The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt Wins 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

The Goldfinch Wins Top Prize

 

The 2014 Pulitzer Prize winners were announced April 14, 2014, and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction was presented to Donna Tartt for her novel The Goldfinch.  The Goldfinch won over other nominated works The Son by Philipp Meyer and The Woman Who Lost Her Soul by Bob Shacochis.

 

Tartt is an established author whose previous works include The Secret History (1992) and The Little Friend (2002).  A fan of writing long novels, Tartt took 11 years to write The Goldfinch, which is a solid 784 pages and was published by Little, Brown and Company.

 

The Goldfinch Enjoys High Critical Acclaim

 

First released in October of 2013, The Goldfinch was met with critical acclaim and quickly became a best seller.  The New York Times raved that The Goldfinch “[is a]…glorious, Dickensian novel, a novel that pulls together all her remarkable storytelling talents into a rapturous, symphonic whole and reminds the reader of the immersive, stay-up-all-night pleasures of reading.”  Of course, since such things are subjective, not all were fans of the book, remarking that it was too long and self-involved to be engrossing.  However, it is safe to say that The Goldfinch was one of the top books published in 2013.

 

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Heartbleed

Heartbleed

News is breaking all over about Heartbleed, the dramatic name for a new bug that was putting internet security at risk. Bruce Schneier said of the Open SSL bug:

“Catastrophic” is the right word. On the scale of 1 to 10, this is an 11.

But don’t fear: Biblio.com is on top of the Heartbleed bug. Our site is secure and still safe for shopping, and no servers containing sensitive customer or bookseller information were at any point compromised. We have patched a couple noncritical servers holding no customer data that were affected and replaced the affected SSL certificates with completely new ones. You can shop securely on Biblio!

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Watching Anderson, Collecting Zweig

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Movie Poster for The Grand Budapest Hotel

The new film directed by Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel, is now playing in select theatres around the country. The unique aesthetic and sensibility of the film, set in a 1930s fictional European country, was heavily influenced by the work of Austrian writer Stefan Zweig.

At one time among the most popular writers in the world, Zweig was also an inveterate manuscript collector, an attribute that we profiled previously in the magazine. Many of Zweig’s novels such as Beware of Pity, Letter from an Unknown Woman, and his memoir, The World of Yesterday, were international bestsellers and widely acclaimed by critics. Zweig’s popularity, however, has been in steady decline since his suicide in 1942.

But all that might change soon. (more…)


National Poetry Month Begins Today

April begins today and with it the start of a month long celebration of poetry.  Since its inauguration by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, every April has been celebrated as National Poetry Month. Schools, libraries, publishers, booksellers, and, of course, poets, across the United States all come together to celebrate poetry in American culture. Readings, festivals, special book displays, workshops, and other events take place throughout the month. “We hope to increase the visibility and availability of poetry in popular culture … Continued


Mutiny on the Bounty, 225 Years Later

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Image courtesy of Bonhams

The HMS Bounty was just a small merchant vessel on its way to Tahiti to collect breadfruit. Under the command of the now infamous Captain Bligh, the ship left dock in December of 1787 for its arduous ten-month journey at sea, during which time Bligh demoted his sailing master and replaced him with Fletcher Christian, a move he would surely come to regret. Still, they made it to Tahiti, where the crew stayed for five months. In April of 1789, they left the island and headed for disaster.

It took only a few weeks for the mutiny to foment. Christian and his band of mutineers took the ship (eventually to Pitcairn Island, where they eluded the Royal Navy), and set Bligh and his loyalists adrift in a small boat. Amazingly, Bligh returned his crew to England.

It is, of course, a story that was sensational from the beginning, providing the basis for many books and films. One of the first publications was the printed minutes of the 1792 court-martial of the Bounty mutineers–those the Navy had caught, anyway. Ten men went to trial, of which three were hanged. For a collector of Bounty books and relics, this is undoubtedly a high spot. Bonhams sold one last year for slightly more than $50,000. (more…)


First Annual Folio Prize Winner Announced

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George Saunders, Tenth of December

 

George Saunders Wins First Annual Folio Prize

George Saunders has won the inaugural Folio Prize for his collection of short stories entitled Tenth of December. The Folio Prize, sponsored by The Folio Society, is open to writers in English from around the world. Its stated mission is to “celebrate the best fiction of our time, regardless of form or genre, and bring it to the attention of as many readers as possible.”

Saunders – no stranger to awards – has received wide acclaim for Tenth of December, his most recent collection of short stories, that “illuminates human experience and explores figures lost in a labyrinth of troubling preoccupations.” Saunders even made The New York Times Best Sellers List with Tenth of December, an astonishing achievement for a literary collection of short stories. Lavinia Greenlaw, chair of the judges for the award, said of Saunders, “Unflinching, delightful, adventurous, compassionate, he is a true original whose work is absolutely of the moment.”

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Photography Exhibition of Lost Photographs Showcases Early 20th Century London

An exhibition opens later this week at the Eleven Spitalfields Gallery in London showcasing the work of a mysterious early 20th century street photographer known only as CA Mathews. Mathews photographed a variety of street scenes, almost at random, in the East London neighborhood of Spitalfields one April morning in 1912. Mathews’ purpose in taking the photos – as with almost all the details of his life – remains mysterious. All that is definitively known about Mathews is the address of photography … Continued


Audubon’s “Big Year”

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The Big Year, by Obmascik

In 1820, John James Audubon proclaimed his intent to paint every species of birds in North America. When the project was completed in 1838, Audubon had documented 506 species.

There is, of course, a scientific answer as to how many species of birds there are in North America. If one actually intends to seek them out individually – much less paint them – expect to find far fewer.

The 2008 publication of The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession by Mark Obmascik lent a good bit of credence to the difficulty in actually spotting substantial numbers of bird species. Wikipedia defines a “Big Year” as “an informal competition among birders to see who can see or hear the largest number of species of birds within a single calendar year and within a specific geographical area.” The American Birding Association defines that area, which can be loosely described as Audubon’s “North America.” (more…)


Horrible Gifts for Wedding Showers

If you’ve ever been to a wedding shower, you are most likely familiar with the long and uncomfortable tradition of watching quietly while the future bride opens a bevy of wedding gifts.  They can range from boring to quasi-scandalous, but they are rarely original.  From expensive blenders to edible underwear, you can see the gifts coming from a mile away.

God, you hate weddings.

Well, we can guarantee that if you give any of these books at a wedding shower, you’ll never be invited to another wedding again:


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On the Road Via Google Maps

Combining the twin powers of self-publishing and computer technologies, literature enthusiasts today are able to elevate fandom to an entirely new level. A German college student, Gregor Weichbrodt, has created an eBook detailing chapter by chapter directions for the route traveled by Sal Paradise (alter ego of author Jack Kerouac) in On the Road. Using “exact and approximate” destinations mentioned in the narrative, Weichbrodt plugged the locations into Google Maps and generated a 66 page document, “On the Road in 17527 … Continued