Category Archives: Award Winners

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Grunt Hidden Figures A Gentleman in Moscow Journey to Munich Everybody's Fool

Looking for something to listen to over the winter holidays?  Here is a sampling of some of the best audiobooks of 2016.


Grunt, by Mary Roach.  Bestselling author Mary Roach explores the science of keeping human beings intact, awake, sane, uninfected and uninfested in the bizarre and extreme circumstances of war. Narrated by Abby Elvidge.

Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly. The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. Narrated by Robin Miles.

American Heiress, by Jeffrey Toobin. The wild saga of the kidnapping, crimes and trial of Patty Hearst.  Narrated by Paul Michael.


A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles. From the bestselling author of Rules of Civility –a transporting story about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel.  Narrated by Nicholas Guy Smith.

Journey to Munich, by Jacqueline Winspear. The 12th installment of Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series.  This time Maisie heads to Munich.  There will be Nazis.  Narrated by by Orlagh Cassidy.

Everybody’s Fool, by Richard Russo.  After 23 years, the author returns to North Bath, in upstate New York, and the characters who made Nobody’s Fool, a huge success.  Narrated by Mark Bramhall.

The Black Widow, by Daniel Silva. An international thriller that finds the legendary Gabriel Allon grappling with an ISIS mastermind. Narrated by George Guidall.


Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight.  The Nike founder and CEO  shares the inside story of the company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic and profitable brands.  Narrated by Norbert Leo Butz.

The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo, by Amy Schumer.  A refreshingly candid and raucously funny collection of extremely personal and observational essays.  Narrated by the author.

The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo   The Black Widow Shoe Dog American Heiress


Award News for Mystery Lovers

In case you missed it, the Edgar Allan Poe Awards were announced last week and I am always fascinated by the nominee and winner lists as they often serve up hidden gems (in fact, two of the three pictured below are currently on the shelf!).  Click the link above to see the entire list.

Let Me Die  Sympathizer  Long and Faraway Gone

WalterMosleyIt’s also nice to see that Walter Mosley was awarded the Grand Master, the highest honor the Mystery Writers of America bestows, one that recognizes a lifetime of achievement and an impressive quality of work. Mosley, a prolific writer, is perhaps best known for his crime series featuring Easy Rawlins. The first in the series is The Devil in a Blue Dress.

Based on the Book

Gee, Golden Globes! OMG, Oscars! We’re glad we could be there for ya! This year’s blockbuster list of hit movies drew heavily on the printed page for inspiration. For anyone who missed these award-winning movies or wants to immerse themselves in the original source, here is a list of 2016 winners and nominees and the books upon which they were based:

The Revenant revenant

Based on the novel of the same name by Michael Punke,The Revenant won Best Picture/Drama, Best Actor/Drama (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Best Director (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu) at the 2016 Golden Globes, and has been nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director by the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences – aka, the Academy Awards.



RoomBased on the novel by the same name by Emma Donoghue, Room won Best Actress/Drama (Brie Larson) at the 2016 Golden Globes, where it was also nominated for Best Picture/Drama and Best Screenplay (written by the author.) It has been nominated for Best Picture, Best Actress (Brie Larson) and Best Director (Lenny Abrahamson) by the Academy Awards.


The Martian The Martian 

Andy Weir’s funny-scary-science-y tale of an astronaut abandoned on Mars won Best Picture and Best Actor (Matt Damon) at the Golden Globes. It has been nominated for an Academy Award in both categories, as well as a nomination for Ridley Scott as Best Director.


Steve JobsSteve Jobs

Walter Isaacson’s in-depth biography of the computer genius won Best Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin) and Best Supporting Actress (Kate Winslet) at the Golden Globes. It has been nominated for Best Actor (Michael Fassbender) and Best Supporting Actress (Kate Winslet) by the Academy Awards.


CarolThe Price of Salt

Based on the novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith, Carol was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (Todd Haynes) and Best Actress for both Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara by the Golden Globes.  Cate Blanchett has received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress and Rooney Mara for Best Supporting Actress.


The Danish Girl Danish Girl

Based on the true story of Danish painter Einar Wegener and his California-born wife, David Ebershoff’s portrait of a marriage was nominated for Best Actor (Eddie Redmayne) and Best Actress (Alicia Vilander) by both the Golden Globes and Academy Awards.


The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday MachineBig Short

The film adaptation of Michael Lewis’s examination of the financial crisis of 2008 has garnered Golden Globe nominations for Best Screenplay (Adam McKay and Charles Randolph), Best Actor (Christian Bale and Steve Carrell) and Best Picture.  The Academy Awards also nominated it for Best Picture, as well as Best Director (Adam McKay) and Best Supporting Actor (Christian Bale.)



Based on the novel by Colm Toibin, the film adaptation received a Golden Globe and Academy Award Best Actress nomination for Saorise Ronan as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.


2014 National Book Awards

RedeploymentWednesday night we learned the 2014 winners of the National Book Award, and there are some terrific titles to explore.

Winner in the fiction category was debut novelist (and former marine) Phil Klay for Redeployment.  The nonfiction prize went to Evan Osnos for Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in new China.

Prizes were also awarded for poAge_of_Ambitionetry and young people’s literature. You can see all the winners and nominees online, and the lists are worth viewing as there are many intriguing titles (by the way, I was rooting for Station Eleven in the fiction category).

