the national book awards

Book Reviews : Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

I wasn’t sure I’d like this book. It even took me a while to get into the story. But I love that I was taken by surprise with how much I liked this book. The use of magical realism here is pretty clever and I appreciated the slow burn with how it was used in the story.

Nicola Yoon, Jamaican American, is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the 2015 novel turned 2017 movie, Everything, Everything. Her husband, David Yoon, Korean American, was the illustrator for Nicola’s novel and he is the creator of a line of custom notebooks. Nicola’s 2016 novel, The Sun Is Also A Star, was a national book award finalist and features a Blasian couple (Jamaican American woman and Korean American man) similar to Nicola and David. Much continued success to David and Nicola!

Top Ten Challenged Books of 2016:

Out of 323 challenges reported to the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, the Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2016 are

  1. This One Summer written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
    This young adult graphic novel, winner of both a Printz and a Caldecott Honor Award, was restricted, relocated, and banned because it includes LGBT characters, drug use, and profanity, and it was considered sexually explicit with mature themes.
  2. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
    Parents, librarians, and administrators banned this Stonewall Honor Award-winning graphic novel for young adults because it includes LGBT characters, was deemed sexually explicit, and was considered to have an offensive political viewpoint.
  3. George written by Alex Gino
    Despite winning a Stonewall Award and a Lambda Literary Award, administrators removed this children’s novel because it includes a transgender child, and the “sexuality was not appropriate at elementary levels.”
  4. I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
    This children’s picture book memoir was challenged and removed because it portrays a transgender child and because of language, sex education, and offensive viewpoints.
  5. Two Boys Kissing written by David Levithan
    Included on the National Book Award longlist and designated a Stonewall Honor Book, this young adult novel was challenged because its cover has an image of two boys kissing, and it was considered to include sexually explicit LGBT content.
  6. Looking for Alaska written by John Green
    This 2006 Printz Award winner is a young adult novel that was challenged and restricted for a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to “sexual experimentation.”
  7. Big Hard Sex Criminals written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky
    Considered to be sexually explicit by library staff and administrators, this compilation of adult comic books by two prolific award-winning artists was banned and challenged.
  8. Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread written by Chuck Palahniuk
    This collection of adult short stories, which received positive reviews from Newsweek and the New York Times, was challenged for profanity, sexual explicitness, and being “disgusting and all around offensive.”
  9. Little Bill (series) written by Bill Cosby and illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood
    This children’s book series was challenged because of criminal sexual allegations against the author.
  10. Eleanor & Park written by Rainbow Rowell
    One of seven New York Times Notable Children’s Books and a Printz Honor recipient, this young adult novel was challenged for offensive language.
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Book Update:
Just getting out of a 4 month long extremely terrible reading & book slump so I wanted to read something that I’ve had on my physical tbr for some time now and something that would be a light and easy read that I would most definitely enjoy. Brown Girl Dreaming is the beautifully verse written memoir of Jaqueline Woodson’s childhood that details what it was like for her growing up in the 1960s and 70s.
- Veronika

(excuse my face lol)

Happy birthday to Vincent van Gogh!

Did you know? National Book Award Finalist Deborah Heiligman wrote a non-fiction book called Vincent and Theo about Vincent and his brother, Theo. It hits shelves on April 18th, but you can start reading the first few chapters right now!

Books aren’t just commodities; the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but then, so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words.
Please, no matter how we advance technologically, please don’t abandon the book. There is nothing in our material world more beautiful than the book.
—  Patti Smith, Acceptance speech of National Book Award 2010 (Nonfiction), November 17, 2010
the purest specimen of truth

this is actually for @leiascully​‘s @xfficchallenges​: the fic you’d never write. normally i don’t write “everything was beautiful and nothing hurt” william fics, let alone fics where he’s a teeeeeen! so i did that, but i was also at the science march in d.c. this weekend and obvi i had to fic an au where scully was there so…also, all the signs mentioned herein were actually witnessed irl haha also, the title of scully’s academic paper is based in real science but to my knowledge doesn’t exist…yet.


“What about I was told there’d be pie — but it’s the symbol for pi?”

Scully sighed without looking up at him, though she did admittedly choke back a smile which she wasn’t about to reward him with.

