Literary Festivities

ice sculpture with typewritersDon’t forget this weekend’s LA Times Festival of Books! It is always a pleasure to wander the huge festival and see what’s on offer, and simply be part of an enormous gathering of people in LA on the usually lovely weekend days. – Gathering in the name of books! How excellent that is!

Some bad news this year. You’ll recall that I’ve reported (here and here) on the Oscar-like awards ceremony for the book prizes, complete with fancy after-party. (With chocolate fountains, and ice sculptures with embedded typewriters, no less!) Well, they’re not doing it this year. I imagine its the hard financial times. You see… now it’s hitting home to me that there’s a crisis out there – no awards gala, and no chocolate fountains. However will I survive?

Well, the good news is that the awards continue (actually there is a private ceremony at the LA Times building… yes, for all I know if it is the usual affair, and perhaps they just don’t want the riff-raff any more) and the short lists are interesting once again. You can look at them here. I’ve read very little of the short-listed books in any category this year. Always interesting to look at the Science & Technology category and see what’s there:

Avery Gilbert, What the Nose Knows: The Science of Scent in Everyday Life (Crown Publishing)

Kenneth R. Miller, Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul (Viking)

Martin J.S. Rudwick, Worlds Before Adam: The Reconstruction of
Geohistory in the Age of Reform (University of Chicago Press)

Leonard Susskind, The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics (Little, Brown and Co.)

Carl Zimmer, Microcosm: E. coli and the New Science of Life (Pantheon)

(For some more on the Susskind book, see some posts here and here.)

I wonder which will win? Read any in this category or another?

Be sure to visit the festival if in the area. See my earlier posts on them here, here, and here, to get an idea of what it is like.


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