Tag Archives: Awards

The 2018 Man Booker Prize Longlist!

It’s here!  It’s here!  Not that we are excited about this or anything, but the judges of the 2018 Man Booker Prize released their long list this week, and we are all a-twitter with excitement, not only because the Man Book adds so much to our “To Be Read” lists around here, but also because this year, a graphic novel made the long list!  This is also the first year that novels published in Ireland are eligible for the prize, following a change in rules announced at the start of 2018 that recognised the special relationship between the UK and Irish publishing markets.

This year’s longlist of 13 books was selected by a panel of five judges: by the philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah (Chair); crime writer Val McDermid; cultural critic Leo Robson; feminist writer and critic Jacqueline Rose; and artist and graphic novelist Leanne Shapton.  Their choice was not an easy one–this year saw some 171 submissions to the prize panel, representing the highest number of titles put forward in the prize’s 50 year history.

According the chair of the 2018 judges, Kwame Anthony Appiah:

“Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the times, there were many dystopian fictions on our bookshelf – and many novels we found inspirational as well as disturbing…All of these books – which take in slavery, ecology, missing persons, inner-city violence, young love, prisons, trauma, race – capture something about a world on the brink. Among their many remarkable qualities is a willingness to take risks with form. And we were struck, overall, by their disruptive power: these novels disrupted the way we thought about things we knew about, and made us think about things we didn’t know about. Still, despite what they have in common, every one of these books is wildly distinctive. It’s been an exhilarating journey so far and we’re looking forward to reading them again. But now we’ll have thousands and thousands of people reading along with us.”

So let’s take a look at the list.  As ever, where the books are available in NOBLE, or not (yet) available in the US, we have done our best to provide a point of access for you, or the expected publication date.  Let us know if you need assistance accessing these (or any other) titles!

Via https://themanbookerprize.com/fiction/news/man-booker-prize-2018-longlist-announced

2018 Man Booker Long List, featuring titles, author, and author’s nationality.

Snap by Belinda Bauer (UK)

Milkman by Anna Burns (UK) This title will be released in the US on December 4, 2018

Sabrina by Nick Drnaso (USA) <– Graphic Novel!

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan (Canada)

In Our Mad And Furious City by Guy Gunaratne (UK) Please speak to a staff member if you wish to access this title.

Everything Under by Daisy Johnson (UK)  This title will be released on January 15, 2019

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner (USA)

The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh (UK)  Please speak to a staff member if you wish to access this title.

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje (Canada)

The Overstory by Richard Powers (USA)

The Long Take by Robin Robertson (UK)  Please speak to a staff member if you wish to access this title.

Normal People by Sally Rooney (Ireland) This title will be released on April 16, 2019

From A Low And Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan (Ireland)

 

Congratulations to all the long-listed books and authors!  On September 20, the judges will be announcing the short list of nominees, and the 2018 Man Booker Prize will be awarded on Tuesday, October 16.  Check back here for all the details!

The 2017 Shirley Jackson Awards!

The 2017 Shirley Jackson Awards winners were announced July 15, 2018 during Readercon 29 at the Quincy Marriott in Quincy MA.,

As we noted last year,  the Shirley Jackson Awards are named after the beloved and revered author of such seminal works as “The Lottery” (among a phenomenal collection of short stories), We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and The Haunting of Hill House.  In recognition of the legacy of Shirley Jackson’s writing, and with permission of the author’s estate, the Shirley Jackson Awards recognize outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic.  This year’s nominees represent some of the most intriguing, rule-breaking, genre-defying, intensely engaging reads of the past year (in our opinion, anyway…and that of the judges…).  Thus, you can only guess how terrific the winners’ books are!

So here is a selection from the categories of winners and nominees for the 2017 Shirley Jackson Awards, with links to the titles in our catalogs.  We hope you find some new books to add to your list here, and would love to help you find even more dark fiction to add to your summer reading!