Also worth mentioning: the amazing speech given by diminutive and delightful author Ursula K. Le Guin who was honored with the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Included in her thought-provoking statements was this gem, contrasting authors of “realism” with those who write fantasy and science fiction:

“I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being…”

You can watch her entire speech in the video below.  This was only the second time I’ve watched along as the awards were announced and I have to say it is becoming a favorite book event to “attend” – even if only virtually.  Always some new, great books to read!

Is the Next Great Author Your Neighbor?

100+ entries STBFbannersmall
90 days
23 judges
3 finalists

…and now a winner for the inaugural Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author project! Congratulations to Joanne Zienty, of Wheaton, who won yesterday with her book The Things We Save. We will be adding her book to our collection so you can check it out for yourself (also available on Amazon).

Some of the judges at the award ceremony.

Some of the judges at the award ceremony.

I had the honor of being involved as a judge for the project which meant an interesting few months of reading! There were a wide range of stories and many were set locally which added an element of fun as I recognized a town, or commiserated with having to drive a certain stretch of tollway, or tried to guess which Chicago blues bar had inspired the author.

The other two finalists were Rick Polad of Carol Stream for his mystery Change of Address and Mary Hutchings Reed for her novel Warming Up. I also want to give kudos to our own St. Charles author, Bruce Steinberg, who was among the nominees for his book, The Widow’s Son.

An Earful of Book Ideas


Click the image and you’ll be taken to AudioFile Magazine‘s 2013 roundup of audiobooks in a variety of genres (and with plenty of audio clips so you can pre-listen!).

PS One title not listed that Staff here at SCPL are raving about is the dark yet humorous short story collection from Books on Tape, Tenth of December by George Saunders.

They’re Not the Emmys, But Still…

The nominees for this year’s National Book Award for fiction have been announced, and while no one has to rush out and get fitted for a tux or find a designer gown for the November 20 awards ceremony, there’s still cause for celebration.  The longlist is rife with powerhouse talent, from venerable names such as Thomas Pynchon to edgy newcomers such as Rachel Kushner.  So, without further ado, here’s the list of this year’s finalists:

Thomas Pynchon, Bleeding Edge
George Saunders, Tenth of December  Note: This is the 2nd Tuesday Evening Book Discussion Group selection for–wait for it–December 10. (Yup. We planned it that way.)
Jhumpa Lahiri, The Lowland
Rachel Kushner, The Flamethrowers
James McBride, The Good Lord Bird
Alice McDermott, Someone
Elizabeth Graver, The End of the Point
Anthony Marra, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
Joan Silber, Fools
Tom Drury, Pacific

And the Winners Are….

CanadaThe winners of the second annual Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction were announced on Sunday, June 30, at the American Library Association’s annual conference. Novelist Richard Ford won the fiction award for Canada, his elegiac tale of a family disrupted by crime, while journalist Timothy Egan was honored for his searing biography of groundbreaking photographer Edward Curtis in Short Nights of the ShaShort Nights of Shadow Catcher, which the 2nd Tuesday morning book group will be discussing on September 10. All are welcome.

Interviews with both authors can be found at the following links:

Interview with Richard Ford

Interview with Timothy Egan

You can also view the shortlist of titles for the award.



Carnegie Award Finalists Announced

The shortlist for the 2013 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction has been announced, and includes titles that have been flying off the shelves this past year. If having your personal book selection validated by a team of library and reading experts is a pat on the back to your good taste, then the titles below may give you a literary glow for the rest of the day.

The finalists for fiction are:

This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz
The Round House by Louise Erdrich
Canada by Richard Ford

This Is How You Lose HerRound HouseCanada

In nonfiction, the nominees are:

Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan
(770 EGA)
The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death by Jill Lepore (973 LEP)
Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen (614.43 QUA)

Short Nights of Shadow CatcherMansion of HappinessSpillover

The nominees are selected by a seven-member committee comprised of library professionals from the American Library Association’s Booklist magazine’s editorial staff and the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA). Finalists were drawn from the past year’s Booklist Editor’s Choice lists and the RUSA CODES Notable Books List.

Winners will be announced during the 2013 ALA Conference in Chicago on June 30.

The Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction were established in 2012 to recognize the best fiction and nonfiction works published for adult readers in the previous year. They are funded through a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and were established to reflect Andrew Carnegie’s deep belief in the power of books and learning to change the world.

Lend Me Your Ears

The volume is high for end-of-the-year “best of” lists and audiobook fans are not muted! Read on to find out which titles are earning accolades.

Edoardo Ballerini’s narration of Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter has won’s nod for best audiobook of 2012 and I couldn’t agree more. This was one of those listening experiences that grabs you on the first track and makes you want to send gushing fan letters to the reader.


This memoir is read by its author, Marcus Samuelsson, and while his speech pattern takes a little getting used to, the combination of his incredible life story and his honest, raw telling of it make this a totally engaging listen. Disclaimer: You’ll be hungry if you listen on an empty stomach.


And here is another memoir that I couldn’t turn off. After the author’s mother is unfortunately diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, they spend her remaining time reading and discussing as many books as they can. As one would imagine, it’s a very moving story, and is way more than a chronicling of their likes and dislikes. Highly recommended.

Want more?  Try these award winners.


Click on any of the images in this post for more information.  And as always, happy listening.