national book award finalists


The Mission of the National Book Foundation and National Book awards is to celebrate the best of American Literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of good writing in America.

And they have announced the 2009 Nominee Finalists*:


Bonnie Jo Campbell, American Salvage (Wayne State University Press)

Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin (Random House)

Daniyal Mueenuddin, In Other Rooms, Other Wonders (W. W. Norton & Co.)

Jayne Anne Phillips, Lark and Termite (Alfred A. Knopf)

Marcel Theroux, Far North (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)


David M. Carroll, Following the Water: A Hydromancer’s Notebook
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Sean B. Carroll, Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Greg Grandin, Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City (Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt)

Adrienne Mayor, The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome’s Deadliest Enemy (Princeton University Press)

T. J. Stiles, The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt (Alfred A. Knopf)


Rae Armantrout, Versed (Wesleyan University Press)

Ann Lauterbach, Or to Begin Again (Penguin Books)

Carl Phillips, Speak Low (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, Open Interval (University of Pittsburgh Press)

Keith Waldrop, Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy (University of California Press)

Young People’s Literature:

Deborah Heiligman, Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith (Henry Holt)

Phillip Hoose, Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

David Small, Stitches (W. W. Norton & Co.)

Laini Taylor, Lips Touch: Three Times (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic)

Rita Williams-Garcia, Jumped (HarperTeen/HarperCollins).

*my poor laptop did not feel up to the challenge of imaging the book covers.



How many of these have I read? None.

How many have I heard of? A few.

How many will I probably read? A few.

I am looking forward to Stitches; though I had not realized it was a Young People’s Book. Of course, the protagonist is a young person.

American Salvage is a collection of short stories bound by theme and place; sounds a bit depressing but interesting.

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders is also a book of short stories (theme and place), though not as interesting to me, I will probably get around to reading, considering the reviews.

Actually, all the Fiction finalists sound pretty good, though New York in the ’70s is not a setting that appeals to me. And stories of desolation seeking human connection and thriveance always appeals, doesn’t it?

I do not read much nonfiction, not even the creative kind (which is discussion for another several days).  If I am going to keep up with my EcoCriticism, I may have to read Following the Water, maybe…it really has to be engaging. As for Remarkable Creatures, the approach sounds fun, and I see my daughter pursuing this one when she gets older.

The Poison King synopsis where linked sounds intriguing. Wonder how it reads, may have to peek.

Alright, which of the Poetry finalists does not sound amazing and worth several days of reading in various venues of contemplation and mood music? I am a bit intimidated by Open Interval, but I am still game.

The premise for Charles and Emma comes across as creative, and clever; though this is where I admit to reading very few biographies, but I like hearing about them, and watching them on PBS. Hoose’s Claudette Colvin does sound like one I will be picking up, with the daughter as she has heard/read about Rosa Parks, Hoose’s book’s perspective would be a good exploration.

Lips Touch I would not pick up based on cover, or even the fantasy story, but recommendations go a long way, as does the fact the author and her illustrator are out of Portland, Oregon, and the fact they named their daughter Clementine Pie.

Jumped another interweaving narrative.  And not one for a day when I find teen-drama sigh-worthy, and annoying. But I had heard this was a good read.

thoughts? would love to hear them...

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