Thursday, June 30, 2011

2010 Sidewise Award nominees announced

In book news this week, I read that the 2010 nominees for the Sidewise Award for Alternate History have been announced.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Sidewise Awards, they have been presented annually since 1995 to recognized excellence in alternate historical fiction.

If you’ve never read any alternate history, you’re missing out. In a nutshell, these types of books explore “what if” situations and how they would have impacted history. Probably the most famous book of this type is Harry Turtledove’s book, “Guns of the South,” which explores what would have happened if the Confederate army had been supplied with AK-47s during the Civil War.

Nominees for best alternate history book this year include:
- “Columbia & Britannia” by Adam Chamberlain and Brian A. Dixon
- “Red Inferno: 1945” by Robert Conroy
- “Pinion” by Jay Lake
- “When Angels Wept” by Eric Swedin.

The winner of this year’s Sidewise Award will be announced in August in Reno, Nev.

Past winners of the Sidewise Award include:
- “Pasquale’s Angel” by Paul J. McAuley
- “Voyage” by Stephen Baxter
- “How Few Remain” by Harry Turtledove
- “Making History” by Stephen Fry
- “Resurrection Day” by Brendan DuBois
- “Ash: A Secret History” by Mary Gentle
- “The Children’s War” by J.N. Stroyar
- “Ruled Britannia” by Harry Turtledove
- “The Severed Wing” by Martin J. Gidron
- “Collaborator” by Murray Davies
- “The Plot Against America” by Philip Roth
- “The Summer Isles” by Ian R. MacLeod
- “The Family Trade,” “The Hidden Family” and “The Clan Corporate” (series) by Charles Stross
- “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union” by Michael Chabon
- “The Dragon’s Nine Sons” by Chris Roberson
- “1942” by Robert Conroy.

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I read in my trusty Old Farmer’s Almanac that this past Friday was Midsummer Day, which occurs annually near the summer solstice or what we think of as the first official day of summer.

To farmers, Midsummer Day is generally regarded as the midpoint of the growing season, that is, the day that marks the halfway point between planting and harvesting.

Historically, Midsummer Day has been an occasion for celebration and since ancient times, Midsummer Day has been the occasion for weddings, feasts and other fun events.

Tuesday of last week was the Summer Solstice, which is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. After Midsummer Day, our daylight hours also begin to shorten a little each day.

In the U.S., we celebrate New Year’s Day on Jan. 1, which is in the dead of winter. Ancient Egyptians celebrated their new year when the star Sirius rose at around the time of sunrise. This event roughly occurred at the same time as the summer solstice as well as the annual flooding of the Nile River.

Sirius, nicknamed the “Dog Star,” is the brightest star in the night sky. Actually, Sirius is two stars about 8.6 light years from Earth, but to the naked eye, the system looks like one big, bright star. Sirius is so bright that it can even be observed during the daylight hours with the naked eye under the right conditions.

The summer solstice was also important to folks in ancient England. The prehistoric monument at Stonehenge is believed to have been erected around 2500 BC, and many researchers believe farmers built it to help determine the date of the summer solstice.

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback - June 30, 2011

17 YEARS AGO
JUNE 30, 1994

“Lynne Salter is Jr. Rodeo Champ: Lynne Salter of Burnt Corn, was recently named the 1994 Reserve Rookie of the Year and Reserve Champion of Breakaway at the Alabama High School Rodeo Association’s Junior High Rodeo held in Montgomery.
“She will begin competition in the senior high division in September, as a freshman at Monroe County High School. Lynne is the daughter of Tony and Pat Salter of Burnt Corn, the granddaughter of L.H. Langley and the late Margaret T. Langley of Evergreen and Anita Grace Salter and the late Leon Salter of Burnt Corn.”

“Twenty-two young men enjoyed the annual Rotary Wildlife Camp held June 22 and 23 at the Stuart Farm in Belleville. Winners at the camp were Michael Cole, best junior camper; Rusty Salter, best archer; Nicholas Waters, best spin caster; and Justin Pemberton, best skeet shooter; Shannon Ballard, best counselor; Chris Adams, best rifle shot; Lee Booker, best fly caster; Daniel Beasley, best bait caster; Adam Kervin, best senior camper; and Emery Hale, camp director.”

“J&J Invitational Softball Tournament will be held this Saturday, July 2, at 8 a.m. The tournament will be held on the fields at O’Bannon and Sportsman’s Parks.”

32 YEARS AGO
JUNE 28, 1979

“Head Basketball Coach Cliff Ellis of the University of South Alabama in Mobile will conduct a basketball clinic here Monday at Evergreen High School’s Memorial Gymnasium. The clinic will be from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Mon., July 2, and Coach Ellis will be assisted by Evergreen High School Head Basketball Coach Charles Branum. Both boys and girls from 8 to 18 years of age are invited. Each youngster will be taught specific fundamentals by Coach Ellis, who took his team to the NCAA tournament this year, losing to Louisville (Ky.) University, 69-66, in the second round of the Midwestern Regionals. Coach Ellis was named ‘Coach of the Year’ in the Sunbelt Conference and is generally considered one of the brightest and best young college basketball coaches in the U.S. He has written several outstanding books on basketball. A registration fee of $10 per person will be charged to defray the costs of the clinic, Coach Branum said.”

“Chris Barlow, 10, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ronnie Barlow of Panama City is enjoying his visit ‘back home.’ Wednesday of last week, Chris went fishing with ‘Grandpa’ Warren Bolton, and, of course, out-fished Bolton. Chris is holding a grindle and a huge ‘Bull’ bluegill, which he caught. He said that he and his grandfather caught about 60 fish ‘out of the water,’ but Bolton probably only caught ‘close to 10’ of the fish.”

47 YEARS AGO
JUNE 25, 1964

“Sports Report: Senior League by Byron Warren Jr.: The Tigers ran their season record to 3-2 as they edged the Indians 4-2 in the second game Monday night.
“The Indians got the night’s scoring underway in the second inning as Tommy Weaver walked and scored on a single by Larry Wright. Bill Snowden singled, stole second and scored on an error on Bubba Faulkner.
“In the bottom of the second, the Tigers tied the score as Jerry Johnson got on base on an error and scored on an error by Bubba Mininger. Bubba Faulkner reached base on the error on Mininger and scored on a squeeze play. The third inning saw the Tigers score again as Donnie Brewton singled, stole second and third, and scored on a base hit by Jerry Johnson. The fifth inning saw the Tigers add another run as Donnie Brewton singled and scored on Jerry Johnson’s single. Herbert Ellis was the game’s winning pitcher and Bill Snowden was the losing pitcher.”

“Our sympathy goes out to Dwight Langford (son of Mr. and Mrs. W.G. Langford) who had the misfortune of getting his leg broken Friday night while playing ball. He is in the Mobile hospital. We are all wishing him a speedy recovery.”

62 YEARS AGO
JUNE 30, 1949

“The American Legion baseball team had both of its games with Brantley rained out. These games are to be played later in the season. Red Level came to Evergreen Tues., June 28, and the Evergreen team will play in Red Level on Thurs., June 30. Regulars with the local team are: Pitchers, Jack Cunningham and Pete Wells; Catcher, Mims Monroe; First base, Jeff Moorer; Second base, James Norris; Third base, Mudge Lee; Shortstop, Ralph Graddy; Right field, Pace Bozeman; Center field, Allen Thompson; Left field, John Henry Brantley.”

“Tonight’s the night and hundred of baseball fans in these parts are expected to go unto Brewton, even unto Liles Park for Evergreen Night. Evergreen Night was begun last year under the sponsorship of the Brewton Baseball Club and it looks as if it will become an annual affair. The Brewton club sponsors Evergreen Night to express its appreciation to the many people in this are who drive down to watch the Brewton Millers perform in the Alabama State League.
“A number of tickets (nearly 500) were bought by Evergreen and Brewton merchants to be given to Evergreen and Conecuh County people (free) for Evergreen Night.”

77 YEARS AGO
JUNE 28, 1934

“Legionnaires Getting Ready For Ball Game: Gantt Field resounded to the war whoop of the old timers Tuesday afternoon, as the ex-service men of the county began practicing for the Fourth of July baseball game with the Evergreen league team. Lusty walloping on the part of several of the former doughs seemed to offset to some extent a decided lack of speed on the bases.
“A round dozen of the former soldiers appeared for the first workout, with prospects that several more will be on hand for some of the practice sessions before the Glorious Fourth rolls around.
“The pitching assignment, as far as the Legionnaires are concerned, will be divided between Lawrence Wright, curveball southpaw, and Herbert English, speedball right-hander.
“A tentative lineup shows Clarence Miller, Chancey James, Randy Moorer and Ed James as one set of infielders, with B.C. Smith, Joe Jones, Proctor Bradley, Ernest Barlow, Morton Jones and Ray Hamilton as potential outfielders. Hamilton is available for some southpaw hurling, if needed.”

Compiled by Sports Reporter Lee Peacock from past issues of The Evergreen Courant. To read The Courant’s weekly Sports Flashback feature online, visit leepeacock2010.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My movie picks this week are 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon' and 'Season of the Witch'

It’s Wednesday, so today I give you my weekly list of movies that will open in theatres this week as well as a list of movies that will be released this week on DVD.

I hope this will serve as a useful guide as to what’s going on this week if you happen to be near a movie theatre or if you’re looking for something to drop into your NetFlix queue.

Movies that are scheduled to hit theatres this week include:

- Crime After Crime (Documentary): Directed by Yoav Potash.

- Larry Crowne (Comedy, Drama, Romance, PG-13): Directed by Tom Hanks and starring Hanks, Julia Roberts, Cedric the Entertainer, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Bryan Cranston.

- Monte Carlo (Comedy, Romance, PG): Directed by Tom Bezucha and starring Katie Cassidy, Leighton Meester, Selena Gomez, Cory Monteith and Andie MacDowell.

- The Perfect Host (Suspense, R): Directed by Nick Tomnay and starring David Hyde Pierce, Clayne Crawford, Helen Reddy, Nathaniel Parker and Joseph Will.

- The River Sorrow (Suspense, Action, R): Directed by Rich Cowan and starring Ray Liotta, Christian Slater, Ving Rhames, Gisele Fraga and Sarah Ann Schultz.

- Terri (Comedy, Drama, R): Directed by Azazel Jacobs and starring John C. Reilly, Jacob Wysocki, Creed Bratton, Melanie Abramoff and Olivia Crocicchia.

- Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Action, Science Fiction, PG-13): Directed by Michael Bay and starring Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Josh Duhamel, Patrick Dempsey and John Malkovich.

New DVD releases for the week of June 28 include:

- 3 Backyards (Drama, R): Directed by Eric Mendelsohn and starring Embeth Davidtz, Edie Falco, Elias Koteas, Rachel Reshelf and Kathryn Erbe.

- Beastly (Romance, Fantasy, PG-13): Directed by Daniel Barnz and starring Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Hudgens, Mary-Kate Olsen, Neil Patrick Harris and Peter Krause.

- Beneath Hill 60 (War, Drama, R): Directed by Jeremy Sims and starring Brendan Cowell, Harrison Gilbertston, Steve Le Marquand, Gyton Grantley and Alex Thompson.

- Bloodworth (Drama, Romance, R): Directed by Shane Dax Taylor and starring Kris Kristofferson, Val Kilmer, Hilary Duff, Reece Thompson and Dwight Yoakam.

