Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Quill Awards Bathe in Southern Voices

The Quill award finalists were announced this past week! What, you ask, are the Quills? Quills are to books, the equivalent of Oscars for movies and Tonys for theatre. There are five nominees in 18 categories such as general fiction, humor, romance, business, graphic novels, history, and poetry. This October, all winners will dine at Lincoln Center while NBC televises the event.

I’m excited to report the audio books have a “down-home” flavor. All five nominees are narrated by southern voices. So, without further ado, the nominees are…

Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg, as read by the author, is a native of Birmingham, Alabama. Her sweet voice adds spark to eighty-something Mrs. Elner Shimfissle’s quirky life. One minute she is up a tree picking figs and the next off pondering the meaning of life. Library Journal says, “she still can mix humor, wisdom, and pathos in highly memorable characters that made [her] earlier books successes.”

I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence by Amy Sedaris, as read by the author, grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. Sedaris is like listening to a Southerner on speed, since she combines her hometown sound with a New Yorker’s urgency. Publisher’s Weekly says, “Sedaris sounds like she's throwing a party in the studio and listeners would be foolish not to RSVP.”

Mississippi Sissy by Kevin Sessums, as read by the author, grew up in Forest, Mississippi. Sessums knew he was different from other little boys: since he worshiped Arlene Francis and not Mickey Mantle. Publisher’s Weekly says, “Listeners accustomed to contemporary autobiographical titles should be forewarned that they are entering unapologetic gothic territory akin to that of Eudora Welty (a friend and mentor to Sessums) or even Flannery O'Connor.”

Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier is read by actor Will Patton, a Charleston, South Carolina native. Publisher’s Weekly states, “Patton transforms the text into a tale that sounds as if it were meant to be read aloud. It's a story to be told by the fire over the course of a long winter…”

And, drum roll please, my money is on the classic To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee as read by Sissy Spacek. The actual list suggests Sissy Spacek “performs the book” where as other nominees merely read theirs.

So, while you mow the lawn, water the garden, or travel to Yellowstone, spend your summer listening to these nominees, and decide for yourself.