Wednesday, July 23, 2014

MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2014 LONGLIST ANNOUNCED

LONDON — Karen Joy Fowler and Joshua Ferris were among four American novelists who made it onto the 13-strong longlist of the 2014 Man Booker Prize, which for the first time is open to all novels originally written in English and published in Britain.  http://nyti.ms/1luyBOZ


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I DO NOT COME TO YOU BY CHANCE, BY ADAOBI TRICIA NWAUBANI

BOOK DISCUSSION DATE AND TIME: TUESDAY, AUGUST12, 2014 AT 11:00 AM



Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani was born in Enugu, Nigeria. She earned her very first income from winning a writing competition at the age of thirteen. As a teenager, she secretly dreamed of becoming a CIA or KGB spy. She ended up studying Psychology at the University of Ibadan instead. She lives in Abuja, Nigeria. I Do Not Come to You by Chance is her first novel. (Hyperion)

A deeply moving debut novel set amid the perilous world of Nigerian email scams, I Do Not Come to You by Chance tells the story of one young man and the family who loves him.
Being the opera of the family, Kingsley Ibe is entitled to certain privileges?a piece of meat in his egusi soup, a party to celebrate his graduation from university. As first son, he has responsibilities, too. But times are bad in Nigeria, and life is hard. Unable to find work, Kingsley cannot take on the duty of training his younger siblings, nor can he provide his parents with financial peace in their retirement. And then there is Ola. Dear, sweet Ola, the sugar in Kingsley?s tea. It does not seem to matter that he loves her deeply; he cannot afford her bride price.
It hasn?t always been like this. For much of his young life, Kingsley believed that education was everything, that through wisdom, all things were possible. Now he worries that without a ?long-leg??someone who knows someone who can help him?his degrees will do nothing but adorn the walls of his parents? low-rent house. And when a tragedy befalls his family, Kingsley learns the hardest lesson of all: education may be the language of success in Nigeria, but it?s money that does the talking.
Unconditional family support may be the way in Nigeria, but when Kingsley turns to his Uncle Boniface for help, he learns that charity may come with strings attached. Boniface?aka Cash Daddy?is an exuberant character who suffers from elephantiasis of the pocket. He?s also rumored to run a successful empire of email scams. But he can help. With Cash Daddy?s intervention, Kingsley and his family can be as safe as a tortoise in its shell. It?s up to Kingsley now to reconcile his passion for knowledge with his hunger for money, and to fully assume his role of first son. But can he do it without being drawn into this outlandish mileu? (Hyperion)





Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Looking Back at Nadine Gordimer's Life and Work


Accepting the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1991, Nadine Gordimer, the South African writer who died on Sunday at 90, said “I am what I suppose would be called a natural writer. I did not make any decision to become one. I did not, at the beginning, expect to earn a living by being read. I wrote as a child out of the joy of apprehending life through my senses — the look and scent and feel of things; and soon out of the emotions that puzzled me or raged within me and which took form, found some enlightenment, solace and delight, shaped in the written word.” (John Williams, New York Times) http://nyti.ms/1rbXWnW

Remembering Nadine Gordimer, a Lioness of Literary Activism

At 90 years of age, the South African writer Nadine Gordimer died Sunday, leaving behind a global legacy of both art and activism. “By the time she won the Nobel Prize in 1991, at age 68,” her obituary in The Mail and Guardian (South Africa) recalls, she had “10 novels, nearly 20 collections of stories or essays and innumerable pieces of journalism to her name.” (Jake Flanigin, New York Times)http://nyti.ms/1nsNHnU


Thursday, July 3, 2014

New Wave of African Writers With an Internationalist Bent

Black literary writers with African roots (though some grew up elsewhere), mostly young cosmopolitans who write in English, are making a splash in the book world. Read this article for some excellent reading suggestions:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/30/arts/new-wave-of-african-writers-with-an-internationalist-bent.html?ref=books

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

WILD: FROM LOST TO FIND ON THE PACIFIC COAST TRAIL, BY CHERYL STRAYED

 

Book Discussion date and time: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 11:00 AM. 