- Cyrus (Horror, Not Rated): Starring Brian Krause, Danielle Harris, Lance Henricksen, Wylie Allen and Patricia Belcher.

- Season of the Witch (Action, Drama, Fantasy, Adventure, PG-13): Directed by Dominic Sena and starring Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Claire Foy, Stephen Campbell Moore and Robbie Sheehan.

- Sucker Punch (Action, Fantasy, PG-13): Directed by Zack Snyder and starring Emily Browning, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung, Abbie Cornish and Jena Malone.

- The Warrior’s Way (Action, Fantasy, Westerns, R): Directed by Sngmoo Lee and starring Dong-gun Jang, Kate Bosworth, Geoffrey Rush, Danny Huston and Tony Cox.

If I could only watch one movie at the theatre this week, it would be “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” and if I had to pick just one DVD to rent this week, it would be “Season of the Witch.”

In the end, let me know if you get a chance to watch any of the new movies in theatres this week or if you’ve already seen any of the movies that have just been released on DVD. What did you think about them? Which would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sherlock Holmes meets H.P. Lovecraft in 'Shadows Over Baker Street'

Why, oh why, did I wait eight years to read “Shadows Over Baker Street: New Tales of Terror!”?

I’ve known about this book since its publication and have actually owned a copy of it for a couple of years, but only got around to reading it a week or so ago. Now I’m kicking myself for having waited so long to read this fun and outstanding book.

Originally published by Random House in 2003, this 464-page book is a collection of 18 short stories that features the famed fictional detective Sherlock Holmes in “the nightmare world of H.P. Lovecraft.”

I’m a huge fan of horror writer H.P. Lovecraft (and Holmes), and I can say without a doubt that this book is one of the most fun and enjoyable books that I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a long, long time. I highly recommend it to everyone in the reading audience, especially to those who enjoy Lovecraft, Holmes, horror, detective fiction or just a good, old-fashioned short story.

Here’s how the editors billed this outstanding anthology – “What would happen if Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s peerless detective, Sherlock Holmes, and his allies were to find themselves faced with Lovecraftian mysteries whose solutions lay not only beyond the grasp of logic, but beyond sanity itself? In this collection of original tales, twenty of today’s cutting-edge writers provide answers to that burning question.”

Edited by Michael Reaves and John Pelan, the stories in this book are arranged according to year in which they take place. They include:

- “A Study in Emerald” (1881) by Neil Gaiman
- “Tiger! Tiger!” (1882) by Elizabeth Bear
- “The Case of the Wavy Black Dagger” (1884) by Steve Perry
- “A Case of Royal Blood” (1888) by Steven-Elliot Altman
- “The Weeping Masks” (1890) by James Lowder
- “Art in the Blood” (1892) by Brian Stableford
- “The Curious Case of Miss Violet Stone” (1894) by Poppy Z. Brite and David Ferguson
- “The Adventure of the Antiquarian’s Niece” (1894) by Barbara Hambly
- “The Mystery of the Worm” (1894) by John Pelan
- “The Mystery of the Hanged Man’s Puzzle” (1897) by Paul Finch
- “The Horror of the Many Faces” (1898) by Tim Lebbon
- “The Adventure of the Arab’s Manuscript” (1898) by Michael Reaves
- “The Drowned Geologist” (1898) by Caitlin R. Kiernan
- “A Case of Insomnia” (1899) by John P. Vourlis
- “The Adventure of the Voorish Sign” (1899) by Richard A. Lupoff
- “The Adventure of Exham Priory (1901) by F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre
- “Death Did Not Become Him” (1902) by David Niall Wilson and Patricia Lee Macomber
- “Nightmare in Wax” (1915) by Simon Clark

“A Study in Emerald,” which was the first story in the book, is arguably the best story in the entire edition. First appearing in “Shadows Over Baker Street,” this story went on to win the 2004 Hugo Award for Best Short Story and the 2005 Locus Award for Best Novelette. It was later reprinted in a collection of Gaiman’s stories called “Fragile Things.”

A quick note about the book’s title, “Shadows Over Baker Street.” This is a play on two Lovecraftian and Holmesian themes, combining the title of one of Lovecraft’s most famous stories, “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” and Sherlock Holmes’ fictional address, 221B Baker Street in London. If you travel to 221B Baker St. in London today, you’ll arrive at the Sherlock Holmes Museum.

In the end, I really enjoyed “Shadows Over Baker Street” and will likely read it again and again. How many of you have had a chance to read this book? What did you think about it? Which of the 18 stories was your favorite and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

Monday, June 27, 2011

2011 Saturn Awards announced by Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films

The 37th Annual Saturn Awards were awarded by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films last Thursday and Friday, and a number of films and television series were recognized for being among the best of the best.

On Friday, six films were recognized in categories for science fiction, fantasy, horror, action/adventure/thriller, international and animated films. This year’s winners were:

- Best Science Fiction Film – Inception
- Best Fantasy Film – Alice in Wonderland
- Best Horror Film – Let Me In
- Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film – Salt
- Best International Film – Monsters
- Best Animated Film – Toy Story 3

Other awards given on Friday included:

- Best Actor – Jeff Bridges (Tron Legacy)
- Best Actress – Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
- Best Supporting Actor – Andrew Garfield (Never Let Me Go)
- Best Supporting Actress – Mila Kunis (Black Swan)
- Best Performance by a Younger Actor – Chloe Moretz (Let Me In)
- Best Director – Christopher Nolan (Inception)
- Best Writer – Christopher Nolan (Inception)
- Best Music – Hans Zimmer (Inception)
- Best Costume – Colleen Atwood (Alice in Wonderland)
- Best Make-Up – Rick Baker and Dave Elsey (The Wolfman)
- Best Production Design – Darren Gilford (Tron Legacy)
- Best Special Effects – Chris Carbould, Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley and Peter Begg (Inception)

Last Thursday, the ASFFHF handed out its yearly slate of awards for excellence in television. Awards were given in eight categories. They included:

- Best Network Television Series - Fringe
- Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series – Breaking Bad
- Best Television Presentation – The Walking Dead
- Best Actor in Television – Stephen Moyer (True Blood)
- Best Actress in Television – Anna Tory (Fringe)
- Best Supporting Actor in Television – John Noble (Fringe)
- Best Supporting Actress in Television – Lucy Lawless (Spartacus)
- Best Guest Starring Role in Television – Joe Manganiello (True Blood)

In the end, how many of the movies mentioned above have you watched? Which did you like or dislike and why? Which is your favorite? Which of the TV series mentioned above is your favorite and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tom Clancy's 'Against All Enemies' tops best-sellers list

It’s Sunday, so that means that it’s time for my weekly review of this week’s Publishers Weekly Best-Seller List. According to the list, we’ve got three new books at the top of the four major best-seller lists this week.

"Against All Enemies" by Tom Clancy and Peter Telep replaced "Hit List" by Laurell K. Hamilton as the top book on the hardcover fiction best-sellers list.

"A Game of Thrones" by George R.R. Martin replaced "Worst Case" by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge as the top book on the mass market paperback best-sellers list.

"The Help" by Kathryn Stockett (Putnam Adult) replaced "Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back" by Todd Burpo, Sonja Burpo, Colton Burpo and Lynn Vincent as the No. 1 book on the trade paperbacks best-sellers list.

"Go the F to Sleep" by Adam Mansbach and Illustrations by Ricardo Cortes retained the top spot on the hardcover nonfiction best-sellers list.

There are five books on this week’s hardcover fiction best-sellers list that weren’t on the list last week. They (along with their place on the list) include "Against All Enemies" by Tom Clancy and Peter Telep (1), "One Summer" by David Baldacci (2), "Folly Beach: A Lowcountry Tale" by Dorothea Benton Frank (4), "Carte Blanche" by Jeffery Deaver (6) and "Sisterhood Everlasting: A Novel" by Ann Brashares (7).

There are three books on this week’s hardcover nonfiction best-sellers list that weren’t on the list last week. They include "Guy Fieri Food: Cookin' It, Livin' It, Lovin' It" by Guy Fieri and Ann Volkwein (11), "Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me" by Chelsea Handler (13) and "The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommom Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman" by Timothy Ferriss (14).

There are four books on this week’s mass market paperbacks best-sellers list that weren’t on that list last week. They include "The Shack" by William P. Young (9), "Wicked Lies" by Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush (13), "The Girl Who Played with Fire" by Stieg Larsson (14) and "The Cobra" by Frederick Forsyth (15).

There are three books on this week’s trade paperbacks list that weren’t on the list last week. They include "The Original Argument: The Federalists' Case for the Constitution, Adapted for the 21st Century" by Glenn Beck (2), "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larsson (12) and "Thank You Notes" by Jimmy Fallon and the Writers of Late Night (14).

As a reminder, I’m posting these lists each Sunday because they, as a whole, represent a great, contemporary recommended reading list. These lists are initially released each week on Thursday, and if you’re interested in reading them then, visit Publishers Weekly’s Web site at www.publishersweekly.com. Below you’ll find all four of this week’s best-seller lists.

HARDCOVER FICTION
1. "Against All Enemies" by Tom Clancy and Peter Telep
2. "One Summer" by David Baldacci
3. "State of Wonder" by Ann Patchett
4. "Folly Beach: A Lowcountry Tale" by Dorothea Benton Frank
5. "The Kingdom" by Clive Cussler and Grant Blackwood
6. "Carte Blanche" by Jeffery Deaver
7. "Sisterhood Everlasting: A Novel" by Ann Brashares
8. "Hit List" by Laurell K. Hamilton
9. "10th Anniversary" by James Patterson, Maxine Paetro
10. "Dead Reckoning" by Charlaine Harris
11. "The Jefferson Key" by Steve Berry
12. "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" by Stieg Larsson
13. "Buried Prey" by John Sandford
14. "Summer Rental" by Mary Kay Andrews
15. "Dreams of Joy: A Novel" by Lisa See

HARDCOVER NONFICTION
1. "Go the F K to Sleep" by Adam Mansbach and Illustrations by Ricardo Cortes
2. "The Greater Journey" by David McCullough
3. "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand
4. "In the Garden of Beasts" by Erik Larson
5. "The 17 Day Diet: A Doctor's Plan Design for Rapid Results" by Dr. Mike Moreno
6. "Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America" by Ann Coulter
7. "The Dukan Diet" by Pierre Dukan
8. "SEAL Team Six" by Howard E. Wasdin & Stephen Templin
9. "Bossypants" by Tina Fey
10. "Through My Eyes" by Tim Tebow and Nathan Whitaker
11. "Guy Fieri Food: Cookin' It, Livin' It, Lovin' It" by Guy Fieri and Ann Volkwein
12. "Those Guys Have All the Fun" by James Andrew Miller & Tom Shales
13. "Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me" by Chelsea Handler
14. "The 4-Hour Body" by Timothy Ferriss
15. "Get Rich Click!" by Marc Ostrofsky

MASS MARKET PAPERBACKS
1. "A Game of Thrones" by George R.R. Martin
2. "A Clash of Kings" by George R.R. Martin
3. "Worst Case" by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
4. "Foreign Influence" by Brad Thor
5. "The Spy" by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott
6. "A Storm of Swords" by George R.R. Martin
7. "Frankenstein: The Dead Town" by Dean Koontz
8. "Just Like Heaven" by Julia Quinn
9. "The Shack" by William P. Young
10. "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larsson
11. "Wicked Lies" by Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush
12. "Creed's Honor" by Linda Lael Miller
13. "Wicked Lies" by Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush
14. "The Girl Who Played with Fire" by Stieg Larsson
15. "The Cobra" by Frederick Forsyth

TRADE PAPERBACKS
1. "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett
2. "The Original Argument" by Glenn Beck
3. "Heaven is for Real" by Todd Burpo, Sonja Burpo, Colton Burpo and Lynn Vincent
4. "Water for Elephants: A Novel" by Sara Gruen
5. "Room" by Emma Donoghue
6. "Cutting for Stone" by Abraham Verghese
7. "Outliers: The Story of Success" by Malcolm Gladwell
8. "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein
9. "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot
10. "A Visit from the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan
11. "The Glass Castle: A Memoir" by Jeannette Walls
12. "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larsson
13. "One Day" by David Nicholls
14. "Thank You Notes" by Jimmy Fallon and the Writers of Late Night
15. "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho

In the end, let me know if you’ve had a chance to read any of these books. What did you think about them? Which would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

2011 Locus Award winners announced this afternoon

Locus Magazine, the “Magazine of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Field,” announced the winners of the 2011 Locus Awards this afternoon in Seattle.

