Thursday, November 20, 2008

2008 National Book Awards

The National Book Awards were given out last night at an event in New York City hosted by actor / writer Eric Bogosian, and the winners for 2008 are:


"This multigenerational saga traces mixed-race bloodlines that American history has long refused fully to acknowledge. Blending biography, genealogy, and history, Gordon-Reed ... brings to life the family from which Sally Hemings (1773–1835) came and the family that she and Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) created. ... This is a masterpiece brimming with decades of dedicated research and dexterous writing." (Library Journal)


"a one-volume compilation of three previously released but revised and condensed novels based on the life of Edgar J. Watson, a 19th century ruthless cane farmer in Florida who was said to be a serial killer" (New York Times)


"In this long-awaited book, Doty ... combines new poems with the best of his previous volumes. His narrative style is expansive, filled with what has been described as a "lyric glitter" that creates radiance around the ordinary. Like a good storyteller, he sets the scene in spaces that might include cityscapes and country roads with romping dogs. Like Whitman, Doty is often elegiac and brazenly American in his topics. Frequently, his poems explore "a larger dark," the difficulty of being human in a world that doesn't glisten—unless you're willing to look for it." (Library Journal)

Young People's Literature

"In 1947, with her jovial stepfather Joe back from the war and family life returning to normal, teenage Evie, smitten by the handsome young ex-GI who seems to have a secret hold on Joe, finds herself caught in a complicated web of lies whose devastating outcome change her life and that of her family forever." (Book Summary)

The 2008 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters

Maxine Hong Kingston for her various works including Woman Warrior and The Fifth Book of Peace.

" with her Buddhist-inflected wisdom and at times humorous self-doubts, weaving their stories together with her own struggle to reorient herself after the fire, Maxine Hong Kingston is at times a kind of sprite, an almost weightless spirit, who guides others toward a better place, and at times a challenging teacher, who will not let us turn from the spectacle of a world so often at war. " (Book Summary of the Fifth Book of Peace.)

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