Wednesday, October 16, 2013

National Book Awards Finalists: More Popular Choices in 2013

The finalists for the National Book Awards were announced this morning on NBC’s Morning Joe. The method of information delivery chosen was reflected in the lists of books delivered. Books by Jhumpa Lahiri, Thomas Pynchon and Rachel Kushner demonstrated that the trend towards highlighting books likely to be enjoyed by a wider sampling of readers. As NPR pointed our last month:
In recent years, the National Book Awards have been criticized for nominating obscure authors whose books don't sell as well as winners of the Pulitzer Prize or the Man Booker Prize. Thus the changes instituted this year: nonwriters such as librarians, book sellers and critics have been included in the judging panels. And instead of one announcement of five nominees in each category, this week's rollout of longer lists, 10 in each category, followed in about a month by a short list.
The resulting lists (and that Morning Joe announcement) would indicate the NBA people are working hard to raise awareness and readability of their awards. I suppose there’s not much they can do about the fact that when people hear “NBA” books seldom are seldom that first things that jump to mind.

The winners will be announced on November 20th.

Here are the finalists for the 2013 National Book Awards:

  • Rachel Kushner, The Flamethrowers (Scribner/Simon & Schuster)
  • Jhumpa Lahiri, The Lowland (Alfred A. Knopf/Random House)
  • James McBride, The Good Lord Bird (Riverhead Books/Penguin Group)
  • Thomas Pynchon, Bleeding Edge (The Penguin Press/Penguin Group)
  • George Saunders, Tenth of December (Random House) 
  • Jill Lepore, The Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin (Alfred A. Knopf/Random House)
  • Wendy Lower, Hitler's Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • George Packer, The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Alan Taylor, The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832 (W.W. Norton & Company)
  • Lawrence Wright, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief (Alfred A. Knopf/Random House)
  • Frank Bidart, Metaphysical Dog (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Lucie Brock-Broido, Stay, Illusion (Alfred A. Knopf)
  • Adrian Matejka, The Big Smoke (Penguin Poets/Penguin Group USA)
  • Matt Rasmussen, Black Aperture (Louisiana State University Press)
  • Mary Szybist, Incarnadine: Poems (Graywolf Press)
Young People’s Literature
  • Kathi Appelt, The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster)
  • Cynthia Kadohata, The Thing About Luck (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/ Simon & Schuster)
  • Tom McNeal, Far Far Away (Alfred A. Knopf/Random House)
  • Meg Rosoff, Picture Me Gone (G.P. Putnam's Sons/Penguin Group)
  • Gene Luen Yang, Boxers & Saints (First Second/Macmillan)



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