Monday, October 22, 2007

Award Books

By now everyone knows Doris Lessing won The Nobel Prize for Literature; she finally got the big one after winning about every other award out there. I won’t share her initial reaction, as captured by a man with a mike as she stepped out of a London cab. Her official response minutes later was well-crafted and presented in a polite way saying how this was the cream of the crop of awards. But I have to ask, how many of her books since The Golden Notebook have you read?

And The Man Booker Prize went to a long shot, Anne Enright. This Irish writer’s book The Gathering has not been published in the States yet, but the Library will get it as soon as possible. Described as a disturbing look into an Irish family saga, The Gathering, describes suicide, loss and childhood sexual abuse.

Here are the opening lines of The Gathering:

"I would like to write down what happened in my grandmother's house the summer I was eight or nine, but I am not sure if it really did happen. I need to bear witness to an uncertain event. I feel it roaring inside me – this thing that may not have taken place. I don't even know what name to put on it. I think you might call it a crime of the flesh, but the flesh is long fallen away and I am not sure what hurt may linger in the bones.

My brother Liam loved birds and, like all boys, he loved the bones of dead animals. I have no sons myself, so when I pass any small skull or skeleton I hesitate and think of him, how he admired their intricacies. A magpie's ancient arms coming through the mess of feathers; stubby and light and clean. That is the word we use about bones: Clean." (c) Anne Enright 2007

Awards can change writers’ lives. But when looking at new books to purchase, librarians don’t just look for award winners. A wise librarian once told me that librarians have a responsibility when reviewing books for purchase to take a chance on a new writer, give them the boost that may keep them writing. Not every book will be an award winner, but every book has a story to tell and we need to serve as that mentor and guardian of those who write.

Posted by PCH at Main.
cover of book

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