Wednesday, November 18, 2009

This Week in Reading November 15 - 21

The National Book Awards for 2009 were announced this week, including the most loved National Book Award book in sixty years of fiction as voted by today's public.

Poetry - Keith Waldrop, Transcendental Studies: a trilogy

The Best of the National Book Awards Fiction - Flannery O'Connor, The Complete Stories

Distinguished Contribution to American Letters - Gore Vidal

Literarian Award - Dave Eggers

Authors born this week -

Nobel Prize in Literature
Novelist Selma Lagerlof (1909); poet, novelist, playwright Gerhart Hauptmann (1912); novelist, poet, story writer Nadine Gordimer (1991); poet, novelist Jose Saramago (1998)

Novelists and story writers
Gregorio Lopez y Fuentes, Joan Lindsay, Klaus Mann, Marilyn French, J.G. Ballard, Chinua Achebe, Vassilies Vassilikos, Rodney Hall, Auberon Waugh, Don de Lillo, Margaret Atwood

Poets and Playwrights
Poets: Marianne Moore, Allen Tate, Nazim Hikmet, Dalie Ravikovitch, Victoria Tokareva, Sharon Olds Playwrights: William S. Gilbert, George S. Kaufman

Thinkers, Believers, Scientists, Historians, Biographers
Thinkers: Voltaire, Jacques Maritain, Robert Nozick Scientists: Lev Vygotsky, Benoit Mandelbrot Historians: Shelby Foote Biographers: Danny Wallace

Humorists, Essayists, Editors and Critics, Journalists, Officials, Media and Others
: Clarence Day, Franklin Pierce Adams, Peter Cook Essayists: Wyndham Lewis, Peter Drucker, Tahir Shah Editors and Critics: Arthur Quiller-Couch, Sacheverell Sitwell, Christopher Tolkien Journalists: Rita Cosby, Christopher Noxon Officials: Norman Thomas, Robert F. Kennedy, Joe Biden, Howard Dean Media and Others: Lee Strasberg, George Gallup, Alistair Cooke, Larry King, Jack Welch, Dick Cavett, Ted Turner, Marlo Thomas, Rupaul, Rocco DiSpiritu

Mystery / Crime / Suspense Writers
Suspense: Richard Marcinko

Fantasy / Science Fiction Writers
Fantasy: Christopher Paolini Horror: Science Fiction: Alan Dean Foster

Adventure / Westerns
Westerns: Jack Schaeffer

Visual Artists
Graphic Novelists: Alan Moore, Jill Thompson Manga: Cartoonists: Chester Gould

Young People’s Writers
Children’s: Elizabeth George Speare Teens: Robin McKinley

Events to read about this week:
The Articles of Confederation, Sherman’s March to the Sea, painters Rene Magritte and Georgia O’Keeffe, the Warsaw Ghetto, the Elizabethan Age, the first Congress, the Shakespeare and Co. bookstore in Paris, Twain's jumping frog contest, Mickey Mouse, The Gettysburg Address, The impeachment of Bill Clinoton, Dia de los Revolucion, The man the Hubble telescope was named for, the Nuremburg Trials, Longfellow’s first pubication, Edison’s phonograph, and Einstein's famous formula.

This Week’s Questions:
How many of this week's authors were members of the Algonguin Round Table in New York? Which one of them said what most librarians can say? "I find that a great part of the information I have was acquired by looking up something and finding something else on the way."

Answer to Last Week’s Questions:
"Either you or I, but both together is out of the question!" While it’s perfectly understandable you may have thought that Robert Louis Stevenson wrote it in his novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, it was Fyodor Dostoyevsky whose short novel, The Double, depicted the case of a government clerk who is driven mad by confronting a sudden doppelganger of himself. In his mind, the double steals his identity and ruins his good name by acting badly in society as if he was the original.

While the Russians of the nineteenth century were not specifically Victorians there was certainly a strain in that century’s literature, from Gogol through Chekhov, coincident with the burgeoning field of psychology, of beginning to deal with the complex dualities of human nature. Europe caught on as well, and American writers began to explore these threads of psychological understanding tentatively in the last century. Dualities are now bursting forth in speculative and fantasy fiction and visual entertainment reflecting the psychological impact of America's social and political tensions.

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