The inspiring memoir of a young woman who, reeling from personal catastrophe, set out alone to hike over a thousand miles from the Mohave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State. (An Oprah's Book Club pick.)

Reviews

DOWNLOAD A READER'S GUIDE PREPARED BY THE STAFF 


Publishers Weekly:
/* Starred Review */ In the summer of 1995, at age 26 and feeling at the end of her rope emotionally, Strayed resolved to hike solo the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,663-mile wilderness route stretching from the Mexican border to the Canadian and traversing nine mountain ranges and three states. In this detailed, in-the-moment re-enactment, she delineates the travails and triumphs of those three grueling months. Living in Minneapolis, on the verge of divorcing her husband, Strayed was still reeling from the sudden death four years before of her mother from cancer; the ensuing years formed an erratic, confused time “like a crackling Fourth of July sparkler.” Hiking the trail helped decide what direction her life would take, even though she had never seriously hiked or carried a pack before. Starting from Mojave, Calif., hauling a pack she called the Monster because it was so huge and heavy, she had to perform a dead lift to stand, and then could barely make a mile an hour. Eventually she began to experience “a kind of strange, abstract, retrospective fun,” meeting the few other hikers along the way, all male; jettisoning some of the weight from her pack and burning books she had read; and encountering all manner of creature and acts of nature from rock slides to snow. Her account forms a charming, intrepid trial by fire, as she emerges from the ordeal bruised but not beaten, changed, a lone survivor. Agent: Janet Silver, Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Agency. (Mar.) --Staff (Reviewed January 2, 2012) (Publishers Weekly, vol 259, issue 01, p)
Library Journal:
Strayed delves into memoir after her fiction debut, Torch . She here recounts her experience hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in 1995 after her mother's death and her own subsequent divorce. Designated a National Scenic Trail in 1968 but not completed until 1993, the PCT runs from Mexico to Canada, and Strayed hiked sections of it two summers after it was officially declared finished. She takes readers with her on the trail, and the transformation she experiences on its course is significant: she goes from feeling out of her element with a too-big backpack and too-small boots to finding a sense of home in the wilderness and with the allies she meets along the way. Readers will appreciate her vivid descriptions of the natural wonders near the PCT, particularly Mount Hood, Crater Lake, and the Sierras—what John Muir proclaimed the "Range of Light." VERDICT This book is less about the PCT and more about Strayed's own personal journey, which makes the story's scope a bit unclear. However, fans of her novel will likely enjoy this new book. [See Prepub Alert, 10/1/11.]— Karen McCoy, Northern Arizona Univ. Lib., Flagstaff --Karen McCoy (Reviewed February 15, 2012) (Library Journal, vol 137, issue 03, p119)
Kirkus:
/* Starred Review */ Unsentimental memoir of the author's three-month solo hike from California to Washington along the Pacific Crest Trail. Following the death of her mother, Strayed's (Torch, 2006) life quickly disintegrated. Family ties melted away; she divorced her husband and slipped into drug use. For the next four years life was a series of disappointments. "I was crying over all of it," she writes, "over the sick mire I'd made of my life since my mother died; over the stupid existence that had become my own. I was not meant to be this way, to live this way, to fail so darkly." While waiting in line at an outdoors store, Strayed read the back cover of a book about the Pacific Crest Trail. Initially, the idea of hiking the trail became a vague apparition, then a goal. Woefully underprepared for the wilderness, out of shape and carrying a ridiculously overweight pack, the author set out from the small California town of Mojave, toward a bridge ("the Bridge of the Gods") crossing the Columbia River at the Oregon-Washington border. Strayed's writing admirably conveys the rigors and rewards of long-distance hiking. Along the way she suffered aches, pains, loneliness, blistered, bloody feet and persistent hunger. Yet the author also discovered a newfound sense of awe; for her, hiking the PCT was "powerful and fundamental" and "truly hard and glorious." Strayed was stunned by how the trail both shattered and sheltered her. Most of the hikers she met along the way were helpful, and she also encountered instances of trail magic, "the unexpected and sweet happenings that stand out in stark relief to the challenges of the trail." A candid, inspiring narrative of the author's brutal physical and psychological journey through a wilderness of despair to a renewed sense of self.(Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2012)