Goodness. First it's the Oregon Book Awards, then it's the Booker Prize. Shortlists for both arrived today; in the words of Bookslut, "Tonight, fans of world literature symbolically lock Salman Rushdie back in a closet and inwardly dread the prospect of working through 5,000 pages of something called 'The Northern Clemency'."
Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger
Sebastian Barry, The Secret Scripture
Amitav Ghosh, Sea of Poppies
Linda Grant, The Clothes on Their Backs
Philip Hensher, The Northern Clemency
Steve Toltz, A Fraction of the Whole
Oregon Book Awards Finalists make for a long list; see the whole thing here. But special congrats to the locals: Ehud Havazelet (Corvallis), a fiction finalist for Bearing the Body; Lauren Kessler, a creative nonfiction finalist for Dancing with Rose: Finding Life in the Land of Alzheimer's; and Cynthia Rylant, a double finalist in children's literature for Alligator Boy and Puppies and Piggies.
â€¢ Bacon Salt "is a zero calorie, vegetarian, Kosher certified seasoning salt that makes everything taste like real bacon." Seriously? Gimme some. Let me try it.
â€¢ Newsflash: Publishers sometimes reject things that go on to be classics! OK, all sarcasm aside, it's true, and the rejections quoted in this story make me want to go paw through the Knopf archives discussed in the story. Rejection letters â€” any kind of editorial letters, really â€” are always fascinating, both for what they say and what they don't say, and for the examination of the editing and writing process. And for the simple fact that sometimes people make mistakes, but other times, they pass on things because the time or the publisher isn't right. If someone other than Scholastic had published Harry Potter, would it still be a phenomenon? I want to think so, but it doesn't always work that way.
â€¢ Still on the topic of books, the Booker Prize list has been narrowed to the shortlist. Surprise! Ian McEwan is still on it! I need to read that book. And re-read the wonderful, gorgeous Atonement before I have to arm-wrestle Jason for the right to review December's film adaptation.
â€¢ How to be a good restaurant patron: Don't say any of these things. I heart Waiter Rant.
â€¢ Today's aggravating news: Southwest Airlines would like to tell you how to dress.
â€¢ Today's not-that-surprising news that's probably only of interest to my former-New Yorker self: The Village Voice reports on a study showing that "Four years later, relatively healthy and seemingly resilient 9/11 witnesses near the twin towersâ€”people who witnessed the events with their own eyesâ€”were more sensitive to certain emotional stimuli than people several miles away who learned of the events secondhand."
â€¢ And to counter that sad reminder, I leave you with today's dose of awesomeness: Brian K. Vaughan and Joss Whedon, together! I've been saving this one â€™til the end of the day. Dessert, if you will.
Maybe it's a little American-centric of me, but I wish, oh, I wish that when they announce the Booker Prize longlist, they'd, say, tell me which books are published in the U.S., so I don't have to go hunting through the interwebs to try to find them.
How many of these have YOU heard of? And no, having heard of the McEwan doesn't count. You ought to have heard of that one.
Darkmans by Nicola Barker (likely the British ed.; no info)
Self Help by Edward Docx (a "notify me" button at Powell's)
The Gift Of Rain by Tan Twan Eng (likely the British ed.; no info)
The Gathering by Anne Enright
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones (Hey, I have this one!)
Gifted by Nikita Lalwani
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
What Was Lost by Catherine Oâ€™Flynn (No results at Powell's or Amazon)
Consolation by Michael Redhill
Animalâ€™s People by Indra Sinha (No results at Powell's or Amazon)
Winnie & Wolf by A.N.Wilson
Of course, the books' inclusion on this list means they'll probably get picked up by U.S. publishers â€”Â or, if they've already been bought but not released yet, they'll get hurried up on their way to the shelves. Good times.