Author Archives: gayla

The Booker Longlist: Not Safe, Not Conservative

So the longlist is out and not at all what I expected. So much for judges playing it safe and going with established names! I got two of my thirteen predictions, which is about par for the course. What does surprise me, though, is that several of these books weren’t even on my radar; usually […]

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Predicting the Booker Longlist

Welcome to the most self-indulgent thing I do all year long! Yes, it’s my annual list of Booker longlist predictions. I should warn you ahead of time that my track record is dreadful and I will most likely get two or three of my picks correct. But if nothing else, my yearly sifting through dozens […]

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Laura Ingalls Wilder’s First Draft

2012 is shaping up to be a big year for all of my childhood obsessions. The Lost Colony may have been found! We may know what happened to Amelia Earhart! And now it appears that Laura Ingalls Wilder’s original autobiography, “Pioneer Girl,” may at long last be published. (If C. Thomas Howell makes a big […]

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Robert Frost Revisited

I am not much of a poetry person, to my chagrin–I’ve made stabs at Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red and Adrienne Rich’s Diving into the Wreck, but somehow I end up feeling impatient and grumpy rather than transported and enlightened. (Do not get me started on Sylvia Plath.) I do make a couple of exceptions, […]

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Carnegie Medals for Fiction and Nonfiction

Well, 2012 may have been a year without a fiction Pulitzer, but you will all be relieved to know that the American Library Association has stepped into the breach and offered two new literary prizes–the Carnegie Medals, one for fiction and one for non-fiction. The ALA bestowed the fiction prize on Anne Enright for The […]

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Jane Austen: Another Lost Portrait?

You may remember that back in December, a researcher, Paula Byrne, uncovered a new picture of Jane Austen that she believed had been drawn from life. (Here’s a close-up of the picture.) Her logic frankly seemed a little iffy to me, but it interested the BBC enough to focus a whole documentary on it. Six […]

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RIP, Ray Bradbury

Oh, man. Ray Bradbury has died. I haven’t read any of his work in a long time, but when I was in middle school and high school, I devoured The Illustrated Man, Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, and dozens of his standalone short stories. My favorite of his stories is “Sound of Thunder,” a downright […]

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In Which the Booker Prize Judging Panel Promises Not to Tick Me Off This Year

The Booker Prize has long been my favorite literary award, but over the last few years it has been letting me down. There was the year when the dreadful thriller Child 44 made the longlist and the actual prize was bestowed on The White Tiger; there was the year The Finkler Question won; and then […]

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Hilary Mantel on Anne Boleyn

On Wednesday, Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies landed on my doorstep. This is (as you probably know) the second book in Mantel’s trilogy about Thomas Cromwell and features the fascinating Anne Boleyn as a major character. I’d been awaiting this book as eagerly as I anticipated A Dance with Dragons last year, which is […]

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Virginia Dare, Mystery Girl

When I was a girl, one of my favorite sections in my local library was the Biography section. In particular, I remember a whole set of the Childhood of Famous Americans series, bound in orange covers. I read all of them multiple times; in particular, I remember Annie Oakley and Amelia Earhart and Clara Barton. […]

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