“That is clever,” she said, tapping the capped end of a Sharpie against her temple, “But I was partial to your original idea.”

He chuckled, “At the start of every disaster movie there’s a scientist being ignored?

She does smile then, peering at him overtop her reading glasses, which have slowly but surely become a permanent fixture atop her head over the last few years.

“Well, it’s true!” He bellows, playfully slapping his hand down atop the dining room table, “The Core, Dante’s Peak, The Day After Tomorrow, Twister —  that one we saw in theaters where they did an autopsy on Gwyneth Paltrow — ?”

Contagion,” she said, uncapping a marker with her teeth, “Which was impressively accurate, by the way. Not just the autopsy scene but later, the visual showing the way in which new viruses are formed by the recombination of DNA or RNA from different species of animal hosts?”  

“I’ll take your word for it,” he said, watching her squint intently down at her poster board, outlining the letters with a pathologist’s steady hand. He reached for a Sharpie, his finger grazing the back of her hand as he did. “So,” he said, flicking the cap off with his thumb, “Are you nervous?”

Her hand froze and she visibly stiffened. He immediately regretted bringing it up but as was his wont, he couldn’t help himself. 

“Yes,” she said after an agonizingly long moment of silence.“I still don’t understand why they asked me to speak,” she muttered, refusing to look up at him.

Mulder scoffed, “Scully — you fucking cured Tay-Sachs.”

“No,” she snapped, pointing her Sharpie at him, “I did not cure it. Not yet.

Recombiant Adeno-Associated Virus PHP.B Serotype for Cross-Correctional Enzyme Transfer Across the Blood Brain Barrier in Lipid Storage Disorders,” he recited on a single breath, “Sounds like a cure to me.”

She gave him a warm smile, “You memorized the title of my paper?”

“What can I say, I’m your biggest fan,” he grinned. She blushed, which of course only made him grin harder.

“I wish you’d look over my speech…” she said softly, picking up her marker again and retracing a giant letter S.

“I told you, Scully, they don’t want a speech from Fox Mulder: former FBI agent and profiler turned New York Times best-selling, National Book Award-winning author,” he said, though not unkindly, “They want a speech from former FBI agent, medical doctor, professor, surgeon, American Medical Association award-winning, guest-lecture giving, honorary degree-having, enigmatic, Dr. Dana Katherine Scully. Who also happens to be my best friend, the love of my life, and the mother of my child,” he said, “And a damn fine shot, too.”

“Oh, Mulder…” she tutted, shaking her head. As if on cue, they heard booming footfalls on the stairs and a second later Will skidded into the room, brandishing a poster board.

At 16, he was just about Mulder’s height and just as lanky and would probably be taller than him by the end of the summer; if his propensity for eating a week’s worth of groceries in a weekend was any indication of his basic metabolic rate and robust genetic profile.

Will cleared his throat, feigning seriousness, but his eyes sparkled with his father’s particular brand of indolence, “Brace yourselves for the unremitting sheen of my brilliance.”

Scully snorted. Mulder and Will threw her identical, indignant looks.

“I’m sorry,” she said, putting her hands up in surrender, “You are your father’s son, Will. No doubt about it.”

Mulder nudged her foot with his under the table, “Was there ever really any doubt, Scully?”

She gave him a long look, which did not get passed Will. Not much did. 

“I detect a rather abrupt change in atmosphere,” Will said, licking his finger and holding it in the air as if to sense a gust of wind.

“Son,” Mulder said gravely, not taking his eyes off Scully, “There’s something we have to tell you.”

Scully frowned, but before she could speak she saw the faintest glimmer in Mulder’s eye and relaxed a bit.

“What?” Will said, slumping down in the chair closest to his father, letting his sign drop to the floor.

“William…Uncle Walter …is your real dad,” Mulder said, his mouth twitching around a grin.

“That explains why I find you and Mom so ridiculous,” Will said, rolling his eyes in with such form that it rivaled even his mother’s practiced art.

“No, that’s just ‘cuz you’re an angsty teen,” Mulder said, ruffling his son’s hair. Will blushed at the childishness of the gesture — more so because, even as a young man, he still craved his father’s approval and affection and was relieved to be in receipt of it.

“Let’s see your sign, Will,” Scully said, capping a nearby Sharpie that was teetering precariously over the edge of the dining room table.

