Carolyn Offers Up
her Ninth Annual Noble (Not Nobel!) Prize
I think we should read great books. Hardcovers.
Paperback. New. Used. E-books. I especially think we should read
Classics. Not necessarily all the time but often enough to inspire
us to stretch just a bit in terms of developing our literary taste.
To learn something from a theme or sample a voice we haven’t
tried. Or even to develop a turn of phrase, a metaphor, or a simile
we can use in our writing or in our speech.
I hope you'll use my Noble (Not Nobel!) prize list for reading
suggestions, too. It appears every January in this column. And my
columns are archived. The Noble is awarded for literary excellence
in use of the English language. They should present themes or premises
that might help readers recognize and curtail bigotry or explore
the human condition in other important ways.
The contest is free except for the cost of the book. Authors or
readers who would like to nominate a book may reach me at HoJoNews@aol.com
for instructions on where to mail it. I'm also happy to let you
know in advance if a particular book fits my parameters, just in
case there are doubts. Because we don't want to waste even one good
book. On the other hand, I don't want to miss seeing one I might
give an award to!
I also want to thank Leigh Johnson, my daughter-in-law and an avid
reader of new great literature. I am pleased to receive nominations
from other readers, too, but they must be willing to send me a book
or to contact the publisher or author and ask them to send one.
The address is:
PO Box 1101
La Canada Flintridge, CA 91012-1101
2010 Noble List for Reading in 2011
To D. K.
Abbott for A Purrfect Love. Illustrated
by Shelley Patten-Forster.
Most of us feel different in one way or another. Here's a
little book for preschool children about a kitty who is a different
color from his siblings and makes a very unkitty like sound when
he mews. It is sure to teach youngsters (subtly, of course!) acceptance--of
others and of themselves.
Ovasapyan for her new chapbook wild is the heart. Tender, inspired poetry and
essays. A travelogue of sorts, mixed with what appears to be
a new artform. Let’s call it the Ovasapyan Haiku. Learn more at
To Aimee Bender for The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. Aimee
was an instructor at Summer Semesters
I attended in St. Petersburg Russia where I fell in love with her
style when I read stories from The
Girl in the Flammable Skirt. She also teaches at my alma mater,
Universit of Southern California (USC). I’ve broken the rule for
giving the Noble to authors who haven’t won major
prizes here. What can I say. She’s won
many prizes including the Pushcart, but I reserve the right to be
prejudiced toward great writing.
To Antoine de Sain-Exupéry for
The Little Prince. I know, I know.
from my rules. But this
edition is new and I’ve always felt that sad as this story is, we
should read it to our children; they will naturally absorb a knack
for language in the hearing of it. This new edition is a popup book,
but it does include the complete original text.
To David Herrle for Abyssinia,
Jill Rush, a book of poetry from the editor of the online
journal Subtle Tea. An
image in every poem that will make you cry to shake your
fist in rage.
To Rolf Gompertz for To Life, To Love, In Poetry and Prose: A Spiritual Memoir. His poem says it all:
in the winter of my life, I ask myself
Menachem ben Shimshon v’Sarah,
son of Oscar and Selma Gompertz,
did you do, as a survivor?
What was your transformative
To Hitler, Kristallnacht, and the Holocaust?
lived as a Jew,
wrote books, about Love,
. . . click . . . click . . .
To Carolyn Allen for Music
Magic, the story of Mari, a thirteen-year-old lover of music
who explores her world through adventures
with music, family, friendship and community. In doing so, she builds
a multi-ethnic group of friends. [eBook]
To Aaron Paul Lazar for Healey’s
Cave. A mystery has never made my Nobel list before but
this one deserves the description “literary mystery.” It’s been
called “lush,” “lyrical,” and “absorbing.” It is a fine example
of how genre fiction can cross the line from entertaining to fine
Leigh Johnson nominated Sarah
Waters for The Little Stranger.
She says it is “a story of the British class system and how it changed
following World War II. A very unreliable narrator befriends a formally rich upper class family who
once employed his mother. Nothing is quite as it seems as the story
unfolds. The suspense and dread builds until the very final page.”
She also said that after reading it, she read all Waters’ earlier
books, The Nightwatch, Affinity, Fingersmith
and Tipping the Velvet
after she finished The Little
Stranger and loved them all.
Tips and Tidbits
(Each month in this box, Carolyn lists a Tidbit that will
help authors write or promote better. She will also include
a Tip to help readers find a treasure among long-neglected
books or a sapphire among the newly-published.)
interested in their craft know that last-minute edits can
mean the difference between success and failure. My new booklet,
Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers, will help all
writers, from those who write business letters to those who
pen poetry. Find it on Amazon.
Tip for Readers' Tip: Carolyn is reworking her Web site. Find
lots of reading suggestions on the Resources for Readers pages
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