Around the Bend
Prophecy by S. J. Parris
Around the Bend is an On the Bookcase Feature bringing attention to upcoming reading group-appropriate titles.
Publisher's summary of Prophecy
S. J. Parris returns with the next Giordano Bruno mystery, set inside Queen Elizabeth’s palace and steeped in period atmospherics and the strange workings of the occult.
It is the year of the Great Conjunction, when the two most powerful planets, Jupiter and Saturn, align—an astrological phenomenon that occurs once every thousand years and heralds the death of one age and the dawn of another. The streets of London are abuzz with predictions of horrific events to come, possibly even the death of Queen Elizabeth.
When several of the queen’s maids of honor are found dead, rumors of black magic abound. Elizabeth calls upon her personal astrologer, John Dee, and Giordano Bruno to solve the crimes. While Dee turns to a mysterious medium claiming knowledge of the murders, Bruno fears that something far more sinister is at work. But even as the climate of fear at the palace intensifies, the queen refuses to believe that the killer could be someone within her own court.
Bruno must play a dangerous game: can he allow the plot to progress far enough to give the queen the proof she needs without putting her, England, or his own life in danger?
Just as in Heresy, S. J. Parris's gorgeous writing and remarkable sense of place fully transport the reader. This utterly gripping novel clearly positions Paris at the forefront of the genre.
S. J. Parris is the pen name of Stephanie Merritt, a contributing journalist for various newspapers and magazines, including the Observer and the Guardian.
Praise for Prophecy
"Parris looks to be an up-and-comer in the historical fiction/mystery arena ..."--Library Journal
Praise for Heresy, Parris' debut novel. The first in the series about Giordano Bruno. In paperback in February.
“Set in the time of Elizabeth I, Heresy could happily follow on Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall about Henry VIII and his relationship with Thomas Cromwell. Both evoke the tensions, turbulence and cruelty of Tudor England.” —The Oxford Times
Reading group alert -- perfect for historical fiction groups and mystery book clubs. Religion, history, occult, culture, political intrigue and murder.
Look for Prophecy in May 2011.
Give Afghan Women a Voice in February.
Afghan Women’s Writing Project (AWWP) empowers Afghan women to have a voice in the world despite a deteriorating security situation.
AWWP is sponsoring a series of Living Room Chat fundraisers around Valentine’s Day to build a bridge of support for the women and their newly opened AWWP Writers’ Hut. AWWP writers gather in this sanctuary, in an undisclosed location in Kabul, to share community and the written word. Sounds a lot like a book group, doesn’t it? AWWP will offer Skype conversations with team members in Afghanistan and the U.S.
Women, Writing, World!
Have a Skype chat with AWWP members in February. For details about how to join in, contact AWWP Special Events Coordinator Leanne Moore, email@example.com. Read a powerful story written by one of AWWP writers.
To give you a taste (Food by the Book!) of what the Living Room Fundraisers project has to offer, here’s one of AWWP’s writers favorite holiday recipe, a dish called biryani.
Reading Group Choices supports AWWP and its assistance to empower Afghan women to tell their stories.
An IRRESISTIBLE BookPerk for reading groups in St. Louis.
Attend a Private Cocktail Party with New York Times Bestselling Author Susan Elizabeth Phillips.
Chat with Susan during an intimate evening of hors d'œuvres, wine and desserts at The Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis in St. Louis, MO on January 17, 2011 from 7pm-9pm. Be among the first to get a signed, personalized copy of her latest novel, Call Me Irresistible, before it goes on sale!
Get your invitation now.
Author On the Bookcase
I'm excited to welcome Teresa Medeiros, author of Goodnight Tweetheart, to On the Bookcase. Goodnight Tweetheart is a look (very humorous look, at times) at modern communication and the love game. The main character, Abby, is writing her second novel and is at an impasse. Will this new fangled social media site, Twitter, release her writer's block and find her love, as well? Told almost entirely in tweets and DMs, Goodnight Tweetheart is a truly modern take on a classic tale of love and loss — a Griffin and Sabine for the Twitter generation. But, no spoilers here!
Teresa writes that her "brain 'tweets' all of the time" so it was natural to write Abby and Mark's story. Twitter away, Teresa!
