National Book Critics Circle Awards


I don’t usually pay a great deal of attention to awards, but there are a few that usually fall in line with my tastes; the Orange Prize is one, and the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) awards are another. When an award is successful, it serves as an introduction to a previously unknown but soon-to-be-beloved author. I end up reading not only her award-winning title, but also her backlist.

The shortlist of books published in 2011 was released recently, and more than a few titles caught my eye.

All of the fiction candidates look intriguing, but I’m particularly interested in Teju Cole’s Open City. I’ll probably end up reading The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides as well, but for whatever reason it didn’t grab my attention when it was first released as it did many other reviewers.

From the nonfiction category, John Jeremiah Sullivan’s collection of essays, Pulphead, has made its way to my TBR list. According to Bookforum, “Sullivan imbues his narrative subjects with a broader urgency reminiscent of other great practitioners of the essay-profile, such as New Yorker writers Joseph Mitchell and A. J. Liebling or Gay Talese.” Yes, please!

There are three biographies I’m dying to read right now, and two appeared on NBCC’s list: Hemingway’s Boat by Paul Hendrickson and Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable. (The third is Claire Tomalin’s Charles Dickens, which, curiously, did not make it to this list.)

From the critics, I’ve been meaning to check out Geoff Dyer’s Otherwise Known as the Human Condition, and I’m also very curious about The Ecstasy of Influence by Jonathan Lethem.

What do you think–do you pay any attention to awards, and have you read any of these titles?

I receive a very, very small commission when you purchase the book through the above links to Indiebound. Thank you for helping to support my site–and my book addiction!

1 reply »

  1. Hi, I do pay attention to awards. I like to know who is receiving credit for good or great writing. I don’t always agree with the choices for awards…but I do think it means something to be recognized by a group of people who love wrting and reading 🙂 And of course I am thrilled (and feel smart) when a writer/book that I love wins an award. I have not read any of the above titles and probably would not (except for The Marriage Plot) but I know I am attracted to certain material as it relates to my interests…we all have to be kind of choosy…you know…so many books, so little time! Thank you for the post Melody!

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