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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Friday Lit Review: Are E-Books Taking Over?

Each Friday we’ll be bringing you news about your favorite authors, literature and books in general. Tell us what you think in the comments: Your E-Book Is Reading You The Wall Street Journal takes an in-depth look at e-books and moves beyond the simple question of whether they will replace physical books (trust us - they won't). Instead, they're looking at what e-books tell publishers that simply isn't possible with physical copies and what that means for the industry:  Barnes & Noble has determined, through analyzing Nook data, that nonfiction books tend to be read in fits and starts, while novels are generally read straight through, and that nonfiction books, particularly long ones, tend to get dropped earlier. Science-fiction, romance and crime-fiction fans often read more... Read More →

88 Books That Shaped America (According To The Library Of Congress)

No, it's not a "best books of all-time" list, but the list assembled by the Library of Congress, to celebrate the works that most define our nation's history, is pretty close. There's some stand-outs, like Thomas Paine's Common Sense and Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat. But the list particularly caught our eye because there are several Anisfield-Wolf winners on the list—and we're thrilled. Check out who made the cut. Descriptions are pulled from the Library of Congress website:  Langston Hughes, "The Weary Blues" (1925) Langston Hughes was one of the greatest poets of the Harlem Renaissance, a literary and intellectual flowering that fostered a new black cultural identity in the 1920s and 1930s. His poem "The Weary Blues," also the title of this poetry collection, won first prize in a... Read More →

VIDEO: Middle School Students Perform “Warmth Of Other Suns” Play

There's nothing like seeing young people get excited about history, something that is typically pretty hard to do. "Warmth of Other Suns" author Isabel Wilkerson found this gem and shared it with all her fans, writing:  Delighted that WARMTH is inspiring young people! A middle school in Milwaukee performed a play based on The Warmth of Other Suns, with lots of heart and just enough production values for someone in the audience to get it on YouTube. Just beautiful! Check out Act 2 of the play above and let us know what you think!  Read More →

“Most Of What I Do Fails”: Honest Observations From James McBride

It's almost hard to believe 1997 Anisfield-Wolf winner James McBride when he talks about his failures. His 2002 novel, Miracle at St. Anna, was turned into a movie Spike Lee a few years later and his debut, The Color of Water, was on the New York Times bestseller's list for two years. But in this deeply personal and highly observant video, McBride shows us the true honesty that keeps readers coming back again and again. Read More →

Who’s Been Called The “Tiger Woods Of American Literature”?

2004 winner Edward P. Jones is a skilled writer. That seems to be understood quite well by all who have had the pleasure of reading one of his stories. We here at Anisfield-Wolf have said of his 2004 novel, The Known World, "Impossible to rush through, The Known World is a complex, beautifully written novel with a large cast of characters, rewarding the patient reader with unexpected connections, some reaching into the present day."  We'd say that's some pretty good praise. In this interview with the Howard County Poetry and Literature Society, Jones is asked how he feels about being dubbed the "Tiger Woods of American Literature" and his own writing process. Enjoy.  Have you read The Known World? What did you think?  Read More →

VIDEO: Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 – Is This The Future Of Literature?

Book clubs have tended to be a very private thing. Intimate gatherings among friends, book clubs were a simple time to reflect and discuss whatever work happened to have your group's attention at the moment. With Oprah's new book club, the experience has been magnified. Featuring webisodes with the authors and an ongoing Twitter conversation, Oprah hopes to take her book club (dubbed Oprah's Book Club 2.0) to the next level. Check out the first webisode with Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild.  Do you like this type of book club? Will you be participating?  Read More →

VIDEO: What Was Life Like On The Eve Of The Civil War?

Ira Berlin     We tend to have a lot of historians on our winners list. They're the people who can take what we've learned in history class and add life to it, making it relevant to our future. 2004 winner Ira Berlin is tops among those who can make you care and make you think. In this series of videos from PBS, Berlin discusses the state of American on the eve of the Civil War. Perfect for history buffs and lovers of American culture alike.    Read More →

NEW ON THE BOOKSHELF: Geoffrey C. Ward’s “A Disposition To Be Rich”

2005 winner Geoffrey C. Ward's latest book covers familiar ground—history—but also gives readers insight into his family history. The book is titled, A Disposition to be Rich: How a Small-Town Pastor's Son Ruined an American President, Brought on a Wall Street Crash, and Made Himself the Best-Hated Man in the United States (quite a mouthful!). The focus of the story is on the life of Ferdinand Ward, Geoffrey's great-grandfather—the Bernie Madoff of the late 19th century.  The New York Times writes:  Geoffrey Ward cuts his great-grandfather no slack. He describes a whiny, bullying, self-pitying narcissist who, once caught, didn’t even try to justify his behavior. The best things to be said about Ferd Ward are that he was reckless and ruthless enough to be worth reading... Read More →

2012 Winner David Livingstone Smith To Participate On G20 Summit Panel

2012 nonfiction winner David Livingstone Smith, author of Less Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave and Exterminate Others, will be a on a panel at the G20 Summit in Mexico. He's featured on a panel about provoking understanding, dealing with transforming communities and exploring new paradigms. In the video above, he explains why humans lie, and why it's a part of human nature. He tells the audience, "The picture we have now is lying is pervasive...because it's natural. It comes naturally to us. It's not something our parents have to teach us." Read More →

ADVICE FROM THE WINNERS: Writing Realistic Characters

Anisfield-Wolf jury member Joyce Carol Oates explains how writers can get in touch with the core of their characters, using examples from her book, The Gravedigger's Daughter. "If you allow your people to talk, they will express themselves in a way that the writer might not have thought of," she says. "I give my students an assignment to create people talking to each other and my students say, "I don't know these people." I tell them, you have to listen." Check out the video above and let us know which characters from literature you most deeply resonated with.  Read More →
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