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January 16, 1997 - Image 15

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-01-16

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l6B,- T Michigan Daily WeekenMagazi-e° Thursday, Ja ary 16, 1997

r.

The Michigan Ely Weeken1 M
'96 neither best of times nor
worst of times for books

Wh

:'S

C K
Tickle Me Elmo
la Macarena
"Jerry McGuire" Tom Cruise
Madonna's baby
"Seinfeld"
Beck
Bob Dole on "Late Night"
MTV's "Singled Out"
Nantucket Nectars
MTV's "Loveline"
Lee Bollinger
Rosie O'Donnell
Nintendo 64
Jenny McCarthy
Michigan Hockey
Larry Flynt
Newt Gingrich's ethics troubles
Tupac lives
College-bound Chelsea Clinton

A~Yii
French Ticklers
Disco
"Mission: Impossible" Tom Cruise
Michael Jackson's future child
"Roseanne"
R.E.M.
Bob Dole the candidate
"Love Connection"
Snapple
Dr. Ruth
James Duderstadt
Jenny Jones, et al
Sega Saturn, Sony Playstation
Pamela Anderson Lee
Michigan Hockey (get it?)
Hugh Hefner
Bob Packwood's ... troubles
Elvis lives
High school Chelsea Clinton

By Elizabeth Lucas
Daily Books Editor
As literary seasons go, 1996 was a relatively
quiet one. This past year was neither the best nor
the worst of times; it produced no instant classics
and no phenomenal bestsellers. But 1996 did see a
number of acclaimed books from tried-and-true
authors like Salman Rushdie and Margaret
Atwood, as well as some surprising literary trends.
As a whole, the year was defined not by a
few standouts, but by a variety of
offerings.
Ann Arbor's literary life was
particularly rich in quality this >
year, as numerous well-known
writers joined the many local
authors who gave readings in the
area. Shaman Drum Bookshop1

which you rely to produce intriguing and gifted
work. Continuing this trend, the 1996 Pulitzer
Prize for fiction was awarded to one such depend-
able writer, Richard Ford. His novel
"Independence Day" relates the saga of Frank
Bascombe, a middle-aged man taking stock of his
life. It is a sequel to "The Sportswriter," and both
novels are remarkable for their clear prose style
and description of characters' inner lives.
That Ford had finally won a Pulitzer
surely came as no surprise to his
audience.
The Nobel Prize for Literature,
however, was a harbinger of
1996's other trend: the emergence
of the unexpected. In three out of
the last six years, it has been given
to English-language writers: Nadine
Gordimer, Toni Morrison and Seamus
)KS Heaney. Yet this year, the prize went to
Wislawa Szymborska, a Polish poet not
widely read in the United States. And this was
only the first of 1996's unexpected literary
events.
The computer industry, oddly enough, crossed
over into the old-fashioned world of books this
year. First it was multimedia, then Windows 95,
but now ... Dilbert. Everyone's favorite computer
nerd appeared in a variety of merchandise, from

hosted readings
Kincaid and

by novelist Jamaica
columnist Barbara

V,

BO8

Ehrenreich, and the University's Visiting
Writers Series featured poets Derek Walcott and
A.R. Ammons.
Also appearing in Ann Arbor over the year were
such notable authors as Oliver Sacks, Joyce Carol
Oates, Richard Ford and - during one memorable
November weekend - Ray Bradbury and Mona
Simpson.
Overall, local literary events featured authors on

mousepadsr'
to stuffed dolls
to cartoon books. "The
Dilbert Principle," a nonfiction
book by "Dilbert" cartoonist Scott Adams,
became popular, as did "Dogbert's Top Secret
Guide to Management," by Dilbert's canine com-
panion.
It's too soon to tell if the Dilbert craze will last,
however. Its popularity may be a subversive back-
lash against the '90s world of megacorporations
and computerized infohighways. Or, like its pre-
decessors, "Life in Hell" and "Calvin and
Hobbes," it may simply be the cartoon fad of the
moment.
One genre that shows no signs of fading,
unfortunately, is the Christmas novel - that is,

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