National Book Award winners announced

The National Book Award winners were announced last night at the annual ceremony held in New York city.

Fiction: Europe Central by William T. Vollman, whose series of connected war stories was somewhat of a surprise winner over E.L. Doctorow’s The March and Mary Gaitskill’s Veronica.

Nonfiction: Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, her bestselling memoir of the year that her husband died and her daughter fell seriously ill.

Young People’s Literature: The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall.

Poetry Prize: M.S. Merwin, who is also a Pulitzer Prize winner.

Two lifetime achievement awards went to Lawrence Ferlinghetti, poet and co-founder of the City Lights bookstore in San Francisco; and author Norman Mailer.

Europe Central is backordered for the Browsing collection at Bailey Library and we hope to receive it soon; The March, Veronica, and The Year of Magical Thinking are all available in the Browsing collection.

Google Print Debuts

Google Print, the hotly debated, much awaited, digital books project, went public today. As many librarians and commentators have noted, this project is not the latest sign of the apocalpyse for traditional libraries, although it is often treated as such. As Google itself notes on the help page, “In general, Google Print aims to help you discover books, not read them from start to finish. It’s like going to a bookstore and browsing – only with a Google twist.” Although you can browse the full text of public domain works, it is not easy to find them — there is no “master list” of full-text works. Searching for a phrase or word and then seeing the context within a single page requires you to login with your gmail account, or register for a gmail account, in order to see results. Why? The help pages are less than forthcoming about exactly what Google is tracking when you log in. You can’t print the page you are looking at (at least I couldn’t on a variety of machines), and you can’t copy and paste text out of the image of the page.
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