Novel
WINNERThe Hole, by Hye-young Pyun

NOMINEES:

Novella (tie)
WINNER: The Lost Daughter Collective, Lindsey Drager
WINNER: Fever Dream, Samantha Schweblin

NOMINEES:

Single-Author Collection
WINNERHer Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado

NOMINEES:

Edited Anthology
WINNERShadows and Tall Trees Volume 7, edited by Michael Kelly (Speak with a Library staff member to access this title)

NOMINEES:

  • Black Feathers: Dark Avian Tales, edited by Ellen Datlow
  • The Djinn Falls in Love, edited by Mahvesh Murad & Jared Shurin
  • Looming Low Volume 1, edited by Justin Steele & Sam Cowan (Speak with a Library staff member to access this title)
  • Tales From a Talking Board, edited by Ross E. Lockhart (Speak with a Library staff member to access this title)

Five Book Friday!

And numerous congratulations to Michael Ondaatje, author of The English Patient, which was named the winner of the Golden Man Booker Prize!

As we mentioned here previously, The Golden Man Booker Prize put all 51 previous Booker Prize winners into competition with each other, “to discover which of them has stood the test of time, remaining relevant to readers today.”  Each of the five judges was assigned a decade, and was in charge of selecting the book which was representative of the strongest book from that decade.  After a public vote, Michael Ondaatje 1992 novel was announced as the winner on July 8.

Kamila Shamsie, who chose The English Patient, said of the novel:

“The English Patient is that rare novel which gets under your skin and insists you return to it time and again, always yielding a new surprise or delight. It moves seamlessly between the epic and the intimate – one moment you’re in looking at the vast sweep of the desert and the next moment watching a nurse place a piece of plum in a patient’s mouth. That movement is mirrored in the way your thoughts, while reading it, move between  large themes – war, loyalty, love – to  tiny shifts in the relationships between characters. It’s intricately (and rewardingly) structured, beautifully written, with great humanity written into every page. Ondaatje’s imagination acknowledges no borders as it moves between Cairo, Italy, India, England, Canada – and between deserts and villas and bomb craters. And through all this, he makes you fall in love with his characters, live their joys and their sorrows. Few novels really deserve the praise: transformative. This one does.”

We here at the Free For All send Michael Ondaatje our very heartiest congratulations–and what better way to celebrate than with more books!  Here are juts a few of the titles that made the journey onto our shelves this week and are eager to make your acquaintance!

Ayiti: We are delighted to have this reprint of Roxane Gay’s first collection of short stories here at the Library.  With her signature style, searing insight and unforgettably strong prose, Gay’s stories explore the Haitian diaspora experience: A married couple seeking boat passage to America prepares to leave their homeland. A mother takes a foreign soldier into her home as a boarder, and into her bed. And a woman conceives a daughter on the bank of a river while fleeing a horrific massacre, a daughter who later moves to America for a new life but is perpetually haunted by the mysterious scent of blood. Wise, fanciful, and daring, Ayiti is the book that put Roxane Gay on the map and now, with two previously uncollected stories, confirms her singular vision.  Kirkus Reviews wrote a lovely review for this reprint, noting “This book set the tone that still characterizes much of Gay’s writing: clean, unaffected, allowing the (often furious) emotions to rise naturally out of calm, declarative sentences. That gives her briefest stories a punch even when they come in at two pages or fewer, sketching out the challenges of assimilation in terms of accents, meals, or ‘What You Need to Know About a Haitian Woman.’ . . . This debut amply contains the righteous energy that drives all her work.”

