2013 National Book Critics Circle Awards finalists and brief thoughts on the categories
January 14, 2014 § 2 Comments
Sonali Deraniyagala, “Wave” (Knopf)
Aleksandar Hemon, “The Book of My Lives” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Rebecca Solnit, “The Faraway Nearby” (Viking)
Jesmyn Ward, “Men We Reaped” (Bloomsbury)
Amy Wilentz, “Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter From Haiti” (Simon & Schuster)
Haven’t read any of these, but the Ward (she won the National Book Award a couple of years ago for her novel Salvage the Bones) intrigues me.
Scott Anderson, “Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East” (Doubleday)
Leo Damrosch, “Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World” (Yale University Press)
John Eliot Gardiner, “Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven” (Knopf)
Linda Leavell, “Holding On Upside Down: The Life and Work of Marianne Moore” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Mark Thompson, “Birth Certificate: The Story of Danilo Kis” (Cornell University Press)
Each of these sounds good, but I plan on buying the Thompson first, due to the author-subject being one of my favorite writers of the 20th century.
Hilton Als, “White Girls” (McSweeney’s)
Mary Beard, “Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures and Innovations” (Liveright)
Jonathan Franzen, “The Kraus Project: Essays by Karl Kraus,” translated and annotated by Jonathan Franzen with Paul Reitter and Daniel Kehlmann (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Janet Malcolm, “Forty-One False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Franco Moretti, “Distant Reading” (Verso)
Out of these, the Beard is the one I most want to read, followed by the Malcolm.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “Americanah” (Knopf)
Alice McDermott, “Someone” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Javier Marías, “The Infatuations,” translated by Margaret Jull Costa (Knopf)
Ruth Ozeki, “A Tale for the Time Being” (Viking)
Donna Tartt, “The Goldfinch” (Little, Brown)
I’ve read all five of these (the Marías first in 2011 in Spanish) and I will try to write formal reviews for the four I haven’t yet reviewed (the Ozeki I reviewed in 2013).
Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy, “Whitey Bulger: America’s Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt That Brought Him to Justice” (Norton)
Sheri Fink, “Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital” (Crown)
David Finkel, “Thank You for Your Service” (Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
George Packer, “The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Lawrence Wright, “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief” (Knopf)
I’ve only read the Packer, which I thought was excellent, and I’m uncertain if I’ll have the time to read the others on this shortlist before the winners are announced.
Frank Bidart, “Metaphysical Dog” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Lucie Brock-Broido, “Stay, Illusion” (Knopf)
Denise Duhamel, “Blowout” (University of Pittsburgh Press)
Bob Hicok, “Elegy Owed” (Copper Canyon)
Carmen Gimenez Smith, “Milk and Filth” (University of Arizona Press)
I will be reviewing each of the finalists here in the coming weeks.