on Monday, announcing the 10 books in the running for the 2013 award for young people's literature. The list includes Newbery Award-winner Cynthia Kadohata's “The Thing About Luck” and Tom McNeal's “Far Far Away,” which was also long listed for the Southern California Independent Bookseller Award. “Two Boys Kissing” by David Levithan also made the list (The Times review notes that the number of boys is actually closer to seven )
September 16, 2013 |
If publicity-averse Thomas Pynchon decided to come out of seclusion, would he do it on Twitter? With an account named @PynchonOfficial? No, says his publisher. "It's a fake," Penguin Press Vice President Tracy Locke confirmed via email. The fake Pynchon Twitter account launched Sept. 3. Although it has posted only a handful of tweets, it included the sensational "'Bleeding Edge' is my last book. I'm done with fiction. T.P. " Remember: Fake. Pynchon is the 76-year-old author of "Gravity's Rainbow," which won the National Book Award in 1974.
September 11, 2013 |
Thomas Pynchon has avoided the limelight his entire career -- he sent a stand-in to accept his National Book Award in 1974, and, as far as we know, hasn't been photographed since his stint in the Navy in the 1950s. But tucked within the quiet stacks of the Huntington Library is the Stephen Tomaske Collection of Pynchonalia, which provides rare glimpses into the author's life. Tomaske was a UCLA librarian who dedicated himself to gathering the most comprehensive collection of Pynchon material he could.Here are some tidbits.
September 6, 2013 |
Jesmyn Ward's heart-wrenching new memoir, "Men We Reaped," is a brilliant book about beauty and death. The beauty is in the bodies and the voices of the young men she grew up with in the towns of coastal Mississippi, where a kind of de facto segregation persists. There is C.J. Martin, one of her many cousins. "He was small and lean, angled all over with muscle," writes Ward. "His face was shaped like a triangle, and the only things that were dark about him were his eyes, which were so deep in color they were a surprise.