Oh, gosh, it is brown out there. (But at least it's no longer white.) (Sorry, Owatonna.) But this weekend marks Gustavus Adolphus Library Associate's annual Books in Bloom exhibit at the college in St. Peter, Minn., which features 30 floral arrangements designed to compliment 30 books.
The exhibit will be open all weekend (hours: Friday, 3-5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.) with a book signing from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. (Not all writers will be at the book signing. For example, Victor Hugo almost certainly will not make it.)
Some of the titles, such as Erin Morgenstern's "The Night Circus," or Faith Sullivan's "Gardenias," seem as though they would lend themselves to fabulous and exotic displays. Not easy, but maybe a bit less of a challenge than, say, "Philosophical Investigations" by Ludwig Wittgenstein, or ""The Legacy of Conquest: The Unbroken Past of the American West," by Patricia Nelson Limerick. Go, florists!
Here are this year's featured titles:
"Minnesota's Outdoor Wonders," by Jim Gilbert
"Little Wolves," by Thomas Maltman
"The Night Birds," by Thomas Maltman
"Because of Winn Dixie," by Kate DiCamillo
"On Three Continents" and "Mimbo Ma Ki Kriso," by Ruth Nelson Johnson
"Les Miserables," by Victor Hugo
"The Disappearing Spoon," by Sam Kean
"The Hunger Games Trilogy," by Suzanne Collins
"Sophie's Choice," by William Styron
"The Hobbit," by J.R.R. Tolkien
"The Lighthouse Road," by Peter Geye
"Planting a Rainbow," by Lois Ehlert
"Black and Bold," by Bruce Gray
"Elizabeth the Queen," by Sally Bedell Smith
"On His Watch," by Dennis Johnson
"The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake," by Aimee Bender
"Downton Abbey," by Julian Fellowes
"The Round House," by Louise Erdrich
"Wicked," by Gregory Maguire
"Yes, Chef," by Marcus Samuelsson
"Team of Rivals," by Doris Kearns Goodwin
"The Night Circus," by Erin Morgenstern
"Olivia," by Ian Falconer
"The Legacy of Conquest," by Patricia Nelson Limerick
"Gardenias," by Faith Sullivan
"Philosophical Investigations," by Ludwig Wittgenstein
"Travels with Charley," by John Steinbeck
"The Boy in the Suitcase," by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis
"Supper with the Savior," by Barbara Sartorius-Bjelland
"The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters," by Elizabeth Robinson.
This year's Books in Bloom, which is at the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library, is dedicated to the memory of Marlys Johnson, one of the event's founders, who died last month after a short illness.
The Andrew Carnegie Medals for excellence in fiction and nonfiction will be announced on June 30 in Chicago. Winners will receive $5,000, and the four finalists will receive $1,500 each.
The finalists in fiction are Louise Erdrich for "The Round House"; Junot Diaz for "This is How You Lose Her" (and those two met mano-a-mano once before, for the National Book Award, and we all know who won); and Richard Ford for "Canada."
In nonfiction, the finalists are "The Mansion of Happiness," by Jill Lepore, "Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher," by Timothy Egan, and "Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic," by David Quammen.
Here are Strib reviews of four of the six finalists:
In the promotional materials for Kate DiCamillo's new book, "The Illuminated Adventures of Flora & Ulysses," there is an adorable photograph of DiCamillo hamming it up next to a giant statue of a squirrel. The photo is not just cute, it's apt--the book is about a girl (Flora) who saves a squirrel (Ulysses) from a vacuum cleaner (wielded by a neighbor, Mrs. Tickman, who is vacuuming her yard).
It's a charming, funny story, told in DiCamillo's spare, direct style. ("Not much goes on in the mind of a squirrel," opens Chapter Two.) (Which is called, "The Mind of a Squirrel.")
The book is illustrated by K.G. Campbell, who contributes both traditional drawings and little segments of graphic-novel panels. It pubs in late September.
Here's our interview with DiCamillo and McGhee from 2010, when the first Bink & Gollie book came out.
Healy tied with Cincinnati, Ohio, writer Marjorie Celona, author of "Y"; they each win $1,000.
The top winner was Christopher Hebert of Nashville, Tenn., who will win $2,000 for his novel, "The Boiling Season."
The awards ceremony will be in Chicago on May 10.
Who to root for? Minnesota writer Arthur Phillips? Minneapolis's Graywolf Press? The beautiful "Buddha in the Attic"? The zany Pulitzer finalist "Swamplandia!"?
The shortlist for the International IMPAC/Dublin Literary Award has been announced, and the ten titles represent a truly international range--five in translation, three by Americans, one Irish and one British.
Phillips' novel, "The Tragedy of Arthur," is "a circus of a novel," said the Star Tribune in its review (by critic Mark Athitakis). It's the story of a man (named Arthur Phillips) who discovers a long-lost Shakespearean play in his father's attic.
Graywolf Press is in the running, too, with Irish author Kevin Barry's "City of Bohane."
The IMPAC/Dublin Award carries a prize of more than $150,000.
Here's the full list:
"City of Bohane," by Kevin Barry
"The Map and the Territory," by Michel Houellebecq, translated from French.
"Pure," by Andrew Miller.
"1Q84," by Haruki Murakami, translated from Japanese.
"The Buddha in the Attic," by Julie Otsuka.
"The Tragedy of Arthur," by Arthur Phillips.
"Swamplandia!," by Karen Russell
"From the Mouth of the Whale," by Sjon, translated from Icelandic.
"The Faster I Walk, the Smaller I Am," by Kjersti Skomsvold, translated from Norwegian.
"Caesarian," by Tommy Wieringa, translated from Dutch.
The winner will be announced by the Lord Mayor of Dublin on June 6.
Events: Arthur Phillips will be at the Stillwater Public Library at 7 p.m. on April 18 for Club Book. The next evening, he'll be in St. Croix Falls, Wis., at 7:30 p.m. when the St. Croix Falls Theater performs a scene from the play embedded within his book.
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