December 4, 2009

Bookish Discoveries 12-4-09

1. Info via Shelf Awareness:

Petina Gappah's An Elegy for Easterly, a story collection about her native Zimbabwe, won the 2009 Guardian First Book Award, which is open to first-time authors writing in English, across all genres. The Guardian's literary editor and chair of judges Claire Armitstead "said she was thrilled to name Gappah as winner, particularly since 2009 is the year of the short story. There had been some wonderful first books, she said, and "Petina Gappah's humane and disarmingly funny mosaic of life in Zimbabwe is undoubtedly one of the very best.""When I was told, I think I laughed," said Gappah. "It was the last thing I expected. Did you read the books on the shortlist? I mean, seriously good. If I'd been judging the prize I certainly would not have chosen me."
--- (To see more books from Zimbabwe, click here.)

The following are the nominees for the 2010 Grammys in three spoken-word categories. The main ceremony takes place January 31.

Best Spoken Word Album
Always Looking Up by Michael J. Fox (Hyperion Audio)
Jonathan Winters--A Very Special Time by Jonathan Winters, with music by Verne Langdon and Skip Edwards (Dejavu Record Company/The Orchard)
The Lincoln-Douglas Debates by Richard Dreyfuss and David Strathairn (BBC Audiobooks America)
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett, narrated by various artists, including Michael Madsen, Sandra Oh and Edward Herrmann (Blackstone Audio)
We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land by Jimmy Carter (Simon & Schuster Audio)
Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher (Simon & Schuster Audio)

Best Spoken-Word Album For Children
Aaaaah! Spooky, Scary Stories & Songs by Buck Howdy (Prairie Dog Entertainment)
Captain Nobody by Dean Pitchford (Random House Audio/Listening Library)
Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales by various artists (Hachette Audio)
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, narrated by David Hyde Pierce (Harper Children's Audio)
Scat by Ed Asner (Random House Audio/Listening Library)
Through The Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll, narrated by Harlan Ellison (Blackstone Audio)
Best Comedy Album
Back From the Dead by Spinal Tap (The Label Industry/Artist2Market Distribution)
A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All! by Stephen Colbert (Comedy Central Records)
Internet Leaks by "Weird Al" Yankovic (Volcano)
My Weakness Is Strong by Patton Oswalt (Degenerate/Warner Bros.)
Suckin' It for the Holidays by Kathy Griffin (Music With a Twist)
Tall, Dark & Chicano by George Lopez (Comedy Central Records)

2. In case you have not seen the brilliance that is the Unshelved Store, take a look at these items and then click here to "make it Unshelved for the holidays!"

3. Charles Dickens performed his famous story, The Christmas Carol, in public more than 150 times. Now the handwritten changes he made during those hugely popular readings are on display at the New York Public Library.

4. The Millions' a Year in Reading 2009. What do YOU think are the best books of the year?

5. Jonathan Jones of the Guardian asks why is there a double standard between contemporary literature (a la the Booker prize) and contemporary art (a la the Turner prize)? It makes a lot of sense to me. What do you think?


  1. I requested An Elegy for Easterly yesterday from the library and I'm really looking forward to reading it! Very appropriate considering you are armchair travelling to Zimbabwe this month.

  2. I loved that t-shirt that the book was better!! Great links today!

  3. I don't think I'm the one to ask about modern painting. I DO think most of it's crap, to be completely honest, but then I'm more of a 19th-century person.

    I think there are two major flaws in Jones' thinking: one, I'm sure the recipients of the Booker prize ARE criticized as not being up to the standards of Jane Austen or Joseph Conrad, so I don't really see a double-standard. And secondly, are we only supposed to say nice things about art now? Oh, wait, I forgot--yes we are. How boring. There's an internal art criticism culture that thinks if you call anything modern @*^&, you're an uneducated bourgeois drone, and Jones is just mouthing the party line as far I'm concerned. If anyone needs to be headsmacked for praising mediocre work, it's art critics.

  4. Paperback Reader- I thought the same thing. I hope you review it when you read it.

    Staci- Thanks! I totally love the Unshelved Products.

    heidenkind- I knew you'd have to weight in on that link! Love your opinions!

  5. Stephen Colbert has an audio Christmas book out?! I don't usually like audio books, but if there's one person who could me to buy one, it's Stephen Colbert. I listened to his last book on audio and loved it. =)

    Also, thanks for the heads up on the Dickens display. Gotta head over there one of these days and check it out.

  6. These are wonderful links. Thanks so much for collecting them!


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