I hope your holiday season has been book-filled and restful and that 2024 shines brighter than 2023. I mean, no matter how things are, sometimes just hoping that things “are better next time around” is good enough. 2023 had its rough patches, but there’s a new year just around the corner.
I’ve never been much of an Auld Lang Syne kind of person (though New Year’s Eve is absolutely my favorite holiday), and I don’t get very nostalgic, but it is fun to look over a stack of books you have read.
My 2023 stack is 25 titles tall, which LibraryThing tells me is taller than a garden gnome but shorter than a tennis net. I am also reading more contemporary books, with all of my 2023 reads having been published since 1990. I am running about 50% fiction and 50% non-fiction. That sounds healthy, doesn’t it?
Hugh Howey’s Beacon 23debuted on the streaming service MGM+ earlier last week. I really enjoyed the short book the TV series is based on, but it sounds like the reception of the new series has been mixed. You can watch the trailer on YouTube.
The cast looks great and stars Stephan James and Lena Heady. Sounds like they’ve already filmed two seasons. To be honest, I had never heard of MGM+, but I guess this is why you do a high-production series like this – to bring attention to your app/service.
Anyway, Beacon 23 follows the story of an outer space-based lighthouse keeper who takes on a ‘shipwrecked’ traveler. The book is a fast read and has all of Hugh Howey’s signature sci-fi goodness. The reviews have been mixed but trending up. From the few I’ve run across, it sounds like if science fiction is your jam, then you’re going to really enjoy this. I’m one of those that absolutely enjoyed the Silo series on Apple TV (but the books really were better), so I feel like I’ll enjoy Beacon 23 as well.
I know that none of this is breaking news, but a buddy just returned my copy of Beacon 23, and it reminded me to look for the show.
I first stumbled upon Heather Cox Richardson’s writing back in 2020 when I read How the South Won the Civil War. Which I found fascinating. Her premise is insightful, the research was well done and the writing even better. It was the kind of book that makes you see the impact of historical decisions playing out in the day-today news and happenings all around you. It’s also the kind of book that leaves you with questions as you may not see eye-to-eye with her, but man is the conversation worth having. There is no downside to reading whatever Heather Cox Heather Cox Richardson writes.
Her new book Democracy Awakening: Notes on the State of America is just 250 pages broken into 30 chapters. As she tells it: “…it tries to explain how we got to this political moment…and how we get out.” Sounds like another worthwhile and thoughtful read – whether you agree with her or not.
Authors Eugene Walter and Kathryn Tucker Windham will be inducted posthumously.
Billed as a ‘gala event,’ this year’s proceedings will be overseen by Harper Lee Award winner Carolyn Haines. The dinner features food and cocktails by Eugene Walter, who was famous for hosting parties with Truman Capote way back when.
This is the first in-person gathering held by the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame since before the pandemic.
During that event, they inducted seven Alabama authors. The 2020 class included Mark Childress, Faye Gibbons, Carolyn Haines, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, and Michael Knight, with authors Ralph Ellison and Zelda Fitzgerald being inducted posthumously.
Here is a list of all the past Alabama Writers Hall of Fame inductees:
The 2018 Inductee List
Joseph Glover Baldwin
William Bradford Huie
Shirley Ann Grau
The 2016 Inductee List
E. O. Wilson
Mary Ward Brown
The 2015 Inductee List
Johnson Jones Hooper
Zora Neale Hurston
Sena Jeter Naslund
Helen Norris Bell
Augusta Jane Evans Wilson
I assume that no one was inducted in 2021 and 2022 due to the pandemic, which is perfectly understandable. I have looked and looked, and I can not find a mention of why there were no Alabama Writers Hall of Fame classes for the years 2017 and 2019. If you know why that is, chime in and let a curious book blogger know.