Wicked and the Wallflower: Historical romance legend Sarah MacLean is back with the debut of a new series (The Bareknuckle Bastards) that has been getting absolute rave reviews from critics and readers–longtime readers and newcomers alike!  When a mysterious stranger finds his way into her bedchamber and offers his help in landing a husband, Lady Felicity Faircloth agrees to his suspicious terms–on one condition. She’s seen enough of the world to believe in passion, and won’t accept a marriage without it.  Bastard son of a duke and king of London’s dark streets, Devil has spent a lifetime wielding power and seizing opportunity, and the spinster wallflower is everything he needs to exact a revenge years in the making. All he must do is turn the plain little mouse into an irresistible temptress, set his trap, and destroy his enemy.  But there’s nothing plain about Felicity Faircloth, who quickly decides she’d rather have Devil than another. Soon, Devil’s carefully laid plans are in chaos and he must choose between everything he’s ever wanted . . . and the only thing he’s ever desired.  This is a delightful romance that doesn’t shy away from the tough stuff, but in doing that, creates a re-affirming, deeply meaningful story–the New York Times Review of Books agrees, noting that “The Bareknuckle Bastards…promises her darkest take yet. But even when MacLean goes dark… the sparkling wit and essential goodness of her characters shine through.”

Spying on Whales: The Past, Present, and Future of Earth’s Most Awesome Creatures: Whales are among the largest, most intelligent, deepest diving species to have ever lived on our planet. They evolved from land-roaming, dog-sized creatures into animals that move like fish, breathe like us, can grow to 300,000 pounds, live 200 years and travel entire ocean basins. But even though our fascination with whales, from the fictional Moby Dick to the humpbacks off Massachusetts’ coasts, there is still so much to learn about these wonderful creatures.  In this wide-ranging and fascinating book, Nick Pyenson, whose research has given us some powerful insight into the lives of whales, explores the world in search of a deeper understanding of the whales.  From the Smithsonian’s unparalleled fossil collections, to frigid Antarctic waters, and to the arid desert in Chile, where scientists race against time to document the largest fossil whale site ever found. Full of rich storytelling and scientific discovery, Spying on Whales spans the ancient past to an uncertain future–all to better understand the most enigmatic creatures on Earth.  Booklist gave this infectiously engrossing book a starred review, calling it “A hard-to-put-down quest to understand whales and their place on Earth.”

Unthinkable: An Extraordinary Journey Through the World’s Strangest BrainsFrom the sea, then to the human brain…We take it for granted that we can remember, feel emotion, navigate, empathise and understand the world around us, but how would our lives change if these abilities were dramatically enhanced – or disappeared overnight?  Helen Thomson has spent years travelling the world, tracking down incredibly rare brain disorders.  In this marvelous book, she tells the stories of nine extraordinary people she encountered along the way. From the man who thinks he’s a tiger to the doctor who feels the pain of others just by looking at them to a woman who hears music that’s not there, their experiences illustrate how the brain can shape our lives in unexpected and, in some cases, brilliant and alarming ways.  There are also some fascinating lessons here about how our brains function, what precisely they do, and how you can consciously change the way you think (should you so desire).  Even in looking at the bizarre, Thomson’s work reminds us of how fundamentally human her subjects and their perceptions of the world are, recalling the work of the great Oliver Sacks.  Library Journal, which gave this book a starred review, agreed, saying, “Thomson has a gift for making the complex and strange understandable and relatable. Oliver Sacks is noted as an inspiration and, indeed, this book will appeal to his many fans.” 

The Robots of Gotham:  Todd McAulty’s debut is a dystopian, post-apocalyptic science fiction novel that will most likely reinforce your even fear about smart devices and the pernicious power of technology.  After long years of war, the United States has sued for peace, yielding to a brutal coalition of nations ruled by fascist machines. Canadian businessman Barry Simcoe arrives in occupied Chicago days before his hotel is attacked by a rogue war machine. In the aftermath, he meets a dedicated Russian medic with the occupying army, and 19 Black Winter, a badly damaged robot. Together they stumble on a machine conspiracy to unleash a horrific plague—and learn that the fabled American resistance is not as extinct as everyone believes. Simcoe races against time to prevent the extermination of all life on the continent, and uncover a secret that America’s machine conquerors are desperate to keep hidden.  Both a techno-thriller and a medical thriller, this is a book that will have wide appeal for anyone looking to take a glimpse into a darker version of our future.  Publisher’s Weekly agrees, having given this book a starred review and noting, “This massive and impressive novel is set in an America that outlawed the development of artificial intelligence and quickly lost a short and bitter war against robot-led fascist countries… McAulty maintains breathless momentum throughout. Readers will hope for more tales of this sinister future and eagerly pick up on hints that Barry and his companions may continue their exploits”.

