I can come to your library, book club meeting, or conference to talk about how to help your readers find their next good read. Click here for more information including RA for All's EDI Statement.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Keeping Up With the "Hot" Summer Books

As we all know, Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial start of summer, so today, I welcome summer.

One of the biggest marketing gimmicks in the book world is "the summer read." I have talk about it in year's past on this blog here.

Whether it is a gimmick or not, the real truth is that people tend to have more time to read in the summer and they come into our libraries in droves asking for the "hot books." First, we have to make sure we have them ordered and second, we need to make sure we have readalikes ready to deal with the long wait lists.

Let's start on the "first" in that statement. How do you stay up on all of the buzz about summer books? Luckily I have an easy answer, Early Word's Summer 2010 archive. This is the place to go for all of the media and publisher lists of the best summer books. Do not fret any longer; stop keeping your own archive; Nora and her crew will keep you on top of it all.

Now on to the "second." You have ordered all the hot summer books, but due to the marketing gimmick of summer reading, they are all checked out. Not to fear, over the course of the summer, I will be providing some suggestions for readalikes to some of the hottest books of summer, but in the meantime, the wonderful women over at Shelf Renewal are always providing backlist suggestions for all of the most popular books, all year long. Click here for a recent example.

On an important side note, Shelf Renewal will be moving to a new Word Press based  format sometime next week. I will post the details and update my links as soon as it moves.

For the record you can access both Early Word and Shelf Renewal on the right gutter of RA for All in any season.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Audies Announced

Earlier in the week, the Audies were given out by the Audio Publishing Association recognizing distinction in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment. Click here to see the run down of winners, including links to listen to parts of the winning audio courtesy of Audio File Magazine.

While you are there, check out their wonderful Golden Voices section. Remember, when suggesting audio to readers, the narration itself can be an appeal factor. Golden Voices is your best resource for information about narrators. If your library subscribes to the print version of Audio File Magazine, you can also get a password for complete access to their web content. But even without the password, there is a lot of good information there.

Happy Listening!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

What I'm Reading: Shades of Grey

I love Jasper Fforde's 2 light and literary fantasy series and always eagerly await his new books (click here to see what I have said about Fforde's books in the past). This winter, Fforde began a new series with Shades of Grey set in a dystopian, post apocalyptic world (after "the thing that happened") where people can only see a limited color range and the world is run by a series of odd rules set by a long dead leader. No one is allowed to think for themselves and what colors you can see (and how much) dictates your place in society, with the color-blind relegated to near slavery. Unlike his highly literary previous series, in the Shades of Grey world, librarians are left to roam bookless stacks. The horror!

This novel got mixed reviews so I was in no hurry to read it; that is until Betty championed it on the BPL Browser's Corner. I trust Betty. She has led me to some very good books. So I read Shades of Grey and boy and I glad that I did.

After finishing the novel, I totally understand why it got mixed reviews. It is because of its appeal.

This is not a light, fluffy literary romp in a parallel universe like the Thursday Next series or the Nursery Crimes. This is a serious, dystopian novel in the style of a Fahrenheit 451 or 1984. In Shades of Grey we follow one young man as he literally comes-of-age in Fforde's created world. He moves to a new town, meets new people, and with the help of a young woman named Jane, who dares to openly question the status quo in a world where those who passively follow the rules are rewarded, begins to question everything he has ever been told.

Like other dystopian novels, Shades of Grey has a darker tone. This could bother some fans of Fforde. I personally love dystopian fiction, especially how it uses a speculative world to make you more closely examine your own place in your society. I also enjoy the darker, cautionary tone, but it is completely different from Fforde's other, very popular series.

Here's a great example of the darker tone from the text. As our hero is deciding to continue his fight for justice at the end of the novel, he is warned that innocents may have to die. As the book closes, he is tested on this front. He has to knowingly send 2 of his friends on a train to certain death so as not to give away the larger mission. This is a dark moment for our hero, and a much more morally ambiguous choice than Fforde's jaunty heroine Thursday Next would ever have to make. Personally, I loved the complexity, but not all may agree, especially given Fforde's previous work.

In terms of pacing, it is important to point out that like all first books in a fantasy of science fiction series, the book starts off slowly. Fforde has to introduce us to the physical world, its rules, quirks, and characters. He has created it and we are along for a tour. The reader has to keep reading and trust that everything will be explained throughout the course of the story. Luckily, I knew to trust Fforde and keep going. Then, like others in its genre, Shades of Grey slowly picks up the pace until it speeds up into a compelling page turner by the end. I was literally left wishing there was more.

