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John Grisham, the world's - if not the universe's - pre-eminent author of legal thrillers, will stand on the steps of Rowan Oak in Oxford, Miss., on Oct. 12 to announce the finalists for the National Book Awards. William Faulkner, who owned and lived in the antebellum house from 1930 until he died in 1962, won National Book Awards in 1951 for "The Collected Stories" and in 1955 for his novel "A Fable." Rowan Oak is owned by the University of Mississippi.
Grisham, who has a degree in criminal law from Ole Miss, will announce the finalists in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people's literature. The ceremony for the winners will be held in New York on Nov. 16.
Two awards have been announced. Norman Mailer will receive the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Poet and publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti will receive a new prize, the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community.
Eric Schlosser, author of the best-selling "Fast Food Nation" (2001) will be at Rhodes College Tuesday as part of the Frank M. Gilliland Symposium Series. His lecture at 7 p.m. in the McCallum Ballroom of the Bryan Campus Life Center is free and open to the public. The book exposes sanitary practices and treatment of workers in the American fast-food industry. Schlosser, a correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly and a frequent guest on network television news and commentary programs, also wrote "Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap labor in the American Black Market" (2003).
Also appearing at Rhodes this week is poet Gerald Stern . His reading Thursday at 7:30 in Blount Auditorium of Buckman Hall is free and open to the public. (See interview, Page M10.)
Just the facts
It's a week for nonfiction at Off Square Books.
First, Ron Powers will be at the store Wednesday 5 p.m. to read from and sign "Mark Twain: A Life," The Free Press, $35. (See review, Page M10.)
On Thursday, Hal Crowther will be at Off Square to appear on Thacker Mountain Radio (5:25-6:30 p.m.) to discuss his collection of essays, "Gather at the River: Notes from the Post-Millennial South" (Louisiana State University Press, $26.95), and to sign books. His book, "Cathedrals of Kudzu: A Personal Landscape of the South," won the Lillian Smith Book Award and the Fellowship of Southern Writers Award for Nonfiction.
Crowther will be at Burke's Book Store, 1719 Poplar, Wednesday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Call 278-7484.
Finally, Friday at 5 p.m., Suzanne Marrs will be at Off Square to read from and sign the biography "Eudora Welty" (Harcourt, $28).
Off Square Books, an annex to Square Books, is at 129 Courthouse Square in Oxford, Miss. Call (662) 236-2262.
The real blues
Robert Gordon and Bruce Nemerov will be at Burke's Book Store Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. to sign "Lost Delta Found: Rediscovering the Fisk University-Library of Congress Coahoma County Study, 1941- 1942" (Vanderbilt University Press, $34.95). They will be accompanied by Tara McAdams, who will sign "The Elvis Handbook" (MQP Press, $22.50).
"Lost Delta Found," edited by Gordon and Nemerov, establishes the importance of Fisk researchers John W. Work, Lewis Wade Jones and Samuel C. Adams Jr. in the Mississippi Delta work of legendary folklorist Alan Lomax. The book Lomax published about the experience in 1993, "The Land Where the Blues Began," won a National Book Critics Circle Award, but the Fisk researchers were omitted from that account. Their papers were discovered recently in Lomax's attic.
Gordon is author of "It Came From Memphis" and "Can't Be Satisfied: The Life and Times of Muddy Waters." Nemerov is with the Center for Popular Music at Middle Tennessee State University and author of "The Story behind the Song: 150 Songs that Chronicle the 20th Century." McAdams writes regularly about music and film and is author of "Spin Underground."
Burke's is at 1719 Poplar. Call 278-7484.
It's OK to read 'Lolita'
Yes, it's "Banned Books Week" across this great nation, the time when we remember why the First Amendment seems to carry little weight when confronted by the opponents of volumes such as "The Catcher in the Rye," "Of Mice and Men" (no mice were hurt in the writing of this book), "The Color Purple" and the Harry Potter series.
The University of Memphis celebrates Banned Books Week with a series of readings from banned books (or books high on the banning wish-list) Monday through Friday at 11:30 a.m., noon and 12:30 p.m. in the rotunda of the Ned R. McWherter Library.
To volunteer to read from a banned book, call Tom Mendina at 678- 4310 or e-mail email@example.com
Davis-Kidd Booksellers honors the event with the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee Monday ; readings will be from 6 to 7 p.m.
Coincidentally, this month marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of the oft-condemned and challenged "Lolita," Vladimir Nabokov's masterpiece of perversity and longing. I'm reading it again; why don't you?
Three at Davis-Kidd
Davis-Kidd will welcome three authors this week on consecutive days.
Tuesday at 6 p.m., Diane Les Becquets will be at the store to discuss and sign her young adult novel, "Love, Cajun Style" (Bloomsbury, $16.96). The first novel, "The Stones of Mourning Creek," was well received.
El Dorado, Ark.-resident Ramona Wood will visit Davis-Kidd Wednesday at 6 p.m. to sign her book "Now Caitlin Can" (JustBookz, $16), based on the true story of a girl who received a donated kidney from El Dorado teenager Mark Pinckard after his accidental death. The event is held in conjunction with the Mid-South Transplant Foundation.
And Thursday at 6 p.m., Davis-Kidd will host local religious author Linda Douty, who will sign her book, "How Can I Let Go If I Don't Know I'm Holding On? Setting Our Souls Free" (Morehouse Publishing, $15.95).
Davis-Kidd is at 387 Perkins Ext. in Laurelwood. Call 683-9801.
To submit items to Book Folks, fax to 529-2787 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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