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.
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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.
You don’t need a tell-tale heart to lead the way to good mysteries. This week the Mystery Writers of America crowned winners of the 2013 Edgar Awards, and the raven’s call includes intrigue in a variety of styles. Check these out:
Best Novel: Live by Night by Dennis Lehane
Best First Novel by an American Author: The Expats by Chris Pavone
Best Paperback Original: The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters
Best Fact Crime: Midnight in Peking by Paul French
Best Critical/Biographical: The Scientific Sherlock Holmes by James O’Brien
Best Short Story: “The Unremarkable Heart” by Karen Slaughter (in Mystery Writers of America presents Vengeance)
Best Juvenile: The Quick Fix by Jack D. Ferraiolo
Best Young Adult: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Best Television Episode Teleplay: “A Scandal in Belgravia,” Sherlock, teleplay by Stephen Moffat
Robert L. Fish Memorial Award: “When They Are Done With Us” by Patricia Smith (in Staten Island Noir)
Mary Higgins Clark Award: The Other Woman by Hank Phillippi Ryan
The U.S. book world uttered a collective sigh of relief when the 2013 Pulitzer committee actually named a Fiction winner. Still reeling from the unpopular decision to withhold the 2012 Prize, readers have even more reason to celebrate The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson, the worthy recipient of this year’s honor. Lauded as “an exquisitely crafted novel that carries the reader on an adventuresome journey into the depths of totalitarian North Korea and into the most intimate spaces of the human heart,” The Orphan Master’s Son was selected over fellow finalists What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank by Nathan Englander and The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. The Prize is given annually to a work of distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life.
Twelve days before Hurricane Katrina lands in Bois Savage, Mississippi, we meet 14-year-old Esch Batiste, a most unlikely heroine. Living in dire poverty with three brothers and her oft-drunken father, her attention is divided between a hidden pregnancy and a new litter of pit bull puppies. Winner of the National Book Award, Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward is an evocative story of an already-embattled family faced with incomprehensible forces of nature. Narrator Cherise Boothe fascinates as the heartbreaking Esch, a girl used by boys since she was twelve but who dreams of being the strong women of mythic tales. Under Boothe’s skill, what might otherwise be a difficult story to hear is transformed into a lyrical narrative with universal resonance.
Congratulations to Hilary Mantel for making award history with her win of the 2012 Man Booker Prize, a prestigious literary honor that often has significant impact on popular reading. Bring Up the Bodies, the second installment in a planned Tudor trilogy, explores the fate of Anne Boleyn. The first book, Wolf Hall, won the Prize in 2009 and became an international bestseller. According to the selection committee, “her resuscitation of Thomas Cromwell – and with him the historical novel – is one of the great achievements of modern literature.” With this honor, Mantel becomes the first writer to win for a direct sequel, one of only three writers to win more than once, the first woman to win twice, the first British author to win twice, and the first to win again in so short a time.
The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2012 has been awarded to writer Mo Yan, “who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary.” One of his most recent novels, Big Breasts & Wide Hips, uses the story of a rural gynecologist to explore the ramifications of China’s single-child policy. Red Sorghum: A Novel of China, often credited as Yan’s best known book in the West, follows three generations of a family set during a turbulent time in the country’s history. The first Chinese author to be named as a Nobel laureate was lauded by the committee as one who has “created a world reminiscent in its complexity of those in the writings of William Faulkner and Gabriel García Márquez, at the same time finding a departure point in old Chinese literature and in oral tradition.”