At the wonderful website for travelers who read–Packabook–– you can sign up for a newsletter “book club” and read a book, as Packabook provides analysis and background information, then find out what it would be like to travel to that country. Recently Packabook’s newsletter focused on Luxembourg in Chris Pavone’s book, Expats.
You may have read my review of Expats (“Sex, Lies and Living Abroad”) here, so I wanted to share this little bit of the travelogue published as part of Packabook’s newsletter, which focused on the question of whether Luxembourg is boring. Certainly not this spooky castle–a world heritage site. It was built by the French in the 16th century and contains miles of subterranean tunnels.
The big book news of last week, of course, is the announcement that short-story writer Alice Munrowas awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Since I’ve pledged to pay more attention to Canada and Alice Munro is from rural Ontario, Canada, I am searching for some of her stories that strongly reflect Canada.
A Traveler’s Library frequently writes about award winning authors. So why not Alice Munro? That’s the downside of writing about books that influence travel, I sometimes have to bypass wonderful literature because it achieves universality. Yes, universality is a good thing in literature. But here at A Traveler’s Library, we have a narrower goal–books that emphasize place and culture and will encourage people to visit. So the main question is not–is Munro worth reading?–which she certainly is, but should we put her books on the Traveler’s Library Shelf because they inspire us to see Canada or understand Canada?
Ordinary people turn out to live in a rural corner of Ontario between Toronto and Lake Huron, and to be white, Christian, prudish and dangling on a class rung somewhere between genteel poverty and middle-class comfort. Occasionally they move to the vicinity of Vancouver, only to go back to Ontario again.
Are you a reader of Alice Munro’s work? Do you have suggestions of her work that might help people understand Canada–as well as the human condition?
BECKY MASTERMAN–2013 GOLDEN DAGGER NOMINEE
We can’t help getting excited when a book that has been reviewed here is nominated for or wins a major award. Becky Masterman, who sets Rage Against the Dying in Tucson, is on the short list for a Golden Dagger Award from the Crime Writers’ Association. This is a MAJOR accomplishment for a first novel, up against stiff competition for best crime novel recognition against many award winning authors. The nail biting ends on October 24th, when Crime Writers Association announces the winners. But being short listed, Becky is already a winner. Fingers crossed, Becky.
ROBERT WILSON–2013 STEEL DAGGER NOMINEE
If you have not yet discovered what a fan I am of Robert Wilson, take a look at my previous reviews of his books set in Portugal (That one won the Golden Dagger when it came out)and Spain and Spain. His latest novel, Capital Punishment, which is set in London, is on the short list at Crime Writer’s Association for theSteel Dagger Award (for thrillers). My copy is in the mail, and I’m looking forward to it, particularly looking at the very mixed reviews on Amazon set against the fact that its short listed for this award. Wow! Time to form my own opinion–and take a tour of London. As for the award–best wishes, Robert.
CHRIS PAVONE–2013 EDGAR WINNER for Best First Novel by An American Author
My apologies to Chris Pavone. I somehow managed to miss the Edgars this year when they were presented in May, and I definitely should have been paying attention. The Expats: A Novel, which was reviewed here, won the Best First Novel Award. I thought Expats was a delightful and creative novel, and it may be the ONLY book we ever have that is located in Luxembourg.
I would not have known who to cheer for, though, because I’m also a fan of Kim Fay, whose The Map of Lost Memorieswas also short-listed for that award that Chris Pavone won. Her book set in Cambodia combined archaeology and both present and past mysteries. Her nomination is certainly something to cheer.
The Edgars are the awards of the Mystery Writers of America and we’ll have to wait until around January 19, 2014 (Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday) to learn what award winning authors are on the next short list.
KEEP READING A Traveler’s Library
Because despite the narrower focus of books chosen for A Traveler’s Library–we’ll keep introducing you to Award Winning Authors.