Of Presidents and Prizes ...
After nearly a year of stony silence, MobyLives again! Adjust your browsers accordingly. Moby notes that Edward Champion is taking a break from his Return of the Reluctant blog ("withholding brownies from Sam Tanenhaus since September 2004"), but not before taking inspiration from a Deborah Solomon interview with Edward P. Jones to create a Deborah Solomon interview with Deborah Solomon. First question:"You're a moribund NYT journalist who can't even treat Pulitzer Prize winners with anything close to respect. Do you smile much?" Ouch! Bob Schieffer's first question to John Kerry,"Will our children and grandchildren ever live in a world as safe and secure as the world in which we grew up?" was almost as bad, though it wasn't meant as caricature. You'd think Schieffer forgot all about World War II, the Cold War, bomb shelters, and learning to hide under our desks.
Anyway, the National Book Awards interested me more than presidential debates or baseball playoff games. For the first time, women took all the nominations for fiction: Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Madeleine Is Sleeping; Christine Schutt, Florida; Joan Silber, Ideas of Heaven: A Ring of Stories; Lily Tuck, The News From Paraguay; and Kate Walbert, Our Kind: A Novel in Stories. The non-fiction nominees are: Kevin Boyle, Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age; David Hackett Fischer, Washington's Crossing; Jennifer Gonnerman, Life on the Outside: The Prison Odyssey of Elaine Bartlett; Stephen Greenblatt, Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare; and The 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States-Authorized Edition. The 9/11 Commission's report gets the headline. Maybe its authors should be commissioned to rewrite the IRS tax code to make it next year's winner.
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