Will reached for the posterboard, brandishing it high above his head. With a flourish, he turned it so they could read its words as he proclaimed them.

SCIENTISTS ARE PRO-TESTING!” He bellowed, and while he expected his father to laugh heartily and give him a high-five, neither of them expected that his mother would laugh. Certainly no so hard.

After a minute or two went by, Will and Mulder both eyed Scully with a kind of nervous fascination, wondering if perhaps they would have to sedate her.

“Have you…have you ever seen her like this?” Will said, his voice low.

Mulder didn’t take his eyes off Scully, who had lowered her head onto the table, collapsed like a pop-tent. Her shoulders still shaking and her muffled giggles getting lost against the polished cherrywood.

“Once,” he said slowly, “But she was drugged.”

This only made Scully laugh harder. When she finally lifted her head, her face was a hot shade of blush-pink and sallow with tear stains.

“I appreciate the encouragement, Mom,” Will said, “But there’s no need to stroke my ego that much. It’s a good sign but it’s not that good.”

Scully reached up to wipe her eyes on the sleeve of her faded Quantico sweatshirt — which was older than Will by about a decade. She sighed deeply, then looked at them both through damp eyes and with a warm, almost cherubic smile.

“No, no, it is a good sign, Will. It’s just…” she sighed again, then drew in a long, sobering breath, “After all your father and I have been through, all that we’ve seen, the things that we’ve fought for…” she looked at Mulder, then. “The FBI sent me to your father because of my faith in science. They believed that science and reason would take him down. It didn’t, though. If anything it became an asset to his cause, and somewhere along the line I became — and so did the science I brought with me — the enemy.”

She lowered her eyes to her own sign, which suddenly seemed incapable of capturing everything she wanted — and needed — to say.

“The science helped sometimes,” Mulder said softly, “But you were the real strength, Scully.”

She smiled up at him as he reached across the table to squeeze her hand, “I guess I just find it preposterous that we have to protest this at all,” she said, shrugging slightly, “That the persecution we faced as a result of our pursuit of the truth has somehow become so much bigger than just us, than the X-files.”

“This whole political milieu is a freakin’ X-file,” Will grumbled.

“Nice 10-point vocab word there, dude.” Mulder said, clapping his son on the back.

“What can I say — my dad writes books.” Will shrugged.

Mulder beamed at Scully, who had rested her chin on her hand.

“Mulder,” she said, her voice hoarse from her laughing jag, “You never told me Skinner was a writer.”


“There must be almost 50,000 people out there,” Scully breathed, her nails digging into the skin of Mulder’s left hand. They could hear the roar of the crowd from beyond the stage — or possibly the rain, which was coming down in sheets. Of course, given that it was a crowd of scientists, they were prepared with slickers and umbrellas, upon which many had inscribed: “Science predicted rain today.”

“You’re gonna be great,” he said, kissing the side of her head which was damp with sweat or rain water or both.

“At least you’re not after Bill Nye,” Will offered, “No one wants to follow him.”

Scully groaned and pressed herself into Mulder’s chest.

“That’s true,” Mulder said, rubbing her back, “Plus, if you screw it all up, no one will remember because they’ll just remember Bill Nye and the fact that Thomas Dolby is gonna sing She Blinded Me With Science.”

“Wait, what song is this?” Will said, digging his phone out of his pocket presumably to YouTube it.

“It’s about your mother,” Mulder said, “Especially the lyric: she’s tidied up and I can’t find anything.”

“Mulder, I want a divorce,” Scully said from somewhere under Mulder’s chin.

“We’re not married, Scully.”

She pulled her head back from his coat and looked up at him, “Fox William Mulder, will you marry me?”

“Sure,” he grinned, running his thumb along her chin.

“Ok,” she said, pressing herself back into his chest again. Then, “Mulder—?”

“Yeah, Scully?”

“I want a divorce.”


The gray sky opened up over the undulating crowd.  If anyone looked up, they’d drown.  

“She looks — ” Will said, standing next to his father backstage, watching his mother at the podium.

“Brilliant? Amazing? Powerful? Divine?” Mulder finished.

Will snorted, “I was gonna say scared shitless.