Can the human heart be mapped in 140 characters or less? That's the question I decided to explore when I wrote Goodnight Tweetheart, the story of a man and woman who meet and fall in love on the social media site Twitter.
I was dragged kicking and screaming onto Twitter in 2009 by my friend and fellow writer Connie Brockway. We had just ended our very successful blog Squawk Radio and I was looking forward to living my life on the private stage for a while. Despite my initial skepticism, it was love at first sight for me!
Twitter immediately became about more than me just promoting myself as a novelist. It was like the biggest cocktail party in the world where there was always some interesting conversation going on. My brain "tweets" all of the time anyway so it was wonderful to have an outlet for all of those observations, both ridiculous and sublime. If I had a burning desire to say, "Aging is God's way of making us look forward to death," then there was someone who would listen.
Before long, Mark and Abby started "tweeting" in my head and instead of having me locked away, my editor at Simon & Schuster offered me a contract to tell their story. At first I thought the book would be written entirely in tweets. But I quickly decided the story needed a "frame" so Abby's life became that frame. While the relationship is at the heart of the book, it's really the story of one woman's journey and the impact this encounter has on that journey.
Writing the tweets themselves felt very organic, like eavesdropping on a conversation between two very dear friends and potential lovers. Mark and Abby start out basically flirting but the intimacy between them deepens as they reveal more and more about themselves with each encounter. Then we discover that Mark is hiding a major secret that becomes a game-changer for them both.
As I was writing, Mark and Abby's story began to mirror so many themes I'd been exploring in my own life since cyber-communication became the norm. Do sites like Facebook and Twitter enhance intimacy or make it more difficult to achieve? Is it easier to bare your soul to someone when you're not face to face? Do people tend to wear "masks" on-line—to present themselves as the person they would most like to be? Have we become a generation that communicates primarily in pop culture tidbits? Is it possible to fall in love at first sight…or first tweet? Is it possible to forgive someone for doing the wrong thing for all the right reasons?
Writing Goodnight Tweetheart sometimes made me squirm because it's also my most intensely autobiographical novel. Abby is a writer who sometimes finds it easier to write tweets and Facebook updates than make progress on her latest novel. (I hope my editor didn't just read that!) Just like me, she's dealing with a mom who has had early onset dementia for years. I even gave my cats Buffy the Mouse Slayer and Willow Tum-Tum cameos in the book!
Am I glad I bared my own soul in Goodnight Tweetheart? Absolutely! Because I wouldn't have sacrificed a single moment I spent with Mark and Abby. I hope you enjoy eavesdropping on their relationship as much as I did.
Thanks so much, Teresa. Goodnight Tweetheart has many good discussion topics for reading groups. Intimacy on social sites -- an oxymoron? The whole idea of social sites and what they mean for future relationships and communications? Betrayal? Forgiveness?
Praise for Goodnight Tweetheart
"Goodnight Tweetheart is exactly the book to warm you up on a cold winter's night. Tender, funny, and poignant, this novel will make you laugh out loud one minute and reach for the tissues the next."—Kristin Hannah, New York Times bestselling author of Winter Garden
New York Times and USA TODAY bestseller Teresa Medeiros wrote her first novel at the age of twenty-one, introducing readers to one of the most beloved and versatile voices in women's fiction. She has appeared on every national bestseller list, including the New York Times, USA TODAY and Publishers Weekly lists. She currently has over ten million books in print and is published in over seventeen languages. She is a two-time recipient of the Waldenbooks Award for bestselling fiction who lives in Kentucky with her husband and her cats Willow Tum-Tum and Buffy the Mouse Slayer.
Author On the Bookcase
Welcome, Ruth Downie, to On the Bookcase. Ruth has written the fourth novel, Caveat Emptor, in her historical mystery Medicus series (Medicus, Terra Incognita, Persona Non Grata). The series centers around a doctor and defacto investigater, Gaius Petreius Ruso and his companion, (now wife) Tilla, in 2nd century Roman-occupied Britain. Ruth's entertaining series is full of history, mystery, culture, and a little British humor! Ruth sets the reader directly and competently in the era and place of the period. Caveat Emptor's Ruso is hunting down a missing tax man and brings to life death and taxes in that intriguing time.
Ruth writes that she is "constantly surprised by the gulf that can separate different readers’ views of the same novel." That's definitely is a reading group!
