Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A chance to see my author crush, thwarted

I blogged recently about a book called Super Sad True Love Story (and in case I didn't convince you before, let me say once again, just read it).   Let me now tell you a super sad true book story.  Minimally, it's a somewhat disappointing true book story, but that doesn't have quite the same ring to it. 

Each year, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize is given for outstanding contributions to promoting peace in both fiction and non-fiction categories.  In addition, there is also a Lifetime Achievement Award. 
Therein is the super sad (or, for you sticklers, fairly disappointing) part.  Picture this scene: there I am, merrily trolling about looking to see when the winners will be announced (this Thursday, September 23rd, if you're curious), when suddenly a name jumped out at me: Geraldine Brooks is this year's recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.  Yes, that Geraldine Brooks.  She of Pulitzer Prize-winning March, People of the Book, and Year of Wonders.  The very same Geraldine Brooks on whom I have a serious, long-lasting author crush.  How have I missed this until now?  I nearly fell out of my chair in my haste to look up ticket information.  Sadly (okay, disappointingly), at $175 a ticket for the cheapest ticket, I won't be attending the awards ceremony.  Instead, I'll sit back and focus on the great books that are making the event possible.   Check out the finalists in our collection (and because I'm too mildly depressed to write right now, annotations are borrowed from the Literary Peace Prize website).

Fiction

A Good Fall by Ha Jin 
In this stark and insightful collection, acclaimed writer Ha Jin depicts the struggle of Chinese immigrants in America to remain loyal to their traditions as they explore the freedom that life in a new country offers.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
A young Ethiopian doctor is forced to flee revolution in his homeland for New York City in this enthralling family saga of Africa and America, doctors and patients, exile and home.

The Book of Night Women by Marlon James 
Born into slavery on a Jamaican sugar plantation at the end of the eighteenth century, a woman with dark, mysterious powers finds herself at the heart of a slave revolt plotted by the women around her.

The Calligrapher's Daughter by Eugenia Kim
In early-twentieth-century Korea, the privileged daughter of a calligrapher struggles to choose her own destiny while her country crumbles under Japanese occupation.

The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Adiche
Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie turns her penetrating eye on both her native country and America in twelve dazzling stories that explore the collision of two cultures and the deeply human struggle to reconcile them.

Nonfiction

Enough: Why the Worlds Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty by Roger Thurow and Scott Kilman
This powerful investigative narrative shows exactly how, in the past few decades, American, British, and European policies have conspired to keep Africa hungry and unable to feed itself.

In the Valley of Mist by Justine Hardy
A personal, moving, and vibrant picture of the Kashmir Valley, one of the most beautiful and troubled places in the world -- described through the experiences of one family, whose fortunes have changed dramatically with those of the region.

Stones Into Schools by Greg Mortenson
From the author of the #1 bestseller Three Cups of Tea, the continuing story of this determined humanitarian’s efforts to promote peace in Afghanistan through education.

Tears in the Darkness by Michael and Elizabeth Norman
Using the perspective of a young American soldier, this account of World War II’s Bataan death march exposes the myths of war and shows the extent of suffering and loss on both sides.

From the celebrated author of Things Fall Apart, a new collection of autobiographical essays—his first new book in more than twenty years.

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
The meticulously researched story of a prosperous Syrian-American and father of four who chose to stay in New Orleans through Hurricane Katrina and protect his house and business—but then abruptly disappeared.

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