This year’s slate of winners were as follows:

Best Science Fiction Novel - “Blackout/All Clear” by Connie Willis

Best Fantasy Novel - “Kraken” by China Mieville

Best First Novel - “The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms” by N.K. Jemisin

Best Young Adult Book - “Ship Breaker” by Paolo Bacigalupi

Best Anthology – “Warriors,” edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois

Best Collection – “Fritz Leiber: Selected Stories” by Fritz Leiber

Best Non-fiction – “Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century: Vol. 1: 1907-1948: Learning Curve” by William H. Patterson Jr.

Best Art Book – “Spectrum 17,” edited by Cathy and Arnie Fenner

Best Magazine – Asimov’s

Other winners this year included:

Best Novella – “The Lifecycle of Software Objects” by Ted Chiang

Best Novelette – “The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains” by Neil Gaiman

Best Short Story – “The Thing About Cassandra” by Neil Gaiman

Best Publisher – Tor

Best Editor – Ellen Datlow

Best Artist – Shaun Tan

The other finalists in the Best Science Fiction Novel category included Surface Detail” by Iain M. Banks, “Cryoburn” by Lois McMaster, “Zero History” by William Gibson and “The Dervish House” by Ian McDonald.

The other finalists in the Best Fantasy Novel category included “Under Heaven” by Guy Gavriel Kay, “Who Fears Death” by Nnedi Okorafor, “The Fuller Memorandum” by Charles Stross and “The Sorcerer’s House” by Gene Wolfe.

The other finalists in the Best First Novel category included “The Loving Dead” by Amelia Beamer, “Shades of Milk and Honey” by Mary Robinette, “The Quantum Thief” by Hannu Rajaniemi and “How to Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe” by Charles Yu.

The other finalists in the Best Young Adult Book category included “Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins, “Enchanted Glass” by Diana Wynne Jones, “I Shall Wear Midnight” by Terry Pratchett and “Behemoth” by Scott Westerfeld.

The other finalists in the Best Non-fiction Book category included “80! Memories & Reflections on Ursula K. LeGuin,” edited by Karen Joy Fowler and Debbie Notkin, “Conversations with Octavia Butler” by Conseula Francis, “CM Kornbluth: The Life and Works of a Science Fiction Visionary” by Mark Rich and “Bearings: Reviews 1997-2001” by Gary K. Wolfe.

The other finalists in the Best Anthology category included “Zombies vs. Unicorns,” edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier; “The Beastley Bride,” edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling; “The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Seventh Annual Collection,” edited by Gardner Dozois; and “Swords & Dark Magic,” edited by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders.

The other finalists in the Best Collection category included “Mirror Kingdoms” by Peter S. Beagle, “What I Didn’t See and Other Stories” by Karen Joy Fowler, “The Best of Kim Stanley Robinson” by Kim Stanley Robinson and “The Collected Stories of Roger

Established in 1971, the Locus Awards are presented to the winners of the magazine’s annual readers’ poll. The award was initially established to provide Hugo Awards voters with recommendations and suggestions. Since 1971, the Locus Awards have become more prestigious and now draws more voters than the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards combined.

In the end, how many of the books mentioned above have you had a chance to read? Which did you like or dislike? Which would you recommend and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

Friday, June 24, 2011

How many of the '100 Greatest Books Ever Written' have you read?

I ran across an interesting book list the other day called “Easton Press’ 100 Greatest Books Ever Written” and I’m sure that some of you have read more than a few of the books on this list.

Easton Press is a book publisher based in Norwalk, Conn. that specializes in high-quality, leather-bound books. They offer a number of book collections, ranging from classics to works of modern literature and science fiction. Their longest running and most popular series is “The 100 Greatest Books Ever Written.” The editorial advisory board at Easton Press picked the books, calling them “the most renowned works of literature by history’s greatest authors.”

Books on the list included:

1. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea by Jules Verne
2. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
3. Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
4. Walden by Henry David Thoreau
5. Gulliver's Travels by Johnathan Swift
6. Moby Dick, or The Whale by Herman Melville
7. A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway
8. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
9. The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling
10. The Odyssey by Homer

11. The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
12. A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man by James Joyce
13. Paradise Lost by John Milton
14. Tales From The Arabian Nights by Richard Burton
15. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
16. Candide by Voltaire
17. Oedipus The King by Sophocles
18. The Hunchback Of Notre Dame [Notre-Dame De Paris] by Victor Hugo
19. The Last Of The Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
20. The Sea Wolf by Jack London

21. Cyrano De Bergerac by Edmund Rostand
22. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
23. Collected Poems by Robert Browning
24. The Essays Of Ralph Waldo Emerson by Ralph Waldo Emerson
25. The Portrait Of A Lady by Henry James
26. Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
27. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
28. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
29. Collected Poems by John Keats
30. On The Origin Of Species by Charles Darwin

31. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
32. Collected Poems by Robert Frost
33. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories by Washington Irving
34. Animal Farm by George Orwell
35. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
36. She Stoops To Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith
37. Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck
38. Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen
39. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
40. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

41. The Iliad by Homer
42. Lady Chatterly's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
43. The Count Of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
44. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
45. Aesop's Fables by Aesop
46. Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
47. The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin
48. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
49. Politics And The Poetics by Aristotle
50. The Aeneid by Virgil

51. Madam Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
52. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
53. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
54. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
55. Pygmalion And Candida by George Bernard Shaw
56. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
57. Romeo And Juliet by William Shakespeare
58. The Cherry Orchard And The Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov
59. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
60. The Analects of Confucius by Confucius

61. A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
62. Collected Poems by William Butler Yeats
63. The Picture Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
64. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
65. The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
66. Beowulf
67. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
68. The Neclace And Other Tales by Guy de Maupassant
69. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
70. Fathers And Sons by Ivan Turgenev

71. Heart Of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
72. War And Peace by Leo Tolstoy
73. The History of Early Rome by Livy
74. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
75. The Talisman by Sir Walter Scott
76. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
77. Alice's Adventure In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
78. Dracula by Bram Stoker
79. The Rubáiyát Of Omar Khayyám by Omar Khayyám
80. The Red And The Black by Stendhal

81. A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickins
82. The Republic by Plato
83. Collected Poems by Emily Dickinson
84. Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
85. Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
86. The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay
87. Silas Marner by George Eliot
88. The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine
89. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
90. Billy Budd by Herman Melville

91. The Confessions by St. Augustine
92. Tales of Mystery And Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe
93. Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
94. The Way of All Flesh by Samuel Butler
95. The Sound And The Fury by William Faulkner
96. Crime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
97. Grimm's Fairy Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
98. Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
99. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
100. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

In the end, who many of these books have you read? Which did you like or dislike? Which would you recommend and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for June 23, 2011

EIGHT YEAR AGO
JUNE 26. 2003

“Presley-Fluker finished their season as the 2003 Babe Ruth League Champions on June 19, 2003. Members of the team are Justin Gary, John Goodson, Nick Klaetsch, J.T. Murphy, Ryan Moore, Coach Glen Gary, Darvin Mims, Jesse Crawford, Jonas Claiborne, Chase Brown, Coach Jonas Claiborne, Daniel Ballard, Quinton Lee and Austin Murphy.”

“Taylor’s University completed their first rank testing on April 26, 2003, where 15 students received belts ranking yellow, orange and green. They also went to competition on May 17 where they won four trophies and four medals.”

“The Evergreen Youth 18 and Under Basketball Team has made it to the Alabama Sports Festival State Basketball Tournament to be held in Huntsville June 27-29, 2003.
“They will play two games Fri., June 27, and two games Sat., June 28. If they win their pool, they will play in the championship game Sun., June 29, at 10 a.m.
“Coach Ernest Boykin says his team has got a chance but they have to play smart.”

23 YEARS AGO
JUNE 23, 1988

“Brad Watts was presented the coveted Jerry Peacock Memorial Award for Best Senior Athlete at Sparta Academy’s All Sports Banquet recently.”

“At Sparta Academy’s All Sports Banquet football awards were presented to the following: Jeff Carrier, offensive back; Jamie Deason, defensive back and Toby Baggett, offensive and defensive lineman.”

“At Sparta Academy’s All Sports Banquet baseball awards were presented to the following: Lee Wild, outstanding pitcher; Jeff Carrier, outstanding defense; Kenny Bledsoe, outstanding offense; and Brad Watts, captain.”

“Brad Watts and Toby Baggett were presented trophies in boys basketball at Sparta Academy’s All Sports Banquet held recently. Brad won for offense and free throws and Toby for defense and rebounds.”

“Julie Johnson and Kim Searcy were presented trophies in girls basketball at Sparta Academy’s All Sports Banquet held recently. Kim received an award for offense-rebounds and Julie for defense-free throws.”

38 YEARS AGO
JUNE 28, 1973

“Owens signs with LBW College: Don Owens of Evergreen has been awarded a baseball grant-in-aid to Lurleen B. Wallace State Junior College. He plans to begin his studies at the Andalusia college this fall where he will join the Saints 1973-74 baseball squad.
“A recent graduate of Sparta Academy, Owens was an outstanding member of the academy’s baseball, football and basketball teams. He served as captain of the baseball and football squads.
“A third baseman, Owens finished this season with a batting average of .400.
“In addition to his athletic accomplishments, Owens was active on the staff of his school’s newspaper and yearbook. During his senior year, he was selected Most Athletic and Most Popular.
“The son of Mr. and Mrs. Ray Owens, he plans to major in physical education and minor in sociology while at LBW.”

“These boys are former outstanding campers at the Evergreen Rotary Club’s Fish and Wildlife Camp who served as counselors for the camp this year. Pictured left to right are Tom Nielsen, Steve Dunn, Rob Stuart (mascot), Keith Pugh, Scott Gearhart, Randi Palan, Johnny Cook, Buddy Carrier, Jeff Daniels and Dennis Darby.”

53 YEARS AGO
JUNE 26, 1958

“Mr. and Mrs. Bob Bozeman and Leah spent the weekend in Pensacola where Mr. Bozeman played in the Pensacola Golf Tournament.”

