Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Review of The Likeness by Tana French

There is a review of the new Tana French book over at Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'? This blog is new to me courtesy of Google Reader's suggestions (thanks Google!) and it looks like it's right up my alley.

Anyway, I haven't read the full review because I don't like to know much about a book before I read it. I get the feeling she liked it, though:
Let’s just cut to the chase, shall we? THIS IS THE BEST BOOK I’VE READ THIS YEAR. Truly, seriously, I’m not even kidding, I can’t stop thinking about this book.
BTW, in that post, she is also offering a chance to win a copy.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Penguin's Show of Talent

Penguin and Sam Taylor, author of The Amnesiac, kindly offered up Taylor's upcoming novel The Island at the End of the World as the foundation of our competition. Designers, illustrators, painters and photographers contributed more than 300 ideas for the cover design of Taylor's new book, and a jury comprised of Penguin editor Alexis Washam, creative director Paul Buckley and Creativity editors selected the 25 finalists presented here.
Head on over here to see the 25 finalists and here for the winner.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tomato Nation/Donors Choose fall contest update

Amazing: over $100,000.00

From Sars:
Think about it: you did something. You didsomething. Even if you only had five bucks, you put it to good use; it counted, and more importantly, you believed that it counted. You tried to make a difference in the face of depressing amounts of evidence that one person, or a small group of dedicated but non-rich people, can't. We can. You did. You did.
Keep it upthe contest continues until the end of the month.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Center Cannot Hold by Elyn R. Saks

Great book. I can't recommend it more highly. It's so refreshing to read about a person diagnosed with schizophrenia who goes on to have a successful and fulfilling life. One of my favorite passages:
Psychotic people who are paranoid do scary things because they are scared. And when you're both psychotic and paranoid, it's like that sweaty midnight moment when you sit bolt upright in your bed from a nightmare that you don't yet know isn't real. But this nightmare went on all through the daylight as well.
Here is a link to a review in the San Francisco Chronicle.


Saks was only eight, and living an otherwise idyllic childhood in sunny 1960s Miami, when her first symptoms appeared in the form of obsessions and night terrors. But it was not until she reached Oxford University as a Marshall Scholar that her first full-blown episode, complete with voices in her head and terrifying suicidal fantasies, forced her into a psychiatric hospital.

Saks would later attend Yale Law School where one night, during her first term, she had a breakdown that left her singing on the roof of the law school library at midnight. She was taken to the emergency room, force-fed antipsychotic medication, and tied hand-and-foot to the cold metal of a hospital bed. She spent the next five months in a psychiatric ward.

So began Saks's long war with her own internal demons and the equally powerful forces of stigma. Today she is a chaired professor of law who researches and writes about the rights of the mentally ill. She is married to a wonderful man.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Art of Mending by Elizabeth Berg

I'm kind of surprised, but I don't think I've read anything by Elizabeth Berg before. I really enjoyed this book, though. There is an interview with the author in the back of the edition I read, and in it Berg talks about how her characters in this story are more flawed and less likeable than in her other books. I think that's one of the reasons I liked it.
Laura Bartone anticipates her annual family reunion in Minnesota with a mixture of excitement and wariness. Yet this year’s gathering will prove to be much more trying than either she or her siblings imagined. As soon as she arrives, Laura realizes that something is not right with her sister. Forever wrapped up in events of long ago, Caroline is the family’s restless black sheep. When Caroline confronts Laura and their brother, Steve, with devastating allegations about their mother, the three have a difficult time reconciling their varying experiences in the same house. But a sudden misfortune will lead them all to face the past, their own culpability, and their common need for love and forgiveness.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

UNP Author Wins Nobel Prize

I know—it's all UNP all the time around here. Can I help it we're so awesome?

French author Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio has been announced as the 2008 Nobel Prize winner in Literature. The University of Nebraska Press publishes Onitsha (Nebraska, 1997) and The Round and Other Cold Hard Facts (Nebraska, 2003).

See also:
Interview with Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio on the Nobel Prize website

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Win UNP Books!

Participate in the Tomato Nation Fall Contest and get a chance to win these books from the University of Nebraska Press:

The Plain Sense of Things by Pamela Carter Joern
Why Sacagawea Deserves the Day Off and Other Lessons from the Lewis and Clark Trail by Stephenie Ambrose Tubbs
Pacific Lady by Sharon Sites Adams with Karen J. Coates
The Warsaw Sparks by Gary Gildner
Clearing the Bases by Allen Barra

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Between Panic & Desire by Dinty W. Moore

This UNP book is on my list to read. I hadn't read anything by Dinty W. Moore until today when an acrostic piece by Moore was posted over on Sweet Juniper. Go read it—I'll wait. While you are there, check out the photos (I especially recommend the ones of the Detroit Public Schools Book Depository).

While you're already clicking around, check out Moore's website and his flickr page.

About Between Panic & Desire:
“Insouciant” and “irreverent” are the sort of words that come up in reviews of Dinty W. Moore’s books—and, invariably, “hilarious.” Between Panic and Desire, named after two towns in Pennsylvania, finds Moore at the top of his astutely funny form. A book that could be named after one of its chapters, “A Post-Nixon, Post-panic, Post-modern, Post-mortem,” this collection is an unconventional memoir of one man and his culture, which also happens to be our own.

Blending narrative and quizzes, memory and numerology, and imagined interviews and conversations with dead presidents on TV, the book dizzily documents the disorienting experience of growing up in a postmodern world. Here we see how the major events in the author’s early life—the Kennedy assassination, Nixon’s resignation, watching Father Knows Best, and dropping acid atop the World Trade Center, to name a few—shaped the way he sees events both global and personal today. More to the point, we see how these events shaped, and possibly even distorted, today’s world for all of us who spent our formative years in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. A curious meditation on family and bereavement, longing and fear, self-loathing and desire, Between Panic and Desire unfolds in kaleidoscopic forms—a coroner’s report, a TV movie script, a Zen koan—aptly reflecting the emergence of a fractured virtual America.

Banned Books Week: September 27–October 4, 2008

From the ALA website:
Banned Books Week (BBW) celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met. As the Intellectual Freedom Manual (ALA, 7th edition) states:

“Intellectual freedom can exist only where two essential conditions are met: first, that all individuals have the right to hold any belief on any subject and to convey their ideas in any form they deem appropriate; and second, that society makes an equal commitment to the right of unrestricted access to information and ideas regardless of the communication medium used, the content of the work, and the viewpoints of both the author and receiver of information. Freedom to express oneself through a chosen mode of communication, including the Internet, becomes virtually meaningless if access to that information is not protected. Intellectual freedom implies a circle, and that circle is broken if either freedom of expression or access to ideas is stifled.”
More links of interest:
Why Banned Books Week matters at Everybody's Libraries

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

DonorsChoose Blog Challege 2008

From Fortune:
Here’s how it works: teachers register with the site and upload projects they want sponsored. Recent examples include podcast equipment for a high school journalism class in Newton, Kan. ($582 needed), basic art supplies like paint and magic markers for a fourth-grade class in Brooklyn ($370), and a bass guitar for an after-school music program in Los Angeles ($723). DonorsChoose acts as the middle man, purchasing the materials and shipping them and a disposable camera to the teachers who made the requests. (Donors later receive thank-you notes from the students along with photos.)
It starts today. Finslippy is in. So is boingboing.

We couldn't forget last year's winner, Sars over at Tomato Nation. Keep an eye on the TN blog for updates.