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Fly Rod & Reel Magazine named Thomas McGuane its "Angler of the Year" for 2010. Author Nick Lyons wrote an enthusiastic essay about McGuane's prowess with words, his lifelong devotion to fly-fishing, and how he combines the two. Lyons writes: "Tom McGuane…has loved fly-fishing for more than five decades, since he fished the rivers and small creeks of Michigan as a boy; he has pursued trout, false albacore, steelhead, bonefish, striped bass, permit and salmon with great passion and success; he has fished from Tierra del Fuego to Russia, Iceland, New Zealand, Ireland, Canada, Florida and throughout his now-native Montana, and widely elsewhere; and along with his great novels and stories and films has written, with dazzling skill, much about what he calls his 'life in fishing.' He is Fly Rod & Reel’s Angler of the Year and my Angler for the Last Hundred Years." According to Lyons, the 70-year-old McGuane recently completed a new novel. (Via Twitter.com/mathiak) • It's time for the annual stampede of best books of the year lists. Check back here next Monday for my list of 2009's best books set in the West. In the meantime, several books from this region have been charting on national best book lists, most notably Dave Cullen's Columbine, which as Amazon book blog Omnivoracious notes, is one of the thirteen books to appear in the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2009, the Publisher's Weekly best book list, and the Amazon list. Cullen, a successful journalist based in Denver, has lived in Colorado since 1994. (We both attended the University of Colorado creative writing program in Boulder, and I've met him a few times.) He first began covering the Columbine shootings for Salon.com, and stuck with the story for a decade, releasing his universally acclaimed account of the murders earlier this year. Also in the Roundup: Christie's to auction Cormac McCarthy's typewriter, Those Strenuous Dames of the Colorado Prairie, and an odd Ronald McDonald book signing.

Year-End Book Accolades, McCarthy Typewriter for Sale, and “Strenuous Dames”

Fly Rod & Reel Magazine named Thomas McGuane its “Angler of the Year” for 2010. Author Nick Lyons wrote an enthusiastic essay about McGuane’s prowess with words, his lifelong devotion to fly-fishing, and how he combines the two. Lyons writes:

“Tom McGuane…has loved fly-fishing for more than five decades, since he fished the rivers and small creeks of Michigan as a boy; he has pursued trout, false albacore, steelhead, bonefish, striped bass, permit and salmon with great passion and success; he has fished from Tierra del Fuego to Russia, Iceland, New Zealand, Ireland, Canada, Florida and throughout his now-native Montana, and widely elsewhere; and along with his great novels and stories and films has written, with dazzling skill, much about what he calls his ‘life in fishing.’ He is Fly Rod & Reel’s Angler of the Year and my Angler for the Last Hundred Years.”

According to Lyons, the 70-year-old McGuane recently completed a new novel. (Via Twitter.com/mathiak)

• It’s time for the annual stampede of best books of the year lists. Check back here next Monday for my list of 2009’s best books set in the West. In the meantime, several books from this region have been charting on national best book lists, most notably Dave Cullen‘s Columbine, which as Amazon book blog Omnivoracious notes, is one of the thirteen books to appear in the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2009, the Publisher’s Weekly best book list, and the Amazon list.

Cullen, a successful journalist based in Denver, has lived in Colorado since 1994. (We both attended the University of Colorado creative writing program in Boulder, and I’ve met him a few times.) He first began covering the Columbine shootings for Salon.com, and stuck with the story for a decade, releasing his universally acclaimed account of the murders earlier this year.

I am ashamed to say that I haven’t read Columbine yet—I huddled next to a desk in the gym teacher’s office when gunmen held up my own Denver high school in the early nineties, and though there were no fatalities in that incident, the whole subject of Columbine gives me the heebie jeebies, especially now that I have two kids. I am going to try to take my head out of the sand and read Cullen’s book soon.

Other Western books that appear in the New York Times list include Maile Meloy’s Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It, Jeanette Walls’ Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel, Antonya Nelson’s Nothing Right: Short Stories , and The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver (not technically Western, set in Mexico and the American south, but after she lived for decades in Arizona, Kingsolver still feels like a home town girl).

•Patricia Cohen of the New York Times reports that Christie’s will auction Cormac McCarthy’s trusty typewriter on Friday, and “estimated that it would fetch between $15,000 and $20,000.” McCarthy has written most of his work on the Olivetti Lettera 32, which is beginning to show “irrevocable signs of age.” McCarthy’s friend John Miller offered to buy him a new one if he’d auction off the old one and donate the proceeds to the Santa Fe Institute.

• Recently Betty Stanley happened across an article I wrote for New West in 2005 about the little cemetery in the prairie ghost town of Keota, Colorado. I became interested in Edith Grace Steiger (1912-1989) from this description on her gravestone: “In loving memory of Edith Grace Steiger’s life and efforts to preserve the Colorado Prairie. Edith was an accomplished pilot, pianist, author, professor of economics and environmentalist.” Ms. Stanley wrote in to suggest a book from which I might learn more about Ms. Steiger, Nell Brown Probst’s Those Strenuous Dames of the Colorado Prairie, which has the best title I’ve come across in a long time. It was first published in 1981. The second edition, published by Tamarack Books in 1994, includes two pages on Edith Grace Steiger, and is available online.

• Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I saw in the Denver Post an ad for the most bizarre book signing I’ve ever encountered. The ad for Dillard’s read: “You are cordially invited to attend our Book Signing Party hosted by Ronald McDonald…when you purchase a copy of the Southern Living Christmas Cookbook for only $10, Ronald McDonald will sign your copy.”

Okay, this event benefited Colorado Ronald McDonald Houses, so it was for a good cause, but it brought so many questions to mind: Why would Ronald McDonald sign a book that McDonald’s has nothing to do with? Why would an adult want whatever person is portraying Ronald McDonald that day to sign their copy of the book? Why is a signing for a southern cookbook taking place in Denver, and why would Ronald McDonald be involved in this, as the book doesn’t seem to contain hamburger recipes? The mind reels.

Please follow me on Twitter, and {encode=”jenny@newwest.net” title=”email me”} with any regional book news or events.

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