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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Nobel Reading

Last week, the Swedish Academy in Stockholm, Sweden awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature to Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk. While Pamuk is not a household name, the Fairfax County Public Library has seven of his books that you can check out, including My Name Is Red and Snow. In announcing the award, the Academy praised Pamuk, “who in the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures.”

The awarding of the Nobel Prize in Literature has sometimes been controversial in part due to Alfred Nobel’s direction that it must be awarded to “the most outstanding work of an idealistic tendency.” Since 1901, 101 writers have received the award. Recipients include Rudyard Kipling (1907), William Butler Yeats (1923), George Bernard Shaw (1925), William Faulkner (1949), Sir Winston Churchill (1953), Ernest Hemingway (1954), John Steinbeck (1962), Saul Bellow (1976) and Toni Morrison (1993).

To sample the work of lesser-known honorees, check out:

Final Poems by Rabindranath Tagore. (1913 Nobel laureate)
Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset. (1928 Nobel laureate)
Independent People by Halldór Laxness. (1955 Nobel laureate)
Strong Wind by Miguel Ángel Asturias. (1967 Nobel laureate)
The Trolley by Claude Simon. (1985 Nobel laureate)
The Tale of the Unknown Island by José Saramago. (1998 Nobel laureate)

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