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Picking Favorites in the National Book Award for Nonfiction

Picking Favorites in the National Book Award for Nonfiction post image

If you happened to miss the announcement, then here is some news: the finalists for the National Book Award were selected! Although the fiction list often gets a lot of the attention, I’ve always found the nonfiction list to be much more interesting (surprise, surprise!).

For one, there’s a lot more variety. On the fiction side, the nominees all fall into the general category of literary fiction — you don’t see any romance novels or thrillers getting recognized. But the nonfiction list has a ton of variety, featuring everything from the fourth volume of a celebrated biography of an American president to a posthumously published memoir set in the Middle East.

I got my nerd on last week over at Book Riot where I did a little bit of summarizing and guessing about how the awards would shake out and which of the fine nominees would be selected. I don’t always share my posts elsewhere on the web, but I’m particularly proud of this one and I’d love if you’d take a minute to read it.

Which of the National Book Award nominees are you rooting for?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Harvee October 22, 2012, 5:31 am

    What a surprise that Behind the Beautiful Forever is one of the selected books for the prize. I have it on my shelves and will be sure to read it.

    • Kim October 25, 2012, 8:29 pm

      I’m very excited about that one. I haven’t read that one yet, but I have wanted to since it came out. I’m patiently on the library hold list now.

  • softdrink October 22, 2012, 9:17 am

    Behind the Beautiful Forevers is the only one I’ve even heard of. Still haven’t read it, though.

    • Kim October 25, 2012, 8:30 pm

      I’d heart of that one, the LBJ bio and Shadid’s book, but the others are new to me.

  • Emma @ Words And Peace October 22, 2012, 11:23 am

    I have a poll on my blog, so far The Beautiful Forevers has 75%. see here: http://wordsandpeace.com/2012/10/18/national-book-award-nonfiction-poll/

    • Kim October 25, 2012, 8:30 pm

      Cool, I love the idea of a poll. I wonder if it’s winning because it had the most popular press publicity of all the books on the list?

  • Jennifer October 23, 2012, 8:28 am

    It makes me sad that I haven’t read any of those listed. I consider myself a bit of a nonfiction nerd so that kinda bums me out. Time to stock up!

    I am reading Midnight in Peking right now though, so far so good! (Thanks for the recommendation)

    • Kim October 25, 2012, 8:31 pm

      I’m behind too. But, I think the NBA tends to pick slightly more serious nonfiction than other prizes. I was looking at past selections when working on the post, and I didn’t recognize many of those either.

  • maphead October 28, 2012, 5:08 pm

    Behind the Beautiful Forevers did not do it for me. I reviewed it on my blog a few months ago. However, Iron Curtain looks REALLY good! Sadly, I had a chance to grab House of A Stone from my library and I opted not to. Stupid me!

    • Kim October 30, 2012, 8:43 pm

      Huh, good to know! I’ve really only heard good reviews. I’m waiting to get a copy from the library soon to read it. I really liked House of Stone — I highly recommend that one.

  • Donna October 29, 2012, 6:45 pm

    Going against the majority, I’m rooting for Robert Caro’s The Passage of Power. I read volumes one and two of this biography over the summer and was captivated. I already own volumes three and four (this one) and actually decided to wait to read them to stretch out the enjoyment of the books. I haven’t found LBJ more likeable through these books, but rather a larger-than-life character. The descriptions of the early 20th-century South were shocking and captivating.

    • Kim October 30, 2012, 8:43 pm

      Interesting! I’ve actually never been drawn to the LBJ biographies because I don’t love biographies, but you’re the second person I’ve talked to in the last few days that really loved a volume or two of them. So, maybe I’ll have to get over it and try one.