WHIRL (What Have I Read Lately) Books is a site for readers to find books for themselves and their book clubs. Liz at Literary Masters runs book groups and literary salons where we "dig deep" into literary treasures.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Elaine from Book Passage WHIRLs!

I went to the wonderfully fabulous independent book store Book Passage the other day to listen to a book talk given by the wonderfully fabulous Elaine Petrocelli.  If you haven't yet visited Book Passage in Corte Madera, you really are missing out.  It is the literary hub in the San Francisco Bay Area.  You may run into a president, a movie star, or a Nobel Laureate while browsing the shelves in this charming and unpretentious shop.  No doubt about it, all the literary giants pass through here.  Click here for a link to check it out.

Elaine is very entertaining when talking about books, and she had many to recommend.  Here are just a few that she highlighted:


May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Homes

Lionel Asbo by Martin Amis

The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey

Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon
  • I know many people reading this right now.  In fact, I'm supposed to be reading it for my personal book club!  I'll let you know what I think at a later date!
The Mirrored World by Debra Dean
  • Elaine suggested that book clubs read this over a two-month period paired with Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie.  What a wonderful idea!
This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz
  • I can't wait to read this book!  It is a finalist for the National Book Award (as you know because I told you that in an earlier blog post!).  Also, Diaz's Pulitzer Prize winning The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao was a HUGE Literary Masters hit!
Round House by Louise Erdrich
  • Also a finalist for the National Book Award!
The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
  • Also a finalist for the National Book Award!  I highly recommend this book, although I must warn you, it's tough to read.  Two American soldiers in Iraq.  Very poetic, moving, and thought-provoking.
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
  •  As you know, this little gem of a novel was the September selection for Literary Masters book groups and literary salons.  Everyone loved it!  My blog post on it will be posted soon, so stay tuned.
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
  •  This was last season's Literary Masters selection for May.  Again, a real winner!  Everyone loved this novel, and we had great fun with all the references to Moby Dick--some Literary Masters members were inspired and read Melville's masterpiece over the summer!  I went to a talk that Chad gave; if you "like" Literary Masters on Facebook, you'll see a photo of Chad and me!
A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers
  • Also a finalist for the National Book Award!  I'm looking forward to reading this one soon.

Joseph Anton by Salman Rushdie
  • I am a Rushdie fan, so I'm looking forward to reading his account of the fatwa that was placed upon him due to his publication of The Satanic Verses.
Paris, A Love Story by Kati Marton
  • Kati Marton's story of her marriages to Peter Jennings and Richard Holbrooke.  It sounds...juicy!  I bet it's a page-turner.
The Longest Way Home by Andrew McCarthy

Some Girls, Some Hats, and Hitler by Trudi Kanter

Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson
  • An Ethipian boy is adopted by Swedes, grows up in Sweden, and becomes an award-winning chef in America.   This memoir sounds like it's worth reading.
The latest Book Passage catalogue has even more of Elaine's picks--check it out!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Man Booker Prize Announced!

Congratulations to Hilary Mantel for winning the 2012 Man Booker Prize for her novel Bring Up the Bodies.  This is the second time Mantel has won this prestigious award; the first was for her novel Wolf Hall.  Click here for the full story.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Award Season in Full Swing!

This is such an exciting time of year for readers, especially if you're a reader like me, who loves prize-winners!  Congratulations to Mo Yan, who today won the Nobel Prize for Literature.  If you'd like to know more, click here.

Congratulations are also due to the finalists for the National Book Award.  The list was announced yesterday and the winner will be announced on November 14th.

The finalists for fiction are:
Junot Díaz, This Is How You Lose Her
Dave Eggers, A Hologram for the King
Louise Erdrich, The Round House
Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
Kevin Powers, The Yellow Birds
The finalists for non-fiction are:
Anne Applebaum, Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1945-1956
Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity
Robert A. Caro, The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 4
Domingo Martinez, The Boy Kings of Texas
Anthony Shadid, House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East
As you all know from one of my earlier posts, Katherine Boo's book is also on the shortlist for the prestigious Samuel Johnson Prize.  The winner of that prize will be announced on November 12th.

And you also already know from one of my earlier posts that the winner of the Man Booker Prize will be announced October 16th.  Hey!  That's next week!

How exciting is this???

Friday, October 5, 2012

And Now For the Short List!

The short list is out for the prestigious Samuel Johnson Prize, so all you non-fiction readers, grab your glasses and get comfy--you've got some reading to do!  You'll find the short list below, and click here for an interesting article on books that may change our view of the world.

The winner of the prize will be announced on November 12th. The full shortlist is:

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Slum, by Katherine Boo (Portobello Books)

Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest, by Wade Davis (The Bodley Head)

The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot, by Robert Macfarlane (Hamish Hamilton)

The Better Angels of our Nature: A History of Violence and Humanity, by Steven Pinker (Allen Lane)

The Spanish Holocaust: Inquisition and Extermination in Twentieth-Century Spain, by Paul Preston (HarperPress)

Strindberg: A Life, by Sue Prideaux (Yale University Press)