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National Book Award Finalists and Winners

The winners of the National Book Award were announced this month. The National Book Awards are annual literary awards awarded every November presented by the National Book Foundation. Here are links to the winning and finalist books we currently have in our catalog:


Cover of Round HouseWinner:   Louise Erdrich, Round House

One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened, either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and thirteen-year-old son, Joe. In one day, Joe's life is irrevocably transformed. He tries to heal his mother, but she will not leave her bed and slips into an abyss of solitude. Increasingly alone, Joe finds himself thrust prematurely into an adult world for which he is ill prepared. While his father, who is a tribal judge, endeavors to wrest justice from a situation that defies his efforts, Joe becomes frustrated with the official investigation and sets out with his trusted friends, Cappy, Zack, and Angus, to get some answers of his own. Their quest takes them first to the Round House, a sacred space and place of worship for the Ojibwe. And this is only the beginning.

Finalists:  Junot Diaz, This is How You Lose Her

                Dave Eggers, A Hologram for the King

                Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

                Kevin Powers, The Yellow Birds



Cover of Behind the Beautiful ForeversWinner:   Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in  a Mumbai Undercity

In this brilliantly written, fast-paced book, based on three years of uncompromising reporting, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human. Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees "a fortune beyond counting" in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a childhood in rural poverty, has identified an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption. With a little luck, her sensitive, beautiful daughter - Annawadi's "most-everything girl" - will soon become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest Annawadians, like Kalu, a fifteen-year-old scrap-metal thief, believe themselves inching closer to the good lives and good times they call "the full enjoy." But then Abdul the garbage sorter is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and a global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power and economic envy turn brutal. As the tenderest individual hopes intersect with the greatest global truths,the true contours of a competitive age are revealed. And so, too, are the imaginations and courage of the people of Annawadi.

Finalists:  Robert A. Caro, The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson,

                                          Volume 4

                Domingo Martinez, The Boy Kings of Texas

                Anthony Shadid, House of Stones: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost

                                           Middle East


Young People’s Literature

Cover of Goblin SecretsWinner:   William Alexander, Goblin Secrets

A boy joins a theatrical troupe of goblins to find his missing brother. In the town of Zombay, there is a witch named Graba who has clockwork chicken legs and moves her house around--much like the fairy tale figure of Baba Yaga. Graba takes in stray children, and Rownie is the youngest boy in her household. Rownie's only real relative is his older brother Rowan, who is an actor. But acting is outlawed in Zombay, and Rowan has disappeared. Desperate to find him, Rownie joins up with a troupe of goblins who skirt the law to put on plays. But their plays are not only for entertainment, and the masks they use are for more than make-believe. The goblins also want to find Rowan--because Rowan might be the only person who can save the town from being flooded by a mighty river. This accessible, atmospheric fantasy takes a gentle look at love, loss, and family while delivering a fast-paced adventure that is sure to satisfy.

Finalists:  Carrie Arcos, Out of Reach

                Patricia McCormick, Never Fall Down

                Eliot Schrefer, Endangered

                Steve Sheinkin, Bomb: the Race to Build – and Steal- the World’s Most

                                         Dangerous Weapon

Novelist Elmore Leonard was honored for his distinguished contribution to American letters.

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