Now is your chance. You get to decide which book will be read and discussed by THE ARTIST’S BOOKSHELF for our August gathering.
After perusing the five nominees outlined below, simply e-mail your selection to:
It’s as easy as that.
People often ask how books get chosen for THE ARTIST’S BOOKSHELF. It’s a highly subjective and unscientific process that begins by browsing in local bookstores, involves a great deal of talking with readers we respect, and ends in a mad flurry of googling and last minute e-mails.
As always, we consider a myriad of factors when determining which book might work best for THE ARTIST’S BOOKSHELF. We’re always interested in diversity, whether it involves the gender, ethnicity, and geographic origins of an author, or the literary style and subject matter of the book. We lean strongly towards contemporary fiction, but have included works of non-fiction, as well as classics suitable for re-examination.
Of course, we try to choose books that relate in some way to something happening at the Walker, but we have been known to choose books simply because we felt the need to share them with a wider audience.
All that being said, considered and processed, we present you with the following nominations for our August selection:
1) Snow by Orhan Pamuk
This one tops many “ must read” lists. The author has gained notoriety in his native Turkey for bravely writing just exactly what’s on his mind. The story is set in a remot Turkish town, where the stirrings of political Islamism threaten to unravel the secular order. A quick read of this book reveals a very complex mind, indeed.
“ Richly detailed….A thrilling plot ingeniously shaped…Vividly embodies and painstakingly explores the collision of Western values with Islamic fundamentalism….An astonishingly complex, disturbing view of a world we owe it to ourselves to better understand.” —Kirkus Reviews
2) The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
Our British friends tell us this is the real deal. Already a book-world superstar in Britain, Ms. Desai brings the voice of a new generation to the forefront of post-colonial lit.
“… manages to explore…just about every contemporary international issue: globalization, multiculturalism, economic inequality, fundamentalism and terrorist violence.” —New York Times
3) Where No Gods Came by Sheila O’Connor
A local writer who teaches at Hamline, Ms. O’Connor takes the requisite coming-of-age novel to the next level. (Disclaimer: Ms. O’Connor’s son once acted in a play I wrote. Though he’s a great actor, this small-world coincidence in no way influenced our decision.)
“ … a memorable portrait of the artist as a scrawny young girl. . . . It’s a story about the power of love and guts and imagination to sustain a skinny kid in a hard world.”
4) Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
What can you say about Salman Rushdie? This Fatwah-survivor, continually proves that he’s really not afraid of any one or anything. I loved this book for its epic scope, beautiful imagery and mastery of language. Some of our friends: not so much.
“Huge, vital, engrossing…in all senses a fantastic book.” —Sunday Times
5) Kafka On The Shore by Haruki Murakami
Japanese lit sensation Murakami has been labeled a surrealist, a visionary genius, a fraud, and everything in between. I lean towards the genius moniker, but his work can be challenging for those accustomed to more conventional faire.
“[W]hile anyone can tell a story that resembles a dream, it’s the rare artist, like this one, who can make us feel that we are dreaming it ourselves.” –Laura Miller, The New York Times Book Review
We encourage you to further research our nominees. We have found www.powells.com, www.metacritic.com and www.nytimes.com to be particularly helpful.
Please feel free to include a sentence or two in support of your choice. And yes, write-in candidates are allowed. Polls remain open until April 11th.
Results will be announced later this month on this site.