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Future of Current Health Care Bill Up in Air

Following the victory of Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts' special election on January 19, one thing was certain: U.S. Senate Democrats had lost the 60-vote supermajority necessary to end a Republican filibuster, and, with that, a clear path to the passage of health care reform. What President Obama and the Democratic leadership might do in the face of such daunting political calculus was Washington's biggest uncertainty.

On Wednesday, President Obama told ABC News, "I would advise that we try to move quickly to coalesce around those elements of the package that people agree on." The president noted the need to address cost containment and to provide support for small businesses.

However, it was far from clear whether House and Senate Democrats would support such scaled-back reform efforts, and no agreed-upon strategy had yet emerged from intense discussions among Democratic leadership. The Washington Post reported that both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-NV) have promised to finish their work on the health care legislation, though they have not outlined a plan that will satisfy Democrats in both the House and Senate.

ALA Announces Caldecott & Newbery Medal Winners

On Monday, January 18, at its Mid-Winter Meeting, the American Library Association announced the winners of its Youth Media Awards.

Among the 2010 winners are:

  • Caldecott Medal winner: The Lion & the Mouse, illustrated and written by Jerry Pinkney (Little, Brown and Company Books for Young Readers)
  • Newbery Medal Winner: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (Wendy Lamb Books, an imprint of Random House Children's Books)
  • Coretta Scott King Award (Author): Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshall by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie (Carolrhoda Books, a division of Lerner Publishing Group)
  • Coretta Scott King Award (Illustrator): My People, illustrated by Charles R. Smith Jr., written by Langston Hughes (Ginee Seo Books, Atheneum Books for Young Readers)

The complete list of award winners and honor books is available at

Philip Gross Wins T.S. Eliot Prize

Philip Gross was named winner of the 2009 T.S. Eliot prize at a ceremony in London, this week for The Water Table, his sixth book of poetry published by Bloodaxe Books, according to the U.K. Guardian. Gross is also the author of 10 novels for young people.

The publication of The Water Table last November "had an unintended topicality to it," said the Guardian, as it coincided with news headlines about flooding in Cumbria. "The dangers of water are explored in the collection, but Gross' poems also address subjects such as climate change, the environment, the human race's fragile place in the planet, and also what constitutes art," said the paper.

Mystery Writers of America Unveil 2010 Edgar Award Nominees

On January 19, the 201st anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allen Poe, Mystery Writers of America announced the list of nominees for the 2010 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, nonfiction, and television published or produced in 2009. The Edgar Awards will be presented at the group's 64th Gala Banquet, on April 29, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City.

This year's Edgar Awards nominees for Best Novel are:

  • The Missing by Tim Gautreaux (Alfred A. Knopf)
  • The Odds by Kathleen George (Minotaur Books)
  • The Last Child by John Hart (Minotaur Books)
  • Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston (Ballantine Books)
  • Nemesis by Jo Nesbo, translated by Don Bartlett (Harper)
  • A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn (Atria)

Among the honorees at this year's ceremony will be Mystery Lovers Bookshop of Oakmont, Pennsylvania. Owners Mary Alice Gorman and Richard Goldman will be honored for their constant support and dedication to the mystery community with the presentation of the Mystery Writers of America Raven Award.

HarperCollins in E-Book Talks With Apple

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that HarperCollins is negotiating to make e-books available for the new tablet device from Apple, expected to be unveiled on January 27 and on the market in March. According to WSJ, HarperCollins is expected to set the prices of the e-books, and Apple would take a percentage of sales.

"The HarperCollins negotiations with Apple represent a direct challenge to Amazon, which dominates the fast-growing e-book market but which could face significant competition from an Apple tablet," said WSJ.