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Well, we don’t know yet, but we know who the top contenders are.
The National Book Foundation announced the finalists for 2012 this week. This year happened to be the first year the nominee’s were announced on TV. It wasn’t quite Oscar-style. No little white envelopes or ball gowns. And it was on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, as opposed to prime time. Even so, there are few literary awards that outrank the National Book Awards in prestige and honor, with the exception of the Pulitzer Prize.
The winners aren’t always the most popular or bestselling books — or even the most well known authors. (Although, past winners include greats such as William Faulkner.) There were the heavy hitters, such as Junot Diaz, Anne Applebaum and Dave Eggers, but there were also a few surprises and debut authors who critics are saying will soon be familiar faces in the lit world. Domingo Martinez, Kevin Powers and Ben Fountain to name a few.
Nominees must be written by an American author and published by and American publisher. And the finalists for the four categories are… cue the drum roll…
This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz
A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers
The Round House by Louise Erdrich
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain
The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe by Anne Applebaum
The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 4 by Robert A. Caro
The Boy Kings of Texas by Domingo Martinez
House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family and a Lost Middle East by Anthony Shadid
Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations by David Ferry
Heavenly Bodies by Cynthia Huntington
Fast Animal by Tim Seibles
Night of the Republic by Alan Shapiro
Meme by Susan Wheeler
Young People’s Literature:
Goblin Secrets by William Alexander
Out of Reach by Carrie Arcos
Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick
Endangered by Eliot Schrefer
Bomb: The Race to Build — and Steal — the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
Which would you read or recommend? Or do you prefer a should-have-been that didn’t quite make the cut?
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