Thursday, March 03, 2011

And The Nominees Are...

Two awards that really matter to me as a reader have just been announced: the 2011 Indies Choice awards and the 2011 PEN/Faulkner award for fiction.  (Many thanks to Shelf Awareness for the heads-up)

The shortlist for the 2011 PEN/Faulkner Award includes:
  • A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (Knopf)
  • The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg by Deborah Eisenberg (Picador)
  • Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon (McPherson & Co.)
  • Model Home by Eric Puchner (Scribner)
  • Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives by Brad Watson (Norton)

The adult fiction nominees for the Indies Choice Awards: 
  • Great House, by Nicole Krauss (W.W. Norton)
  • How to Read the Air, by Dinaw Mengestu (Riverhead)
  • Room, by Emma Donoghue (Little, Brown)
  • The Surrendered, by Chang-rae Lee (Riverhead)
  • The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, by David Mitchell (Random House)
  • A Visit From the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan (Knopf)
The nominees in other categories can be found here: 

I have read a few of the titles and am happy to see them included.  Though I have yet to post about Donoghue's Room or Krauss' Great House (I will), both are startlingly original novels.  An excerpt from How To Read the Air ran in the New Yorker and my short story club chose it a few months back.  It was the subject of some lively debate and we all agreed Mengestu shows remarkable ability as a storyteller.  My friend Peter thinks Jacob de Zoet is the best David Mitchell yet.

I keep hearing about Goon Squad, the only title up for both awards, and have added it to my list of titles to read.  Aside from the accolades it has already received, I find I MUST read a book that recalls track 1, side 2 of Elvis Costello's third record, which the nascent Reed Next received as a bar mitzvah present all those years ago.

Finally, while I'm discussing accolades, I got the kindest shout-out in ages from Wendy writes a daily blog about matters that matter--health, happiness, exercise, diet and a healthy dollop of opinion (okay, more than a dollop).  

In the post below, she plugs Eggers Best Non-Required Reading, discusses her love of books and makes her case for having so many in her home.  She also threw us a most beneficent blog bone.  (Quite honestly, there was considerable blushing going on here at Chez Next.)  
Check her out. 

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