“The Pelicans downed the Hawks to the tune of 10-5 Thursday night. Mike Fields and Gary Jordan twirled for the Pels while James Ellington hurled for the losers. Jordan was 2 for 2 on the winning side and Larry Griffin was 2 for 2 for the tough luck Hawks.
“After one inning (and a beautiful homer by Jimmy Weaver), the second game, Giants vs. Red Sox, was postponed on account of rain.”

“The Dodgers whitewashed the Yankees Tuesday night, 7-0. Ed Briggs and Sid Lambert turned in another of their fabulous mound jobs for the victorious Dodgers. Robert Rigsby hurled for the Yanks. Briggs was 3 for 3, Bobby Bateman 2 for 4 and Rooster Craft 1 for 2 to lead the Dodgers on offense. Leon Adams had a single in three trips to the plate for the only hit off either Briggs or Lambert. This is the 24th win for the Dodgers.”

Compiled by Sports Reporter Lee Peacock from past issues of The Evergreen Courant. To read The Courant’s weekly Sports Flashback feature online, visit leepeacock2010.blogspot.com.

Fifty-six days left until the start of high school football season

Fifty-six days.

That’s how long we’ve got to wait until the start of the high school football season.
Sparta Academy will play its season opener on Fri., Aug. 19, when they play Escambia Academy at Stuart-McGehee Field in Evergreen. Hillcrest High School will play its season opener on Fri., Aug. 26, when they travel to Monroeville to take on Monroe County High School.

We’ll have to wait even longer for the start of college football. We’ve got 72 days, that is, a little over 12 weeks, remaining until the first Saturday of the college football season.

And, if the NFL season starts on time, and I suspect it will, the first game of the 2011 NFL season will be played on Thurs., Sept. 8, and will feature the Saints and the Packers in Green Bay. That’s 76 days away.

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Sports fans in the audience who like a good book will be interested to hear that a couple of sports-related books were listed in this week’s Publishers Weekly nonfiction best-sellers list.

According to the list released last Thursday, "Through My Eyes" by Tim Tebow and Nathan Whitaker was No. 7 on the list, and "Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN" by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales was No. 12.

According to its publisher, Harper Collins, in “Through My Eyes,” former “University of Florida star quarterback, 2010 first-round draft pick for the Denver Broncos, and devout Christian Tim Tebow tells the story of his faith, his life, and his career in football. “Written with Nathan Whitaker, the New York Times best-selling coauthor of “Quiet Strength,” with Tony Dungy, “Through My Eyes” gives fans a first look into the heart of an athlete whose talent and devotion have made him one of the most provocative figures in football.”

“Those Guys Have All the Fun” is billed as “comprehensive, behind-the-scenes history of ESPN, one of the most successful media companies of all time.”

In this book, “hundreds of current and former ESPN personalities like Erin Andrews, Michelle Beadle, Chris Berman, Linda Cohn, Tony Kornheiser, Bob Ley, Chris McKendry, Mike & Mike, Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick, Robin Roberts, Stuart Scott, Bill Simmons, Sage Steele, Hannah Storm, Lesley Visser and Michael Wilbon, speak freely about games, shows, scandals and triumphs.”

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The 2011 NBA Draft will begin today (Thursday), and you can watch it live on TV, starting at 7 p.m. on ESPN. You can also watch it online at NBA.com.

According to the mock draft at NBADraft.net on Monday, the experts are predicting that the Cleveland Cavaliers are going to select Duke’s Kyrie Irving as the No. 1 overall pick.

I’ll be watching to see if Evergreen’s Chris Hines, who recently finished his final season at Alabama, will become one of the 60 players taken in this year’s draft.

The mock draft mentioned above, which is among the most respected of its type, had no Alabama (or Auburn) players being picked in the draft, but mock drafts are never perfect.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My movie picks this week are 'Bad Teacher' and 'The Adjustment Bureau'

It’s Wednesday, so today I give you my weekly list of movies that will open in theatres this week as well as a list of movies that will be released this week on DVD.

I hope this will serve as a useful guide as to what’s going on this week if you happen to be near a movie theatre or if you’re looking for something to drop into your NetFlix queue.

Movies that are scheduled to hit theatres this week include:

- Bad Teacher (Comedy, R): Directed by Jake Kasdan and starring Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Justin Timberlake, John Michael Higgins and Lucy Punch.

- A Better Life (Drama, PG-13): Directed by Chris Weitz and starring Jose Julian, Demian Bichir, Dolores Heredia, Joaquin Cosio and Carlos Linares.

- Cars 2 (Family, Animation, Comedy, G): Directed by Brad Lewis and starring the voices of Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine, Bonnie Hunt and Cheech Marin.

- The Names of Love (Comedy, Romance, Not Yet Rated): Directed by Michel Leclerc and starring Jacques Gamblin, Sara Forestier, Zinedine Soualem, Carole Franck and Jacques Boudet.

- Turtle: The Incredible Journey (Documentary, Special Interest, Not Yet Rated): Directed by Nick Stringer and starring Miranda Richardson.

New DVD releases for the week of June 21 include:

- The Adjustment Bureau (Romance, Science Fiction, Suspense, PG-13): Directed by George Nolfi and starring Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie, Terence Stamp and John Slattery.

- Cedar Rapids (Comedy, R): Directed by Miguel Arteta and starring Ed Helms, John C. Reilly, Anne Heche, Isiah Whitlock Jr. and Sigourney Weaver.

- Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (Family, PG): Directed by David Bowers and starring Zachary Gordon, Devon Bostick, Robert Capron, Peyton List and Rachael Harris.

- Unknown (Drama, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, PG-13): Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra and starring Liam Neeson, January Jones, Frank Langella, Diane Kruger and Aidan Quinn.

If I could only watch one movie at the theatre this week, it would be “Bad Teacher,” and if I had to pick just one DVD to rent this week, it would be “The Adjustment Bureau.”

In the end, let me know if you get a chance to watch any of the new movies in theatres this week or if you’ve already seen any of the movies that have just been released on DVD. What did you think about them? Which would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Klima recommends 13 titles to update your steampunk collections

Back on June 6, I posted a steampunk recommended reading list called “Steampunk: 20 Core Titles,” which was originally published by writer John Klima on LibraryJournal.com in March 2010.

Last Thursday on LibraryJournal.com, Klima updated his original list in an article called “Steampunk: 13 Titles to Update Your Collections.” Klima noted that he was prompted to update the list because of the many new quality steampunk titles that have been released since his original list.

Klima’s 13 new recommendations included the following books:

1. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (2011)
2. The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman (2010)
3. The Greyfriar by Clay and Susan Griffith (2010)
4. The Native Star by M.K. Hobson (2010)
5. The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder (2010)
6. The Court of the Air by Stephen Hunt (2008)
7. The Affinity Bridge by George Mann (2010)
8. Dreadnought by Cherie Priest (2010)
9. Steampunk Prime: A Vintage Steampunk Reader (2010)
10. The Bookman by Lavie Tidhar (2010)
11. Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti by Genevieve Valentine (2011)
12. The Steampunk Bible: An Illustrated Guide to the World of Imaginary Airships, Corsets and Goggles, Mad Scientists and Strange Literature by Jeff VanderMeer with S.J. Chambers (2011)
13. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (2009)

To read the entire article from last Thursday, which includes detailed descriptions of the books mentioned above, visit http://www.libraryjournal.com/lj/newslettersnewsletterbucketbooksmack/890996-439/steampunk_13_titles_to_update.html.csp.


In case you missed Klima’s original March 2010 list, “Steampunk: 20 Core Titles,” which includes 10 classic steampunk works and 10 recent titles, here are the books on that list.

The Classics:
1. The Prophecy Machine by Neal Barrett Jr. (2000)
2. Homunculus by James P. Blaylock (2000)
3. The Steampunk Trilogy by Paul Di Filippo (1997)
4. The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling (1992)
5. Infernal Devices by K.W. Jeter (1987)
6. The Warlord of the Air by Michael Moorcock (1971)
7. The Anubus Gates by Tim Powers (1997)
8. Steampunk, edited by Jeff Vandermeer and Ann Vandermeer (2008)
9. Jack Faust by Michael Swanwick (1998)
10. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (2005)

Recent Works of Note:
1. Heart of Veridon by Tim Akers (2009)
2. The Somnambulist by Jonathan Barnes (2009)
3. The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry (2009)
4. Soulless by Gail Carriger (2009)
5. The Glass Books of the Dream by Gordon Dahlquist (2006)
6. Extraordinary Engines, edited by Nick Gevers (2008)
7. Mainspring by Jay Lake (2008)
8. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville (2003)
9. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 1 by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill (2002)
10. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest (2009)

In the end, how many of these books have you had a chance to read? Which did you like or dislike? Which was you favorite and why? Which would you recommend and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Peter Straub wins Stoker award for 'A Dark Matter'

I read earlier today that the Horror Writers Association announced this year’s slate of Bram Stoker Award winners on Sunday.

Named after the author of “Dracula,” these awards are presented annually for “superior achievement” in horror writing.

This year’s winner in the Best Novel category was “A Dark Matter” by Peter Straub.

This year’s award marks the fifth time that Straub has won the award for Superior Achievement in a Novel. He won it in 1993 for “The Throat,” in 1999 for “Mr. X,” in 2003 for “Lost Boy, Lost Girl” and in 2004 for “In the Night Room.”

He has also been nominated for the Best Novel award twice. He was nominated for the award in 1996 for “The Hellfire Club” and in 2001 for “Black House,” which he co-wrote with Stephen King. Straub lost in 1996 to King’s “The Green Mile” and in 2001 to “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman.

There was a tie this year for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. This year’s winners were “Black and Orange” by Benjamin Kane Ethridge and “Castle of Los Angeles” by Lisa Morton.

This year’s award for Superior Achievement in a Collection went to “Full Dark, No Stars” by Stephen King. This book has been on the best-sellers lists for a while and was recently released in a trade paperback edition.

As you might have imagined, King, who is generally regarded as one of the best horror writers this country has ever produced, is a longtime veteran of the Bram Stoker Awards. In the Best Collection category, he’s won twice before and was nominated on three other occasions. He won in 1990 for “Four Past Midnight” and again in 2008 for “Just After Sunset.” He was nominated in 1993 for “Nightmares and Dreamscapes,” in 1999 for “Hearts in Atlantis” and again in 2002 for “Everything’s Eventual.”

The Best Novel category is arguably the most prestigious of all the Bram Stoker Awards, and King has won in that category five times and has been nominated for the award on eight other occasions. He won in 1987 for “Misery,” in 1996 for “The Green Mile,” in 1998 for “Bag of Bones,” in 2006 for “Lisey’s Story” and again in 2008 for “Duma Key.”

King was nominated twice in 1991 for “Needful Things” and “The Waste Lands,” in 1994 for “Insomnia,” in 1999 for “Low Men in Yellow Coats,” in 2001 for “Black House,” in 2002 for “From a Buick 8,” in 2003 for “Wolves of the Calla” and in 2004 for “The Dark Tower.”

In an interesting case of “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” King’s 39-year-old son, who writes under the pen name Joe Hill, has won or been nominated for a Stoker Award several times.

