The Jewish Book Council recently announced the winners of the 2013 National Jewish Book Awards.
According to the Jewish Book Council, "Now in its 63rd year, the National Jewish Book Awards is the longest-running North American awards program in the field of Jewish literature. Established to recognize outstanding books of Jewish interest in various categories, it has earned its place as one of the nation's premiere literary honors."
It all began in 1919, when the University of Edinburgh presented the James Tait Black Prize to Hugh Walpole for his novel, Secret City and, in the biography category, to H. Festing Jones for his memoir of Samuel Butler.
The James Tait Black has the distinction of being Britain's oldest literary award and, with it, a trend was born. Over the years, book awards have proved wildly popular, with prizes for individual genres, first books, etc. You name it, there's a prize. Typically, recognition is given for the "best" book in a given category -- novel, biography, poetry, science fiction/fantasy, mystery, graphic novel, children's book, young adult -- which seems a tall-enough order to judge.
World Book Night, which began in 2010, is celebrated around the world on the evening of April 23rd. April 23rd was chosen for many reasons: it is the UNESCO International Day of the Book, as well as Shakespeare’s birthday, and it was also selected in honor of Miguel de Cervantes, who died on April 23, 1616. In Spain, this day is traditionally celebrated by giving a book and a flower to a loved one.
From its inception the purpose of World Book Night has been to get books into the hands of people who may not have any in their homes. What better way to spread a love for reading than to provide passionate readers the opportunity to reach out to their communities by handselling copies of their favorite books?
A great book for book clubs and one you shouldn't miss.
Since college (so many years ago), I have always been a fan of Louise Erdrich, but until the publication of her most recent book, The Round House, I had let a few of her books slip by without reading them. When my book club selected The Round House, I felt this was the perfect opportunity to get caught up. Wow! While most of Erdrich's books are complicated and require dedication and focus to plow through, The Round House, is completely accessible to your average reader.
If you browse the book stacks at the Central Library, chances are you'll spy a "Did you miss this?" bookmark tucked in a title. Staff periodically flag a book that may have fallen off your reading radar. Who knows? You may discover a new, favorite title!