National Book Award 2015 Nominees: Fiction

September 17, 2015

The longlist for the 2015 National Book Award nominees was released today and though there were a lot of familiar faces to be found (Clegg, Pearlman, Hanagihara) we were happy to see some surprises as well.  Who could have predicted the appearance of Karen E. Bender’s Refund?  Or the inclusion of Welcome to Braggsville by T. Geronimo Johnson?  Haven’t read them?  Well here’s your chance.  Reserve your own copies by clicking on the links and covers below: Continue reading “National Book Award 2015 Nominees: Fiction”

National Book Award 2015 Nominees: Poetry

September 15, 2015

Day Two of the ever-so-slowly released National Book Award nominee longlists.  Poetry got real play today with titles well known and appreciated, titles forthcoming and appealing, and titles obscure and alluring.  How many have you read?  Here are the books.  Be sure to follow the links to reserve them in the EPL system: Continue reading “National Book Award 2015 Nominees: Poetry”

National Book Award 2015 Nominees: Young People's Literature

September 14, 2015

As you may or may not know, this year the National Book Awards have paired with The New Yorker to exclusively reveal each of the ten book longlists  in the categories of Young People’s Literature, Poetry, Nonfiction, and Fiction.  The first of these, “Young People’s Literature” has been released and the surprise is seeing how many of the titles the five personal panel of judges selected are written not for children at all but young adults.  With the sole exceptions of Ali Benjamin’s The Thing About Jellyfish and Gary Paulsen’s This Side of Wild, all the titles listed for young people are for readers between the ages of 12-18.  Curious?  Check out some of these titles from the Evanston Public Library system by following the links below: Continue reading “National Book Award 2015 Nominees: Young People's Literature”

National Book Award Winners

November 21, 2013

mcbride_wide-8383e35a84b41d88c6b638d33d4c6495fa44c9af-s40-c85This year’s National Book Award for fiction was awarded to James McBride for The Good Lord Bird. His novel, narrated by a child follower of John Brown, was praised by the judges for “a voice as comic and original as any we have heard since Mark Twain.” Considered an underdog up against such writers as Jhumpa Lahiri and Thomas Pynchon, Mr. McBride wrote the book “amid personal tragedies” and said:  “It was always nice to have somebody whose world I could just fall into and follow him around.” The award for nonfiction went to George Packer for The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America. The judges cited it for its “account of economic decline that traverses large cities and small towns.” The poetry award went to Mary Szybist for Incarnadine, and Cynthia Kadohata won the young people’s literature award for The Thing About Luck. You can read more about the 64th annual ceremony in this NPR article and in today’s NYT.


2013 National Book Award Finalists

October 17, 2013

bookawardsThe National Book Foundation announced the shortlist of finalists for this year’s National Book Awards. The award ceremony will be held on November 20. The finalists for fiction include: The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner; The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiria; The Good Lord Bird by James McBride; Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon; and Tenth of December by George Saunders. Nonfiction finalists are: Book of Ages by Jill Lepore; Hitler’s Furies by Wendy Lower; The Unwinding by George Packer; The Internal Enemy by Alan Taylor; and Going Clear by Lawrence Wright. In young people’s literature, finalists are The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt; The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata; Far Far AWay by Tom McNeal; Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff; and Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang. And in poetry, the finalists are Metaphysical Dog by Frank Bidart; Stay, Illusion by Lucie Brock-Broido; The Big Smoke by Adrian Matejka; Black Aperture by Matt Rasmussen; and Incarnadine by Mary Szybist. For more in-depth information on these books, see today’s NPR article.


2011 National Book Awards

November 17, 2011

Late last night the National Book Awards were announced. Jesmyn Ward (right in photo) took top fiction honors for “Salvage the Bones,” about a Mississippi family’s struggle during Hurricane Katrina. The nonfiction prize went to Stephen Greenblatt (left) for his work “The Swerve: How the World Became Modern,” which analyzes the effects of certain influential thinkers and trends on civilization since the 1500’s. Ward appears to be quite young; I think it’s exciting that she’s earning substantial recognition at this age.

Shira S.

2011 National Book Award Finalists Announced*

October 12, 2011

This year, 1,223 books were submitted for the National Book Awards:

  • Fiction – 315
  • Nonfiction – 441
  • Poetry – 189
  • Young People’s Literature (YPL) – 278

Today the 26 finalists were revealed! Usually there are five named in each genre, but this time there are six in the YPL category due to a “miscommunication” during the announcement. According to Harold Augebraum, Executive Director of the Foundation, “we could have taken one of the books away to keep it five, but we decided that it was better to add a sixth one as an exception, because they’re all good books.”

*Update October 17, 2011:

Lauren Myracle, author of Shine, was asked and consented to withdraw as a nominee (thanks to Brian W. in the Children’s Room for passing on this article).

The finalists are…

Continue reading “2011 National Book Award Finalists Announced*”

And the winners of the 2009 Annual National Book Awards are…

November 21, 2009

Best of the National Book Awards Fiction: The Complete Stories, by Flannery O’Connor

In celebration of “60 years of honoring great American books,” the National Book Foundation featured 77 fiction winners from 1950 to 2008 on their website. From this prestigious collection, 140 writers chose six finalists. The public was then invited to take part in an online poll to select the best of the best, marking the first time the Awards were opened to the public for voting. After counting over 10,000 responses, Flannery O’Connor’s collection was crowned the winner.

Young People’s Literature: Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice, by Phillip Hoose

“How could we not know of this courageous teenager and her remarkable contribution to the U.S. civil rights movement? Phillip Hoose’s riveting and intelligent portrait incorporates photographs and other galvanizing primary source illustrations, as well as Claudette Colvin’s own voice, to draw the reader fully into 1950s Montgomery, Alabama. Compellingly written and skillfully structured, this important work captures a time and place of struggle, oppression, and resistance as it reaffirms Colvin’s hard-earned and nearly lost place in history.”

Poetry: Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy, by Keith Waldrop

“If transcendental immanence were possible, it would be because Keith Waldrop had invented it; he’s the only one who could—and inTranscendental Studies he has. These three linked series achieve a fusion arcing from the Romantic to the Postmodern that demonstrates language’s capacity to go to extremes—and to haul daily lived experience right along with it: life imitates language, and when language becomes these poems, life itself gets more various, more volatile, more vital.”

Nonfiction: The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt, by T. J. Stiles

“With deep and imaginative research and graceful writing, T. J. Stiles’s The First Tycoon tells the extraordinary story of a brutally competitive man who was hard to love but irresistibly interesting as a truly pivotal historical figure. With few letters and no diaries, and with layers of legend to carve through, Stiles captures Cornelius Vanderbilt as a person and as a force who shaped the transportation revolution, all but invented unbridled American capitalism, and left his mark not only all over New York City but, for better or worse, all over our economic landscape.”

Fiction: Let the Great World Spin, by Colum McCann

“Like the funambulist at the heart of this extraordinary novel, Colum McCann accomplishes a gravity-defying feat: from ten ordinary lives he crafts an indelibly hallucinatory portrait of a decaying New York City, and offers through his generosity of spirit and lyrical gifts an ecstatic vision of the human courage required to stay aloft above the ever-yawning abyss.”


To find more about the winners and finalists, as well as interviews with the authors, visit the National Book Foundation website.

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