- The 2005 Whitbread Book Awards short list has been announced. Nominees for Best Novel include A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby; Shalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie; The Accidental by Ali Smith; and The Ballad of Lee Cotton by Christopher Wilson, which is published in the U.S. as Cotton. The winners will be crowned on January 4, 2006.
- Jon Stewart, David Javerbaum and Ben Karlin, authors of America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy in Action (Warner), have won the 2005 Thurber Prize for American Humor. The $5,000 prize is presented by Thurber House, the Columbus, Ohio, center for writers and readers with headquarters in the boyhood home of the dryly humorous James Thurber. Runners-up were Andy Borowitz, author of The Borowitz Report: The Big Book of Shockers (S&S), and Firoozeh Dumas, author of Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America (Random House).
In Wednesday's edition of Shelf Awareness, one of the judges, Rachel Cline, is quoted as saying, "When the really smart extra-terrestrials finally locate the fused wreckage of our planet, I hope they are able to retrieve a copy of [America: The Book]. It catalogs the follies of faith, greed, idealism and idolatry that animated a great nation. Added bonus: if they happen to have had Seventh Grade Civics on Krypton, the ETs will also bust a thorax laughing."
- Slate has an interesting feature called "My First Literary Crush," in which various journalists, novelists, and other "great thinkers" answer the question: "What's the most influential book you read in college?" Responses range from Tom Wolfe to Raymond Carver, from Ayn Rand to Homer, and all over the place.
- Inspired by the recent success of 50 Cent's bestselling memoir, From Pieces to Weight, the MTV/Pocket Books division of Simon & Schuster and the rap star will produce a new line of rap-related fiction. According to the New York Times, the line will be called G-Unit Books, and will feature 50 Cent and his G-Unit posse. Louise Burke, publisher of Pocket Books, says the books will be written by authors recruited by the publisher in collaboration with 50 Cent. The first G-Unit book, to be written by Nikki Turner, is scheduled to be in stores in 2007.
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Brockman is the head writer for the daily Book News posts on the Powells.com blog. In his free time he's hard at work on his fictional memoir, which changes titles daily.
The views and commentary posted by Brockman are entirely his own, and are not representative of the whole of Powell's Books, its employees, or any sane human being.
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