Thankfully there will be another book to continue the story. Fforde does tie up the loose ends of this novel, but leaves the reader waiting to find out what will happen in the next adventure. Darn you Jasper Fforde...now you have me hooked on 3 series.

Three Words That Describe This Book: dystopian fantasy, thought-provoking, great characters

Readalikes: Earlier in this post, I mentioned that Shades of Grey is an example of dystopian fiction. Click here for a longer list of dystopian novels.

But if pressed for specific readalikes, I would say that this book is Terry Pratchett's Discworld series meets Fahrenheit 451. Discworld because it creates what appears to be an outrageous, fantasy world, but one which both skewers and comments on our current world in a way that is entertaining, thought-provoking, and a bit frightening. Fahrenheit 451 because of the storyline of a hero being awakened to what is wrong with his world by a young woman who has dared to question everything.

Nonfiction readers may also be interested in reading more about color theory after finishing  Shades of Grey.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Student Annoations: Adrenaline

Joyce's crop of Summer GSLIS 763 students met this afternoon to talk about the fast-paced genres of adventure, thriller, suspense and romantic suspense.

Click on over to the Class Blog to see what they have to say about what they read. Remember, you can use either the tag cloud of appeal terms, or the genre category links to see the work of students from past semesters.

Core List of Adult Graphic Novels

I am always getting asked about Graphic Novel Resources for libraries. I also field many calls from local libraries about how to best separate out their youth, YA, and adult graphic novels.

After giving my personal (and experience based) opinion, my best suggested resource for core lists of adult graphic novels for libraries was Stephen Weiner's wonderful The 101 Best Graphic Novels, but the most recent edition is from 2006.

A few days ago, after also being inundated with questions about the titles all public libraries should have, the folks over at The Graphic Novel Reporter posted this list of the core adult focused graphic novels and graphic novel reference sources. From their list:
We're unveiling our core list of graphic novels, and we've divided the list to accommodate differing levels of space and commitment. The most important thing to note: This is not a best-of list or a list denoting the most worthy accomplishments in graphic novels (although everything on each list is an accomplishment in some way, shape, or form). Instead, it's a list to help retailers and all those who are seeking to start a graphic collection to get a sense of the essential books to acquire. This is where to begin for those who want to make a small step (a core list of 10 books), a medium step (an additional 25 books), or a larger one (100 more).

We begin here with adult-focused graphic novel titles, including reference books about the format. In the weeks to come, we will add titles for children and teens, as well as manga broken out by adults, children, and teens.
The Graphic Novel Reporter was already a great resource, but now, they are making themselves indispensable. Click here to see the entire list and click here to see my very popular Graphic Novels for Grownups annotatetd list on the Browser's Corner blog.

Monday, May 24, 2010

RA for All...The Road Show in Mundelein

Tomorrow night I will be presenting my first ever program for patrons at the Fremont Public Library. From their website (text originally written by me):
Has your book group hit a rut? Experienced book discussion leader and author Becky Spratford will offer tips on how to choose your books and keep your discussions moving. She will share her favorite book discussion resources, relate her best and worst book discussion experiences, and help your book group recapture its spark. Whether your group is new or established, serious or more casual, everyone in a book group will enjoy this program
I am excited for the opportunity to share my book discussion experience with actual book discussion participants looking to recharge their groups. I have 4 sheets of resources and handouts available under the "Recent Presentations" page here on RA for All that you can feel free to access whether or not you attend.

There is still time to register to see me tomorrow night at 7pm. I heard that Starbucks will be there giving out free samples too. Hope to see you there.

BPL Displays: May 2010

John has come up with a great display of "books for the thinking person."

We also still have our hugely popular book club books display up.

Coming in June (a scant week away), our Water Your Mind Summer Reading Program displays.

Charlotte Bronte's Comeback

I was ordering new fiction for the BPL today, and as I was writing up the order card for Laura Joh Rowland's Bedlam: The further Secret Adventures of Charlotte Bronte, I got to thinking about all of the Bronte based fiction out these days.

Apparently, I am not the only one thinking this as over at Blogging for a Good Book, Charlotte posted this list of the windfall of newer books featuring Charlotte Bronte.