One of the best discoveries I’ve made in reading groups is that many good things lie beyond one’s comfort zone. I’ve frequently ended up reading something I’ve never heard of and wouldn’t naturally choose, but usually it’s been worth the effort. Over the years there’s only been one book I absolutely couldn’t bear. I thought it was hideously pretentious, although on reflection my description of it as ‘like wading through a bowl of over-ripe fruit’ wasn’t much better. Needless to say, the book won heaps of prizes and was acclaimed as a great work of literature.
I’m constantly surprised by the gulf that can separate different readers’ views of the same novel. I was deeply puzzled when several people whose tastes I thought I knew well didn’t share my ecstasy over Kate Atkinson’s Behind the scenes at the Museum. They agreed that it was funny and well-written, but they simply couldn’t see what the fuss was about. Only later did we realise that most of the enthusiasts in the group had shared the British childhood that was depicted in the novel. Readers who had been brought up elsewhere found it didn’t resonate with them in the same way.
Lolita, on the other hand, resonated all too well with the parents of young daughters: several of them found it impossible to finish the book and we spent much of the evening discussing whether it should have been published at all.
I suppose that, consciously or otherwise, we all interpret what we read in the light of our own experience – and it’s a deeply personal affair. Perhaps that’s why it can be so uncomfortable to hear disparaging comments about a book that you absolutely loved. (So if you’ve read A Town Like Alice’and didn’t swoon over the romance, please be kind enough not to explain to me what was wrong with it!)
I didn’t tell people in my first reading group that I was writing fiction in my spare time. It seemed both irrelevant and embarrassing: like announcing to a group of opera critics that you like to sing in the shower. Nor did I tell my fellow-diggers on a Roman Villa site that I harboured a secret passion for creating tales about the people of Roman Britain. Although they were very kind when I finally confessed, a tendency to make things up is not highly prized amongst archaeologists, for obvious reasons.
Besides, I wasn’t a born writer who’d been scribbling since childhood. I’d begun it as a hobby: a way to create some private space amid the demands of family and work.
When I finally began to send material out for others to read, it went to ‘safe’ places: competitions run by strangers whom I’d never have to meet. That’s how the early chapters of the first Medicus story were born. Only after they were published in a magazine, and one or two people asked where the rest of it was, did it dawn on me that it might actually be worth trying to finish the book.
The route to publication involved lots of very small steps spread over several years, many of them backwards. When The Phone Call finally came– the one all writers are supposed to dream about – I was somewhere between ecstasy and shock. I’d passed the test! Somebody liked my story! After all those years of warbling in the shower, I was finally being asked to perform in public!
A few minutes after I’d put the phone down came the awful realisation. If the book was published, people might read it. They would have expectations. Worse, they would have opinions. The gift of seeing of ourselves as others see us may be useful, but it’s also a very scary prospect. After all, I knew how impossible it is to predict whether people will enjoy a book. What if everyone thought my novel was dreadful?
All of this may sound remarkably dimwitted. Obviously books are published to be read, but the chances of it happening to mine had been so slim that I’d put the fear of exposure to the back of my mind, rather like a looming dental appointment.
I was lucky. Enough people liked the story about a Roman doctor and his British partner for the publishers to want more. The fourth Medicus novel, Caveat Emptor, has just appeared and I’m now working on the fifth. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing from readers who’ve enjoyed the books and the honour of being confided in by one or two who have found them a cheering distraction during exceedingly tough times.
However, when I’m writing I still try not to think too much about who will read it or what they’ll make of it. Not because I don’t care, but because trying to second-guess other people’s reactions is a quick way both to drive yourself crackers, and to crush any small shoots of originality.
It reminds me of the day I naively took my thirteen-year-old shopping for a winter coat. As the morning progressed but we didn’t, it became apparent that we weren’t alone. It seemed the whole of my son’s class was in the shop with us, invisibly peering over his shoulder, eyeing up the offerings on the racks and making comments on his taste – or lack of it. We finally went home with frayed tempers and the safest possible option, a coat as near as possible to what every other thirteen-year-old was wearing at the time.