 

Until next week, beloved patrons–happy reading!

The 2018 Children’s Literature Legacy Award, History, and Inclusivity

At its meeting on Saturday, June 23, 2018, the Association for Library Service to Children Board voted to change the name of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award to the Children’s Literature Legacy Award.  This award honors an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a significant and lasting contribution to children’s literature.  In discussion this award, we’d also like to congratulate this year’s winner, Jacqueline Woodson.  As the committee chair,  Rita Auerbach noted, “From picture books through novels for young teens to her exquisite memoir in poetry, Jacqueline Woodson has established herself as an eloquent voice in contemporary children’s literature.”  Headlines, however, have been focused on the change in the award’s name, and it is that, specifically, we are addressing today.

This was not a decision that was taken lightly, nor was it done for frivolous reasons.  Indeed, there has been a discussion of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s historical legacy and descriptions of native peoples.  As Samira Ahmed wrote in The Guardian in 2010, “While she often writes of her desire to be “free like the Indians”, riding bareback, Little House on the Prairie is built illegally on occupied Osage Indian land.”

A photo of member of the Osage tribe, taken around the time that Wilder was living the experiences she would describe in her books.

The settlement of the American West fundamentally involved the dehumanization of the Native American/Indian peoples who were present on the land that settlers wanted to own.  Part of this process involved talking about Native American/Indian people as less than human.  Wilder utilized this language in her works.  Just one example can be found in Little House on the Prairiewhere she states that  Kansas had “no people, only Indians”.   Such language reflects the delegitimization and dehumanizing that settlers enacted in their move West.   In this specific case, Wilder refers to the Osage peoples.  A series of treaties and agreements from
1865 to 1870 forced the Osage people off the land that a previous treaty, signed in 1825, promised would be theirs in perpetuity.  They were sent to reservations in Oklahoma.  The travel, the lack of funds and support, as well as the violence they sustained impacted the tribes for generations.  Their population decreased by over 50% in the course of a generation.  But this is not merely a historical issue; when oil was discovered on their land, the Osage people were forced to sue the Federal Government over its management of the trust assets, alleging that it had failed to pay tribal members appropriate royalties, and had not historically protected their land assets and appreciation.  The suit was settled in 2011.

Over the course of time, Wilder (pictured at left) gained some insight into the damage such language could have.  Later editions of the book feature an edited line, which reads, ‘no settlers, only Indians’.”  While this edit is a positive change, it is a limited one.  Little House on the Prairie discusses the removal of the Osage people, but never condemns it.  In some ways, this does indeed make Wilder a product of her time.  But it is completely historically inaccurate to assume that her language, opinions, and descriptions represent a universal opinion.  There were a large number of people who spoke out against the removal of Native American/Indian people, and the kind of language that helped facilitate their dehumanization–including Tennessee Congressman Davy Crockett, Massachusetts Congressman Daniel Webster, and a large number of missionaries–both male and female.  Additionally, the Osage people continue to condemn Wildler’s work for its language and representation of their history.

A map showing the ancestral territory of the Osage people. The land designated for their reservation is in purple. From https://www.osagenation-nsn.gov/who-we-are/historic-preservation/ancestral-map

At the same time that Wildler’s work is being re-assessed, book writers, makers, and readers are realizing how poorly non-white, non-male readers have been represented, not only in terms of the types of books produced, but the authors who are honored by awards.  We’ve covered some of that debate here at the Free-For-All, but the ALA has also engaged in some soul-searing conversations.  These don’t condemn Wilder or her work, nor do they comment on the quality of her novels.  However, they do think meaningfully about how naming an award after Wilder might affect the ways readers see their engagement.

