The 2012 National Book Award winners were announced tonight during a blacktie gala at Cipriani’s in Lower Manhattan. Winning the big fiction prize was Louise Erdrich for her gut-wrenching novel The Round House, which centers on a grave injustice that rocks a Native American community. In a turn that didn’t surprise us whatsoever, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Katherine Boo won for her stunning work of nonfiction, Behind the Beautiful Forevers. David Ferry and William Alexander also won big in Poetry and Young People’s Literature, respectively. See below for a full list of finalists with winners in bold, and click on links for the EW reviews. READ FULL STORY »
Tag: Dave Eggers (1-9 of 9)
Ray Bradbury fans can add two new stories to their holiday wish list.
The celebrated science fiction writer, who passed away in June, wrote two stories toward the end of his life that are set for release this fall, AP reports. The first, “The Book and the Butterfly,” serves as the introduction to this year’s “Best American Nonrequired Reading” anthology; the second, “Dear Santa,” appears in the holiday issue of Birmingham, Michigan’s Strand Magazine.
Minutes ago, the finalists for the National Book Awards were announced on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. There were 20 books announced in four categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People’s Literature. Among the nominees are five Pulitzer-winners and five debut authors. See below for the full list, and click the titles for EW’s reviews. READ FULL STORY »
The New Orleans man whose post-Hurricane Katrina struggles and heroism inspired Dave Eggers’ much-lauded nonfiction book Zeitoun was convicted last year of battering his wife, The Smoking Gun has uncovered. Abdulrahman Zeitoun, 54, was arrested in a domestic abuse incident at the home of his wife Kathryn and their five children. A police report reads: READ FULL STORY »
Andrew Wylie is one of the book world’s most notorious agents who, in reality show parlance, definitely isn’t here to make friends. Dubbed “the Jackal,” if that gives you an idea of how he’s viewed, Wylie is best known for successfully extracting enormous advances from publishers for his big-name clients, as well as poaching authors from other agents. Now the highly visible agent, whose stable includes the likes of Dave Eggers, Salman Rushdie and Philip Roth (as well as the estates of Nabokov and Updike) is creating a stir in the realm of e-books.
Last week Wylie signed a deal with Amazon for exclusive e-book rights to his clients’ novels, including such classics as Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. For at least two years, these works will only be available via the online retailer and only on Amazon’s Kindle or devices with the downloaded Kindle app. Many are considering this a literary monopoly, vertical integration for a medium barely into its infancy. And where even the famously hermetic and anti-third party iPad permits users to download e-books from a variety of sources, the Kindle only allows readers to access digital copies from Amazon. Random House, which published a number of the titles covered by the deal, has since announced their intentions to dispute its legality. Random House spokesman Stuart Applebaum issued a statement which said, in part, “The Wylie Agency’s decision to sell e-books exclusively to Amazon for titles which are subject to active Random House agreements undermines our longstanding commitments to and investments in our authors, and it establishes this Agency as our direct competitor. Therefore, regrettably, Random House on a worldwide basis will not be entering into any new English-language business agreements with the Wylie Agency until this situation is resolved.”
Square Books, an independent bookstore in Oxford, Mississippi, has a compelling take on the whole situation.
What do you think about the issue, Shelf Lifers?
Let the Great World Spin, Irish-born writer Colum McCann’s well-received novel about 1970s New York City, won the National Book Award for fiction on Wednesday night. Other winners announced at the 60th annual ceremony in New York City included T.J. Stiles’ The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt for nonfiction, Keith Waldrop’s Transcendental Studies for poetry, and Phillip Hoose’s Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice for young people’s literature. (Hoose, a finalist in the same category in 2001, won for his book about the African American civil rights pioneer who refused to give up her seat on a bus years before Rosa Parks.)
There was one more competitive prize announced at the black-tie dinner at Manhattan’s Cipriani Wall Street, a Best of the National Book Awards Award. Based on 10,000 votes from the reading public, one title emerged as the favorite of all the winners in the prize’s 60-year history: Flannery O’Connor’s The Complete Stories, a posthumous collection that won the fiction prize in 1972.
The National Book Foundation, which administers the prizes (worth $10,000 each), also presented honorary medals to Gore Vidal for distinguished contribution to American letters and to author/activist/McSweeney’s founder Dave Eggers (the Literarian Award).
This weekend saw the release, and box-office success, of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, an animated adaptation of the much-beloved children’s book about precipitation alla Bolognese. You may wonder how they managed an entire feature-length film out of this straightforward and pretty slender storybook. Well, in a way, they didn’t. The filmmakers have padded out the story to include an absent-minded inventor whose experiments lead to the titular weather patterns, his love interest, a perky weather girl, a maniacal machine bent on destruction, and Mr. T as a cop.
