It’s award season! No, not the ones with red carpets and stars dressed by Rachel Zoe.
Today’s news announces finalists for the National Book Award, Thursday at one will be the official announcement of the Nobel Prize for Literature, and news is still pending on the Man Booker Prize short list announced in September.
Below are links to the award lists, with highlights of books on the lists that had also previously made my Summer Reading List or Fall Reading Lists. One interesting aside regarding customer reviews, is how many of these books — recognized for their merit by such prestigious awards — earned only 3-star reviews. Clearly reviews and awards are equally subjective and fallible.
As always, share your own reading recommendations or link to your reading list in the comments!
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Man Booker Prizes
First awarded in 1969, the Man Booker Prize is awarded yearly to recognize “the best novel in the opinion of the judges” with the goal of increasing the visibility of quality fiction. Novels published by citizens of the United Kingdom, and Commonwealth or Republic of Ireland are eligible. Notably, judging panels are comprised from a wide range of disciplines, “including critics, writers and academics, but also poets, politicians and actors, all with a passion for quality fiction.” The longlist was announced July 25th, and the shortlist announced September 11th. Link to the Man Booker site. Follow @ManBooker on Twitter for updates.
- Tan Twan Eng, The Garden of Evening Mists (Myrmidon Books)
- Deborah Levy, Swimming Home (And Other Stories)
- Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies (Fourth Estate) – I meant for this one to have made my Fall Reading List, as it intrigued me
- Alison Moore, The Lighthouse (Salt)
- Will Self, Umbrella (Bloomsbury)
- Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis (Faber & Faber)
Longlist included the above, plus:
- Nicola Barker, The Yips (Fourth Estate)
- Nd Beauman, The Teleportation Accident (Sceptre)
- Andre Brink, Philida (Harvill Secker) — The Telegraph called Brink “one of South Africa’s greatest novelists”; this is an intriguing story about a mother of four fighting enslavement in Africa in the year before slavery was abolished.
- Michael Frayn, Skios (Faber & Faber)
- Rachel Joyce, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Doubleday)
- Sam Thompson, Communion Town (Fourth Estate)
Other news for the Man Booker Prize is that it will announce finalists for the 2013 award at the Jaipur Literary Festival in India, in January, with an increase to 5 judges (from 3) (link for article).
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National Book Award
The National Book Award is second only to the Pulitzer, perhaps, in prestige for books published in the US. Finalists are listed below. They will read on November 13th, and presentation of the final awards will be November 14th. Link to the National Book Foundation, which sponsors the award.
- Junot Diaz, This Is How You Lose Her (Riverhead Books, Penguin)
- Dave Eggers, A Hologram for the King (McSweeney’s Books)
- Louise Erdich, The Round House (Harper, HarperCollins)
- Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (Ecco, HarperCollins)
- Kevin Powers, The Yellow Birds (Little, Brown and Company)
From that list, Kevin Powers’ Yellow Birds topped my Fall Reading List, and the Eggers, Fountain and Diaz will likely make it to my Spring Reading List.
- Anne Applebaum, Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1945-1956 (Doubleday)
- Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (Random House)
- Robert A. Caro, The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 4 (Knopf)
- Domingo Martinez, The Boy Kings of Texas (Lyons Press, Globe Pequot Press)
- Anthony Shadid, House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Of those, I was previously intrigued by buzz around Katherine Boo’s book and Anthony Shadid’s.
- David Ferry, Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations (University of Chicago Press)
- Cynthia Huntington, Heavenly Bodies (Southern Illinois University Press)
- Tim Seibles, Fast Animal (Etruscan Press)
- Alan Shapiro, Night of the Republic (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
- Susan Wheeler, Meme (University of Iowa Press)
Young People’s Literature:
- William Alexander, Goblin Secrets (Margaret K. McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing)
- Carrie Arcos, Out of Reach (Simon Pulse, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing)
- Patricia McCormick, Never Fall Down (Balzer+Bray, HarperCollins)
- Elios Schrefer, Endangered (Scholastic)
- Steve Sheinkin, Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon (Flash Point, Roaring Brook Press) — historical account of the atomic bomb
Of these, I am most interested in McCormick’s Never Fall Down and will likely add it to the books I read with my sons or students.
Lifetime Achievement Awards
The following lifetime achievement awards will be presented on November 14th:
- Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters will be presented to Elmore Leonard “in recognition of his outstanding achievement in fiction” writing over 5 decades.
- Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community will honor Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr., “chairman and publisher of The New York Times, for his continuing efforts through the New York Times Book Review and online book coverage to ensure an ongoing conversation about books in American culture.”
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Nobel Prize for Literature
The Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded by the Swedish Academy in Stockholm, Sweden, and has been awarded to 108 laureates from 1901 to 2011. Interestingly, the average age of all these writers at the time they received the award is 64. Rudyard Kipling was the youngest at 42, and Doris Lessing the oldest at 88. Mere spring chickens, we are. Have hope, people.
On October 11th, the Swedish Academy awarded the 2012 Prize in Literature to Chinese novelist Mo Yan.
Link here for coverage by The Huffington Post
Link here for a little outrage reported by The Guardian.
Link to the Nobel’s site, with a listing of all laureates for the Prize in Literature.
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It’s old news that the Pulitzer was not awarded for Fiction in 2012. Current news is that the deadline for entering books for consideration for the 2013 award was October 1, 2012, so all books up for consideration will now be in. The site link for Pulitzer Prizes is here.
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What are you reading now? Are you likely to read any of the books honored on these lists? Share your recommendations or thoughts in the comments, below.
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