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July 30, 2011

World Fantasy Nominees and Lifetime Achievement Winners

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The World Fantasy Awards Lifetime Achievement Winners for 2011 are Peter S. Beagle and Angélica Gorodischer. The awards are presented annually to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding service to the fantasy field.

The World Fantasy Awards nomination ballot has also been announced. Winners will be announced at this year’s World Fantasy Convention, to be held October 27-30, in San Diego CA. (Lifetime Achievement winners are announced in advance of the event).

Nominees are:


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Longlist announced for gay book prize

Filed under: Literary Prizes — Tags: , , , — Bookblurb @ 8:46 pm

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By Jessica Geen

The longlist for the annual Polari First Book Prize has been announced.

The contenders for the award, now in its third year, were announced at the London Literary Festival last night.

Judges include the chair and host of Polari, Time Out’s Paul Burston; Rachel Holmes, head of Literature and Spoken Word at Southbank Centre; and literary critic Suzi Feay.

Mr Burston said: “It’s an exciting list which we could all agree on and really get behind. As well as novels, we have books of poetry and memoirs, and a variety of format including self-published books and digital downloads, which reflects the changing shape of publishing today”. more

Slaughterhouse-Five banned by US school

Kurt Vonnegut’s celebrated second world war satire censored along with teen novel Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler.

By Alison Flood

Kurt Vonnegut in 2001. Photograph: Janet Knott/AP

Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five and young adult novel Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler have both been banned from a school curriculum and library in a Missouri school following complaints from a local professor about children being exposed to “shocking material”.

Ockler’s novel, which tells of a girl’s summer romance as she attempts to get over the death of her first love a year earlier, is being removed from the school curriculum and library in Republic, Missouri, along with Kurt Vonnegut’s classic novel Slaughterhouse-Five. The ban follows a complaint from c a professor at Missouri State University, who wrote in a column for a local paper last year claiming that Vonnegut’s novel “contains so much profane language, it would make a sailor blush with shame”. He said that Ockler’s book, described by Kirkus Reviews as a “sincere, romantic tearjerker”, “glorifies drunken teen parties, where teen girls lose their clothes in games of strip beer pong”, and laid into Laurie Halse Anderson’s acclaimed novel Speak, which he felt “should be classified as soft pornography”.

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Hamptons Hipsters

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , , — Bookblurb @ 5:26 am

Posted by Macy Halford
Last weekend, I went to Sag Harbor, which is more or less a Hampton and so has its own branch of Bookhampton, the main (indie) bookstore chain out there. Bookhampton has many well-curated special sections, but one in particular caught my eye:Hipster-Lit-Small.jpgYou can click that image to enlarge, but allow me to zoom in on the crucial detail:


The titles listed under Hipster Lit are:

“King Rat,” by China Miéville.
“2666,” by Roberto Bolaño.
“The Gospel According to Jesus Christ,” by José Saramago.
“House of Leaves,” by Mark Z. Danielewski.
“High Fidelity,” by Nick Hornby.
“Elliot Allagash,” by Simon Rich.
“Scorch Atlas,” by Blake Butler.
“Horoscopes for the Dead: Poems,” by Billy Collins.
“Illuminations,” by Arthur Rimbaud.
“Civilwarland in Bad Decline,” by George Saunders.
“Siddhartha,” by Herman Hesse.
“Lush Life,” by Richard Price.
“A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism,” by Peter Mountford.
“The New York Trilogy,” by Paul Auster.

I think this is a very good selection of hipster lit, though I can already hear the banshees howling that it’s incomplete. Where is Eggers? Where’s D.F.W.? Where’s Murakami? (Op! He’s on the shelf above, which I believe belonged to the plain old “literature” section.) Where are Lydia Davis, Miranda July, and Vendela Vida? Why are there no female authors?*

A few points:

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John Grisham wins Harper Lee Prize

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By Lindsay Deutsch

John Grisham’s law degree has paid off yet again.

The best-selling author is the inaugural winner for the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction for his work in The Confession. The new literary award will be given annually to published fiction that “best exemplifies the positive role of lawyers in society and their power to effect change.”

Grisham’s 2010 novel, the story of the wrong man awaiting execution in the rape and murder of a high school cheerleader, is newly out in paperback.

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World Book Night confirms US launch

| Charlotte Williams

World Book Night will launch in the US in 2012, with the States confirmed as the event’s first international partner.

HarperCollins vice-president retail marketing Carl Lennertz has been appointed chief executive to the US division of WBN, taking up the post on 1st September. WBN US will aim to give away one million books across the country, with Lennertz supported by a cross-industry steering committee currently being set up.

