Saturday, January 23, 2010

Congratulations to nominees of the National Book Critics Circle Awards

The list was announced tonight. Let's start with the elephant since it's my blog, and I can guess what you're wondering: No, I didn't make the cut. But I'm impressed by the great writers who did.

I love this award, and the choices they have made year after year. It's a great panel, so that gives me a whole lot of respect for the five books that did in my category, and all the others. It's quite an achievement. Good work, guys (of both sexes, of course).

It's been a busy year for me, so I have not gotten to most of the books. I've sampled some and it's obvious that they earned this. I read the first ten pages of The Age of Wonder, and it blew me away. (I couldn't afford the hefty cover price, so I didn't buy it. I may now.) I hope to get to all of these books in time--at least to try them out.

The NBCC also announced the winners in two special categories. How nice for Joyce Carol Oates win the lifetime achievement award. Joan Acocella won for excellence in reviewing. 

I also want to give a big shoutout to Blake Bailey, who I met at the Texas Book Fest, whose bio of Cheever has made nearly every list, including this one. He was a really nice guy and an obvious talent. I'm smiling for you tonight Blake.

The nominees for the six regular awards:

Nonfiction:
Wendy Doniger, The Hindus: An Alternative History (Penguin Press)
Greg Grandin, Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City (Metropolitan Books)
Richard Holmes, The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science (Pantheon)
Tracy Kidder, Strength in What Remain (Random House)
William T. Vollmann, Imperial (Viking)

Biography:
Blake Bailey, Cheever: A Life (Knopf)
Brad Gooch, Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor (Little, Brown)
Benjamin Moser, Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector (Oxford University Press)
Stanislao G. Pugliese, Bitter Spring: A Life of Ignazio Silone (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Martha A. Sandweiss, Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale of Love and Deception Across the Color Line (Penguin Press)

Autobiography:
Diana Athill, Somewhere Towards the End (Norton)
Debra Gwartney, Live Through This: A Mother's Memoir of Runaway Daughters and Reclaimed Love (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Mary Karr, Lit (Harper)
Kati Marton, Enemies of the People: My Family's Journey to America (Simon & Schuster)
Edmund White, City Boy, Bloomsbury
   
Criticism:
Eula Biss, Notes From No Man's Land: American Essays (Graywolf Press)
Stephen Burt, Close Calls with Nonsense: Reading New Poetry (Graywolf Press)
Morris Dickstein, Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression (Norton)
David Hajdu, Heroes and Villains: Essays on Music, Movies, Comics, and Culture (Da Capo Press)
Greg Milner, Perfecting Sound Forever: An Aural History of Recorded Music (Faber)

Fiction:
Bonnie Jo Campbell, American Salvage (Wayne State University Press)
Marlon James, The Book of Night Women (Riverhead)
Michelle Huneven, Blame (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall (Holt)
Jayne Anne Phillips, Lark and Termite (Knopf)

Poetry:
Rae Armantrout, Versed (Wesleyan)
Louise Glück, A Village Life (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
D.A. Powell, Chronic (Graywolf Press)
Eleanor Ross Taylor, Captive Voices: New and Selected Poems, 1960–2008 (Louisiana State University Press)
Rachel Zucker, Museum of Accidents (Wave Books)


Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing
Joan Acocella

Finalists:
Michael Antman
William Deresiewicz
Donna Seaman
Wendy Smith

Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award
Joyce Carol Oates

Friday, January 15, 2010

My little bit for Haiti: a donation for each book

I've been trying to figure out what I can do, and here's what I came up with:

For the next week, anyone who orders my book I'll donate my share of the proceeds ($4), and match it with my own donation, to the Red Cross for Haiti. That's just $8 per book, but it's something.
I'll see if I can round up other authors to do the same.

The only way I know to do this is through my big indie bookstore in Denver, Tattered Cover. 
Follow these instructions, and they will let me know how many get ordered, and I'll make the donation accordingly. I'll also sign the copy for you and write a personalized inscription if you like.


INSTRUCTIONS:

Call or email the Colfax Avenue Tattered Cover: 303-322-7727 books@tatteredcover.com and say:

1. You want an autographed/inscribed copy of COLUMBINE, by Dave Cullen
2.Their computer listing for the book will indicate to them that I'll come in to sign the books, and has contact info for them to reach me. (Don't even mention the Haiti thing. I'll take care of that.)
3. What you want in the inscription (including your name or who you want it to).
4. Your name, phone number, address and credit card info.

Tattered Cover Bookstore will handle sales, shipping, etc. I will sign and handle the donations.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

No news in January?

This is like the fourth day in a row that the lead story on NBC News morning and night has been It's Cold Outside! Yeah, I can tell. What does yet another taped report of tiny vignettes from around the country do me?

The most annoying part is the reporters trying to outdo each other with "arctic blast!" lingo to express how dramatic it is.

This week NBC reported--I'm not making this up--that HALF THE COUNTRY was experiencing temperatures well below normal! Shocking. Doesn't the concept of averages dictate that on any average day half the country will always be below normal? So the "well below" makes it colder than average, but since temps vary, isn't it pretty common for days with half the country well below or well above?

Yeah, it's cold. It's not an ice age.

Meanwhile, still more coverage of the failed bombing, when we knew nearly all of it in the first few days? The bomb failed, right?