Monday, May 18, 2009

Award Winners

I’ve recently finished three really good award-winning novels for the Book Awards II Challenge.

imageviewer.asp.1tI9g511mMWj.jpg 4.5roses.RyqaCKLFdz4U.jpg Highly Recommended

Of the three, my favorite was Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Never Let Me Go was a 2006 ALA Alex Award winner. It was also shortlisted for the 2005 Booker Prize (an award that Ishiguro won in 1989 for his novel, Remains of the Day), the 2006 Author C. Clarke Award, and 2005 National Book Critics Circle Award. If you’re not familiar with the Alex Awards, each year the American Library Association (ALA) chooses ten books that are written for adults but might also appeal to young adult readers. I’ve found some great books through these awards.

Never Let Me Go is the story of three friends, Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy. When they were young, the three attended an exclusive English boarding school but this is no ordinary boarding school. Kathy, the 31-year-old narrator, tells the story of their growing-up years, their dawning understanding of why they were born, and what their future holds for them. The story comes out little by little and is very suspenseful. I enjoyed it tremendously. This would make a great book club discussion book. Lots of issues here...

It looks like they’ve adapted the novel into a screenplay. Filming started in April 2009. That should be interesting.

4roses.kgtnDsFoLSBw.jpg Excellent Read

My second favorite was The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz, another Alex Award winner. The Spellman Files is the first book in a series. The second book in the series is Curse of the Spellmans and the third, out in March 2009, is The Revenge of the Spellmans.

The Spellman Files is about Isabel “Izzy” Spellman and her crazy family who all work in the family business -- private investigations. Izzy’s parents are driving her insane. They routinely conduct surveillance on her and follow her. They run background checks on her potential boyfriends and generally make her nuts. Izzy finally announces that she’s quitting, but her parents say she can’t go (they have some dirt on her, naturally) until she solves one last case -- a missing person’s case cold for 12 years. In other words, an impossible case. All this adds up to a rollicking, mad-cap, extremely entertaining adventure. If you like laugh-out-loud mysteries like Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, you’d probably enjoy The Spellman Files, too.

3.5roses.YsRY5l8NQE90.jpg Very-Good Read

The winner of the 2008 Man Booker Prize, The White Tiger is the story of Balram Halwai. Balram is the son of a ricksaw-driver from a small village in India. He moves to a larger city and becomes the driver/servant for a wealthy man. In seven letters, Balram explains how he became a servant, an entrepreneur, and a murderer. The author was born in India, raised in Australia, and educated in England. Today he lives in Mumbai. I feel like this book gave me a pretty good look into the culture of India. Very interesting, but not an Oh Wow read like the others.


samantha.1020 said...

I've been meaning to read The White Tiger but I haven't had a chance yet. Glad to see that you enjoyed all 3 of these!

Kristi said...

Yeah. I'm not sure if I would have picked up The White Tiger if my book club hadn't picked it, but I'm glad I read it. Interesting book. It should make for a great discussion.

joanna said...

I thought Never Let Me Go was fantastic. I'd never heard of the Spellman Files, but it sounds great, so thanks!

Susan Whelan said...

I read The White Tiger and really enjoyed it, which surprised me a little given the subjects it deals with. This is definitely a great bookclub book - lots of issues and themes to discuss.

I have Adiga's Between the Assassinations in my TBR pile. Hopefully it will be just as interesting.