Changing the name of the award is part of a process that involves facing the problematic aspects of American history, and attempting to do better by current and future generations. It is part of a commitment to ensuring that readers have access to books that speak to them: to their identities, to their history, to their experiences, and to their abilities, and to recognize the ways they have been under-represented previously in an open, honest, and effective manner. To continue to award a prize named after someone who did not recognize the humanity of the non-white people around her makes a lot of the positive changes we see in children’s literature feel ultimately disingenuous.

For the record, no one–not I, not the Free-For-All, not the Library, and not the ALA are accusing Wilder of intentional hate speech or overt racism.  Indeed, her attempts to moderate her own words points to her potential to change and improve.  And we are actually enjoying a rich moment where Wilder’s history, experiences, and struggles are being honored and remembered in a new, and for more nuanced, way (see last year’s Pulitzer-Prize-Winning biography by Caroline Fraser).  But by renaming the award that previously bore her name, the ALA is acknowledging the harmful stereotypes that she used and promoted, and attempting to move beyond them.  In doing so, it allows us to create room to consider authors contemporary to Wilder who were not using the kind of language she did, and promoting their words, their message and their principles.  So doing can only enrich our literature by recognizing inclusion and diversity, as well as help those readers who have been outside our gaze for so long.

Five Book Friday!

And a wealth of congratulations to Kamila Shamsie, who was awarded this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction for her novel, Home Fire!

Shamsie’s novelreworks Sophocles’ tragedy Antigone to tell the story of a British Muslim family’s connection to Islamic State was hailed by the judges of the prize as “the story of our times”.   According to the 2018 Chair of Judges Sarah Sands, said: “This was a dazzling shortlist, it had depth and richness and variety. We were forcibly struck by the quality of the prose. Each book had its champions. We loved the originality of mermaids and courtesans, we were awed by the lyrical truth of an American road trip which serves as a commentary of the history of race in America, we discussed into the night the fine and dignified treatment of a woman’s domestic abuse, we laughed over a student’s rite of passage and we experienced the truth of losing a parent and loving a child. In the end we chose the book which we felt spoke for our times. Home Fire is about identity, conflicting loyalties, love and politics. And it sustains mastery of its themes and its form. It is a remarkable book which we passionately recommend.”

It’s a good day for books, beloved patrons, so let’s keep celebrating by taking a look at some of the other super-terrific stories that have swung up onto our shelves this week, and are eager to make your acquaintance!

The Death of Mrs. Westaway: I don’t know about you, but Ruth Ware’s psychological thrillers are some of the highlights of my summer reading, so it’s with great pleasure that we introduce her newest novel, about a tarot card reader named Hal.  When Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but a tarot reader needs to be talented at reading people and adapting to their needs, so Hal decides to take matters into her own hands.  But at the funeral of the deceased, it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.  This book especially has earned Ware a number of comparisons to Agatha Christie, but there is also something delightfully modern about her unsettling plots and crafty, surprising heroines.  It’s also been earned starred reviews left, right, and center, including one from Booklist, who cheered, “The labyrinth Ware has devised here is much more winding than expected, with reveals even on the final pages… a clever heroine and an atmospheric setting, accented by wisps of meaning that drift from the tarot cards.”

Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York: With the release of some 19th-century and early 20th-century medical records, it’s becoming possible to tell new, more compassionate, and insightful histories of madness, medicine, and the people who were caught up in medical and state institutions.  In this book, Stacy Holt uses narratives from the inhabitants of Roosevelt Island–once known as Blackwell’s Island, a stretch of land in New York’s East River that was the site of a lunatic asylum, two prisons, an almshouse, and a number of hospitals.  This was a site of terrible overcrowding; prisoners were enlisted to care for the insane; punishment was harsh and unfair; and treatment was nonexistent.  Yet despite the aching human tragedies and horror that Holt describes, there are also stories of hope, including the work of Reverend William Glenney French, who devoted his life to ministering to Blackwell’s residents, battling the bureaucratic mazes of the Department of Correction and a corrupt City Hall, and testifying at trials, all while wondering in his diary about man’s inhumanity to man.  This isn’t an easy read by any means, but it’s a significant one that asks a lot of pressing questions about today’s mental health treatments, as well as illuminating the past.  Publisher’s Weekly agrees, describing this book as “a vivid and at times horrifying portrait of Blackwell’s Island…Horn has created a bleak but worthwhile depiction of institutional failure, with relevance for persistent debates over the treatment of the mentally ill and incarcerated.”

