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

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

Edgar Allan Poe Awards for Best Mysteries

Live by Night book cover

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

By Readers' Advisor on May 3, 2013 Categories: Awards, Books, Movies and Television, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

Orphan Master's Son book coverThe 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.

By Readers' Advisor on April 24, 2013 Categories: Awards, Books, Literary

A Girl You Won’t Forget

Salvage the Bones audiobook coverTwelve 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.

By Readers' Advisor on April 15, 2013 Categories: Audiobooks, Awards, Literary

Another Award First!

Bring Up the Bodies book coverCongratulations 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.

By Readers' Advisor on October 22, 2012 Categories: Awards, Books, Historical Fiction, Literary

First Chinese Author Wins Nobel Prize in Literature

Big Breasts and Wide Hips book coverThe 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.”

By Readers' Advisor on October 17, 2012 Categories: Awards, Books, Literary

The 2012 Hugos are Here!

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume 6 book coverThe first weekend of September more than 5,000 people swarmed Chicago for the 70th World Science Fiction Convention, otherwise known as WorldCon. Beyond hosting authors, artists, and fans from more than 30 countries, WorldCon announced the winners of the 2012 Hugo Awards.

For a complete listing of winners, click here. For highlights, see below.

Best Novel: Among Others by Jo Walton

Best Novella:The Man who Bridged the Mist” by Kij Johnson

Best Novelette:Six Months, Three Days” by Charlie Jane Anders

Best Short Story:The Paper Menagerie” by Ken Liu

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form): Game of Thrones (Season 1)

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form):The Doctor’s Wife” (Doctor Who)

Best Fan Writer: Jim C. Hines

By Readers' Advisor on September 6, 2012 Categories: Awards, Books, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Movies and Television

2012 PEN Literary Awards Announced

Catherine the Great book coverThe PEN American Center, the U.S. branch of the world’s oldest international literary and human rights organization, has chosen the winners of the 2012 PEN Literary Awards. Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie won the Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography, and you can see the story brought to life by favorite book dramatist Barbara Rinella at MPPL on October 1.

Click here for category information and a complete list of winners. Highlights include

Robert W. Bingham Prize: Zazen by Vanessa Veselka

Achievement in American Fiction: E.L. Doctorow

Award for the Art of the Essay: Arguably by Christopher Hitchens

Literary Science Writing Award: The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick

Award for Literary Sports Writing: Bottom of the 33rd: Hope, Redemption, and Baseball’s Longest Game by Dan Barry

Illustrated Children’s Book: Never Forgotten by Patricia C. McKissack

By Readers' Advisor on September 5, 2012 Categories: Awards, Books, Literary, Nonfiction