Though her voice was steady and clear, from his vantage point Mulder could see what the audience could not: how Scully was anxiously lifting and lowering her stockinged foot from her sleek high heel, running the front of her toes along the back of her calf.

God, he was proud of her. God, he loved her.

“…to shed light on what has typically been sequestered away to labs and libraries and lecture halls. To put on full display the humanity that has for centuries stoked the fire of scientific inquiry, refined it, rejoiced in its revelations and more often, endured the frustrations of its arcanum.”

She looked up from her notes, then, and not out at the audience — but to her right, to him and to their son. The next words she spoke, he understood, she had not written for the masses, or for history — but for them.

“The truth exists whether we believe it or not. It endures even the most violent scrutiny and ruthless persecution. As we persist in seeking it, may we find solace in knowing that there is no person, no institution, no government, with jurisdiction over it. It can be suppressed, hidden, censored, altered or misappropriated, refuted and denied,” she paused, looking back to her audience who waited on baited breath, “What those who try to manipulate it beyond recognition, who try to eradicate it and replace it with calculated imitations, fail to recognize is that when all of those measures fail – and they will fail — what remains is the purest specimen of truth.”

She looks back at Mulder, then. At their son. And she smiles, “And it is those of us who want to believe such a truth can be revealed to us who will one day find it, and bring it into the light.”

anonymous asked:

Any suggestions for poetry books?

You betcha!  

Read on for some of our favorites! 

 This Impossible Light by Slam Poetry sensation Lily Myers is coming in June!

From the YouTube slam poetry star of “Shrinking Women”comes a novel in verse about body image, eating disorders, self-worth, mothers and daughters, and the psychological scars we inherit from our parents. This Impossible Light explores the powerful reality that identity and self-worth must be taught before they are learned. Perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins.

And be sure to pick up Audacity by Melanie Crowder

A 2015 National Jewish Book Award finalist Audacity is the inspiring story of Clara Lemlich, whose fight for equal rights led to the largest strike by women in American history! This is the perfect story that NEEDS to be told, right now especially. 

I think hard times are coming. We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries, the realists of a larger reality.
—  Ursula K. Le Guin (in her speech where she was honoured for her life’s work at the 2014 National Book Awards)
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Photo: Ishmael Reed in 2015. (Rommel Demano/Getty Images)

Happy 79th birthday to author, poet and activist Ishmael Reed! Reed is known for his satire and political and social commentary. His 1976 novel Flight to Canada tells the story of three slaves on the run, and his 1972 novel Mumbo Jumbo was a National Book Award finalist. Check him out, you guys!

-Intern Kelli

nytimes.com
Barry Jenkins’s ‘The Underground Railroad’ in the Works at Amazon
Mr. Jenkins, the filmmaker behind “Moonlight,” will write and direct this series based on Colson Whitehead’s award-winning novel.
By Jeremy Egner

Barry Jenkins, the writer and director of “Moonlight,” named best picture at last month’s Academy Awards, is teaming again with that film’s producers for a new television series for Amazon.

“The Underground Railroad” will be an adaptation of the acclaimed Colson Whitehead novel of the same title, winner of the 2016 National Book Award for fiction. As with “Moonlight,” adapted from an original script by the playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, Mr. Jenkins will write and direct the limited series, which will be executive produced by Pastel, a company co-founded by Mr. Jenkins, and Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment.

Why I Write about the Immigrant Experience

Contributed by Reyna Grande, Author

I learned to read in English in the 8th grade. As a child immigrant from Mexico struggling to adapt to the American way of life, I had a hard time finding my experiences reflected in the books given to me by my teachers at school or the librarian at the public library. Closest were the works of the Chicana writers I’d read in college, such as Sandra Cisneros and Helena María Viramontes, where I found bits and pieces of myself. But I did not find books that spoke directly to my experience as a child immigrant.

I did find books about adult immigrants and the struggles that adults—like my parents— experience when they arrive in the United States: low paying jobs, abuse and discrimination in the workplace, fear of deportation, struggles to assimilate and learn English, and the hardships of navigating and understanding the nuances of American culture and society. But as a child, wasn’t I as much a part of the immigration narrative? Weren’t my pain and heartbreak, struggles and triumphs, also worth telling? Didn’t I also risk my life and fight just as hard for my dreams?

Why weren’t children’s voices being heard?

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