Tag Archives: Kim Fay

Award Winning Authors

ALICE MUNRO–NOBEL Award Winning Author

Award Winning Authors: Munro
Alice Munro. Photo from her Amazon author’s page.

The big book news of last week, of course, is the announcement that short-story writer Alice Munro was 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?

A rare negative review of Munro in the London Review of Books says she writes about ordinary people…

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?


Award Winning Authors: book cover
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.


Award Winning Authors: Book Cover
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 the Steel 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

Award Winning Authors: The Expats
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 Memories was 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.

A Memoir Introduces Vietnamese Food

Vietnamese Food book cover
Destination: Vietnam

Book: Communion: A Culinary Journey Through Vietnam (2010) by Kim Fay, Photos by Julie Fay Ashborn


“It is not a cookbook,” the author cautioned me.  When I was talking to Kim Fay, the author of Map of Lost Memories, I had slipped and called Communion, her memoir of an exploration of food in Vietnam, a cookbook.  In my defense, it does include a few recipes. But she is right, Communion: A Culinary Journey Through Vietnam is much broader in its concept than a cookbook.

Somehow, although we have some reportedly good Vietnamese restaurants in Tucson, and I love related Thai and Cambodian food, I have never become familiar with Vietnamese cuisine.  Communion proves to be a good introduction for someone like me, but also provides a more in-depth exploration for people who have already dined on Vietnamese food and want to learn more–perhaps even try cooking a few dishes. Continue reading A Memoir Introduces Vietnamese Food