It’s “back to basics” for Midweek @ Musings, with a very bookish sort of post. But first …
Infographic of the Week
It’s been a while since I brightened your day with a favorite infographic. I actually have several stockpiled, as I’m pondering a themed post. But this week, in honor of Earth Day, I present to you the Atlas of Global Conservation: maps summarizing pretty much everything known about nature. This is like a match made in heaven for me — I love maps of all shapes and sizes, and I have a keen interest in nature, wildlife, and the environment. The Nature Conservancy will publish the atlas — in book form — on Earth Day, April 22. The link takes you to an interactive preview of their maps. I first read about the atlas in this article in Fast Company, which provides a nice introduction. If you just want a quick fly-by, check out this slideshow by The Washington Post.
Orange Prize Shortlist Announced
As of Tuesday, there are only six contenders for the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction, down from 20 (links take you to information on the prize website):
- Rosie Alison, The Very Thought of You
- Barbara Kingsolver, The Lacuna
- Attica Locke, Black Water Rising
- Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
- Lorrie Moore, A Gate at the Stairs
- Monique Roffey, The White Woman on the Green Bicycle
I’ve not made the slightest attempt at reading the longlist, so Wolf Hall is still the only nominee I can discuss from personal experience. I’ve committed to reading the 2010 winner for Orange July (well, it’s only a commitment I made to myself, but you know …). If Wolf Hall is the winner, I’m already done! But as much as I enjoyed Wolf Hall, I’d kind of like to see the accolades spread around a bit. Surely one of the other nominees is equally prize-worthy? I’ve read some very intriguing reviews of Black Water Rising, and I’m generally a Barbara Kingsolver fan, so I suppose I’m mildly hoping one of these wins the prize. What’s your opinion of the shortlist? Which book do you think will win?
What I’m Reading: It’s “family saga” Week
I’ve just finished Kate O’Brien’s wonderful Without My Cloak, an Irish family saga set in the late 19th century. Most of the story revolves around a family patriarch and his first-born son. I’ve already mentioned how much I loved O’Brien’s writing; look for my review soon. Next I’ll be reading another family saga of sorts: the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilead. I absolutely loved Marilynne Robinson’s more recent novel Home, and learned later that Gilead presents the same characters and events from a different point of view. So I have high hopes for this book.
After Gilead, I’m planning to read The Housekeeper and the Professor, which landed on my TBR pile after reading this Belletrista review. I used to read much more literature in translation, but lost momentum last year. I was trying to read books by authors from all 192 countries, but abandoned that plan after a patch of mediocre reads. I was delighted when my friend Lois launched Belletrista, since it combines two of my favorite genres: literature in translation, and books by women authors. So I set myself a personal challenge to read 6 books reviewed in Belletrista; The Housekeeper and the Professor is my first selection. Have you read any books reviewed in Belletrista? Which ones would you recommend?