Friday, October 14, 2011

Awards were announced and mistakes were made

one of these books is not like the others...
So I'm sure y'all have heard that Portland is the literary center of the universe this year? Pretty awesome that the NBA finalists were announced in the Rose City earlier this week. No, Blazer fans, I'm not talking lock-out...

Seriously, it was terrific news that they chose Portland as the coming out city (But a little scary that the Oregonian featured the story right next to an article on suicide. Connection? You be the judge...)

In case you missed it, here are the finalists. As homework, I'd like you all to read every single one of these books, and make a diorama of your favorite one!

"The Sojourn" by Andrew Krivak (editorial note, repped by the fabulous Betsy Lerner)
"The Tiger's Wife" by Tea Obreht
"The Buddha in the Attic" by Julie Otsuka
"Binocular Vision: New & Selected Stories" by Edith Pearlman
"Salvage the Bones" by Jesmyn Ward

"The Convert: A Tale of Exile and Extremism" by Deborah Baker
"Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution" by Mary Gabriel
"Swerve" by Stephen Greenblatt
"Malcolm X" by Manning Marable
"Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout" by Lauren Redniss

"Head Off & Spill" by Nikky Finney
"The Chameleon Couch" by Yusef Komunyakaa
"Double Shadow" by Carl Phillips
"Tonight No Poetry Will Serve" by Adrienne Rich
"Devotions": by Bruce Smith

"Chime" by Franny Billingsley*
"My Name is Not Easy" by Debbie Dahl Edwardson
"Inside Out and Back Again" by Thanhha Lai
"Flesh and Blood So Cheap" by Albert Marrin
"Shine" by Lauren Myracle*
"Okay for Now" by Gary D. Schmidt

*there was some controversy over "Chime," and like-sounding "Shine." One of them was on the list by mistake, but the National Book Foundation has decided to save face and keep both on the finalist list.

So, let's play a game. What would be the first thing you'd do if your book were nominated. I'll start: shit my pants.

P.S. and update: "Shine" author withdraws under pressure.What do you all think of that?


  1. What are your favorite titles on this list, Suzy? My "Need to Read After I Finish Editing" pile needs to grow at least to eye level.

  2. Hey Erin,

    I'm doing the research now, actually, but I have to say that "The Sojourn" looks fabulous, and I'm definitely going to read BOTH "Chime" and "Shine."

    Thanks for asking! p.s. love your new light, clean look on

  3. I really am upset by the "behind the scenes" way the NBF handled this. Pressuring the author to withdraw seems cowardly and short-sighted.

    If the NBF were forthright in their mistake, they would have owned up to it and revised the list themselves without putting the author in that position. A $5,000 donation to the Matthew Shepard fund is the least they could do, under the circumstances.


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