NBA Finalists!

October 13, 2011

Quick, did you first think of basketball or the National Book Award?  In this case, I’m referring to the latter.   There are 21 finalists in Young People’s Literature and the adult categories of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.  Here are some notables:

I’ve already discussed The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt in last week’s post.  Other non-fiction finalists include Deborah Baker’s The Convert: A Tale of Exile and Extremism, Mary Gabriel’s Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of Revolution, Manning Marable’s Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, and Lauren Reidness’ Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie A Tale of Love and Fallout.

The adult fiction contenders are Andrew Krivak, The Sojourn; Téa Obreht, The Tiger’s Wife; Julie Otsuka, The Buddha in the Attic; Edith Pearlman, Binocular Vision; and Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones

Among these, I can definitely recommend Otsuka’s book as a reading experience.  Told entirely in a collective first person plural (“We” is the predominant subject pronoun), Buddha relates the experiences of Japanese mail order brides brought to California in the early 1900’s  to join unknown immigrant husbands.  The story follows the women through the decades from their journey from Japan to internment in World War Two.   It’s a story of disillusionment, heartache, ugly prejudice and other difficulties, but also of resilience, strength of character, and community. The writing has a truly original style and a haunting, poetic cadence.  I hope to add to the book discussion kits soon as well.

 By the way, I am planning to place an order for more audio of The Tiger’s Wife and will look at several of these to check for adequate holdings. 

Posted by Darren

PS Correction: The article to which I link in this posting is no longer accurate.  There was a mistake by the NBA Foundation that resulted in Myracle’s Shine being substituted for Chime by Franny Billingsley, which was the intended finalist nominee.  The Foundation asked Myracle to withdraw her book from consideration due to the error, which she graciously agreed to do in exchange for a donation to an anti-bullying charity.  This snafu got coverage, among other places, in the Huffington Post.  Thank you, Lorraine, for forwarding the information.

One Response to “NBA Finalists!”

  1. David Says:

    Just about done with “The Tiger’s Wife”; I find myself reading it in small bits to prolong the experience.

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