Could the Bronte craze even come close to the Jane Austen craze (which is still going full throttle)? Only time will tell. Meanwhile, holds are heavy on books featuring both women.

Friday, May 21, 2010

BPL Book Discussion: The Housekeeper and the Professor

The Housekeeper and the Professor: A NovelOn Monday the book group got together to discuss The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa. This was a very different book for us. Firstly, we had never read a Japanese author in translation before, nor had we ever read a book set in modern Japan.  Our only experiences with the Japanese perspective were through Memoirs of a Geisha (written by a white man about WWII era Japan) and When the Emperor Was Divine (written by a Japanese American about Japanese internment)..

Here is the plot as I described it about six months ago when I first read it:
A housekeeper is assigned by the agency she works for to take care of the a former mathematics professor's home and make his meals. She is the 9th housekeeper assigned to the professor. This is because the professor has a brain injury. He can remember everything that happened before his accident (1970s), but since, his memory is on a 80 minute loop. That's right, his memory only lasts 80 minutes. Intriguing, huh?

The ensuing story is about her time working for the Professor and the bond they form. It is about her son's relationship with her and the Professor. It is about the loss of a genius; we still see sparks of the old Professor as he works on complicated math problems. And finally, it is a story about living, no matter the obstacles; about living a life with meaning even if you cannot remember what happened 81 minutes ago.
[On an interesting side note, The Housekeeper and the Professor is also the book that inspired Kathy (our fearless leader at BPL) to get our entire Browsers' Corner project started. Here is her recommendation for the book, which inspired me to read it back then, and our entire department to start writing blurbs of our own.]

As usual I began by asking for a show of hands voting for if they liked, disliked, or were so-so on the novel. I was surprised that all but two said liked and those two hold outs voted for so-so. Also, before I begin with the details, I think it is important to let you all know that the characters have no names here. We have the Housekeeper, her son (nicknamed Root) and the Professor. That they have no names is obviously a discussion thread in and of itself.

Now on to the discussion itself.  Here are some of the major issues and themes that were brought up over our thoughtful discussion:
  • Although I was fine with all of the math (and to put it nicely, I am not a numbers person), many of the participants thought there was too much math. The overall consensus was that they loved the story and the characters but that the math distracted them from that. They spent too much time trying to figure the problems out. Others just skimmed the math parts.I tried to counter that the math was there to give us a way to connect with the Housekeeper, but the group as a whole didn't need the math to connect with her.
  • Some did find the math integral to the book though. One participant said it was as if there was another language (besides the Japanese and then English translation) in the story...the math. Others who enjoyed the math thought that it served as a leveler in the relationship between the Professor and the Housekeeper. He may need her to teach and reteach the everyday things to him, but he can teach her math. He is impaired, but not stupid.
  • This lead us to discuss how similar the Professor's condition is to those suffering from Alzheimer's. Many of the participants (being mature women) have seen others go through this disease.
  • Of course, this lead to a lengthy discussion of the Professor's condition. We talked about the soothing power of numbers on him, his suit covered in notes, and what could be going on in his head. Talking about what life would be like with a memory on an 80 min. loop was an huge part of our entire discussion.
  • How can you have a relationship with anyone when your memory only lasts 80 mins? This book is about the bond that is created between the Housekeeper, Root, and the Professor. But how? This lead into how much the Housekeeper grew as a person as a result of her time working for the Professor, and how much stronger her relationship with Root became.
  • Again back to the no names. We talked about how this technique by Ogawa has the effect of putting the reader in the dark, much like the Professor always is. It also made it easier for our group to empathize with the characters. We liked how this made the characters relationships with each other more important than their personal identity and how it kept the setting fairly nonspecific (creating a more universal feel). Many participants said that if Japanese names were introduced, that could have been a barrier to their enjoyment. Without the foreign names, the group felt like these characters could be anywhere.
  • The Legacy of the Professor was another topic. Their time with the Professor was the first time Root and the Housekeeper had a family. All together they were a family. Being with the Professor also gave Root's life meaning and purpose as Root goes on to be a math teacher when he grows up. Even those of us who did not like the math in this book had to admit that the Professor's love of it was contagious.
  • We also discussed Ogawa's unique writing style. It would be hard not to as this book is really about the characters and the language over plot. We liked how she spent a lot of time on the little, everyday details of their lives. Images like the Professor's suit covered in reminder notes, his moldy shoes, or how the Housekeeper was preparing dinner were written about with such care and reverance.
  • We talked about how such a complex story was told in only 180 pages and then shared examples of how this was accomplished with sparing but powerful prose. One participant used the example of two scenes, one where Root cuts himself, and the other when the Professor knocks over Root's birthday cake and the Professor's inappropriate responses in each scene as powerful examples of just how diminished the Professor really was.
  • Finally I ended by asking people to tell me one thing they learned about math from reading this book. A few brave souls offered the following list
    • 2 is the only even prime number
    • the concept of a perfect number
    • the concept of amicable numbers
    • zero had to be discovered
As you can see, the great thing about using The Housekeeper and the Professor for a book discussion is that is really forces the group to talk about what the author is NOT explicitly saying, The book is under 200 pages and is thin on plot, but, as you see in the list above, it is full of issues and themes worth spending time to talk about together. And my group didn't even get into all of the baseball metaphors in the novel.

