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Posts Tagged ‘Terry Teachout’

Kim Echlin & David R. Dow Win $10,000 Barnes & Noble Discovery Awards

Barnes & Noble has announced the 2010 Discovery Award winners. First place and $10,000 went to The Disappeared by Kim Echlin (fiction) and The Autobiography of an Execution by David R. Dow (nonfiction). They will also each receive a full year of marketing and merchandising support from Barnes & Noble.

Second place and $5,000 went to Model Home by Eric Puchner (fiction) and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (nonfiction). Third place and $2,500 went to Galveston by Nic Pizzolatto (fiction) and The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee (nonfiction).

Here’s more from the press release: “Writers on the nonfiction jury panel included Eric Blehm, whose book, The Last Season, won the Discover Award in 2006; British journalist Christina Lamb, whose book, The Sewing Circles of Herat: A Personal Voyage Through Afghanistan, was a finalist for the Discover Award in 2002; and critic Terry Teachout, whose biographies include The Skeptic: A Life of H. L. Mencken, and Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong.”

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Writers Slash Their Not-So Favorite Books Into Pieces

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Earlier this month, Wall Street Journal theater critic Terry Teachout espoused the joys of brevity in books in his most recent “Sightings” column on Orion’s plans to publish abridged editions of classic novels. Now the New York Times’ Motoko Rich pushes the idea forward in a not-entirely-serious vein, asking writers like Christopher Buckley, Joyce Carol Oates, Norman Mailer and Jonathan Franzen to pick what books deserve to go under the editing knife. Mailer offered a list that he requested be printed in full and without commentary, while Neal Pollack suggested cutting “80 percent of THE NOTEBOOK by Nicholas Sparks and turn it into the greeting card that it was meant to be.”

Most controversial goes to Ann Patchett with her Orwell slams and most wimpy, easily, to Franzen, who applied the abridging logic only to titles, even if he got off some amusing zingers like “Shortmarch” and “Paler Fire.”

The Verdicts Come in on Magical Thinking Play

And so far, the reviews for the adaptation of Joan Didion‘s bestselling memoir THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING – playing at the Booth Theater until June 30 – are, shall we say, less than kind. “An arresting yet ultimately frustrating new drama,” says the New York TimesBen Brantley, and he’s being one of the more generous critics. Peter Marks at the Washington Post also wanted to like it but said the one-woman show starring Vanessa Redgrave “is too much like an austere alternative to “Oprah,” an adaptation that replaces the supple mystique of the book with the driest kind of earnestness.”

But most of the vitriol is dished out by the Wall Street Journal‘s Terry Teachout. He admits up-front he wasn’t a fan of Didion’s original memoir: “I found it hard to shake off the disquieting sensation that Ms. Didion, for all the obvious sincerity of her grief, was nonetheless functioning partly as a grieving widow and partly as a celebrity journalist who had chosen to treat the death of John Gregory Dunne as yet another piece of grist for her literary mill.” So when the show opens with a speech that, in Teachout’s words, “has all the subtlety of the proverbial blunt object,” he figures his reaction to the adaptation and to Redgrave’s performance (“she never lets you forget that she’s acting”) won’t be very positive. By the end, after which the lights obligingly go up on a billboard-sized reproduction of the glossy dust-jacket photo of the author and her family, Teachout “half expected Ms. Didion to be signing books in the lobby after the show.” Ouch.