On the other hand, when I worked in our local library, one of my favourite customers was an elderly man who always seemed to select his large pile of books with incredible speed. When I remarked on it, he confessed that he never bothered to look at them before picking them up. "I do end up taking home some awful old rubbish," he admitted. "Some of them, I just read a couple of pages and put them down." So why did he approach his reading in such a haphazard fashion? "Well," he said cheerfully, "When you’re willing to have a go at anything, sometimes you get a lovely surprise."
It seems to me that both as readers and writers, we can stay in our own comfort zone where the risks are minimal – but sometimes, a deep breath and a small step outside can bring rewards beyond anything we’d imagined.
Well-said, Ruth! Sometimes, members of reading groups forget to go outside their comfort and read something new and different. Thanks so much for the reminder to "push the envelope" a bit.
Praise for Caveat Emptor
"Superb…Downie excels in bringing the ancient world to life as well as making the attitudes and customs of its inhabitants accessible to a modern audience."—Publishers Weekly
"... Downie remains a peerless storyteller and a master entertainer. BBC's Masterpiece should take a long look at this series. It's a winner."— Kirkus Review
Ruth Downie, a part-time librarian, is married with two sons and lives in Milton Keynes, England.
Author On the Bookcase
I'm thrilled to welcome Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife, to On the Bookcase. Hemingway is one of my favorite writers and have read some biographies of him. Now we can experience him through the eyes of his first wife, Hadley, in Paula's new novel. Paula captures Hadley's voice and brings to life the remarkable period of time -- Paris in the twenties -- and the passionate affair and marriage of Ernest and Hadley. Hadley struggled with her roles as a woman -- wife, lover, friend, muse, mother -- and tries to find a place for herself in this world.
Paula tells us that writing The Paris Wife "was such an incredible voyage . . . I had slipped through a miraculous portal . . ."
There’s a moment in A Moveable Feast, when Ernest Hemingway and his new wife, Hadley, have just moved to Paris, where he’s hoping to earn his stripes as a writer. It’s 1922. Winter has settled grimly in, and Hemingway, sitting in a café after a day’s writing, watches a cold rain falling and feels the grip of melancholy and emptiness. He orders a dozen portugaises and dry white wine and as he eats the oysters, “with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture,” something happens. The emptiness he’s feeling is washed away, too. It occurs to him that he and Hadley could leave Paris for a holiday in the Swiss Alps, where there would be lovely snow instead of rain. He rushes home to tell Hadley of his plan and she agrees wholeheartedly. Within days they’re tucked into a cozy chalet in Chamby, Switzerland. They teach themselves to ski and, at night, lay tucked into the featherbed with their books and a fire roaring nearby, and everything is better than good. It saves them.
Ernest and Hadley Hemingway
Chamby, Switzerland, Winter 1922
Researching Hemingway and Hadley’s life together for The Paris Wife, it struck me that the overwhelming success of this trip to Chamby set a tone for their marriage. For the next five years, as Hemingway was becoming the writer we know now, arguably the most influential of his generation, he and Hadley lived in Paris and traveled with increasing relish—from the ice glaciers of the Austrian Vorarlberg to the hot cobblestones of Pamplona and everywhere in between: Milan, Rapallo, Lausanne, Antibes, Madrid, Valencia, San Sebastian. They had an endless appetite for a fresh view, exotic dish, unfamiliar wine—for life, really. And as I worked on The Paris Wife, tracing their journeys imaginatively, living with them in these amazing places, I was literally swept away.
I wrote nearly all of the first draft tucked into a brown velveteen chair at Starbucks in Cleveland, where I live. Hardly a Parisian café—and yet it didn’t matter. Outside the fogged glass, it was October, then December, then February. Snow fell, melted, fell again—but I didn’t really feel it. I had slipped through a miraculous portal to San Sebastian and the blinding white sand beach of La Concha, or to the first riotous night of Fiesta in Pamplona, complete with chirping fifes and fireworks and riau-riau dancing.
When I finished the book, late in May, I almost couldn’t let it go. Living inside their story was such an incredible voyage—and because I’ve been very lucky indeed, it hasn’t ended. This past summer I traced the Hemingways’ route through France and Spain—Paris to San Sebastian to Pamplona, to Antibes. It was a life-changing trip and it began with a plate of perfect oysters, portugaises, and dry white wine at one of Hemingway’s favorite Parisian cafés, the Closerie des Lilas. They tasted of the sea, yes, and also of history and memory. Of sweeping love, and life lived to the fullest. They tasted of Hemingway’s Paris and my own extraordinary good fortune—and I savored every last drop.
