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Showing posts from October, 2017

Thursday Night Book Club -- October, 2017

Traditionally, WPL's Thursday Night Book Club reads one non fiction book each year. This year is no exception, and the book club gathered on Thursday, October 19th to discuss The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. The Year of Magical Thinking is Didion's account of the year that followed the death of her husband John Gregory Dunne from a heart attack he suffered at home while eating dinner at the very end of December, 2003. Didion's book describes her efforts to understand what had happened, and to begin to learn how to cope in a world without Dunne. Didion also spent a portion of that year grappling with the serious illness of her only child, Quintana, who spent several months at the end of 2003 and during 2004 in hospitals in both New York and California, and she describes those hospital stays in detail.  The Year of Magical Thinking won the National Book Award for non fiction in 2005.

Joan Didion has almost cult status among writers in the United States.  She is …

The 2017 Man Booker Prize

Autumn is book award season, so it's not a coincidence that a blog post about the Nobel Prize for Literature would be followed by a blog post about the winner of the 2017 Man Booker Prize (sneak peek -- the National Book Award for Fiction will be announced on November 15th). When the 2017 Man Booker Prize Long List was released in late July, I wrote a blog post about it, and in the post I expressed the view that the Man Booker Prize is the heaviest of the literary prize heavy hitters. So in the world of fiction, it is of some moment to announce that the winner of the 2017 Man Booker Prize is Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders.

George Saunders was born in Amarillo, Texas and raised in and around Chicago. He received a degree in geophysics from the Colorado School of Mines, then worked as a geophysicist in Indonesia. After returning to the United States and supporting himself in a series of odd jobs, he enrolled in an MFA program at Syracuse University. Saunders published his …

2017 Nobel Prize in Literature

On the 27th of November in 1895, Alfred Nobel, a Swedish chemist, author and entrepreneur, the inventor of dynamite and the holder of 355 patents during his lifetime, signed his last will and testament. His largest bequest was to fund a series of prizes, now known as the Nobel Prizes. As described in the will, one segment of the bequest was dedicated to "the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in the ideal direction." The Nobel Prize in Literature is generally regarded as the world's most prestigious literary prize and is awarded not for one or two great novels but for the entire body of an author's work. At just after 7:00 am Wallingford time on Thursday, Kazuo Ishiguro was named the 114th individual to win the prize.

Kazuo Ishiguro is a British novelist, short story writer, screenwriter and songwriter. He was born in Japan in 1954 and moved with his family to England in 1960. He has published seven novels and one sho…