Tuesday, May 14, 2013

An interesting turn of the phrase.....

Now that the finalists have been chosen for the 2013 Maine Readers' Choice Award, it's time to start accumulating a list of worthy entrants for the next round.  I'm paying close attention to what books are generating significant buzz in print and online.  It's a challenge but I'm loving it.  One that I've suggested to our committee is The Dinner by Dutch author Herman Koch, a disturbing novel about a hideous crime, sibling rivalry, and family secrets.

However, another book that has caught my attention because it seems to be everywhere is Claire Messud's The Woman Upstairs.  While I'm not that far into the book, I have to pause to comment on a particular phrase the author uses.  The author describes a maple tree "ruffled against the spotless 9/11 sky..." I'm not exactly sure why, but reading this caused me to pause and think.  Was it because it's so hard to forget just how clear and blue the sky was that horrible day?  Was it because using "9/11" seemed to trivialize that horror?  Or, was it because "9/11" is such a part of our national psyche that we instantly identify with any reference to that day?  I would say that my reaction to it was a combination of all three.  No matter what, it does what a good book should do - catch your attention and make you pause and think.

As I said, I haven't made much progress in reading this book, but I'm beginning to understand the attention being showered upon it.  I'm seriously thinking that this will make the list of recommended reads for our committee.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

And the finalists are................

Yes!  We've finally chosen our finalists for the inaugural Maine Readers' Choice Award.  We'll be asking Maine readers to choose among A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers come September.  The winner will be announced at the Bangor Book Festival, which is the first weekend in October.

I am very happy that these are our finalists.  With my own vote I had Cash's and Powers' books one and two, respectively.   Flynn's book was number four on my list.  I had Richard Ford's Canada in third place. They are all excellent reads.  I highly recommend them for book groups.  They will generate a lot of discussion, especially Gone Girl.

I am thrilled and honored to be a part of this effort.  It has me rededicating myself as a serious reader.  I've read books that I would never have picked up - period.  The Yellow Birds or Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain would not have been on my radar.  I'm just not into stories that are war-based.  While I put Fountain's book in last place, I appreciated the challenge of reading it. My thanks to all the authors who gave us such excellent reads in 2012.