This week has two major book events (three if you count Going Rogue, but I don’t): the announcement of the National Book Award winners and the opening of the New Moon movie. Think you’re in one camp or the other? Think again. A Washington Post article yesterday described how “good, smart, successful women” fall for the Twilight series. Some women are even naming their kids after characters. I wouldn’t go that far, but I’m certainly one of the women who went to the Twilight movie as a motherly duty and walked out of the theatre, straight to the books, and inhaled them. First for the head before we are swept away by the vampires.
2009 National Book Award Winners
The National Book Foundation announced this year’s winner last Wednesday night. I’ve always been interested in the award winners, but the announcement grew ever more suspenseful watching it on Twitter. Waiting to pick up my daughter from a New Moon screening, I read each announcement from people attending the event, and then the reaction from the book community. Prior to the fiction announcement several tweets hoped McCann would win (even people who admitted they hadn’t read the book), and then a cyberspace celebration began. This years winners:
- Fiction: Let the Great World Spinby Colum McCann
- Nonfiction: The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt by T. J. Stiles
- Young people’s literature: Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justiceby Phillip Hoose
- Poetry: Transcendental Studies: A Trilogyby Keith Waldrop
The Foundation honored Gore Vidal with the Distinguished Contribution to American Letters and Dave Eggers with the 2009 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community. Several of the recipients were previously published in The New Yorker magazine.
Over 10,000 people voted in the Best of National Book Awards Fiction and The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor won. I was surprised, I thought Ralph Ellison would win, though I voted for John Cheever. Flannery O’Connor certainly deserves the award, especially after she lost the year she published A Good Man is Hard to Find.
And Now to the Heart: New Moon
Through a school charity event, I was able to purchase a ticket for my daughter to see a screening of New Moon last Wednesday. The deal we made: she could go to the teen screening as long as she agreed to see the movie with me this weekend. A girlfriend e-mailed me last night asking to tag along, we both need Kelsey to provide cover for our attendance.
I picked up four girls from the screening and listened to surprisingly well reasoned arguments for Team Jacob and Team Edward. My daughter won a Team Jacob t-shirt, her new favorite item of clothing. I thought about telling them who won the National Book Awards (that I just learned on Twitter), but realized that would mortify my daughter.
The Washington Post article nailed the attraction of the Twilight series for adult women, it isn’t about the writing or the story, but about being a teenager:
It’s a time capsule to the breathless period when the world could literally end depending on whether your lab partner touched your hand, when every conversation was so agonizing and so thrilling (and the border between the two emotions was so thin), and your heart was bigger and more delicate than it is now, and everything was just so much more.
It’s fun to watch my daughter experience that time of life and to re-visit it, just for a couple of hours, myself.