Lennertz said: “I have loved everything about my time at Harper . . .  I am very sad to leave, but I couldn’t pass up this chance to be a part of such an exciting venture as World Book Night in the US. more

Past Due

Simon Reynolds’s Retromania looks back at a pop culture that has, for years now, done nothing but look back.

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By Nitsuh Abebe

The problem with talking to adults about music used to be all the reactionary lectures: Music was better back then, they’d say, and the best thing young people could do was study the history. ­London-born critic Simon Reynolds is a family man in his forties, and a read through his new book, Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction to Its Own Past, might leave you with the suspicion that things actually were better “back then”—but only because we’ve taken those lectures too literally. “There has never been a society in human history,” he writes, “so obsessed with the cultural artifacts of its own immediate past.”

He’s hardly the first to worry that pop culture, instead of churning into the future, now just swims around an ocean of ideas from yesterday. It’s been decades since design, fashion, and music started treating history as a closet to be rummaged—savvy artists piecing together styles and references for equally savvy audiences to decode. (Anyone who’s enjoyed a Tarantino film already knows this drill.) And revival culture, as Reynolds shows, stretches back to postwar jazz, if not beyond. Still, the rise of the Internet and file-sharing has helped make the past decade feel particularly flat and static—­especially to a forward-looking critic like Reynolds, who’s still best known for chronicling the U.K.’s relentlessly futurist rave scene.

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July 29, 2011

Children’s Classics, what are they to you?

Filed under: Books — Tags: , — Bookblurb @ 6:28 pm

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I’ve been working back in OZ lately, mostly with the classics section, and I’ve realized how much of a conundrum this section really presents.  What actually constitutes a children’s classic?  Is it the number of years it has stayed in print?  Is it based on fads (for example, will the Harry Potter series eventually be considered classics? Or is fantasy just in vogue right now but likely to fall by the wayside in fifty years)?  What gives a children’s book staying power?

It’s different from adult classics, which are often just an accepted part of the Western canon and appear again and again on high school and college reading lists to teach us about certain cultural and historical perspectives.  And that’s not to say that some children’s classics are not also on the academic list for important literary analysis, because they certainly are, but what makes them stay on the shelves just for a child’s enjoyment?

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The case for raunchy teen lit

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , — Bookblurb @ 6:10 pm

A study warns parents about sex in YA novels, but these books can educate — and spark a passion for reading

By Tracy Clark-Flory

I started out with classics like Nancy Drew and “The Boxcar Children,” but at some point in my fledgling reading career I became less interested in fictional young detectives than in solving some mysteries for myself — namely about sex and romance. Raunchy young adult novels were just the thing to satisfy my curiosity, cement my passion for books and, of course, titillate with descriptions of, oh my God, open-mouthed tongue kissing.

Not everyone shares my gratitude toward the sexy subset of the genre, though. A recent study published in the Journal of Sex Research warned that more than half of popular YA titles include some sexual content, defined as everything from kissing to intercourse. Researchers also noted that 94 percent of sex scenes involved “non-married partners, and over a third of those were non-committal.” It’s worth noting that the study was conducted by Brigham Young University, which is, ahem, run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The dubious source aside, this is far from the first time concern has been raised over the prevalence of sex in teen reads, which is unfortunate.

Today I would hardly defend the particular visions of sexuality in the books I devoured as an adolescent. Christopher Pike, for instance, liked killing off characters shortly after they lost their virginity. But I was oblivious to the moralistic and outdated messages hidden in some of these stories.

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NY judge: Marvel wins Spider-Man, X-Men lawsuit

NY judge: Marvel owns rights to Spider-Man, X-Men comics over challenge by artist’s estate.

Larry Neumeister

NEW YORK (AP) — Spider-Man, X-Men, Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk can save the world from evil through superhuman feats, but it took a federal judge Thursday to decide who legally owns the rights to their lucrative characters.

U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon ruled that they and other Marvel Worldwide Inc. superheroes will remain the property of the company, despite claims by heirs to the artist who played a key role in creating them that they are entitled to the copyrights.

The Manhattan judge cited statements made by artist Jack Kirby before his 1994 death to support her finding that his creations must remain Marvel’s property.

She noted that he said in a 1986 affidavit that he did his work at a time when it was common practice that vested ownership of his creations belonged to the company that paid him to draw. She said he also signed a written agreement in the spring of 1972, well after the creation of the characters, admitting that he was not entitled to retain ownership of the work. more

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