His first book, “20th Century Ghosts” won in 2005 for Best Fiction Collection. He was nominated for Best Novel in 2007 for “Heart-Shaped Box” and this year for his novel, “Horns.” I’ve read “Heart-Shaped Box,” which was pretty good, but haven’t gotten around to his other two books yet.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Cussler's 'The Kingdom' debuts on fiction best-sellers list

It’s Sunday, so that means that it’s time for my weekly review of this week’s Publishers Weekly Best-Seller List. According to the list, we’ve got three new books at the top of the four major best-seller lists this week.

"Hit List" by Laurell K. Hamilton replaced "Dreams of Joy: A Novel" as the top book on the hardcover fiction best-sellers list.

"Go the F to Sleep" by Adam Mansbach and Illustrations by Ricardo Cortes replaced "The Greater Journey" by David McCullough as the top book on the hardcover nonfiction best-sellers list.

"Worst Case" by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge replaced "Just Like Heaven" by Julia Quinn as the top book on the mass market paperback best-sellers list.

"Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back" by Todd Burpo, Sonja Burpo, Colton Burpo and Lynn Vincent retained the No. 1 spot on the trade paperbacks best-sellers list.

There are five books on this week’s hardcover fiction best-sellers list that weren’t on the list last week. They (along with their place on the list) include "Hit List" by Laurell K. Hamilton (1), "The Kingdom" by Clive Cussler and Grant Blackwood (2), "State of Wonder" by Ann Patchett (3), "Summer Rental" by Mary Kay Andrews (7) and "Robopocalypse: A Novel" by Daniel H. Wilson (13).

There are six books on this week’s hardcover nonfiction best-sellers list that weren’t on the list last week. They include "Go the F to Sleep" by Adam Mansbach and Illustrations by Ricardo Cortes (1), "Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America" by Ann Coulter (3), "We First: How Brands and Consumers Use Social Media to Build a Better World" by Simon Mainwaring (8), "Get Rich Click!: The Ultimate Guide to Making Money on the Internet" by Marc Ostrofsky (10), "Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived" by Rob Bell (14) and "The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American culture" by David Mamet (15).

There are four books on this week’s mass market paperbacks best-sellers list that weren’t on that list last week. They include "Wicked Lies" by Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush (11), "Hunt the Moon: A Cassie Palmer Novel" by Karen Chance (12), "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larsson (14) and "Sentenced to Death" by Lorna Barrett (15).

There are five books on this week’s trade paperbacks list that weren’t on the list last week. They include "Outliers: The Story of Success" by Malcolm Gladwell (5), "The Lion" by Nelson DeMille (12), "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho (13), "The Glass Castle: A Memoir" by Jeannette Walls (14) and "WAR" by Sebastian Junger (15).

As a reminder, I’m posting these lists each Sunday because they, as a whole, represent a great, contemporary recommended reading list. These lists are initially released each week on Thursday, and if you’re interested in reading them then, visit Publishers Weekly’s Web site at www.publishersweekly.com. Below you’ll find all four of this week’s best-seller lists.

HARDCOVER FICTION
1. "Hit List" by Laurell K. Hamilton
2. "The Kingdom" by Clive Cussler and Grant Blackwood
3. "State of Wonder" by Ann Patchett
4. "Dead Reckoning" by Charlaine Harris
5. "Dreams of Joy: A Novel" by Lisa See
6. "10th Anniversary" by James Patterson, Maxine Paetro
7. "Summer Rental" by Mary Kay Andrews
8. "Buried Prey" by John Sandford
9. "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" by Stieg Larsson
10. "The Jefferson Key" by Steve Berry
11. "The Sixth Man" by David Baldacci
12. "The Land of Painted Caves: A Novel" by Jean M. Auel
13. "Robopocalypse: A Novel" by Daniel H. Wilson
14. "The Final Storm" by Jeff Shaara
15. "Trader of Secrets: A Paul Madriani Novel" by Steve Martini

HARDCOVER NONFICTION
1. "Go the F K to Sleep" by Adam Mansbach and Illustrations by Ricardo Cortes
2. "The Greater Journey" by David McCullough
3. "Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America" by Ann Coulter
4. "In the Garden of Beasts" by Erik Larson
5. "The Dukan Diet" by Pierre Dukan
6. "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand
7. "Through My Eyes" by Tim Tebow and Nathan Whitaker
8. "We First" by Simon Mainwaring
9. "The 17 Day Diet: A Doctor's Plan Design for Rapid Results" by Dr. Mike Moreno
10. "Get Rich Click!" by Marc Ostrofsky
11. "Bossypants" by Tina Fey
12. "Those Guys Have All the Fun" by James Andrew Miller & Tom Shales
13. "SEAL Team Six" by Howard E. Wasdin & Stephen Templin
14. "Love Wins" by Rob Bell
15. "The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American culture" by David Mamet

MASS MARKET PAPERBACKS
1. "Worst Case" by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
2. "A Game of Thrones" by George R.R. Martin
3. "The Spy" by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott
4. "Just Like Heaven" by Julia Quinn
5. "Creed's Honor" by Linda Lael Miller
6. "Foreign Influence" by Brad Thor
7. "A Clash of Kings" by George R.R. Martin
8. "Beach Lane" by Sherryl Woods
9. "Frankenstein: The Dead Town" by Dean Koontz
10. "A Storm of Swords" by George R.R. Martin
11. "Wicked Lies" by Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush
12. "Hunt the Moon: A Cassie Palmer Novel" by Karen Chance
13. "The Reluctant Vampire: An Argeneau Novel" by Lynsay Sands
14. "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larsson
15. "Sentenced to Death" by Lorna Barrett

TRADE PAPERBACKS
1. "Heaven is for Real" by Todd Burpo, Sonja Burpo, Colton Burpo and Lynn Vincent
2. "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett
3. "Water for Elephants: A Novel" by Sara Gruen
4. "Room" by Emma Donoghue
5. "Outliers: The Story of Success" by Malcolm Gladwell
6. "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot
7. "One Day" by David Nicholls
8. "Cutting for Stone" by Abraham Verghese
9. "A Visit from the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan
10. "Life" by Keith Richards
11. "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein
12. "The Lion" by Nelson DeMille
13. "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho
14. "The Glass Castle: A Memoir" by Jeannette Walls
15. "WAR" by Sebastian Junger

In the end, let me know if you’ve had a chance to read any of these books. What did you think about them? Which would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

'The Temple and the Lodge' links Knights Templar and modern freemasons

I recently finished reading a book that I’ve wanted to read for a long time, “The Temple and the Lodge” by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh.

Published in 1991 by Arcade Publishing, this 306-page book attempts to establish a link between the Knights Templar and modern day freemasons.

Many of you will remember from your World History class that the Knights Templar were a powerful order of warrior monks that were formed to serve as guides and protectors for pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land from Europe during medieval times. Over the ensuing years, the Templars grew in wealth, power and influence and were eventually accused of heresy by the Catholic leaders. The Templars became the object of official suppression in 1307 and were wiped out by their enemies.

In “The Temple and the Lodge,” the authors claim that a number of Templars escaped to Scotland, where they took secret refuge and helped the Scottish people fight for independence from the English. During this time, according to the book, they helped form modern Masonic lodges as a way to further their goals and promote the ideals of tolerance and fairness.

From Scotland, the Templars supposedly extended their influence to the New World, where they helped kick off the American Revolution and create the United States of America. The book also discusses prominent American freemasons like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin.

I have to confess that this is not my first exposure to Baigent and Leigh. I also read – and enjoyed – 1982’s “The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail,” which they co-wrote with Henry Lincoln.

Many of you may be familiar with “The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail” because Baigent and Leigh sued “The Da Vinci Code” author, Dan Brown, in 2006 for copyright infringement, claiming that Brown got many of his ideas from “The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail.” Baigent and Leigh lost their case and subsequent appeal in March 2007. Leigh died seven months later.

Other books that Baigent and Leigh wrote together include:
- The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception (1991)
- Secret Germany: Claus Von Stauffenberg and the True Story of Operation Valkyrie (1994)
- The Elixir and the Stone: The Tradition of Magic and Alchemy (1997)
- The Inquisition (1999)
- Erceldoune & Other Stories (2006)
- Grey Magic (2007)

They also wrote “The Messianic Legacy” in 1986 with Henry Lincoln.

Books that Baigent has written on his own include:
- Ancient Traces: Mysteries in Ancient and Early History (1998)
- The Jesus Papers: Exposing the Greatest Cover-Up in History (2006)
- From the Omens of Babylon: Astrology and Ancient Mesopotamia (1994)
- Racing Toward Armageddon: The Three Great Religions and the Plot to End the World (2009)

In the end, I found “The Temple and the Lodge” to be interesting and entertaining. How many of you have read this book? What did you think about it? Have you read any of the other books written by Baigent and Leigh? Let us know in the comments section below.

Friday, June 17, 2011

'Zoo City' = 'Blade Runner' + 'A Visit from the Goon Squad' with a hint of Mickey Spillane

I recently finished reading “Zoo City” by Lauren Buekes, and I now know why this excellent science fiction novel brought home this year’s Arthur C. Clarke Award.

Written by 35-year-old Lauren Beukes of Cape Town, South Africa, “Zoo City” is one of the best – and most unique - books that I’ve read this year. Set in an alternate version of modern day Johannesburg, South Africa, “Zoo City” is what you get if you combine hardboiled Mickey Spillane and “A Visit from the Goon Squad” with a healthy dose of “Blade Runner” tossed in.

In the “Zoo City” version of the world, criminals become magically paired to an animal, sort of like how witches are connected with black cats in folklore. Having an animal, no matter how normal you may look, sets you apart from the rest of the world and makes you a target for discrimination. And don’t think you’ll solve the problem by ditching your animal. If something unfortunate happens to your animal, then something called the “Undertow” comes for you in the form of mysterious, dark and vengeful spirits. “Zoo City” is the slang name for Hillbrow (a real life inner city suburb of Johannesburg) where a lot of ‘animalled’ criminals and other unsavory types live, hence the novel’s title.

The book’s main character, a young woman named Zinzi December, is “animalled” to a sloth because she killed her brother a year or two before the start of the story. A former journalist, Zinzi has the magical ability to find lost objects, mainly misplaced items like jewelry, keys, books, guns, etc. She does this for money since she has a hard time landing a legit journalism job due to her ever-present animal.

On the upshot, the presence of her animal seems to heighten her ability to work her magic, and most of “Zoo City” centers on her attempt to find a missing girl who is part of a brother-sister music duo. Before it’s all said and done, her car is trashed, she’s framed for murder, nearly killed and has to do battle with a giant albino alligator.

First published by Jacanda Media in 2010, “Zoo City” not only won the coveted Arthur C. Clarke Award, which is given annually for the best sci-fi novel first published in the U.K. during the previous year, but the book was also a finalist for the prestigious 2010 British Science Fiction Award for Best Novel.

“Zoo City” is Buekes’s third book. Her others include “Maverick: Extraordinary Women from South Africa’s Past” (2005) and “Moxyland” (2008). For more information about Buekes and her upcoming projects, visit her Web site at laurenbeukes.book.co.za.

In the end, I really enjoyed “Zoo City,” and I’m looking forward to reading Buekes’s future books. Here’s hoping that she’s churning another one out as we speak.

How many of you have had a chance to read “Zoo City”? What did you think about it? What was your favorite part? Who was the coolest character? Let us know in the comments section below.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Kathryn Tucker Windham wrote 30 books during her long career

I hated to read in The Mobile Press-Register on Monday that Kathryn Tucker Windham died at home in Selma on Sunday.

