Quick picks in books

PROMISING WRITERS REWARDED. Ten emerging writers, their home countries ranging from Vietnam to the United States, each have received a $50,000 prize.

The Whiting Writers' Awards, given annually for "exceptional talent and promise in early career," were announced Wednesday. The recipients included fiction writer Vu Tran, born in Vietnam and now living in Las Vegas, and poet Jay Hopler, a native of Puerto Rico who lives in Tampa, Fla.

The other winners were poets Jericho Brown and Joan Kane, playwright Rajiv Joseph, nonfiction authors Michael Meyer and Hugh Raffles, and fiction writers Adam Johnson, Nami Mun and Salvatore Scibona, whose novel "The End" was a National Book Award finalist in 2008.

The awards, presented by the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, were founded in 1985. Previous winners include such Pulitzer Prize winners as Jeffrey Eugenides, Michael Cunningham and Jorie Graham.

NOOK: AN E-READER TO RIVAL KINDLE. Just as Amazon seems to have a hit with its Kindle, along comes Barnes & Noble's new "Nook" e-reader (

Priced at an identical $259 and coming out at the end of November, the Nook seems to have a couple advantages over the Kindle.

First, it has a small, secondary, full color LCD screen at the bottom for browsing new books, in addition to the main E Ink display at the top.

Second, you'll actually be able to test out the Nook in B&N stores, whereas you pretty much have to buy the Kindle sight unseen.

Third, you'll be able to lend your Nook e-books to other Nook owners, or anyone with an iPhone, iPod touch, select BlackBerry and Motorola smartphones, PC or Mac. There are some limitations to the lending process, but it's still a cool feature.

Amazon and Barnes & Noble aren't the only ones trying to conquer the e-book market, but analysts believe the efforts from Sony and others probably are going to fall behind those two companies. But the wild card is Apple, whose long-rumored tablet might also be an e-book reader.

- Dallas Morning News