Next month we’ll get the arrival of Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are, based on Maurice Sendak’s 1963 classic, in which Jonze and his co-screenwriter, McSweeney’s man Dave Eggers, have similarly fleshed out the original’s sparse plot in order to turn its less than 350 (by my count) words into a staggering work of adapted genius. (Eggers’ own novelized version, The Wild Things, will be released to accompany the film.) It also seems inevitable that there’ll be at least a few changes in Wes Anderson’s slightly-taxidermied take on Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, set for a November release.
Inspired by these substantial acts of adaptation, we’ve compiled some as-of-yet untouched classics of children’s lit that we think might be fun to see on the big screen, with a few necessary adjustments of course.
The Giving Tree: Shel Silverstein’s timeless tale of arboreal largesse relocated to Central Park and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as the eponymous tree and Abigail Breslin as a neglected Upper East Side child who takes its gifts for granted. It‘s a gut-wrenching, and Oscar-worthy, tale of unrequited love and betrayal, with the greatest performance as an immobile log since Keanu Reeves’ last film.
Sample Dialogue: “All you ever do it take, take, take! What about my feelings? What about my needs?”
Goodnight, Moon: The source material consists nearly exclusively of scenes of a young boy saying goodnight to various things in and around his bedroom. Director Michael Bay hopes to maintain the original’s basic structure while replacing “saying goodnight to” with “exploding into an infernal fireball” and “a young boy” with “Will Smith.” Also, the Moon killed Smith’s family and he’s out for revenge.
Sample Dialogue: “Say goodnight, Moon.” *EXPLOSION*
Green Eggs and Ham: The car of a notoriously irascible food critic (Bradley Cooper) breaks down in a small rural burg while he’s on his way to an awards ceremony in his honor. He soon finds that the only place in town to eat is the local diner, where a quirky fun-loving waitress Samantha Iams (Anna Faris) serves up her famous green eggs and ham along with a side of loveable antics. While he initially declines to try anything but coffee and toast, she refuses to take no for an answer and they both soon realize that the quickest way to a man’s heart really is through his stomach.
Sample Dialogue: “I realized something, Sam. Eggs are a lot like people. They’re fragile and if you’re not careful with them, they can break so easily. I think that’s why I acted like I did. I was afraid of breaking. But not anymore”
Heather Has Two Mommies: Charlize Theron and Kate Winslet play a couple who hope to adopt a young girl named Heather, and who are unwittingly thrust into the limelight when the agency’s denial of their application hits the media. They battle against bigotry and bureaucracy in their fight for the right to start a family of their own.
Sample Dialogue: “No, your Honor, I don’t think it matters one bit whether Heather has a mommy and a daddy or whether Heather has two mommies. Not when there’s love involved.”
What do you guys think? Have any other classics you’d like to see?
Like many fans of Maurice Sendak’s classic 1963 children’s book Where the Wild Things Are, I’ve been curious about how Spike Jonze’s upcoming live-action movie would expand the original 16-sentence story to feature-film length. We get our first extended glimpse of the answer to that question in this week’s New Yorker, which publishes an excerpt from Dave Eggers’ novelization of the screenplay that he and Jonze wrote for the movie. (Eggers’ McSweeney’s imprint also announced plans to publish the novelization, titled The Wild Things, in a special $28 faux-fur-covered edition in October; a PETA-approved non-fuzzy edition will cost $19.95.)
In the New Yorker excerpt, “Max at Sea,” we get a good deal of backstory and many new names. There are references to our hero Max’s third-grade science teacher, Mr. Malhotra; to an older sister, Claire, whose tobacco-chewing friends bury Max in his own snow fort, prompting Max to seek prankish revenge; to his parents’ divorce some three years ago; and to his mother’s chinless new boyfriend, Gary. Once Max runs away from home (clad in his white wolf costume, which the much-reviled Gary mistakes for a bunny outfit) and sails to a distant island, we also get names for some of the previously nameless Wild Things: The giant rooster is Douglas, the horned creature with red hair is Judith, the bulbous-nosed one is Ira, and the main Wild Thing instigator with the horizontal stripes on his torso is named, improbably, Carol (but he’s a guy). As you might expect in any Dave Eggers opus, the story is chock-a-block with the author’s particular brand of whimsy, often presented in old-fashioned, sometimes precious locutions like this: “Pâté was a regrettable name for an unfortunate food. It seemed to Max a good idea to get up from the chair and to leap onto the counter. Which he presently did.”
I’m certainly intrigued. How about you? Let the wild rumpus begin in the comments section.
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