A long-time newspaper reporter, Windham died at age 93 and is probably best known for having written “13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffery” in 1969. When I was growing up, I think every kid in my elementary school had read that book at least twice.

I knew that Windham had written other books during her eight-decade career, but I was surprised to learn earlier this week that she’d written at least 29 other books. Her other books included:

- “Treasured Alabama Recipes” (1967)
- “Exploring Alabama” (1970)
- “Jeffrey Introduces 13 More Southern Ghosts” (1971)
- “Treasured Tennessee Recipes” (1972)
- “Treasured Georgia Recipes” (1973)
- “13 Georgia Ghosts and Jeffrey” (1973)
- “13 Mississippi Ghosts and Jeffrey” (1974)
- “Southern Cooking to Remember” (1974)
- “Alabama: One Big Front Porch” (1975)
- “13 Tennessee Ghosts and Jeffrey” (1976)
- “The Ghost in the Sloss Furnances” (1978)
- “Count Those Buzzards! Stamp Those Grey Mules!: Superstitions Remembered from a Southern Childhood” (1979)
- “Jeffrey’s Latest 13: More Alabama Ghosts” (1982)
- “Terrible Legends in America” (1986)
- “A Serigamy of Stories” (1988)
- “Odd-Egg Editor” (1990)
- “The Autobiography of a Bell” (1991)
- “My Name is Julia” (1991)
- “A Sampling of Selma Stories” (1991)
- “Twice Blessed” (1996)
- “Encounters” (1997)
- “The Bridal Wreath Bush” (1999)
- “Piano Lessons and Other Recollections” (2000)
- “It's Christmas!” (2002)
- “Common Threads: Photographs and Stories from the South” (2004)
- “Jeffrey's Favorite 13 Ghost Stories” (2004)
- “Ernest's Gift” (2004)
- “Twice Blessed” (2007)
- “Spit, Scarey Ann, and Sweat Bees: One Thing Leads to Another” (2009).

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Also this week, the good people at the Alabama Tourism Department released its list of Top 10 events to attend during the month of July, and this month’s list includes several events within reasonable driving distance of Evergreen.

Events on the list include:

- Dora’s 125th Anniversary Celebration, July 1-4, in Dora
- The Spirit of America Festival, July 3-4, in Decatur
- The 6th Annual “Fourth at The Wharf,” July 4, in Orange Beach
- The 37th Annual World Championship Domino Tournament, July 8-9, in Andalusia
- The 10th Annual Rogersville Alabama Bluegrass Festival, July 15-16, in Rogersville
- The 32nd Annual Atmore Rotary Club’s Old Time Fiddler’s Convention, July 16, in Atmore
- “Celebrate Opelika,” July 16, in Opelika
- Summerfest, July 22, in Millbrook
- The W.C. Handy Music Festival, July 22-30, in Florence
- The Russell Marine Aquapalooza!, July 23, in Alexander City.

If you’re looking for something to do next month, you probably can’t go wrong by attending any of the events listed above.

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Last week, I mentioned that Amazon.com had released its popular Best Books of June list, and this week Barnes & Noble released its “Best Books of the Month” list.

Titles on B&N’s Best Books of the Month list for Adults included:

- “The Hypnotist” by Lars Kepler
- “State of Wonder” by Ann Patchett
- “The Girls in the Blue Beret” by Bobbie Ann Mason
- “India” by Patrick French
- “Robopocalypse” by Daniel H. Wilson.

For these books to have come so highly recommended by Barnes & Noble, they’re probably pretty decent.

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for June 16, 2011

ONE YEAR AGO
JUNE 17, 2010

“These Evergreen 9 & 10 year olds are busy preparing for the Little League District Tournament set to begin next week at the Brewton YMCA baseball field. The team plays Opp on Sat., June 26, at 6 p.m. The Evergreen Tournament team members are Dakota Coleman, Kendrick Ingram, KaRhan Salter, Noah Pettis, Brandon Rudolph, Maggie Brock, Dalton Ward, Jarrett Taylor, Colton Lambert, Jon Michael Jeter, Kaevon Merriweather, Kobe Bradley and ShaNaya Grace. Coaches are Don Lee and Joey Brewton.)

“Evan Johnson, eight years old, caught his first bass on Fri., June 4, ‘in the mouth’ while fishing with his grandfather, Melvin Johnson, and his father, Eric Johnson.”

“Alice Scruggs of Castleberry brought this old team photograph by The Courant office back in September in hopes that someone in the reading audience would be able to provide her with more information about the individuals in the picture. The photo is of the football team at Conecuh County High School in Castleberry some time before September 1937. All but one individual has been identified to date. Pictured are Melvin Sullivan, Meldon Holland, Albert Griffin Jr., Roger Riggs, Alto McGaha, Floyd Oliver, Gary Carr, Robert Meacham, Jackson Green, Bill Garrett, Emory McClendon, Deward James, William McCarvey Warren, Bill Andrews, Clarence Nelson, Bobby Deuel, unknown, Coach M.C. Thomasson, J.L. Salter, Carlos Simmons Larry Shipp and Bill Ellis.”

16 YEARS AGO
JUNE 15, 1995

“The 1995 Minor League Giants finished the season with a perfect record and claimed first place in the Minor League division. Members of the team are Travis Hildreth, Andrew Raines, Pierre Evans, Bryan Boykin, Javon Wallace, Ben Crane, Bryston Stallworth, Bryan Crane, Joe Windham, Edward Thomas, Andrell Baxter, Jamie Raines, Hunter Pemberton, Coach Debbie Barlow, Coach Paulette Crane and Manager Tim Crane.

46 YEARS AGO
JUNE 17, 1965

“These are the league-leading Chicks of the Evergreen Junior Baseball League’s American League. The Chicks are strong contenders each year under the able managership of Frank ‘Dizzy’ Dean, who stands behind their players. The boys are Jerry Daw, Sammy Philyaw, Donald Jackson, Wayne Freeman, Eddie Griffin, Rusty Rogers, Oliver Garrett, Lester Daw, David Majors, Johnny Andrews, Don Owens, David Jackson, Sammy Garrett and Larry Davis.”

“The Indians, behind a 10-hit barrage, swamped the Braves, 5-4, in the opening game of the Senior League 1965 season. Bubba Mininger, Tommy Weaver and Thomas Riley led the Tribe with two singles each. Bill Bailey gathered in his first win of the season by striking out eight and allowing six hits.
“George Stinson, the Braves first sacker, carried his team’s offensive load with three hits, including a triple. John Brown’s triple, Wayne Hicks’ and Charlie Wilds’ singles rounded out the Braves’ attack. Hicks also took the loss, but the still put down eight Indians on strikes.”

61 YEARS AGO
JUNE 15, 1950

“The Evergreen Golf Club’s second annual handicap golf tournament will begin Thursday afternoon, June 22. The tournament is open to all club members and any person in Conecuh County interested in playing.
“Entry fees and qualifying scores should be turned in to one of the following tournament committee members: Knud Nielsen Jr., Roy Pace or Herman Bolden.
“Billy Carleton won last year and is expected to be on hand to defend his title.”

“Mr. and Mrs. Jack Newman spent the weekend in Pensacola, and Mr. Newman played in a golf tournament while there.”

“Following a custom that has prevailed for the past several years, the Brewton baseball team will again observes ‘Evergreen Night’ on June 28, in appreciation of the fine support of many fans who attend the games there.
“Jess Taylor of Brewton, who arranges this event each year, was in Evergreen Tuesday making the final plans. He informs The Courant that Check Ellis, local boy pitching for Brewton, will be on the mound that night as the Millers face Andalusia.”

Compiled by Sports Reporter Lee Peacock from past issues of The Evergreen Courant. To read The Courant’s weekly Sports Flashback feature online, visit leepeacock2010.blogspot.com.

NBA playoffs wrap up (finally) with Mavs championship

The NBA Playoffs (finally) wrapped up Sunday night as the Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heat in the sixth game of the best-of-seven series.

LeBron James has caught a lot of heat (pun intended) over his team’s inability to bring home the title. Many of you will remember how James left the Cleveland Cavaliers to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami in hopes of winning his first title. James’ departure from Cleveland was an extremely unpopular move from the point of view of folks in Ohio, where many saw James as a local kid turned hero.

As you might imagine, more than a few Cavs fans have gotten a kick out of James not winning the title, including a sizeable group of them that call themsevles the “Cavs for Mavs.”

In the wake of Sunday night’s game, more than a few Miami fans have also voiced displeasure over LeBron’s poor performance in the finals, especially his inability to put the ball in the hole in the final minutes.

A sports-writing friend of mine in Mobile, who grew up in Goodway, a suburb of Uriah, told me a funny little story about LeBron the other day that hit right to the point.

“A friend of mine met LeBron one day many years ago at a mall in Ohio,” he said. “She approached him asking him for change for a dollar. LeBron said, ‘Sure.’
“She gave him the dollar. LeBron then reached into his pocket and handed her 75 cents. When queried about being 25 cents short, Lebron shrugged his shoulders and said, ‘I don't have a 4th quarter.’”

This was the first LeBron James joke that I heard after Sunday’s Miami loss, but something tells me it won’t be the last.

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Another interesting thing about Sunday night’s game is that it made Mavs coach Rick Carlisle one of 10 men to have won NBA titles as a player and a head coach.

The other nine men on that elite list include Billy Cunningham (Philadelphia 76ers), Bill Russell (Boston Celtics), Tommy Heinsohn (Celtics), William “Red” Holzman (Rochester Royals and New York Knicks), Phil Jackson (Knicks, Chicago Bulls and Lakers), K.C. Jones (Celtics), Buddy Jeannette (Baltimore Bullets), Pat Riley (Lakers and Miami Heat) and Bill Sharman (Celtics and Lakers).

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Switching gears, I read in Monday’s Mobile Press-Register that Mike Tyson and Sylvester Stallone were among those inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y. on Sunday.

Alabamians in this Hall of Fame include Joe Louis of LaFayette, who was the world heavyweight champion from 1937 to 1949. During his professional career, he fought in 70 fights and won 66, including 52 by knockout. He lost only three and had one no contest.

The International Boxing Research Organization named him the greatest heavyweight of all time in 2005, and The Ring magazine named him No. 1 on its list of Top 100 Punchers of All Time.

If you ever find yourself in Chambers County, you’ll find a big statue of Louis, mitts and all, in front of the courthouse in downtown LaFayette.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My movie picks this week are 'Green Lantern' and 'Battle: Los Angeles'

It’s Wednesday, so today I give you my weekly list of movies that will open in theatres this week as well as a list of movies that will be released this week on DVD.

I hope this will serve as a useful guide as to what’s going on this week if you happen to be near a movie theatre or if you’re looking for something to drop into your NetFlix queue.

Movies that are scheduled to hit theatres this week include:

- Buck (PG, Documentary, Special Interest): Directed by Cindy Meehl and starring Buck Brannaman.

- Green Lantern (PG-13, Action, Science Fiction): Directed by Martin Campbell and starring Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong and Angela Bassett.

- Jig (PG, Documentary, Special Interest): Directed by Sue Bourne.

- Mr. Popper’s Penguins (PG, Comedy, Family): Directed by Mark S. Waters and starring Jim Carrey, Carla Gugino, Philip Baker Hall, Ophelia Lovibond and Madeline Carroll.