If you need a short title that packs a big discussion punch, try The Housekeeper and the Professor.

Readalikes: Here are the original readalikes I gave when I first read this book:
One reviewer said that this novel with its larger message and nameless characters felt a lot like Aesop's Fables.

The Housekeeper and the Professor is similar to the works of other Japanese writers. If you liked this novel, try Haruki Murakami or Kobo Abe.

I also found this novel to be very similar to Japanese American author Julie Otsuka's When the Emperor Was Divine about the Japanese-American internment camps. Both are short, but leave you thinking. Both are very domestically focused but look at a much larger and thought provoking picture.

Richard Powers' award winning, The Echo Maker also looks at a man unhinged by a mental defect caused by an accident. However, here we get the perspective of the person living with the brain injury.

The Housekeeper and the Professor also reminded me of the work of Jose Saramago. Try Blindness where everyone has gone blind, save for one "survivor."

For Nonfiction options, people may be interested in books about popular Japanese literature (Ogawa has won many awards in Japan), failed memory, and, of course, mathematics.
To this varied list I would also add the backlist gem, The Universal Baseball Association by Robert Coover.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What I'm Reading: The Big Year

Back in March I somehow found myself without an audio book to read and I was not going to be at work that day. So, I popped in to my local public library and browsed the adult audio book section looking for something to read. I first came upon Aloft, which I wrote about here, but then, as I turned the corner, I saw The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession.

Here is what I read on the back of the audio case:
"Every January 1, a quirky crowd storms out across North America for a spectacularly competitive event called a Big Year -- a grand, expensive, and occasionally vicious 365-day marathon of birdwatching. For three men in particular, 1998 would become a grueling battle for a new North American birding record. Bouncing from coast to coast on frenetic pilgrimages for once-in-a-lifetime rarities, they brave broiling deserts, bug-infested swamps, and some of the lumpiest motel mattresses known to man. This unprecedented year of beat-the-clock adventures ultimately leads one man to a record so gigantic that it is unlikely ever to be bested. Here, prize-winning journalist Mark Obmascik creates a dazzling, fun narrative of the 275,000-mile odyssey of these three obsessives as they fight to win the greatest -- or maybe worst -- birding contest of all time."
That's enough of the plot, I really want to talk about this book's appeal because on the surface it seems so specific. But I assure you, it is not. Quite the opposite, this book has an extremely wide appeal.

I will start by saying, I have no interest in bird watching, but this book intrigued me because it is part of the nonfiction subgenre beginning to be known as "a year in the life."  These are books which follow someone on some kind of quest for 1 full year. My favorite author of this type of book is A.J. Jacobs. Click here to see what I thought about his book on the year he spent living the bible, literally. You can also use this post to find links to more titles, by different authors from this subgenre.

The point here is, I love these 1 year quest books, especially when they are in a field or area in which I have little knowledge. So, from the start my interest was piqued. Keep in mind, authors like Jacobs have sold millions of books based on this very appeal.

The next two appeals were highly personal to me. First, the big year Obmascik is chronicling happened to also be my personal "big year." 1998 was the year I got married, bought my first house, and started library school. Basically it was the beginning of the life I am leading right now. It was great to read about what the competitors were doing in say April, and then thinking about how I was making an offer on what would be my first house at the same time.

