In his acceptance speech, Packer thanked the Americans whose stories he followed in The Unwinding for helping him illuminate “what’s gone wrong with America and some of what’s gone right.”
“Sometimes when I find myself in a dark place, I lose all taste for poetry,” said [Mary] Szybist in her moving acceptance speech; what good is poetry if it can’t bring back lost loved ones, for instance. But as Szybist confirmed, there’s plenty poetry can do: “Poetry is where we can speak differently.”
For what it’s worth, the librarians danced the hardest.
— More from Molly McArdle’s recap of the National Book Awards after party at LJ.
It’s strange to think about books in the context of parties like these, though they happen all the time and are part of the large, creaking machine that churns out the rectangles of paper, glue, and ink that end up on our shelves, by our bedside tables, in our own hands.
The rest of the evening was a story about stories. In accepting the 2012 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature for Goblin Secrets (Margaret K. McElderry Bks: S. & S. Children’s Publishing), William Alexander first expressed his astonished delight by exclaiming, “Okay, we now have proof that alternate universes exist,” then cited Ursula Le Guin’s comment, “The literature of imagination…offers a world large enough to contain alternatives and therefore offers hope.”
— Barbara Hoffert recaps the National Book Awards ceremony over at LJ.
1) I’m going to the National Book Awards After-Party tonight and I’ll be live tweeting it, though I can’t make any promises regarding tweet quality or frequency. I may wear a part of my prom ensemble.
2) Library Journal will be releasing our list of the 10 Best Books of 2012 (as well as the best of mystery, memoir, and genres) tomorrow. I love this list, and I’m sure you will too. Keep an eye out!
NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS VS. THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE: Awards are taking up a lot of mental real estate these days. Library Journal’s editors, headed by Etta Thornton-Verma (@ettathornton), announced last week that they have settled on their Best Books short lists and will publish the first installment, including the Top Ten, in the LJ Reviews e-newsletter on November 15 (2011 winners here). LJ Assistant Editor Molly McArdle (@mollitudo) tweeted, “Of our 19-book shortlist, 12 titles are by women, 10 are nonfiction, and 3 first appeared on the Internet in some form.”
My Giller post today reminded me of a recent Twitter conversation I had with two librarians, Stephanie Chase and Amy Watts, about the sales impact of the NBAs and the Bookers, a topic begging for a meaty post. Takers apply here.
Former (& in our hearts, eternal) Editor, LJ Book Review, Heather McCormack chews on some observations from librarians on the importance of literary awards.
As always, when I see a list of poetry books I start thinking about what novels or novelists I might pair with each title, as one more way to promote verse.
Announced this morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, which rumor indicates is a cable news morning show, the National Book Awards named five finalists each in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people’s literature. We were pleased with the overlap: we’ve got enough stars here to decorate a child’s bedroom ceiling. (Call us, Lorrie Moore, if you ever want to hang out and talk about books.) We’ve compiled a list of all of the fiction, nonfiction, and poetry finalists, with excerpts from Library Journal‘s reviews and other coverage
The 2012 National Book Award Finalists were announced this morning. Some familiar names made the cut, plus a few debuts.
Junot Díaz, This Is How You Lose Her (Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group USA, Inc.)
Dave Eggers, A Hologram for the King (McSweeney’s Books)
Louise Erdrich, The Round House (Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers)
Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers)
Kevin Powers, The Yellow Birds (Little, Brown and Company)
Anne Applebaum, Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1945-1956 (Doubleday)
Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (Random House)
Robert A. Caro, The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 4 (Knopf)
Domingo Martinez, The Boy Kings of Texas (Lyons Press, an imprint of Globe Pequot Press)
Anthony Shadid, House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
David Ferry, Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations (University of Chicago Press)
Cynthia Huntington, Heavenly Bodies (Southern Illinois University Press)
Tim Seibles, Fast Animal (Etruscan Press)
Alan Shapiro, Night of the Republic (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Susan Wheeler, Meme (University of Iowa Press)
YOUNG PEOPLE’S LITERATURE
William Alexander, Goblin Secrets (Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing)
Carrie Arcos, Out of Reach (Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing)
Patricia McCormick, Never Fall Down (Balzer+Bray, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers)
Eliot Schrefer, Endangered (Scholastic)
Steve Sheinkin, Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon (Flash Point, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press)
Here it is, folks!
Adrienne Rich’s history-making 1974 National Book Award acceptance speech
"We, Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, and Alice Walker, together accept this award in the name of all the women whose voices have gone and still go unheard in a patriarchal world, and in the name of those who, like us, have been tolerated as token women in this culture, often at great cost and in great pain."
As Greenblatt noted in his acceptance speech at the 62nd National Book Awards, held in New York on November 16, his is a book about books: “about the power of books to cross boundaries, to speak to you impossibly across space and time and distance, about having someone long dead seem to be in the room with you, and what the magic of the written word is.”
It’s that power, that magic, that readers (and judges) look for, whether in nonfiction (“which makes a pact with truth, but only art distinguishes it from mere information” said Alice Kaplan, nonfiction panel chair) or fiction (“we were interested in what responses the books produced in us,” said Deirdre McNamer, fiction panel chair) or poetry. As Ann Lauterbach said when introducing John Ashbery, winner of this year’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, his poems offer “the profound solace of recognition; ‘Ah, ah this is as it is.’”
— From LJ Book Review editor Barbara Hoffert’s excellent roundup of the 2011 National Book Awards.
"What about the possibility of one day making a poem?" - Nikky Finney’s acceptance speech, at last night’s National Book Awards, upon winning for her book of poems Head Off & Split. Skip ahead to 17:30. Watch it. It will give you goosebumps.