As my fellow bloggers have noted, a couple weeks ago the National Book Award winners were announced. To avid book readers, some of us may pay attention to these winners as heavily as others pay attention to the Oscars (although the attention lavished on what the authors are wearing is much less critical – I’m talking to you, Joan Rivers). Pittsburgher Terrence Hayes took home the poetry award for Lighthead, and rock star Patti Smith took the nonfiction award for her excellent memoir Just Kids. In this post, I will cover the five nominees for the fiction award – video of the ceremony here.
Carey has won the Booker Prize twice (!) and this title was also shortlisted this year, so he is no stranger to accolades, nor is he undeserving of them. In this historical novel, Carey creates two characters whose lives are driven together from opposing spectrums, only to result in a bond that can only have been created for and in its time, early world America.
I’ve already praised this book in a previous post – so wonderful I needed to have my own personal copy, this was my favorite to take home the award this year.
My favorite book of 2010. For anyone who has not yet read Krauss’ work, Great House is a wonderful place to start. For those who have, we know how rewarding it is to see such a talented young artist get the national recognition she so rightfully deserves. I am pressed to think of an author who can create so many unforgettable characters speaking unforgettable lines. Krauss is a talent to read and reread, and follow her future work in the hope that she continues to get the attention she is warranted. To read about this book and understand that it is only about a desk would be an understatement to regret. This book is not to be overlooked, no matter what the subject matter may be – things are not always as they seem. (Also, it has a great cover.)
Shriver has been on my list for a long time now, because I have been promising to myself to read her Orange Award nominated We Need to Talk about Kevin, a novel concerning school violence. In her newest, she covers another hot topic, this time weighing in on what it means to be a caregiver to those you love when the idea of health care is being redefined. Cutting edge, thoughtful, and provocative, Lionel Shriver is another young female author to keep in mind for years to come.
Finally, we save the winner for last. My reading habits have also saved the “best” for last, as I haven’t picked up this one yet instead opting for Booker Prize winner The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson as my current read. This book won the prize the same week it was published – how’s that for anticipation? I cannot wait to settle down with this book, focusing on several plots outlined around the central story of horseracing. Also, with the last book, did you notice that four of the five novelists in the shortlist for finalists are female? How refreshing.
All of these titles are available for request at your library, stop in and pick one up today, no formal attire required.