The other personal appeal comes from the fact that my 5-yar-old son loves birds and birding. He will go outside to look for specific birds. He records the birds he finds. And, after reading this book, I know what I may be in for. Although this frightens me a bit thinking about where a birding obsession could take him, I also have a new understanding and appreciation for bird watching and am going to spend some time this summer encouraging our family to identify the birds we see all together.

Great for you Becky, many of you are saying, but how does this personal information you are sharing help us to help patrons better? Great question. The answer: it serves as an example of getting the books into people's hands to read the "flap." If I were helping a patron like myself who had just read Jacobs' books and enjoyed them, I would book talk Obmascik's book from the "a year in the life" angle and then get the book in his or her hands as I got into the details. You can not know ahead of time what detail will draw a patron to a book, but you have to get the conversation started and then let them have a moment to handle the title, read the covers and flaps to see if it "speaks" to them and their personal tastes.

Also it is a reminder of the wealth of treasures from our libraries' backlists. This book was amazing, but it was published in 2004, so it has lost it's "new" luster. I think it is engaging, interesting, and different. Many people would enjoy reading this book, even if they don't care for birds or bird watching. The appeal goes way beyond the birds here.

This is a character centered nonfiction title. The three men on their "Big Year" are all intimately portrayed by a seasoned journalist. Obmascik spends time going into the background of each man, detailing their lives, and how they came to bird watching. He also speculates on their motivations and the psychology behind their need to do this.

In terms of pacing, Obmascik brilliantly starts off slowly, giving each man large sections to themselves, but then as the year, and subsequently, the race to find more birds speeds up, Obmascik speeds up the story telling. Each man holds the spotlight for less time, their trips and personal quests start overlapping, time is running out, and you can't stop turning the pages to see what happens.

Toward the end there is also a great scene describing a perilous helicopter ride to see 1 bird. Obmascik's skill as a journalist capturing the details really comes in handy here. Obmascik also interjects just the right amount of humor into this book without becoming snarky.

Finally, you cannot forget the detailed frame here: Birds. I learned so much about the native birds of our country, and those who have come here by mistake. I learned about migration patterns, remote islands off of Alaska, and sea birds. I also learned quite a bit about El Nino (which was instrumental in making 1998 such a great birding year). People who like to learn about new things, interesting places, or natural history will love this book.

Three Words That Best Describe This Book: Birds, Quest, Character-Centered

Readalikes: Besides A.J. Jacobs and the books and authors I suggest here, some other similar authors who are journalists (so their writing style is similar) and write about real people on quirky quests that appeal to a wider audience would be David Grann, Stephan Fatsis, and Susan Orlean. Any titles by these authors would work here.

Obmascik's writing and his way of elevating what seems so odd and ordinary to a celebratory status also reminded me of the work Simon Winchester and Mark Kurlansky do with their Microhistories. If you have access to NoveList you can see more about what I have to say about these two authors in my readalike articles for them both.

One book you will definitely want to get from the library after reading The Big Year is Peterson's Field Guide to Birds of North America (the creation of which is also chronicled in Obmascik's book). It, or a version of it, is available at every public library.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Student Annotations Are Back

Joyce has a new crop of students in GSLIS 763 for the accelerated 2x per week summer session. They posted their first round of annotations today for the Landscape Genres: Westerns, Fantasy, and Historical Fiction.

As usual, click on over to the class Word Press Blog to read all about it. They picked some great titles.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

117 Days of James Patterson

Thanks to Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind, I came upon this blog yesterday. Called the Book Catapult, this blog written by Seth Marko,  a self professed "book snob" has embarked on a project to spend the next 117 days reading James Patterson's newest title, The 9th Judgement. From day one of the project:
Being a cynic and kind of a jerk, I have decided to undertake this massive, mind-numbing, sarcasm-laced project in a determined & honest attempt to understand the irresistible magnetic charge that James Patterson projects upon his faithful readership. The entirety of this project will entail my reading and reviewing exactly one chapter - never skipping ahead, no matter how badly I want to - from Patterson's new book, The 9th Judgment, (part of the "Women's Murder Club" series, co-written with Maxine Paetro. I mean, he doesn't even write these things by himself, people!) every day until I reach the highly anticipated, life-changing, explosive, enthralling conclusion. Being that there are 117 chapters in this 355 page novel, this project will be dubbed, 117 Days of James Patterson. Why am I doing this? Because (according to jamespatterson.com) one of every 15 books sold in the US in 2007 was a Patterson title. Because he recently signed a 17 book, 3 year publishing deal with Hachette. Because he will have 3 more books released before the end of August. Because he owns a hat that says "Relax". I will not relax, Jim! Taste my fury!
So, Marko has decided to find out why Patterson is so appealing to American readers. I understand his desire to figure this out. As a RA, Patterson is a thorn in my side, but not because of the "quality" of his books. He is annoying because of the quantity. As Marko alludes to above, Patterson (and cohorts) puts out a lot of books each year. Every single one of those requires the BPL to purchase at least 8 copies and place hundreds of holds.