- Page One: Inside the New York Times (R, Documentary, Special Interest): Directed by Andrew Rossi.

New DVD releases for the week of June 14 include:

- Battle: Los Angeles (PG-13, Action, Science Fiction): Directed by Jonathan Liebesman and starring Aaron Eckhart, Michael Pena, Bridget Moynahan, Michelle Rodriguez and Joey King.

- Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (PG-13, Action, Comedy): Directed by John Whitesell and starring Martin Lawrence, Brandon T. Jackson, Jessica Lucas, Faizon Love and Emily Rios.

- Hall Pass (R, Comedy, Romance): Directed by Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly and starring Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Christina Applegate, Jenna Fischer and Richard Jenkins.

- Kill The Irishman (R, Crime and Mystery, Drama, Thriller): Directed by Jonathan Hensleigh and starring Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken, Linda Cardellini, Ray Stevenson and Vinnie Jones.

- Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen (R, Action): Directed by Wai-keung Lau and starring Donnie Yen, Qi Shu, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Yasuaki Kurata and Shawn Yue.

- Red Riding Hood (PG, Fantasy, Horror, Suspense, Thriller): Directed by Catherine Hardwicke and starring Amanda Seyfried, Shiloh Fernandez, Julie Christie, Gary Oldman and Billy Burke.

If I could only watch one movie at the theatre this week, it would be “Green Lantern,” and if I had to pick just one DVD to rent this week, it would be “Battle: Los Angeles.”

In the end, let me know if you get a chance to watch any of the new movies in theatres this week or if you’ve already seen any of the movies that have just been released on DVD. What did you think about them? Which would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

'TKAM' listed among '101 Great Books Recommended for College-Bound Readers'

We’ve hit that time of year when more than a few kids have just finished high school and are preparing to enter the college ranks. With that in mind, I ran across an interesting recommended reading list earlier today called “101 Great Books Recommended for College-Bound Readers.”

Compiled by The College Board (the folks that created the SAT test), this list of great books features a number of titles that you’ll be familiar with. Students preparing to attend college will benefit from these books and those of us who are past our college days can still enjoy mulling over those that we have or haven’t read.

Without further ado, here’s the list:

1. Beowulf by Unknown
2. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
3. A Death in the Family by James Agee
4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
5. Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
6. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
7. The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow
8. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
9. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
10. The Stranger by Albert Camus

11. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
12. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
13. The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov
14. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
15. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
16. The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
17. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
18. Inferno by Dante
19. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
20. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

21. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
22. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
23. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
24. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
25. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
26. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
27. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
28. Selected Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson
29. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
30. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

31. Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
32. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
33. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
34. The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford
35. Faust by Johann Wolfgang Goethe
36. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
37. Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
38. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
39. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
40. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

41. The Iliad by Homer
42. The Odyssey by Homer
43. The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
44. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
45. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
46. A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen
47. The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
48. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
49. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
50. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

51. The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
52. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
53. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
54. The Call of the Wild by Jack London
55. The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann
56. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
57. Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville
58. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
59. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
60. Beloved by Toni Morrison

61. A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor
62. Long Day's Journey into Night by Eugene O’Neill
63. Animal Farm by George Orwell
64. Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
65. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
66. Selected Tales by Edgar Allan Poe
67. Swann's Way by Marcel Proust
68. The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon
69. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
70. Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand

71. Call It Sleep by Henry Roth
72. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
73. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
74. Macbeth by William Shakespeare
75. A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
76. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
77. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
78. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
79. Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko
80. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

81. Antigone by Sophocles
82. Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
83. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
84. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
85. Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
86. Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
87. Vanity Fair by William Thackeray
88. Walden by Henry David Thoreau
89. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
90. Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev

91. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
92. Candide by Voltaire
93. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
94. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
95. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
96. Collected Stories by Eudora Welty
97. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
98. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
99. The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
100. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
101. Native Son by Richard Wright

In the end, how many of these books have you read? Which did you like or dislike? Which would you recommend and why? Which is your favorite and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Outstanding books from the SFBC and Alabama Alumni Magazine

Today, I give you two book-related items all in one post.

Today’s post includes the Top 20 books from the Science Fiction Book Club’s July bulletin and the featured books from the Summer issue of Alabama Alumni Magazine.

My copy of the Science Fiction Book Club’s July bulletin arrived in the mail this afternoon, and my favorite item in each of these bulletins is the SFBC’s Top 20.

Books that made the SFBC’s Top 20 list include the following titles:

1. Pale Demon by Kim Harrison
2. The Castings Trilogy by Paula Freeman
3. Double the Odd, written by Dean Koontz and illustrated by Queenie Chan
4. Bearers of the Black Staff by Terry Brooks
5. River Marked by Patricia Briggs
6. Masques & Wolfsbane by Patricia Briggs
7. The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card
8. Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
9. The Griffin Mage Trilogy by Rachel Neumeier
10. Halo: Cryptum by Greg Beard
11. Faeries: Deluxe Collector’s Edition, illustrated by Brian Froud and Alan Lee
12. Batman & Robin: Batman Reborn – The Deluxe Edition by Grant Morrison; illustrated by Frank Quitely and Philip Tan
13. Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong
14. Dragongirl by Todd McCaffrey
15. DC Comics Year by Year by DC Comics
16. Side Jobs by Jim Butcher
17. Batman: R.I.P. by Grant Morrison; illustrated by Tony S. Daniel
18. Bullet by Laurell K. Hamilton
19. The Icewind Dale Trilogy by R.A. Salvatore
20. The DC Comics Encyclopedia: Updated and Expanded, updated by Daniel Wallace

For more information about these books and to view the SFBC’s Top 100 list, visit www.sfbc.com.

Also arriving in my mailbox this afternoon was the Summer issue of Alabama Alumni Magazine. A regular feature in this outstanding magazine is its “Bookshelf” feature, which provides reviews and descriptions of new books with Alabama connections.

Books mentioned in the latest installment of “Bookshelf” include the following titles:

1. Georgia Bottoms by Mark Childress
2. Steel Magnolias by Debra Shriver
3. Yvon’s Paris by Robert Stevens
4. Dictionary of Louisiana French, contributed to by Dr. Michael D. Picone
5. Stories from the Hart by Anne Hart Preus
6. Butterflies of Alabama, text by Paulette Haywood Ogard, photographs by Sara Bright
7. Mosquito Soldiers by Andrew McIlwaine Bell
8. When Universities Are Destroyed by Dr. Jack Kushner
9. Nature Journal by L.J. Davenport

For more information about Alabama Alumni Magazine, visit alumni.ua.edu/publications/alabama-alumni-magazine.

In the end, how many of the books mentioned above have you had a chance to read? Which did you like or dislike? Which would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Cussler's 'The Spy' appears on best-sellers list this week

It’s Sunday, so that means that it’s time for my weekly review of this week’s Publishers Weekly Best-Seller List. According to the list, we’ve got three new books at the top of the four major best-seller lists this week.

"Dreams of Joy: A Novel" by Lisa See replaced "Dead Reckoning" by Charlaine Harris as the top book on the hardcover fiction best-sellers list.

"The Greater Journey" by David McCullough replaced "Those Guys Have All the Fun" by James Andrew Miller & Tom Shales as the top book on the hardcover nonfiction best-sellers list.

"Just Like Heaven" by Julia Quinn replaced "Frankenstein: The Dead Town" by Dean Koontz as the top book on the mass market paperback best-sellers list.

"Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back" by Todd Burpo, Sonja Burpo, Colton Burpo and Lynn Vincent retained the No. 1 spot on the trade paperbacks best-sellers list.

There are four books on this week’s hardcover fiction best-sellers list that weren’t on the list last week. They (along with their place on the list) include "Dreams of Joy: A Novel" by Lisa See (1), "Kiss of Snow" by Nalini Singh (8), "Trader of Secrets: A Paul Madriani Novel" by Steve Martini (10) and "Bloodmoney: A Novel of Espionage" by David Ignatius (15).

There are four books on this week’s hardcover nonfiction best-sellers list that weren’t on the list last week. They include "Through My Eyes" by Tim Tebow and Nathan Whitaker (7), "The Carb Lovers Diet: Eat What You Love, Get Slim For Life" by Ellen Kunes and Frances Largeman-Roth (13), "Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation" by Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D. (14) and "Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain" by David Eagleman (15).

There are eight books on this week’s mass market paperbacks best-sellers list that weren’t on that list last week. They include "Just Like Heaven" by Julia Quinn (1), "Creed's Honor" by Linda Lael Miller (2), "The Reluctant Vampire: An Argeneau Novel" by Lynsay Sands (4), "Beach Lane" by Sherryl Woods (5), "Magic Slays" by Ilona Andrews (6), "Worst Case" by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge (10), "Trace of Fever" by Lori Foster (11) and "The Spy" by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott (15).

There are two books on this week’s trade paperbacks list that weren’t on the list last week. They include "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein (10) and "Put Your Mindset to Work: The One Asset You Really Need to Win and Keep the Job You Love" by James Reed and Paul G. Stoltz (12).

As a reminder, I’m posting these lists each Sunday because they, as a whole, represent a great, contemporary recommended reading list. These lists are initially released each week on Thursday, and if you’re interested in reading them then, visit Publishers Weekly’s Web site at www.publishersweekly.com. Below you’ll find all four of this week’s best-seller lists.

HARDCOVER FICTION
1. "Dreams of Joy: A Novel" by Lisa See
2. "Dead Reckoning" by Charlaine Harris
3. "10th Anniversary" by James Patterson, Maxine Paetro
4. "Buried Prey" by John Sandford
5. "The Jefferson Key" by Steve Berry
6. "The Sixth Man" by David Baldacci
7. "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" by Stieg Larsson
8. "Kiss of Snow" by Nalini Singh
9. "The Land of Painted Caves: A Novel" by Jean M. Auel
10. "Trader of Secrets: A Paul Madriani Novel" by Steve Martini
11. "Star Wars: Conviction" by Aaron Allston
12. "The Final Storm" by Jeff Shaara
13. "Caleb's Crossing" by Geraldine Books
14. "The Snowman" by Jo Nesbo
15. "Bloodmoney: A Novel of Espionage" by David Ignatius

HARDCOVER NONFICTION
1. "The Greater Journey" by David McCullough
2. "In the Garden of Beasts" by Erik Larson
3. "The Dukan Diet" by Pierre Dukan
4. "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand
5. "The 17 Day Diet: A Doctor's Plan Design for Rapid Results" by Dr. Mike Moreno
6. "Bossypants" by Tina Fey
7. "Through My Eyes" by Tim Tebow and Nathan Whitaker
8. "Those Guys Have All the Fun" by James Andrew Miller & Tom Shales
9. "TouchPoints" by Douglas Conant & Mette Norgaard
10. "Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me" by Chelsea's Family, Friends & Other Victims
11. "Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?" by Steven Tyler with David Dalton
12. "Seal Team Six" by Howard E. Wasdin & Stephen Templin
13. "The Carb Lovers Diet" by Ellen Kunes and Frances Largeman-Roth
14. "Transcendence" by Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D.
15. "Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain" by David Eagleman

