2016 National Book Award Winners
Black lives and stories took center stage at this year’s National Book Awards, hosted last week by Larry Wilmore. The highest honors for fiction (The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead), nonfiction (Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi), and young people’s literature (March: Book Three by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell) all address America’s racist history and its ongoing impact. These books would have been important and worthy in any year, but they feel especially necessary in these post-election days. What a timely reminder of the power of literature.
Let us all follow the advice Whitehead gave in his acceptance speech: “Be kind to everybody, make art, and fight the power.”
Teen Vogue Introduces ‘Lit Review’ Book Club
Look, I know it says “teen” in the title, but this is one publication we should all be paying attention to. Teen Vogue is under new leadership, and its content and social media presence have been on fire for the last several months. They’re doing the work to encourage young people to be worldly and socially conscious, and the new Lit Review book club is one more fantastic piece. The inaugural selection is Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. With a tone-setter like that, this is bound to be a project to follow.
Fox Commits to Passage Pilot
Justin Cronin’s Passage trilogy fizzled to an end with the May release of The City of Mirrors, but the story will find new life on the screen. Fox has committed to produce a pilot to be written by Liz Heldens (of Friday Night Lights) and directed by Matt Reeves (co-creator of Felicity). Perhaps most interesting among the details is the note that Fox 2000 won rights to the first book all the way back in 2007–when it was only half-finished!–in a bidding war for $1.75 million. Hold onto your hats. If this one gets picked up, none of us will be getting much sleep.
Thanks to Letters of Note: Volume 2 compiled by Shaun Usher for sponsoring This Week in Books.
From the editor of the New York Times bestseller and instant classic Letters of Note, comes this companion volume of more than 125 captivating letters. Each turn of the page brings delight and discovery in a collection of correspondence that spans centuries and place, written by the famous, the not-so-famous, and the downright infamous. Entries are accompanied by a transcript of the letter, a short contextual introduction, and a spirited illustration—in most cases, a facsimile of the letter itself. As surprising as it is entertaining, Letters of Note: Volume 2 is a book of endless enjoyment and lasting value.