Bacon on the Bookshelf

Savory picks for the free range reader

National Book Award Winners Announced (and, with significantly less fanfare, Bacon Reads for November and December also announced)

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Every once in a while I accidentally run two Bacon posts in a day.  (Darn.  I feel like such an idiot when that happens.)  Today is different.  Today’s second post is breaking news for readers.  The National Book Award Winners were announced late last night, and Bacon readers need to be in the know!

(As a sidenote:  I don’t think Laura Cooper’s Bacon Smack-down of Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life reached the judges in time, but one might note that A Little Life, while short-listed, did not win.  Don’t miss Laura’s sensational post from earlier today.)

Without further ado, here is a list of our National Book Award winners, all of which I’ve added to my reading list.  But I’ve also got another stack going for November and December, and I’ll highlight those at the end of this post.

National Book Award For Fiction:

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“Audacious . . . These six long, fearless stories explore dangerous territories, both personal and political.” (San Francisco Chronicle).  In stories that range in setting from North Korea to Louisiana to East Germany, “Johnson delves deep into love and loss, natural disasters, the influence of technology, and how the political shapes the personal.”  (Amazon).  Johnson won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 for The Orphan Master’s Son.

For Nonfiction:

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“…[H]ow can we all – regardless of race – honestly reckon with our country’s fraught racial history and free ourselves from its burden? Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer those questions, presented in the form of a letter to his adolescent son.” (Nationalbook.org)

For Poetry:

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“…[T]his collection questions just where, historically, do ideas about the black female figure truly begin- five hundred years ago, five thousand, or even longer?  And what role has art played in this ancient, often heinous story?”  (Nationalbook.org)

For Young People’s Literature:

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“Caden Bosch lives in two worlds.  One is his real life with his family, his friends, and high school.  There he is paranoid for no reason, thinks people are trying to kill him, and demonstrates obsessive compulsive behaviors.  In his other world, he’s part of the crew for a pirate captain on a voyage to the Challenger Deep, the ocean’s deepest trench.  There he’s paranoid, wary of the mercurial captain and his mutinous parrot, and tries hard to interpret the mutterings of his fellow shipmates as they sail uncharted waters toward unknown dangers.  Slowly, Caden’s fantasy and paranoia begin to take over… This affecting deep dive into the mind of a schizophrenic will captivate readers, engender empathy for those with mental illnesses, and offer much fodder for discussion.”  (School Library Journal.)

Visit nationalbook.org to learn more about each book.

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Below is the stack of books I hope to finish in the next month or two.  I’m in the middle of A Wild Swan by Michael Cunningham and LOVING IT in all caps, bold, and italic!  Nothing like some fractured fairy tales from one of my favorite authors.  Furiously Happy is a wild romp through Jenny Lawson’s anxiety.  She’s great at finding the humor in awful.  It makes me feel quite normal even though I felt like I had a worm crawling in my heart last night which troubled me.  2 am at The Cat’s Pajamas is supposed to be a beautiful, feel-good Christmas tale:  perhaps that’s what I should be reading now instead of a book about anxiety.  I’d love some friends to join me in reading any of these books … if you read one, please send along your thoughts and I’ll add them to my post on the book!  xo

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