|John W. Dower’s new book draws parallels between US-Japan relations during WWII and US-Iraq relations following 9/11. (Illustration from "Cultures of War" (Norton/ Free Press))|
In the running
Books by professors from MIT and Brown University — a historian and a poet, respectively — are among the National Book Award finalists this year.
In “Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, 9-11, Iraq” (Norton), John W. Dower, a retired professor of Japanese history and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, draws parallels between US-Japan relations during World War II and events of the last decade. “When patriotism bleeds into nationalism and intolerance — whether in wartime Japan, today’s America, or among Islamic fundamentalists — it suffocates understanding,” Dower told The Boston Globe in an interview earlier this fall.
Poet C.D. Wright’s “One With Others: A Little Book of Her Days” (Copper Canyon) will be released on Nov. 1. Wright’s book-length poem encompasses the experiences of a self-taught friend in the Arkansas Delta during the civil rights movement. A native of Arkansas, Wright lives in Barrington, R.I., and teaches at Brown University. A former poet laureate of Rhode Island, she was awarded a MacArthur “genius” grant in 2004.
The National Book Foundation will announce the winners in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young-adult literature on Nov. 17.
With the yearly National Book Awards a fixture since 1950, the National Book Foundation in 2006 launched “5 Under 35” to recognize young fiction writers. Among this year’s honorees are Sarah Braunstein and Paul Yoon. Braunstein, a resident of Portland, Maine, teaches fiction writing at the Harvard Extension School. Her debut novel “The Sweet Relief of Missing Children” (Norton) will be published in February. A mother herself, Braunstein has said she views her fiction as a way to explore some of the hopes and fears she has for her child.
Yoon’s debut story collection, “Once the Shore” came out last year. The title story, involving an American widow, a Korean waiter, and a shared sense of loss, was published in the 2006 edition of “The Best American Short Stories.” PEN New England three years ago honored Yoon as an emerging writer.
■ “The Peanuts Collection: Treasures from the World’s Most Beloved Comic Strip” by Nat Gertler (Little, Brown)
■ “You: Raising Your Child: The Owner’s Manual from First Breath to First Grade” by Michael F. Roizen and Mehmet C. Oz (Free Press)
Jan Gardner can be reached at JanLGardner@yahoo.com.