Lessons from the National Book Award Long Lists

By: Aryanne Ferguson

I’m a fiction junkie, so when this article popped up on my Google News page, I happily clicked – Fiction Long List of the National Book Award.  Of course I’ve read none of these books, but I’ve added them to my reading list. I saw a couple favorite authors in there. Anthony Doerr wrote my hands-down be-all-end-all favorite why-do-I-not-own-this short story collection The Shell Collector:Stories (2002). And I was lucky this year to pick up Marilynne Robinson‘s Home (2008) at the thrift store, a novel which explores familial, religious, and racial tensions in a small town before the Civil Rights movement.

National Book Award Finalist

I did some quick Google-ing, and let’s give a hats off to all the authors included on the long list in various categories, and a special cheer for those of color (listed below). There’s a lot to be learned from each of them!

Jacqueline Woodson’s young adult novel Brown Girl Dreaming for the Young People’s Literature category

Fred Moten’s poetry collection, The Feel Trio for the Poetry category

Claudia Rankine’s poetry collection, Citizen: An American Lyric for the Poetry category

Anand Gopal’s book, No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes for the Non-fiction category

Reader, will you add any of these to your reading list? Why or why not?