Thanks so much, Paula, for letting us share your "journey" into the Hemingways' exciting life. The history, the real-life characters, the food, the wine, the marriage struggles, the period and time of Paris -- all are great topics for any reading group.
Here is Paula's recipe for oysters and some ideas for wine to go with the oysters. Perfect to serve for your discussion of The Paris Wife!
Preparing oysters on the half-shell at home is simple but takes some practice. At the market, select shells that are tightly closed, and just before you plan to use them. Store under damp paper towels with the largest side down, so the oysters can rest in their own juices.
When opening an oyster, hold it in one hand (larger side down) and place the tip of an oyster knife or sharp-pointed can opener into a gap in the hinge of the shell and pry shells apart. Once open, move a small knife under the oyster, separating the muscle from the shell. Be careful to retain as much of the oyster’s juices in the shell as possible.
Serve on a bed of crushed ice with wedges of lemon or a sauce of minced shallots and white wine vinegar. Allow for at least six oysters per person.
Sancerre is a crisp, dry white wine from the Loire Valley which pairs beautifully with the oysters. Another similar wine, such as Pouilly-Fuiseé, would also work, as would champagne.
Praise for The Paris Wife
"McLain offers a vivid addition to the complex-woman-behind-the-legendary-man genre, bringing Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley Richardson, to life.... The heart of the story -- Ernest and Hadley's relationship -- gets an honest reckoning, most notably the waves of elation and despair that pull them apart." —Publishers Weekly
"The Paris Wife is mesmerizing. Hadley Hemingway’s voice, lean and lyrical, kept me in my seat, unable to take my eyes and ears away from these young lovers. Paula McLain is a first-rate writer who creates a world you don’t want to leave. I loved this book."
—Nancy Horan, New York Times bestselling author of Loving Frank
Paula McLain received her MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan and has been a resident at Yaddo. She is the author of two collections of poetry, a memoir called Like Family, and a first novel, A Ticket to Ride. Paula lives in Cleveland, OH with her family.
Author On the Bookcase
I'm so thrilled to welcome Debra Ollivier, author of What French Women Know: About Love, Sex, and Other Matters of the Heart and Mind, to On the Bookcase. Debra writes that French women don’t give a damn. They don’t expect men to understand them. They don’t care about being liked or being like everyone else. They accept the passage of time; celebrate the immediacy of pleasure; embrace ambiguity and imperfection; and prefer having a life to making a living. American women might learn the basics of the liberating alternatives from the land that knows how to love.
Bon Jour! Comment ca va? Debra, tell us about how studying French women led to a increase awareness of your our (American) culture.
I wrote What French Women Know: About Love, Sex, and Other Matters of the Heart and Mind partly out of frustration with the oo-la-la clichés recycled about French women. I lived in France for over ten years and all of the French women I know defy the cultural cream puffs thrown our way about their fashion, their infuriating lack of body fat, their lipstick, lingerie and high heels. If French women seem so alluring and knowing, it has little to do with their surface glam and everything to do with their mindsets -- provocative things that are hardwired into them by French culture. I wanted to write a book that explored these things. Little did I know that in writing my book, I'd view my own culture through a different prism and debunk a few enduring myths along the way.
For starters, contrary to what one might imagine I’m not a Francophile, though as a girl I was intrigued by French women and their “otherness” – or their “je ne sais quoi.” Like many American girls I vacillated between the desire to be cheerfully “popular” (a word and concept, by the way, that does not exist in the French lexicon) and the desire to be different -- in other words, to be myself. At the time French women seemed like icons of freedom precisely because their identity seemed all about being different. Their sophistication seemed wrapped up in the way they diverged from the aggressively sunny imperatives of “happy” and “perfection” that dominated my American girlhood. They were certainly a sensual and eclectic counterpart to the cookie-cutter beauty standard advocated around me. More importantly, they did indeed seem to have an elusive knowingness about them, and an ability to experience pleasure and enjoy men in ways that contradicted the zeitgeist of my own culture.