MASS MARKET PAPERBACKS
1. "Just Like Heaven" by Julia Quinn
2. "Creed's Honor" by Linda Lael Miller
3. "A Game of Thrones" by George R.R. Martin
4. "The Reluctant Vampire: An Argeneau Novel" by Lynsay Sands
5. "Beach Lane" by Sherryl Woods
6. "Magic Slays" by Ilona Andrews
7. "Frankenstein: The Dead Town" by Dean Koontz
8. "Foreign Influence" by Brad Thor
9. "A Clash of Kings" by George R.R. Martin
10. "Worst Case" by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
11. "Trace of Fever" by Lori Foster
12. "Water for Elephants: A Novel" by Sara Gruen
13. "A Storm of Swords" by George R.R. Martin
14. "The Search" by Nora Roberts
15. "The Spy" by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott

TRADE PAPERBACKS
1. "Heaven is for Real" by Todd Burpo, Sonja Burpo, Colton Burpo and Lynn Vincent
2. "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett
3. "Water for Elephants: A Novel" by Sara Gruen
4. "Room" by Emma Donoghue
5. "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot
6. "Cutting for Stone" by Abraham Verghese
7. "Life" by Keith Richards
8. "Thank You Notes" by Jimmy Fallon
9. "A Visit from the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan
10. "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein
11. "Something Borrowed" by Emily Griffin
12. "Put Your Mindset to Work" by James Reed and Paul G. Stoltz
13. "The Passage" by Justin Cronin
14. "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall
15. "One Day" by David Nicholls

In the end, let me know if you’ve had a chance to read any of these books. What did you think about them? Which would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

'TKAM' makes '250 Books By Women All Men Should Read' list

Last Saturday, I posted a recommended reading list recently compiled by Esquire Magazine called “The 75 Books Every Man Should Read.” I later learned that Esquire’s list sparked a list by Joyland Magazine called “250 Books By Women All Men Should Read.”

From what I gather, Joyland compiled its list because’s Esquire’s list consisted of books that were written entirely by male authors, except for one, which was written by Flannery O’Connor. Joyland compiled its list over the Memorial Day weekend and it contains titles recommended by Joyland readers, editors and contributors. Many of the recommendations came via Facebook and Twitter.

If you’d like to see the complete list, including comments about the list, visit http://www.joylandmagazine.com/brian/blog/250_books_women_all_men_should_read.

Without further ado, here’s Joyland’s “250 Books By Women All Men Should Read,” in alphabetical order by title.

1. The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler
2. The Accumulation of Capital and Imperialism by Rosa Luxemburg
3. After Delores by Sarah Schulman
4. After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie by Jean Rhys
5. Against Interpretation by Sontag
6. And Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
7. Animal by Alexandra Leggat
8. Anita Brookner
9. Annie John by Kincaid
10. The Antagonist by Lynn Coady

11. Ariel by Sylvia Plath
12. Assata: An Autobiography
13. Aurora Leigh by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
14. Auschwitz and After by Charlotte Delbo
15. The Autobiography of Alice B Toklas
16. Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson
17. Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill
18. Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison
19. The Beauty of the Husband by Anne Carson
20. Because They Wanted To by Mary Gaitskills

21. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
22. Beloved by Toni Morrison
23. Berger's Daughter by Nadine Gordimer
24. Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood
25. The Best of It by Kay Ryan
26. Better Living Through Plastic Explosives by Zsuzsi Gartner
27. Birds of America by Lorrie Moore
28. Black Coffee Night by Emily Schultz
29. Black Lamb and Grey Falcon by Rebecca West
30. Blood and Guts In High School by Kathy Acker

31. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
32. Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan
33. The Book of Seeing With One's Eyes by Sharon Doubiago
34. Both Ways is The Only Way I Want It by Maile Meloy
35. Bottle Rocket Hearts by Zoe Whittall
36. Brief History of Love by Nicole Krauss
37. By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept by Elizabeth Smart
38. Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko
39. The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty
40. Collected Stories of Grace Paley

41. Collected Stories of Lydia Davis
42. The Complete Stories of Dorothy Parker
43. Crossing the Mangrove
44. Daniel Deronda
45. Death & Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs
46. Degrees of Nakedness by Lisa Moore
47. Desert of the Heart by Jane Rule
48. The Diaries of Ananis Nin
49. Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler
50. Dinners & Nightmares by Diane di Prima

51. Dirty Weekend by Helen Zahavi
52. Dogeaters
53. Edgar Allan Poe & The Jukebox by Elizabeth Bishop
54. Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood
55. Eichmann in Jerusalem by Hannah Arendt
56. Eighty-Sixed by David B. Feinberg
57. The End of Alice by A.M. Homes
58. The End of the Story by Davis
59. Enormous Changes at the Last Minute by Grace Paley
60. Escapes by Joy Williams

61. Evelina by Fanny Burney
62. Expeditions of a Chimaera by Erin Moure's & Oana Avasilichioaei
63. The Farming of Bones by Danticat
64. The Feminization of American Culture by Ann Douglas
65. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Zhange
66. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
67. Friend of My Youth
68. The Frozen Thames by Helen Humphreys
69. Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
70. Gertrude Stein: Selections by Gertrude Stein

71. Glass, Irony, and God by Anne Carson
72. The Golden Mean by Annabel Lyon
73. The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
74. Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys
75. Hateship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alic Munro
76. Haunting of Hill House
77. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter & Collected Stories by Carson Mccullers
78. Helpless by Barbara Gowdy
79. HIV Mon Amour by Tory Dent
80. Honored Guest by Joy Williams

81. Hotel du Lac
82. The Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector
83. Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
84. House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
85. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
86. How Should A Person Be by Sheila Heti
87. How the Dead Dream by Lydia Millet
88. Ida by Gertrude Stein
89. Inferno: A Poet's Novel by Myles
90. I-hotel by Karen Yamashita

91. I know why the caged bird sings
92. I Love Dick by Chris Kraus
93. In Another Place, Not Here by Brand
94. In Search of Our Mother's Gardens by Alice Walker
95. The Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
96. An Invisible Sign of My Own by Aimee Bender
97. The Journalist and the Murderer by Janet Malcolm
98. The Journals of Simone Weil
99. Joy Is So Exhausting by Susan Holbrook
100. Kalila by Rosemary Nixon

101. Kathy Acker
102. Lady Audley's Secret by Carson McCullers
103. Larry's Party by Carol Shields
104. The Last Crossing by Guy Vanderhaeghe
105. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin
106. A Life's Work by Rachel Cusk
107. Lithium for Medea by Kate Braverman
108. Love Creeps by Amanda Filipacchi
109. The Lover by Marguerite Duras
110. The Making of Americans by Gertrude Stein

111. Mansfield Park
112. Marianne Moore: Selected Poems
113. Mavis Gallant
114. Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar
115. Metropolitan Life by Fran Lebowitz
116. Middlemarch by George Elliot
117. Mississippi by Marnie Woodrow Spelling
118. Mister Sandman by Barbara Gowdy
119. Monoceros by Suzette Mayr
120. Mother Nature by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy

121. Mrs. Dalloway
122. My Antonia
123. My Life by Lyn Hejinian
124. Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
125. Nightwood by Djuna Barnes
126. No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July
127. Open by Lisa Moore
128. Open Secrets by Alice Munro
129. The Outlander by Gil Adamson
130. Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen

131. Parable Of The Sower by Otavia Butler
132. Paris Stories by Mavis Gallant
133. Passing by Nella Larson
134. People in Trouble by Sarah Schulman
135. Perfecting by Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer
136. Persuasion by Jane Austen
137. The Pharmacist's Mate by Amy Fusselman
138. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
139. The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon
140. PK Page

141. Play It as It Lays by Joan Didion
142. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
143. The Possessed by Elif Batuman
144. Possession by A.S. Byatt
145. The Price of Salt
146. Pride and Prejudice
147. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
148. Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
149. Property by Valerie Martin
150. The Pursuit of Love

151. Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym
152. Rat Bohemia
153. Reasons to Live by Amy Hempel
154. Return of the Soldier
155. The Rosa Luxemburg Reader
156. Sappho
157. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy
158. Seconding the Spark
159. The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
160. The Secret History by Donna Tartt

161. Self Help by Lorrie Moore
162. The Shawl by Ozick
163. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
164. Sister Outside by Lorde
165. Social Studies by Fran Lebowitz
166. So Far From God
167. Song of Solomon
168. Speedboat by Adler
169. Stone Butch Blues!
170. Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link

171. A Street in Bronzeville by Gwendolyn Brooks
172. Sula by Toni Morrison
173. Surfacing by Margaret Atwood
174. The Tale of Genji
175. Teaching a Stone to Talk by Annie Dillard
176. Tell Me a Riddle by Tillie Olsen
177. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
178. Then Again by Elyse Friedman
179. Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro
180. A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley

181. The Time of the Doves by Merce Rodoreda
182. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
183. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
184. Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott
185. The Two Kinds of Decay by Sarah Manguso
186. Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles
187. Unless by Carol Shields
188. Valmiki's Daughter by Mootoo
189. Varieties of Disturbance by Lydia Davis
190. Veronica by Mary Gaitskill

191. The Volcano Lover by Susan Sontag
192. The Waves by Virginia Woolf
193. Way Up by Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer
194. We Have Always Lived in the Castle
195. We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
196. We So Seldom Look on Love by Barbara Gowdy
197. The White Bone by Barbara Gowdy
198. White Teeth by Zadie Smith
199. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
200. The Woman Warrior

201. Women, Culture and Politics by Davis
202. The Works of Aimee Bender
203. The Works of Alice Munro
204. The Works of Alison Bechdel
205. The Works of Amy Fusselman
206. The Works of Angela Carter
207. The Works of Ann Beattie
208. The Works of Anne Carson
209. The Works of Annie Proulx
210. The Works of Barbara Kingsolver

211. The Works of Camila Gibb
212. The Works of Charlotte Bronte
213. The Works of Clarice Lispector
214. The Works of Djuna Barnes
215. The Works of Eileen Myles
216. The Works of Elizabeth Bishop
217. The Works of Erin Moure
218. The Works of Flannery O'Connor
219. The Works of George Eliot
220. The Works of Grace Paley

221. The Works of Iris Murdoch
222. The Works of Isabel Allende
223. The Works of Jacqueline Susann
224. The Works of Jane Austen
225. The Works of Jane Jacobs
226. The Works of Jean Rhys
227. The Works of Katherine Mansfield
228. The Works of Leanne Shapton
229. The Works of Leslie Marmo
230. The Works of Lorrie Moore

231. The Works of Lydia Davis
232. The Works of Lynda Barry
233. The Works of Marguerite Yourcenar
234. The Works of Marilynne Robinson
235. The Works of Mary Shelley
236. The Works of Mavis Gallant
237. The Works of Merce Rodoreda
238. The Works of Miranda July
239. The Works of Miriam Toews
240. The Works of Nicole Krauss

241. The Works of Patti Smith
242. The Works of Shirley Jackson
243. The Works of Sylvia Plath
244. The Works of Toni Morrison
245. The Works of Zadie Smith
246. The Works of Toni Morrison
247. The Works of Virginia Woolf
248. The Works of Yoko Ogawa
249. Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson
250. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

251. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
252. Yesterday's Weather by Anne Enright
253. Zami: Another Spelling of My Name
254. 117 days by Ruth First

In the end, how many of these books have you had a chance to read? Which did you like or dislike? Which would you recommend and why? Let us know in the comments section below.