Personal ranking of the 2011 National Book Award finalists (and now the actual winners)
November 16, 2011 § Leave a comment
Edit: I’m going to put an asterisk by the books that won the award in each category.
The difference between #1 and #5 for me is that of a fingernail’s thickness. Very good group of finalists.
1. * Stephen Greenblatt, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern
2. Manning Marable, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention
3. Lauren Redniss, Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout
4. Mary Gabriel, Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution
5. Deborah Baker, The Convert
There is some bias here, I’ll admit, as the rankings reflect the authors’ academic standing, but the errors in presentation became more and more evident as I progressed down through the names.
Sliver of difference on the first three, then a slight drop to Rich and a further one to Finney in terms of my preferences when reading their collections, all of which contain at least moments of power to them.
Young People’s Literature:
1. * Thanhha Lai, Inside Out and Back Again
2. Debby Dahl Edwardson, My Name is Not Easy
3. Gary D. Schmidt, Okay for Now
4. Albert Marrin, Flesh & Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy
5. Franny Billingsley, Chime
Another strong group, with the top 3 being a step above the other two. Lai and Edwardson’s books are at least on the level of the Fiction finalists in terms of how I received them and how they were written.
Again, I’ll post the winners after I have finished writing the last two reviews tonight. Now to go see if they are online yet, as the banquet began an hour ago.