Decades later, the countless French women from all walks-of-life who I interviewed for the book described how these attributes play out in the realm of love, sex, dating (another word/concept that doesn’t exist in French), feminism (including why there's more complicity with men than commiseration about them), flirtation, marriage, parenting, adultery (it's not what you think!), aging, the perils of perfection and Happily Ever After, the dangers of dos-and-don’ts, and art de vivre.
One interesting insight was the extent to which these attributes are fused into French women when they’re girls. For example, unlike American girls, French girls don’t grow up picking petals and pondering love with ‘He loves me, he loves me not.’ Rather, when they pick petals and ponder love, they intone: ‘He loves me a little, a lot, passionately, madly, not at all.’ Far more than an innocent schoolgirl refrain, this potent metaphor perfectly describes the different ways we look at love: While we grow up thinking in black and white, French women grow up inscrutably gray. While we grow up stuck in the absolutes of total love or utter rejection, the French girl grows up looking at love in nuances and as a range of possibilities. While we long for happy endings, they’re comfortable with emotional subtleties and ambiguity.
Similarly, one pressure that bears down on American girls is the pressure not only to be liked, but to be like everyone else. The wicked stress of that effort insinuates itself into the young heart and soul with a vengeance, and insecurities go from being hard little buds of confusion to overripe, tyrannical fruits that hang on the vine as we age. The cultural norms wired into the French brain at an early age, however, are almost exactly the opposite. If you don’t fit a standard mold, you’re alluring. If you look like everyone else, there’s something not right about you. Sameness is suspect, "imperfections" are exalted and, as I mentioned, “popularity” – the word, the concept – never enters the French girl’s consciousness. No wonder many French women are so self-possessed they often don’t seem to give a damn what we think of them. (News flash: they don’t.)
Fast-forward: I’ve been fascinated by questions and discussions from readers about “What French Women Know.” Some of them are complex; others are deceptively simple. I’ll never forget one woman who asked how she could “be more French.” I told her that the point of the book is not to “be” French, nor is it, coming full circle, about emulating the surface glam we so often associate with French women. The point, if it can be distilled it to its essence, might be found in what was said by Michelle Fitoussi, the executive editor of French Elle. When I asked Fitoussi what she thought was the singular most defining thing about French women, she pondered a moment, then said: “French women have a keen sense of the brevity of time and the immediacy of pleasure.”
What a fitting counterpart, I thought (particularly since we Anglo-Saxons often have a keen sense of the brevity of pleasure and the immediacy of the future).
We will never “be” French – nor should we be -- but it wouldn’t hurt to live with Fitoussi’s mantra in our heads. It certainly might change the way we experience love and sex, not to mention other matters of the heart and mind.
Merci, Debra! Thanks so much for your ideas and giving us some topics for reading group discussion -- happy endings vs with "emotional subtleties and ambiguity," sameness vs otherness, French culture vs American culture.
Praise for What French Women Know
"[Ollivier is] ideally suited to contrast and compare the two cultures that seem to fascinate--and irritate--each other." --Los Angeles Times
"A Gallic prescription for living a life that is richer, more sensual, messier, and a lot more fun" -- Boston Globe
Debra Ollivier lived in France for ten years, during which time she married her French husband and had two children. She was a frequent contributor to Salon and La Monde, and her work has appeared in Harper’s, Playboy, The Guardian, and Les Inrockuptibles. Also the author of Entre Nous: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl, Ollivier lives with her family in Los Angeles and Paris.
Find more about Debra on her website.
Did you get any books by mail last week? Or, did you picked some up at the book store and/or librarary? Let us know.
Publishers send books that could be reading group-appropriate. So, here are the books that flew into my mailbox.
Read This Next: 500 of the Best Books You'll Ever Read by Sandra Newman and Howard Mittlemark (Harper)
Hummingbirds by Joshua Gaylord (Harper Perennial)
The Gentleman Poet by Kathryn Johnson (Avon A)
The Anatomy of Ghosts by Andrew Taylor (January 2011, Hyperion)
The Outside Boy by Jeanine Cummins (sent to me by Esme from Chocolate and Croissants)
The 2010 National Book Awards were announced today.
Here are the winners. Congratulations to all!
Young People's Literature
Lord of Misrule
Have you and will you read of one of the NBA awards?