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Fiction Award Nominees

posted by: May 21, 2012 - 5:01am

Lost Memory of SkinThe Forgotten WaltzSwamplandia!The nominees for the inaugural Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction were recently announced.  This award recognizes books written for adults that were published in the U.S. in the previous year.   The three finalists deal with varied and unique topics, but each has a strong emotional current running throughout.

 

In Lost Memory of Skin, Russell Banks turns a magnifying glass toward the outcasts of society.  A “community” of convicted sex offenders has sprung up on a causeway at the edge of the city limits in South Florida.  These men are caught in the grey area of the legal system; they cannot reside within 2500 feet of any gathering place for children but they must live within the city according to the conditions of their parole.  Never one to shy away from the morally complex, Banks presents these men sympathetically and challenges the reader to reexamine his/her own moral code.  Lost Memory of Skin was a 2012 Pen/Faulkner Award finalist. 

 

Sparsely written and often surprising, The Forgotten Waltz is a novel set in Ireland that deals with the emotional taboo of extramarital affairs.  A chance meeting leads Gina and Sean into a passionate affair that takes years to arrive at a crescendo. Booker Prize winner Anne Enright takes an unapologetic look at love, marriage, infidelity and secrets.  Enright’s writing is non-linear and poetic.  Musical metaphors abound in the witty dance that is The Forgotten Waltz, which was shortlisted for the 2012 Orange Prize.

 

Swamplandia! by debut author Karen Russell is the story of Ava Bigtree, a thirteen-year-old alligator wrestler at her family’s animal park in the Florida Everglades.  The struggle to save the park after the death of her mother rests squarely on Ava’s shoulders, as the other members of the family withdraw to battle their own personal demons.  Whimsical, beautiful language anchors this magical tale to a place somewhere between imagination and reality.  Swamplandia! was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.


 
 

Children's Books at the Oscars

posted by: April 16, 2012 - 4:53pm

Invention of Hugo CabretHarry Potter and the Deathly HallowsAdventure of Tintin, Volume 1

It's no secret that many of Hollywood's most successful blockbusters are adaptations of popular books. The recent Academy Award nominees refect this, especially when it comes to family films. Here are some of the children's titles that brought magic to the movies this year:

 

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick became the visually stunning film Hugo directed by Martin Scorsese.  This tale of an orphaned boy living in a Paris train station was the surprise winner of the Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished picture book in 2008.  Selznick’s creative style mixes pages of text with wordless pages that opens the reader’s imagination and invites them to create parts of the story for themselves.  Selznick’s newest title Wonderstruck is similarly illustrated.

 

The Adventures of Tintin is adapted from the classic graphic novel series of the same name written by Belgian writer/artist Herge.  Tintin is a young reporter who gets caught up in dangerous adventures as he completes his story assignments.  Modeled after the boy scout values, Tintin always knows what is right and acts in the most upstanding manner.  He is a role model for children (and perhaps adults everywhere.

 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II marks the end of the film journey into J.K. Rowling’s magical world.  The books are now over 14 years old and a whole new generation of readers are jumping on the Hogwarts express and following Harry as he learns to be a wizard and discovers both good and evil along the way.  The Harry Potter books have spawned movies, video games, board games, toys, websites, and even a theme park.  The audiobooks are magnificently narrated by the Grammy award-winning Jim Dale.  A fun fact—Jim Dale holds the Guinness World Record for creating 146 different character voices for the audiobook version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows!

Sam

Sam

 
 

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