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Book News: Caro Wins His Third National Book Critics Circle Award

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

  • The National Book Critics Circle Awards were given out Thursday night at the New School in New York. Ben Fountain's magnificent novel Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk won in the fiction category, and Robert Caro garnered his third NBCC award, this time for his biography The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson. Other winners are Andrew Solomon's Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity in non-fiction; Leanne Shapton's Swimming Studies in autobiography; Marina Warner's Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights in criticism; and D. A. Powell's Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys in poetry.
  • Joan Didion's 1996 essay for The New York Review of Books in which she dissects books by journalist Bob Woodward of Watergate fame is newly relevant. She writes: "[T]hese are books in which measurable cerebral activity is virtually absent."
  • As expected, Barnes & Noble had a difficult fiscal third quarter, with the Nook division posting a 26 percent drop. CEO William Lynch called the Nook results an "obvious disappointment."
  • "I read fan fiction online in the nether regions of the web, but once you start looking you find it everywhere: Arthurian legends, fairytale adaptations, a 'sequel' by a different author, historical novels, RPF (Real Person Fiction). Geraldine Brooks's March, a novel which sees the events of Little Women from the perspective of the girls' father, and which won the Pulitzer Prize? Faaan fiction," writes William and Mary undergraduate Katherine Arcement about her fan fiction habit in the London Review of Books.
  • Novelist Michael Idov on the conservative backlash against Vladimir Nabokov in his native Russia: "[T]hirty-six years after his death and twenty-two years after the fall of the Soviet Union with all its khudsovets, Vladimir Nabokov is, once again, controversial."
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