The Art of the Wasted DayAn ideal read for the summer, Patricia Hampl’s book is a delightfully different kind of travel story, describing her journeys to the homes of those who made repose a goal, even an art form.  She begins with two celebrated eighteenth-century Irish ladies who ran off to live a life of “retirement” in rural Wales. Her search then leads to Moravia to consider the monk-geneticist, Gregor Mendel, and finally to Bordeaux for Michel Montaigne–the hero of this book–who retreated from court life to sit in his chateau tower and write about whatever passed through his mind, thus inventing the personal essay.  In the midst of this study, Hampl also recalls her own personal relationship with leisure, from her childhood days lazing under a neighbor’s beechnut tree to the joys discovered in quietly falling in love, which led to the greatest adventure of her life.  A thoughtful, emotional study about the joys found in thinking, in wandering, and in exploring, this is a book for all of you armchair explorers who are looking for a new kind of escape.  The Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote a glowing review of this book, calling it,  “A wise and beautiful ode to the imagination – from a child’s daydreams, to the unexpected revelations encountered in solitary travel, meditation, and reading, to the flights of creativity taken by writers, artists, and philosophers.”

The Order of Time: Carlo Rovelli’s study, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, made scary science into something accessible, beautiful, and downright enjoyable, and now he is back to study time.  We all experience time, but the more scientists learn about it, the more mysterious it remains. We think of it as uniform and universal, moving steadily from past to future, measured by clocks. Rovelli tears down these assumptions one by one, revealing a strange universe where at the most fundamental level time disappears.  Weaving together ideas from philosophy, science and literature, Rovelli suggests that our perception of the flow of time depends on our perspective, better understood starting from the structure of our brain and emotions than from the physical universe.  It’s a concept that makes sense when you consider that it was humans who made time and clocks and such things, but this journey ties those inventions into a much deeper, richer understanding of the world that will have you rethinking all the basic tenants of time that you thought you knew.  Scientific American loved this book, noting in its review how “Rovelli, a physicist and one of the founders of loop quantum gravity theory, uses literary, poetical and historical devices to unravel the properties of time, what it means to exist without time and, at the end, how time began.”

Social CreatureHere’s another thriller to keep your summer sizzling–in fact, Tara Isabella Burton is already drawing comparisons to Gillian Flynn and Tara French, so fans of those compulsively-readable authors should be quick to add this to their summer reading list.  Louise has nothing. Lavinia has everything. After a chance encounter, the two spiral into an intimate, intense, and possibly toxic friendship.  They go through both bottles of champagne, and as they drink, Lavinia tells Louise about all the places they will go together, when they finish their stories, when they are both great writers-to Paris and to Rome and to Trieste…but Lavinia will never go. She is going to die soon.  A modern twist on Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, this book takes a razor-sharp look at our social conventions, all while telling a story that is addictive, dark, and scintillating in the ways of all good summer thrillers.  Kirkus Reviews gave it a starred review, praising “Burton’s exceptional character work…every individual is both victim and villain, imbuing their interactions with oceans of emotional subtext and creating conflict that propels the book toward its shocking yet inevitable conclusion…At once a thrilling and provocative crime novel, a devastating exploration of female insecurity, and a scathing indictment of society’s obsession with social media.”

 

Until next week, beloved patrons–happy reading!

