It’s a good bet you already know the work of Edward Curtis. Open any American history book that discusses Native Americans, and there will likely be illustrations attributed to him. These timeless portraits are striking in their balance of dignity and intimacy, and they represent one man’s lifelong crusade to document a vanishing culture. Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan is the inaugural winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction. Read about the adventurer who was obsessive to the point of risking his life, losing his family, and finishing destitute. His legacy is not only the photographs which have become the defining images of the First Nations but also the heroic story which brought them to be.
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The winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature is Alice Munro, lauded by the Swedish Academy as a “master of the contemporary short story.” She is the first Canadian citizen and only the thirteenth woman to be awarded this honor. Earlier this year Munro stated that Dear Life (2012), her fourteenth collection, would be her last. Many know her story “The Bear Came Over the Mountain,” about a devoted couple’s struggle with Alzheimer’s, through the film adaptation Away from Her. Other successes include The View from Castle Rock (2006) and Too Much Happiness (2009). Often likened to a modern-day Chekhov, Munro was praised by the Academy’s Permanent Secretary as “a fantastic portrayer of human beings.” What better invitation might a reader need?
The 2013 Hugo Awards, the leading honor in the field of science fiction and fantasy, were announced earlier this month. Which worlds will you explore?
Best Novel: Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi
Best Novella: The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson
Best Graphic Story: Saga, Volume One by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form: The Avengers, written and directed by Joss Whedon
Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: Game of Thrones, “Blackwater”, written by George R.R. Martin, directed by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Best Professional Artist: John Picacio (check out the Elric series!)
The PEN American Center, the U.S. branch of the world’s oldest international literary and human rights organization, has announced the winners of the 2013 PEN Literary Awards. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo, one of the most decorated books of 2012, added yet another well-deserved accolade in the John Kenneth Gailbraith Award for Nonfiction. Additional highlights include
Literary Science Writing Award: Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior by Leonard Mlodinow
Award for Literary Sports Writing: Like Any Normal Day: A Story of Devotion by Mark Kram, Jr.
Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing: Frank Deford
Award for Biography: The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss
Open Book Award: Gun Dealers’ Daughter by Gina Apostol
Translation Prize: The Island of Second Sight by Albert Vigoleis Thelen, translated from the German by Donald O. White
Winners of the 2013 RITA Awards, celebrating the best in romance, have been announced. Which love story will you choose?
Contemporary Single Title Romance: The Way Back Home by Barbara Freethy
Historical Romance: A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean
Romantic Suspense: Scorched by Laura Griffin
Best First Book and Novel with Strong Romantic Elements: The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James
Can’t wait for buzzed-about Broadway shows to make their way to the Midwest? Ease that longing with the best new cast recordings of the Great White Way. Kinky Boots won six 2013 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Actor in a Leading Role (the fabulous Billy Porter), and Best Original Score for composer/lyricist /pop icon Cyndi Lauper. Honors for Best Musical Revival went to Pippin, reimagined with a circus theme and featuring the spellbinding performance of Best Actress in a Leading Role Patina Miller. If jukebox hits are more your flavor, you can’t miss the energetic medleys of Motown: The Musical. Though the stage may be only in your mind, the theater experience will inspire a personal standing ovation.
The winners of the 2013 Thriller Awards were announced this week, and readers who enjoy a pulse-pounding pace will want to experience the excitement for themselves!
Best Hardcover Novel: Spilled Blood by Brian Freeman
Best Paperback Original: Lake Country by Sean Doolittle
Best First Novel: The 500 by Matthew Quirk
Best Young Adult Novel: False Memory by Dan Krokos
Celebrate June is Audiobook Month by turning a ready ear to the brand new winners of the 2013 Audie Awards. Whether on a sunny walk, a cross-country road trip, or even a daily commute, you will find the journey to be all the better in the company of an expert story. Audiobook listeners can also earn chances for prizes in MPPL’s summer reading program, Have Book, Will Travel, so why not start with one of these?
Science Fiction: The Age of Miracles (Walker) – read by Emily Rankin
Literary Fiction: Bring Up the Bodies (Mantel) – read by Simon Vance
Mystery: The Beautiful Mystery (Penny) – read by Ralph Cosham
Romance: The Witness (Roberts) – read by Julia Whelan
Solo Narration – Female: Katherine Kellgren for The Boy in the Suitcase (Kaaberbøl and Friis)
Solo Narration – Male: Edoardo Ballerini for Beautiful Ruins (Walter)
Teens: The Fault in Our Stars (Green) – read by Kate Rudd
Children’s Title for Ages 8-12: Same Sun Here – written and read by Silas House and Neela Vaswani
Children’s Titles for Ages Up to 8: The Great Cake Mystery: Precious Ramotswe’s Very First Case (McCall Smith) – read by Adjoa Andoh
When you are ready to expand your horizons, why not start with stories that are celebrated by other authors? The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America have announced the winners of the Nebula Awards, and it is an earth-shaking year for the imagination:
Best Novel: 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
Finalists: Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed, Ironskin by Tina Connolly, The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin, The Drowning Girl by Caitlín R. Kiernan, and Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal
Best Novella: After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress
Best Novellette: “Close Encounters” by Andy Duncan, soon to appear in The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirtieth Annual Collection
Best Short Story: “Immersion” by Aliette de Bodard, available online via Clarkesworld
Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation: Beasts of the Southern Wild, directed by Benh Zeitlin
Who knew May was so mysterious? Quick on the heels of the Edgars, Malice Domestic has announced the 2013 winners of the Agatha Awards, which honor traditional-style mysteries with no explicit sex, gore, or gratuitous violence. Louise Penny took home her fifth Best Novel Award in six years (!!) for the aptly titled The Beautiful Mystery. Catriona McPherson’s Dandy Gilver and an Unsuitable Day for Murder won for Best Historical Novel. Need a dash of intrigue right away? You can read the winner for Best Short Story, “Mischief in Mesopotamia” by Dana Cameron, right here. Clue yourself in to puzzles Dame Agatha Christie would approve.