The Pulitzer board announced on Monday that, for the first time since 1977, there would be no award for fiction this year. The jury for the fiction prize selected three finalists for the 2011 award out of a group of roughly 300 novels. But the board failed to get a majority vote for any of the three selections. Jury members interviewed insist that this does not reflect poorly on the novels selected. What do you think? The three finalists are:
"Train Dreams" by Denis Johnson is a novella about a day railroad laborer in the American West at the start of the twentieth century. Johnson won the National Book Award in 2007 for his novel "Tree of Smoke."
Billy Collins is the poetic everyman. He writes poems about lingerie catalogs coming in the mail or deciding not to own a gun because his neighbor's dog won't stop barking. In spite being one of the most acclaimed living poets, he is easy to like, understand, and enormously funny. He doesn't pen metaphors about mending walls or snowy woods, or compare body parts to nature like Byron or Song of Solomon. Collins' poems make you chuckle or make you muse, but won't frustrate you.
The poem "Revenant," is written from the perspective of his dead dog. Here is an excerpt:
Author Candice Millard was working on a book about Alexander Graham Bell when she found a fascinating connection between Bell and President James Garfield. Garfield, as you know, was shot soon after his inauguration and died in office. What you may not have known was how Garfield suffered in the weeks after being shot and how his medical treatment may have contributed to his demise.
Destiny of the Republic : a tale of madness, medicine and the murder of a president by Candice Millard is a very good book about the little known president. Each chapter begins with a quotation from Garfield, which gives a glimpse of his erudition. One can't help but wonder what Garfield's presidential legacy might have been had not a deranged crackpot assassinated him.
The local food movement has exploded in recent years, and St. Louis has jumped on board this trend in a big way. Farmer's markets featuring everything from organic produce to cage-free eggs to local honey are weekly events in most St. Louis neighborhoods, and stores like Local Harvest in South City sell products made or produced locally. On April 16, the library will host the authors of "Missouri Harvest," a new book showcasing Missouri's agricultural diversity. The book is part travel guide, taking readers on a tour of Missouri's farms, and part cook book, providing recipies on how to prepare the great bounty of our state. "Missouri Harvest" is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in eating and shopping locally. Watch the book trailer below, and meet the authors at Library HQ on April 16 at 7:00 p.m.
Roger Ebert, known for his trademark "Two Thumbs Up" movie reviews, was the first person ever to win the Pulitzer Prize for film criticism. The esteemed film critic, who writes regularly for the "Chicago Sun Times," may be best known, not for his writings, but for his long running television show "Siskel & Ebert" (1986-2006). Movie buffs who only know Ebert from his television series may enjoy his cinematic essays, entitled, "The Great Movies."
This month readers will see new growth on several long-running popular mystery series.
Donna Leon's "Beastly Things" is the 21st novel in her Commissario Guido Brunetti series. Venetian police inspector Brunetti's case involves an unidentified murdered corpse found in a canal. The investigation leads him to a nearby slaughterhouse and to contemplation of human kindness.
Anne Perry began her Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series in the 1980s. The mysteries are set in Victorian England. In "Dorchester Terrace" (no. 27) a newly-promoted Thomas Pitt investigates a possible mole within Britain's Special Branch.
Do you enjoy watching ABC's "Castle"? Is there something about the chemistry between Richard Castle and Kate Beckett that glues you to your television? Is the hiatus just too long before the next week rolls around again and you can indulge your addiction?
Fortunately for people like us, the St. Louis County Library has a solution to this horrible dilemma. In case you didn't know already, Hyperion Publishing has released three books written by Richard Castle starring our favorite New York detective, Nikki Heat. When the first came out, "Heat Wave," I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised. I had no idea that the books of a fictional character would be published outside of the show, much less come into my local library. Reading it and "Naked Heat" was a great way to fill in the time between seasons this summer.
These authors will make you chuckle and then peeking around to see if anyone heard you.