National Book Award Finalists Announced

How many of this year's National Book Award finalists have you read?

Congratulations to the finalists for the National Book Awards!

The National Book Awards are given annually to writers of U.S. citizenship in order “to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of good writing in America”. Panels of distinguished writers (including past National Book Award recipients) are convened to select the best books in four categories: fiction, non-fiction, poetry and young people’s literature. The final awards will be announced on November 14.

You may recognize some of these authors—in addition to being well regarded, many of them are already popular with Oakland readers. Catalog links and short summaries have been provided below for books that are already available through the library. Books that are not yet owned by the library will be ordered this month and will appear in the catalog in early November.

And the finalists are:


This Is How You Lose Her 
by Junot Díaz
Presents a collection of stories that explores the heartbreak and radiance of love as it is shaped by passion, betrayal, and the echoes of intimacy.

A Hologram for the King 
by Dave Eggers
In a rising Saudi Arabian city, far from weary, recession-scarred America, a struggling businessman pursues a last-ditch attempt to stave off foreclosure, pay his daughter's college tuition, and finally do something great.

The Round House 
by Louise Erdrich
When his mother, a tribal enrollment specialist living on a reservation in North Dakota, slips into an abyss of depression after being brutally attacked, 14-year-old Joe Coutz sets out with his three friends to find the person that destroyed his family.

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk 
by Ben Fountain
A satire set in Texas during America's war in Iraq that explores the gaping national disconnect between the war at home and the war abroad. Follows the surviving members of the heroic Bravo Squad through one exhausting stop in their media-intensive "Victory Tour" at Texas Stadium, football mecca of the Dallas Cowboys, their fans, promoters, and cheerleaders. 

The Yellow Birds 
by Kevin Powers
In the midst of a bloody battle in the Iraq War, two soldiers, bound together since basic training, do everything to protect each other from both outside enemies and the internal struggles that come from constant danger. 


Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1945-1956
by Anne Applebaum
More information here

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity 
by Katherine Boo
A first book by a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist profiles everyday life in the settlement of Annawadi as experienced by a Muslim teen, an ambitious rural mother of a prospective female college student and a young scrap metal thief, in an account that illuminates how their efforts to build better lives are challenged by regional religious, caste and economic tensions.

The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson
by Robert A. Caro
The fourth volume in the award-winning and best-selling biographical series focused on Lyndon Johnson.

The Boy Kings of Texas
by Domingo Martinez
More information here

House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East 
by Anthony Shadid
A journalist traces the story of his family's effort to rebuild an ancestral home in Lebanon amid political strife and how the work enabled a greater understanding of the emotions behind Middle East turbulence.


Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations
by David Ferry
More information here

Heavenly Bodies
by Cynthia Huntington
More information here

Fast Animal 
by Tim Seibles
More information here

Night of the Republic 
by Alan Shapiro
More information here

by Susan Wheeler
More information here

Young People’s Literature

Goblin Secrets 
byWilliam Alexander
More information here

Out of Reach
by Carrie Arcos
More information here

Never Fall Down 
by Patricia McCormick
When soldiers arrive in his hometown in Cambodia, Arn Chorn Pond is separated from his family and sent to a labor camp, where he works in the rice paddies until he volunteers to learn to play an instrument--a decision that both saves his life and lands him in battle.

by Eliot Schrefer
More information here

Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weapon
by Steve Sheinkin
More information here