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They Called Him Shadow Catcher

Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher book coverIt’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.

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on October 21, 2013 Categories: Awards, Books, Nonfiction

“A Fantastic Portrayer of Human Beings”

Away from Her book coverThe 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?

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on October 14, 2013 Categories: Awards, Books, Literary

Hugo Awards Announced

Emperors Soul book cover

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!)

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on September 25, 2013 Categories: Awards, Books, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Humor, Movies and TV

Masters of the PEN

Behind the Beautiful Forevers book coverThe 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

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on August 28, 2013 Categories: Awards, Books, Historical Fiction, Literary, Nonfiction

Be Swept Off Your Feet

Way Back Home book cover

Winners of the 2013 RITA Awards, celebrating the best in romance, have been announced.  Which love story will you choose?

Contemporary Single Title RomanceThe Way Back Home by Barbara Freethy

Historical RomanceA Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean

Romantic Suspense:   Scorched by Laura Griffin

Best First Book and Novel with Strong Romantic ElementsThe Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on July 31, 2013 Categories: Awards, Books, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense, Romance

New Broadway Soundtracks

Kinky Boots CD coverCan’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.

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on July 22, 2013 Categories: Awards, Music

Looking for a Thrill?

Spilled Blood book cover

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 NovelSpilled Blood by Brian Freeman

Best Paperback Original Lake Country by Sean Doolittle

Best First NovelThe 500 by Matthew Quirk

Best Young Adult NovelFalse Memory by Dan Krokos

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on July 17, 2013 Categories: Audiobooks, Awards, Books, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense

Best Audiobooks of the Year

Age of Miracles audiobook coverCelebrate 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

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on June 1, 2013 Categories: Audiobooks, Awards, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Historical Fiction, Literary, Romance

Fantastical Winners

2312 book cover

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

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on May 22, 2013 Categories: Awards, Books, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Movies and TV

More Award-Winning Mysteries: The Agathas

Beautiful Mystery book coverWho 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.

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on May 8, 2013 Categories: Awards, Books, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense