Congratulations to all of the National Book Awards Winners!
While I haven’t read any of the four books listed below, they look like very powerful novels. The common theme this year with nominees and especially the winners is Diversity. This is a similarity that all of the books have which makes sense in the current political climate we live in. Three of the four are about African American History and Culture with their subjects being The Underground Railroad, The Civil Rights Movement and Racism in current times. Let me know if you have read any of these or plan to in the future.
The National Book Awards are a set of annual U.S. literary awards. At the final “National Book Awards Ceremony” every November, the National Book Foundation presents the NBAs and two lifetime achievement awards to people.
The National Book Awards were established in 1936 by the American Booksellers Association, abandoned during World War II, and re-established by three book industry organizations in 1950. Non-U.S. authors and publishers were eligible for the pre-war awards. Now they are presented to U.S. authors for books published in the United States roughly during the award year.
The nonprofit National Book Foundation was established in 1988 to administer and enhance the Book Awards and “move beyond [them] into the fields of education and literacy”, primarily by sponsoring public appearances by writers. Its mission is “to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of good writing in America.”
Here are the winners and links to purchase these outstanding books!
The National Book Award Winner for Fiction 2016 and the Oprah Book Club Pick
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish for all the slaves but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood – where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned and, though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.
In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor – engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven – but the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. Even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.
As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.
The National Book Award Winner for Non-Fiction
Some Americans cling desperately to the myth that we are living in a post-racial society, that the election of the first Black president spelled the doom of racism. In fact, racist thought is alive and well in America–more sophisticated and more insidious than ever. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues in Stamped from the Beginning, if we have any hope of grappling with this stark reality, we must first understand how racist ideas were developed, disseminated, and enshrined in American society.
In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-Black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. Stamped from the Beginning uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to offer a window into the contentious debates between assimilationists and segregationists and between racists and antiracists. From Puritan minister Cotton Mather to Thomas Jefferson, from fiery abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison to brilliant scholar W.E.B. Du Bois to legendary anti-prison activist Angela Davis, Kendi shows how and why some of our leading proslavery and pro-civil rights thinkers have challenged or helped cement racist ideas in America.
Contrary to popular conceptions, racist ideas did not arise from ignorance or hatred. Instead, they were devised and honed by some of the most brilliant minds of each era. These intellectuals used their brilliance to justify and rationalize deeply entrenched discriminatory policies and the nation’s racial disparities in everything from wealth to health. And while racist ideas are easily produced and easily consumed, they can also be discredited. In shedding much-needed light on the murky history of racist ideas, Stamped from the Beginning offers us the tools we need to expose them–and in the process, gives us reason to hope.
The National Book Award for Young Peoples Literature
Here are the links for Book 1 & 2 as well
Welcome to the stunning conclusion of the award-winning and best-selling MARCH trilogy. Congressman John Lewis, an American icon and one of the key figures of the civil rights movement, joins co-writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell to bring the lessons of history to vivid life for a new generation, urgently relevant for today’s world.
The National Book Award for Poetry
Poetry. Latino/Latina Studies. 2016 National Book Award Finalist. Following in the path of his acclaimed collections THE BOOK OF INTERFERING BODIES (Nightboat, 2011) and IN THE MURMURS OF THE ROTTEN CARCASS ECONOMY (Nightboat, 2015), Daniel Borzutzky returns to confront the various ways nation-states and their bureaucracies absorb and destroy communities and economies. In THE PERFORMANCE OF BECOMING HUMAN, the bay of Valparaiso merges into the western shore of Lake Michigan, where Borzutzky continues his poetic investigation into the political and economic violence shared by Chicago and Chile, two places integral to his personal formation. To become human is to navigate borders, including the fuzzy borders of institutions, the economies of privatization, overdevelopment, and underdevelopment, under which humans endure state-sanctioned and systemic abuses in cities, villages, deserts. Borzutzky, whose writing Eileen Myles has described as “violent, perverse, and tender” in its portrayal of a “kaleidoscopic journey of American horror and global horror,” adds another chapter to a growing and important compendium of work that asks what it means to a be both a unitedstatesian and a globalized subject whose body is “shared between the earth, the state, and the bank.”
“Like any good satirist, Borzutzky considers his subjectivity with the same lens he applies to the systems he critiques, and THE PERFORMANCE OF BECOMING HUMAN is an apogee of that inquiry. Since THE BOOK OF INTERFERING BODIES, Daniel Borzutzky has been the fabulist we most need because he’s unafraid to detail the truth of our oligarchy, without pedantry. In his figurative world our bodies are forced through privatized meat grinders, but funnily in the way that all dark horror stories trigger our gallows humor. I’m thrilled every time Borzutzky brings a book in the world, learn the most about reality from him.”―Carmen Giménez Smith
“In this canticle for the age of listicles, Daniel Borzutzky performs a new political poetry in the crucible of ‘overdevelopment,’ when ‘The city has disappeared into the privatized cellar of humanity.’ Here, the socially engaged bro-poet is mercifully broken, relieved of his epic monumentality, and with it of a range of foundational fictions (nation/family/language/subject), leaving behind these gut-cantos (songs/fragments), detestimonios of a spectral self, at once buzz-fed and cankerously/cantankerously embodied. (You can’t spell ‘Neruda’ without ‘nerd’ and Canto General never rocked ‘The Gross and Borderless Body.’) The ugly majesty of these prose blocks echoes the windswept expanses of neoliberal Chile and Chicago, their dead and their debt, their surrender and struggle. To read ‘this book that is a country deposited not in your heart but in your mouth’ is to confront becoming human as speech act, as language game, and to know the freedom and the terror of doing so. The painbeauty of Borzutzky’s virtuoso, multi- register flow (abject punchlines included) is also a counter-flow to the death drive of capital, sentences for a radical sentience.”―Urayoán Noel