Patterson is also the impetus behind my wackiest patron encounter ever at the RA desk.
One day a woman came up to the desk and very calmly asked for the James Patterson book that won him the Nobel Prize for Literature. I am not joking here. This is what she asked me.

Now being the perfect example of a RA librarian I did not correct her, but tried to get more information out of her. After about 20 minutes of biting my tongue and pulling books for her, she went home happy with the book she wanted, an early Patterson title from his Alex Cross series which won a minor prize.

Okay, but Patterson only annoys me because he so popular. Unlike Marko I am not judging why people love to read him when quite frankly, his books would not win any literary prizes.

I can tell you that Marko is never going to understand Patterson's appeal reading only 1 short chapter at a time, precisely because one of the main reasons people love Patterson is his fast pace. Patterson writes exciting, fast-paced suspense stories, filled with plot twists, evil villains, point of view shifts, and action-packed plots. There is no time to stop, reflect, or even breathe, while reading a Patterson novel.

Readers do not need to ponder the characters' motivations; these are pure good guys vs bad guys stories. Rather, they inhale these books. They are a diversion in the reader's busy life, not a literary experience. I would ask Patterson haters how reading a Patterson novel differs from watching CSI? We all need mindless diversions in our lives (mine comes from HGTV and Survivor). Who are we to judge where those come from for others? To each his own, and hooray for Patterson, for finding a way to entertain millions of Americans with his words and stories.

So I would ask Marko to rethink his agenda. Taking 117 days to read a book that should take even a busy person 2 days misses the main appeal factor of the book. He will never understand why people love Patterson until he stays up all night reading one cover-to-cover.

To follow all 117 days use this link. (He's on 20 right now) And for the record, although I disagree with his mission, I do have to admit, I am having fun following Marko's journey.

Monday, May 17, 2010

SFWA Announces Nebula Winners

Over the weekend the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America announced the 2010 Nebula winners.  here is the official press release:
COCOA BEACH, Fla. – Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Inc., has announced the Nebula Awards® winners for 2009.
The Nebula Awards® are voted on, and presented by, active members of SFWA. The awards were announced at the Nebula Awards® Banquet held at the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront the evening of May 15.
2009 Nebula Award Winners
The Windup Girl - Paolo Bacigalupi (Night Shade Books, Sept. 2009)
The Women of Nell Gwynne’s - Kage Baker (Subterranean Press, June 2009)
“Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast,”
Eugie Foster (Interzone, Feb. 2009)
Short Story
“Spar,” Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld, Oct. 2009)
Ray Bradbury Award
District 9, Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell (Tri-Star, Aug. 2009)
Andre Norton Award
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making,
Catherynne M. Valente (Catherynne M. Valente, June 2009)

Additional Honors
During the ceremonies, Joe Haldeman was honored as the next Damon Knight Grand Master, while Neal Barrett, Jr., was honored as Author Emeritus. Vonda N. McIntyre and Keith Stokes were honored with SFWA Service Awards while the SFWA Solstice Award, bestowed upon individuals who have made a significant impact on the science fiction or fantasy landscape, was presented to Tom Doherty, Terri Windling and the late Donald A. Wollheim.
About SFWA
Founded in 1965 by the late Damon Knight, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America brings together the most successful and daring writers of speculative fiction throughout the world. 
Since its inception, SFWA® has grown in numbers and influence until it is now widely recognized as one of the most effective non-profit writers’ organizations in existence, boasting a membership of approximately 1,500 science fiction and fantasy writers as well as artists, editors and allied professionals.  Each year the organization presents the prestigious Nebula Awards® for the year’s best literary and dramatic works of speculative fiction.