The Golden Man Booker Prize

Readers of the Free-For-All will remember that we here get all fluttery and heart-eyes over the Man Booker Prize.  We love the way it has highlighted some of the most intriguing, beguiling, emotionally-gripping books of the past fifty years.  We love that the award is willing to grow an evolve.  While it originally only recognized books written in English and published in the United Kingdom, the award now accepts submissions from English-speaking countries around the world.  It has also added a prize for novels in translation: the Man Booker International Prize, which we also adore.  The award has also been addressing its implicit classism and biases by celebrating working-class authors over the past few years.  Between that and all the pomp, circumstance, and book lover that it engenders, the Man Booker Prize is one we truly love to watch.

And since this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Man Booker Prize, the good people of the award have determined to take things up a notch by announcing the Golden Man Booker Prize (in my head, this award is always in bold font, and is accompanied by trumpet fanfares).  According to the award website, “The Golden Man Booker will put all 51 winners – which are all still in print – back under the spotlight, to discover which of them has stood the test of time, remaining relevant to readers today.”  Five judges have been appointed to read the winning novels from each decade of the prize, and each judge has chosen which book, in his or her opinion, is the best winner from that particular decade, and will champion that book against the other judges’ selections. The judges’ ‘Golden Five’ shortlist was announced at the Hay Festival on May 26. The five books will then be put to a month-long public vote lasting until June 26.   The overall winner will be announced at the Man Booker 50 Festival on July 8.

To be truthful, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this award.  More to the point, I don’t know if it’s valid to compare a novel from one decade to that of another.  Time’s change.  Standards change.  Readers change.  Things also get really weird in discussing the books from this most recent decade.  Have these books withstood the test of time?  How can we adequately judge…especially where the chosen book was released less than a year ago?

You know what the cool part is, though? YOU CAN VOTE ON THE WINNER OF THE GOLDEN MAN BOOKER PRIZE!  Seriously, I’m way too excited about this.  But in order to be a conscientious voter, you need to be an educated voter.  So be sure to check out these short-listed books, and vote for your favorite!

So get reading, beloved patrons–and don’t forget to vote!

The 2018 Nebula Award Winners!

We are in the thick of awards season, beloved patrons, and let me tell you, it’s a good season to be a reader.  Last week, the winners of the 52nd Annual Nebula Awards were announced at the annual convention of the  Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA)

The Nebula Awards (a picture of one of the awards is on the left) were first awarded in 1966, and have grown in prestige to be recognized as one of the most significant awards for science fiction and fantasy in publishing.  Each year, a novel, novella, novelette, and short story are chosen…and just in case you, too, were wondering what a “novelette’ is, it is defined by SFWA as “a work between 7,500 and 17,500 words”, while a “novella” is between 17,500 and 40,00 words.  Any book written in English and published in the United States is eligible for nomination, and members of SFWA cast their ballots for the favorite books.  This means that, essentially, the awards are chosen by readers and genre devotees, which means that they are not only of high quality in terms of genre and style, but that they are also a darned good read.  As you will see, screenplays are also recognized with the Ray Bradbury Award, and middle grade and young adult fiction is nominated for the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Once again, the Nebulas are a bastion of diversity and good storytelling.  As we mention each year, science fiction is a genre that is beautifully suited to questioning our current realities, imagining new ones, and crafting relationships that challenge and confront stereotypes.  Fantasy does this, as well, and you’ll see from the titles listed below, the authors honored at the Nebula Awards are gifted at utilizing and transforming the genres to tell wildly inventive, insightful, haunting and compelling stories that linger long after the final page has turned.

We hope you find some new reading and viewing fodder among the nominees and winners listed below.  For more information and a full list of Nebula winners, visit the SFWA’s website!

BEST NOVEL

WinnerThe Stone Sky, N.K. Jemisin 

Nominees:

THE RAY BRADBURY AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING DRAMATIC PRESENTATION

Winner: Get Out (Written by Jordan Peele)

Nominees:

THE ANDRE NORTON AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING YOUNG ADULT SCIENCE FICTION OR FANTASY BOOK

WinnerThe Art of Starving, Sam J. Miller

Nominees: