September 19, 2013 |
Ralph Ellison's novel "Invisible Man" has been banned from school libraries in Randolph County, N.C. The book is considered by many to be an masterful novel dealing with race in America. “I didn't find any literary value,” said school board member Gary Mason before the board voted 5-2 to ban the book. Ellison's "Invisible Man" won the National Book Award in 1953. In 1965, a national poll of book critics deemed it the greatest American novel written since World War II. The book was brought before the board by a parent who lodged a 12-page complaint, Asheboro's Courier-Tribune reports . She found the book's contents inappropriate for her child, an 11th grader, citing its lack of innocence, its language and sexual content.
September 18, 2013 |
The 10 books on the National Book Awards' longlist for the nonfiction prize include works by some of the nation's best-known historians, a memoir about a childhood in the shadow of the CIA and bestselling books about America's economic decline and the growth of the Church of Scientology. Two of the books explore the topic of slavery, 150 years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation: “The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832” by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Alan Taylor; and James Oakes' “Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861-1865.” The other works of history on the longlist include a chilling account of the role of women on the Eastern Front in World War II: “Hitler's Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields” by Wendy Lower, a historian, professor and consultant at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; and Jill Lepore's “Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin,” which recounts the life of Benjamin Franklin's sister, a mother of 12 who was, like her brother, an astute commentator and gifted writer.
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.